CarlTn everytime it's a touch warm up here everyone is crying global warming. This winter I don't hear to many saying that. I think it's terrible that we humans pollute this planet like we do but I'm not sold on carbon dioxide being a pollutant, at least not yet. Better not say more cause it's off topic.
Still, I sure wish your cedars would grow here so I could post shots like yours.
Carbon Dioxide is the exhaust of life! There is no way it's a pollutant. Every bit of evidence indicates that in times of high carbon dioxide (which is a TRAILING indicator of global temperatures, not a leading indicator), life flourishes. That makes sense, given the various ways life is designed and how it functions, and how that design and those functions are critically dependent upon the presence of carbon, and in great part to the presence of CO2 in the atmosphere.
That said, we HAVE and DO pollute. In the 80's and early 90's, the acid rain issue was no joke. We had been pumping the byproducts of burning "dirty coal" (not all coal is dirty...there are coals with high sulfur content, and coals with very low sulfur content...high sulfur content coal is "dirty") and some of the byproducts of it's burning are NOx and SO2...those compounds in our atmosphere are what seeded acid rain. Once we realized the damage that those TRUE pollutants were doing, we initiated a cap and trade regime in the early 1990's, which progressively required a reduction in their emission via the use of catalytic converters on power plants. That regime ended in 2010, as it was a raging success.
Today, our coal based power production is exceptionally clean compared to how it was thirty or forty years ago. EXCEPTIONALLY clean. Coal power plants emit carbon dioxide, but the emission levels of other compounds is in the 1% or less range now. That's thanks to using far cleaner sources of coal (like Wyoming coal, which is excellent) as well as catalytic conversion in exhaust stacks. Burning natural gas isn't any cleaner.
As far as carbon dioxide, it's produced by both animals as well as plants. Most plants, during their mature phases, produce as much carbon dioxide during night transpiration cycles as they consume. Carbon dioxide consumption increases during flowering phases, but that's temporary. People think that rainforests are our primary source of oxygen...that is incorrect. Rainforests are effectively a net neutral. In contrast to rainforests, however, is the Taiga. This frozen forest produces carbon dioxide at an exceptionally low rate, and produces oxygen at a much higher rate. The correlation here (and this is only one of MANY on the subject of CO2 in our atmosphere, CO2 as a pollutant or not, and the notion of anthropogenic global warming), is that carbon dioxide ratios in the atmosphere are a trailing indicator of temperature changes, not a leading indicator. The Taiga is a frozen forest, and it's CO2 production is low. The rainforests are some of the hottest places on earty, and their CO2 production is high. As the earth cools, eventually the levels of CO2 in our atmosphere will drop, as plant's react to the change and slow their rate of growth, reproduction, and life.
Cold is a dangerous circumstance for animal life as well. Fewer animals die when the earth is the temperature it was in the late 1990's than when the temperature was during the "Little Ice Age" some 300 years ago. With less animal life also comes lower CO2 production levels, again leading to a LAGGING drop in CO2 levels in the atmosphere as global temperatures drop (the drop in CO2 is the result of the consequences of colder weather on life, and any increase in CO2 is the result if an increase in life as a consequence of warmer weather...it is not the cause of temperature shifts in either case.)
CO2 is not, has never been, and will never be a "pollutant". Carbon is one of the single most important elements in life, alongside oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen. CO2 levels in the atmosphere have long been known to lag temperature changes, not lead them, and they have never directly correlated with global temperatures. Anthropogenic global warming is probably one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated on the people of Earth, ever. I recently read an article that provided some pretty intriguing evidence that instead of being on the cusp of the hottest temperatures the earth has seen in millennia, we are actually probably on the cusp of another "little ice age", and the single primary driver of the changes (such as the record-breaking cold winter we've just had) are the sun and the gas giant planets. The sun and it's larger satellites operate in specific cycles, including the ~11 year cycle that drives sunspots, as well as 70-90 year cycles and 200-400 year cycles. The global temperature changes that ultimately spurred the Little Ice Age started around 600 years ago, and lasted for about 300 years.
Personally, I am FAR more afraid of an ice age, than of a warmer earth. Life likes warmth. Every nature documentary demonstrates that....from the hot temperatures of rainforests to the volcanic vents abyssal trenches to the Polar Bears (yes, polar bears, despite what Al Gore would have you believe...their populations were at rock-bottom levels in the 1940's, with less than 5000 extant, where as today their populations are "stable" at nearly 30,000, and they peaked OVER 30,000 when temperatures were at their recent highs, in 1997-1999.)
Anyway...had to respond. You shouldn't even have to wonder about whether CO2 could be a pollutant or not. It isn't, can't, never will be. It's a trailing indicator of global climate shifts, not a leading indicator. All of the modern "science" that points to CO2 as a cause of anything is easily falsified, because it's science that is chasing a lagging indicator that itself is chasing the actual cause. (Not to mention the fact that the whole "global warming" issue has given a lot of politicians a lot of power and control over the unaware populace who hasn't ever taken the time to investigate the issue for themselves, or look for evidence contrary to the political agenda.) If there is any indication lately, the fact that we are entering a multi-decades long solar lull and the impact it's had on this recent winter should be of greater concern. The recent "solar maximum" was a rather pitiful one in the grand scheme of solar peaks, and winter couldn't wait to crush the 2013 summer with some of the largest flooding (globally) on record, and some of the coldest cold snaps in decades. If your sick and tired of this winter...just wait until it's 55° during the heart of summer and -45° during the heart of winter, and your energy bill skyrockets to become your primary expenditure next to your mortgage... (Of course, if/when that happens, I'm sure someone will figure out a way to blame humanity for causing it all... )