I don’t know myself – in cases like this, I would like to see the data, but as one commenter points out, the data is very hard to get. How I wish for a Hans Rosling-like source of data on environmental change, something you could put into Gapminder and see what came out.
Yes, pollution is bad, as anyone who has visited Beijing and Shanghai knows the second they step of the airplane. It is also a byproduct of certain stages in a country’s economic development, and the two biggest countries in the world are currently in that stage. That is the real problem here, not whether I should get a Prius I cannot afford or start biking to work.
Where is the data in all this? What kind of data is there that either isn’t very short-term (100-200 years) or very vague. How much does CO2-from cars matter compared to, say, Mount Pinatubo? Yes, I know that there are 3500 cars registered new in Beijing every day, and I get an instant headache the second I leave the airplane coming there. But coal-burning London was worse in the beginning of the century.
Is it nature or is it us? Most expert says it is us, the one that convinced me was Stephen Emmott, but I would so like to see the data.