Air Visual, a site that tracks current air quality and air quality trends recently released their list of the most polluted cities in the world. The United States does not appear in the top 100 even once. Scrolling through the full list, the United States doesn’t appear until #439 with Anderson South Carolina. Out of the top 50 most polluted cities in the world, India features prominently followed by China and Pakistan.
India has 7 of the top 10.
Pakistan has 2 of the top 10.
China has 22 of the top 50.
The USA has 1 in the top 440.
Yet, somehow the burden of curbing the ever looming threat of climate change has fallen to the United States.
Prominent politicians have been telling us for years that the world is X number of years from an irreversible disaster. We only have a decade to turn this thing around! And yet, by these metrics, we’re not even a blip on the radar.
Even if we tanked our emissions to zero, the world would continue to pump pollution into the atmosphere at an alarming rate. Even if we could slow emissions down, unless countries like India, China and Pakistan agree to do the same, we would only slow the inevitable and put ourselves at a disadvantage globally. This is extremely unlikely to happen as India is in the midst of a big economic push and China has set their GDP growth goal at a voracious 6.6%.
I understand that people want the US to take the lead on this issue but this is akin to Japan being the face of global overpopulation. I agree that cutting pollution where we can is something we should look at but as it stands, the United States does not have a pollution problem nor are we the ones who need to take a hard look in the mirror.
We should be celebrating the fact that we don’t show up until #439 and stop telling our kids that they’re all going to die before their 30th birthday.