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Scary images

Speaking in his weekly radio address, President Obama argued that the new EPA rules limiting power plant carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions "would reduce asthma attacks by 100,000 and heart attacks by 2,100 just in the first year."

But the new EPA standards are not aimed at carbon soot, mercury, sulfur or other coal burning particulates that affect human health. The EPA standards control carbon dioxide, not carbon emissions. When carbon based fuels burn, the carbon unites with oxygen, producing CO2, a non-toxic greenhouse gas which we inhale and exhale with each breath. CO2 is in the carbonated beverages that we drink, and it doesn't cause asthma, heart attacks, or any other disease.

The target of the new EPA program is global warming, not human disease.

Coal plant mercury, sulfur, and soot emissions can be controlled with a variety of expensive technology including scrubbers. Those are not the focus of the latest EPA program.

Everyone in the Obama administration refers to "carbon pollution" when they discuss the new rules which limit CO2, an invisible gas which is essential to plant growth. CO2 also enhances the efficiency with which plants utilize water.

Our metabolism causes the average adult human to exhale nearly half a ton of CO2 per year, or more than a hundred million tons per year by the U.S. population. Whether this does any harm deserves rational discussion, not scary and misleading images.

Rolf Westgard

St. Paul