Greenpeace can act illicitly but CO2 is not poisonous

Last Sunday the NZ Herald reported on a Kiwi woman, one Emily Hall, now a Greenpeace activist in the UK, who was in a boarding party that recently attacked what used to be called a collier—a vessel used for transporting coal.

The Herald’s story contained no censure against Greenpeace’s overt lawlessness. It was a sympathetic treatment of Hall’s experiences with Greenpeace and her and its tactics of rebellion against the Establishment in the name of the environment.

But the story incorrectly described carbon dioxide as “poisonous”.

There was nothing wrong with describing the ship’s load as “dirty” coal, since either handling the stuff or burning it inefficiently results in a mess, although modern methods of burning powdered coal, combined with smokestack “scrubbing” of most of the airborne pollutants, is thermally efficient and allows us truly to describe coal as “clean”.

But labelling “carbon emissions” as “poisonous” is just plain wrong. Carbon emissions is a euphemism for carbon dioxide and there is nothing remotely poisonous about that. Neither is it “dirty”, regardless of Greenpeace’s clumsy propaganda attempts to link it with the visible pollutants that come from coal.

Describing this clean, invisible plant food as poisonous simply attempts to justify Greenpeace’s hostility towards carbon dioxide, and thus legitimise an attack on a vessel and its crew going about their lawful business.

The Herald ought to stand aside from the campaign to wrongly vilify carbon dioxide for the activists’ political purposes.

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