We are literally killing people with air pollution.
It’s a simple fact that tends to get forgotten in the everyday bustle of our lives. And it’s that bustle itself – specifically, zipping to and fro courtesy the internal-combustion engine – that is proving most difficult for air-pollution regulators to fight.
Now, it’s true that Palm Springs is cursed with unfortunate geography of being just over a low pass from Los Angeles, and located in a bowl of a valley. So the gunk in the air from LA and western Riverside County becomes a problem for Palm Springs.
But it’s also true that you could find many places in this country where air pollution peaks to levels considered too high for breathing. Matheny explains:
It’s the mobile pollution sources — diesel trucks, construction equipment, cars, trains and planes — that pose the biggest air quality challenges.
He goes on to point out, though, that the California Air Resources Board has just 50 inspectors to target a state’s worth of vehicles.
Of course, to battle climate change as well as air pollution, we need cleaner cars. John Fialka of Climatewire has a new piece tracing how difficult General Motors is finding its quest for a battery-powered car, the Chevrolet Volt.
It’s true that factories and power plants do contribute to the problem. On that point, a federal appeals court today struck down the Bush administration’s eight-hour ozone rule.
Now, the other thing we need to talk about in the air-pollution arena is how we have no ambient air standards for toxic air pollutants. I find this hard to fathom. But that’s a discussion for another day…