Clean Air ‘Or Else’

Posted in Climate Change, Energy, Politics, Pollution at 8:46 pm by justakim

The climate change debate heats up further as Schwarzenegger threatens EPA with a lawsuit if it does not respond within six months to California’s 2005 request for a Clean Air Act waiver so that it can regulate carbon emissions more aggressively. The EPA says that they were waiting for the recent Supreme Court Ruling earlier this month before tackling the California case. It was a 5-4 decision.

The closeness of the vote makes me uncertain as to the extent of this victory, if the definition of a pollutant lies closely with your political leanings. One would hope that the definition of pollution would not change depending on who the judge is.

Even if the EPA is allowed to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, it will still take time to come into effect. Just because the EPA can regulate it doesn’t mean it will, or at least anytime soon.

But at any rate, the California plan seems surprisingly harsh, even from my perspective. Build cars with a quarter less emissions by the 2009 model year, and cut greenhouse gas emissions statewide by a quarter by 2020? Both goals seem unrealistic. At least let the Automotive X Prize play out first!

On the other hand, of the auto manufacturers who claim these regulations will cause them to go bankrupt, I have to wonder if they include Toyota, Honda, and VW.


Ecostars say the darndest things

Posted in Pollution at 10:04 am by justakim

I’m sure many of you have heard the suggestion by Sheryl Crow to limit how much toilet paper you use and it reminded me of a related revelation.

A few years ago, one of my classmates had mentioned we could save so much if we used unbleached toilet paper. Woah… not-white toilet paper… That’s well, a bit too strange for me. It was a little disconcerting to see my acquired aesthetics battling with reason.

Well, I’m sure more than a few people remembered the environment the next time they sat down at least!


Ethanol: One Externality for Another

Posted in Energy, Pollution at 9:26 am by justakim

While ethanol may be a green fuel, it may cause more deaths than gasoline because it has many similar pollutants as gasoline, and unburnt ethanol that escapes into the atmosphere breaks down in sunlight to make ozone. The pollutants from ethanol may be more deadly than gasoline.

I really hope that these concerns will lead to development of the technology for cleaner emissions, rather than plunging blindly into it.

“There are so many people barking pretty loud about biofuels,” Jacobsen says. “They’ve been pushing these things before the science is done. Now the question is: will people listen?”

However, the small potential increase in pollution-related deaths predicted in the study could be a risk worth taking for a renewable fuel, environmentalists may argue.

Now is the time to bring that science up to speed. I don’t find this trade-off acceptable, and I doubt it’s necessary.


Odds and Ends: Diabetes, Tickets, and Immigrants

Posted in Health, Politics, Pollution at 11:16 pm by justakim

An amusing quote I ran across in Heilbroner’s The Worldly Philosophers in the chapter on Malthus and Ricardo:

“Actually, birth control seems to have been practiced by the upper classes all through history, which is one reason why the rich got richer and the poor got children.”

There’s more evidence that there is a link between Diabetes and pollutants. Regardless of their weight, there was a relationship between the levels of some of these chemicals and insulin resistance. This relationship could be for many reasons, but it’s possible stored pollutants cause diabetes.

The farther away you live, the more costly your traffic tickets. Also on the first page of that link is the cost of WoW characters by race.

In California, immigrants increase wages because they don’t compete directly for the same jobs, instead taking on complementary jobs. I think that’s a nice way of saying they’ll do things no one else wants to do. Don’t forget this Onion video about losing jobs to illegal immigrants.

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