Intent if not determined to

Just came across this sentence in some copy I was subbing for an opinion piece. To put it in context, the writer had been talking about emissions controls across the EU.

Up to 80% of the rest of the populated world not only couldn’t care less [about emissions levels], they are intent if not determined to massively increase uncontrolled pollution

Um, right. Firstly, I just don't believe this is true. Certain countries may not care a great deal about limiting pollution compared to, say, boosting the economy or increasing industrial output, but that's very different to being "determined to massively increase pollution". However I'll put that aside, seeing as it is taken from an opinion piece not a news story.

Secondly, where does the figure of 'up to 80%' come from? I haven't quoted the relevant passage but the writer goes on to list China, Russia, India, South America, the Middle East, the US and Africa as some of the main culprits making up that 80%. And it leaves just 20% of the world, not specified but presumably not Europe or the above, as the 'good guys'.

Thirdly, 'intent if not determined to'? Can you be intent but not determined? And surely it should be 'intent on'...

Fourthly, 'uncontrolled pollution'? If these countries are determined to massively increase pollution, surely (they at least believe) it is under their control. And if it truly is uncontrolled, we shouldn't worry so much about what the rest of the world is 'intent if not determined to' do.

And don't even get me started about the word 'populated'...

4 comments:

TootsNYC said...

by "populated world," is he (or she, I suppose) trying to say 80% in terms of population, not land mass?

That's the kind of logical argument that a good editor SHOULD leave in the piece, bcs it quite accurately tells me, the reader, that the person who wrote this is a brainless twit, and I can disregard anything and everything he (or she) ever says.

rpmason said...

You didn't mention the idiom 'couldn't care less'. I'm with tootsync--let him (or her) be hoist by his own petard.

Apus said...

Wow you guys are mean... in the finest tradition of the Engine Room!

Truth be told JD's main role is to stop me letting that sort of nonsense into print for the reasons you suggest... and I do the same for him.

rpmason said...

I'm interested in what edited article finally said. Hmmm. "Up to 80% of the world does not care about reducing pollution and are, in fact, cheekily increasing pollution." Or "As a result of indifference to reducing emissions, countries, which contain up to 80% of the world's population, are not attempting to control emissions."