During the Olympics we discussed the international monitoring effort
as China shut down factories and curtailed automobile travel in an attempt to reduce pollution. Now reader Anti-Globalism
sends in a story that reveals that monitoring effort to be ongoing, with a bigger mandate: assessing the impact of China's pollution on the US
. In fact the problem is bigger still because, as one researcher put it, "It's one atmosphere." Scientists are finding that pollution from, for example, Europe can travel right around the globe in three weeks. "By some estimates more than 10 billion pounds of airborne pollutants from Asia — ranging from soot to mercury to carbon dioxide to ozone — reach the US annually. The problem is only expected to worsen: Some Chinese officials have warned that pollution in their country could quadruple in the next 15 years. While some scientists are less certain, others say the Asian pollution could destabilize weather patterns across the North Pacific, mask the effects of global warming, reduce rainfall in the American West and compromise efforts to meet air-pollution standards."