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Herschel Walker Falsely Claims U.S. is Cleaning China’s Air Pollution

AP Photo

Jeff Fuentes Gleghorn

Earlier this July, Herschel Walker, a Republican candidate for Senator in Georgia, claimed that the U.S. is cleaning Chinese air pollution. At a campaign event, Walker said that the U.S. has some of the “cleanest air and cleanest water of anybody in the world,” before saying that America’s “good air decided to float over” to China, forcing “bad air” to move from China to America. Then the U.S. has to “clean that [bad air] back up” for China.

That is not how greenhouse gas emissions work. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses naturally mix with the atmosphere, spreading evenly across the planet. In 2020, carbon dioxide levels over the U.S. and China were nearly identical, with a difference of only 3 or 4 parts per million, less than a one percent difference.

It is also wrong to suggest that the United States is cleaning up carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. The United States emits 12 percent of the world’s greenhouse gasses annually, making it the second largest greenhouse gas emitter. China is the number one greenhouse gas emitter, releasing 24 percent of greenhouse gasses annually, but China also has 18 percent of the world’s population. If we look at greenhouse gas emissions per capita, the United States moves to number one in the world, releasing over twice as much per person as China, which moves to 6th place. Despite Walker’s claims, the U.S. is not cleaning up the air, it is a leading contributor to global warming. 

During the event, Walker also said that China had created the COVID-19 virus, a conspiracy theory that has been thoroughly disproven. His claims are simply not true, and lies like these are dangerous during a time when hate crimes against Asians are increasing.