Illustration by Lou Beach
GEORGE W. BUSH DECLARED in last weeks debate that the air has gotten cleaner since hes been in office.
Thanks to the continuing effectiveness of the Clean Air Act, which became law at the end of 1970, thats a little bit true. But its like saying that, since Bush has been in office, porcupine caribou havent done too badly in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
And its not even that simple: Overall emissions have continued to decline though not by much since 2001, but some pollutants have gone up. Sulfur dioxide, for instance, the main component in the acid raid thats rendering lakes and rivers sterile from Maine to Montana, rose 4 percent 600,000 tons thanks to lax enforcement of existing rules regulating emissions from coal-fueled power plants. (See chart below.) If Bush gets his way in November, both the Clean Air Act and ANWR will likely be history.
Now Thats a Scary Thought
The Bush administration continues to fumble around in the darkness of ignorance and the quagmire of special interest, while the Russians are demonstrating world leadership.
Independent Senator Jim Jeffords on the Russians ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming
He is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump to make a speech about conservation.
Adlai Stevenson on Richard M. Nixon
[Al Gore] . . . reminds me of Richard Nixon . . . the kind of politician who would cut down a tree, then stand on a stump and talk about conservation.
Bill Bradley, New Hampshire Democratic presidential candidate debate, January 26, 2000
George Bush is the kind of politician who would cut down a tree and then climb on the stump that remains to give a speech about conservation.
Senator John Kerry on the campaign trail, 2004
And While Hes at It . . .
Nixon seems to equate criticism with subversion and being hard on Republicans to being soft on communism.
George Bush seems to confuse being hard on Republicans with being soft on terrorists.
No one, yet but isnt it a good idea?
The above is from Judith Lewis L.A. Weekly blog, Beat Notes on the Environment
Two Words for You
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For those who now loudly protest that two years ago everyone thought Saddam Hussein had WMD I have only two words for you: Scott Ritter.
Marc Cooper, from his blog, marccooper.com
Millions of Tons Per Year
YEAR 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2002 2003 CARBON MONOXIDE (CO) 197.3 184.0 177.8 169.6 143.6 120.0 102.4 96.4 93.7 NITROGEN OXIDES (NOx) 26.9 26.4 27.1 25.8 25.1 24.7 22.3 20.8 20.5 PARTICULATE MATTER (PM) 10 12.2 7.0 6.2 3.6 3.2 2.3 2.3 2.4 2.3 PM 2.5 NA NA NA NA 2.3 1.8 1.8 1.8 1.8 SULFUR DIOXIDE (SO2) 31.2 28.0 25.9 23.3 23.1 16.3 16.3 15.3 15.8 VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS (VOC) 33.7 30.2 30.1 26.9 23.1 16.9 16.9 15.8 15.4 LEAD 0.221 0.16 0.074 0.022 0.005 0.003 0.003 0.003 0.003 TOTALS 301.5 275.8 267.2 249.2 218.1 160.2 160.2 150.2 147.7