Glancing through my news headlines this morning, I found this story.
Calgary among world's worst polluters.
This piqued my curiosity, since I've found Calgary to be a rather clean city, with lots of green spaces. A old friend of mine that moved there described Calgary as the greenest city she's ever seen because of all the trees everywhere. I was curious to see how suddenly Calgary found itself on par with, say, China. Or perhaps India. Or some of the top 10 most polluted cities in the world.
In looking at the story, there's a photo of litter. Okay. So Calgary has suddenly become overrun with litter to get this new, worst polluter designation? Is raw sewage being dumped into the river? Is there choking smog? Industrial waste?
Nope, nope, nope and nope.
Calgary is apparently producing more CO2 per capita. It's in 4th place worldwide for CO2 emissions.
Let's see if I've got this right.
Brown air, yellow water, and mountains of garbage no longer count as pollution, but CO2 does?
Calgary has a safe, clean water supply. It has a safe food supply. While there are sometimes smog issues, the air is generally clear, clean and safe. It's going through a lot of growing pains right now, because so many people are moving there in such a short time.
Does Calgary have pollution? Yes, of course it does. All cities do. In terms of real pollution, however, Calgary doesn't even come close to being an offender. The idea that CO2 emissions is being used as a measurement of pollution to render Calgary as a worse offender than what you can see in the links I posted above would be just plain silly, if the consequences weren't so serious. Unfortunately, by focusing on CO2 emissions as a measurement of pollution, real pollution problems are being ignored.
How is that good for the environment?