Category: Environment

By Paul Blair The first two nuclear units at Plant Vogtle, near Augusta, were completed in 1987 and 1989; two more currently under construction will be the first new units built in the nation in the last three decades. Over the past 18 months, President Trump has taken great strides to fulfill a number of major campaign promises. One major promise was the commitment to help communities harmed by the decline of coal and nuclear energy. To that end, the president recently directed Energy Secretary Rick Perry to prevent retiring coal and nuclear plants from shutting down prematurely. Shortly afterward, a leaked policy document from the National Security Council outlined a number of policy tools that the Department of Energy… View Article

Take a Deep Breath before Blaming Ozone for Asthma

By Harold Brown Harold Brown The American Lung Association emphasizes the bad news and mentions the good. Its State of the Air 2018 report (using 2014-2016 data) claims that “ozone pollution worsened significantly.” It is clear, however, that the air in Georgia has become cleaner and healthier. Atlanta had an average of 66 days per year from 2000 to 2010 that were “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” but only 21 days per year from 2011-2016 (see chart). The two pollutants most blamed for the “unhealthy” air have decreased. Ozone (4th maximum 8-hour concentration) decreased 27 percent from 2000 to 2017, while tiny particles (PM2.5) dropped by 50 percent. Respiratory disease causes, changes in the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations and environmental advocates’… View Article

Despite the Hype, Changes in Sea Level Turn on a Dime

By Harold Brown Harold Brown, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Anybody paying attention to 2017’s hurricanes and, even more recently, the Paris Agreement, is aware that political posturing amplifies how complicated and controversial is the science of climate change and, with it, sea level rise. Environmentalist activists see sea level rise as a catastrophe in the making – the simple result of melting glaciers and ice caps and warming of the oceans. But the complications mire this in controversy ever since global warming became popular. According to the International Panel on Climate Change, the global sea level rose at the “very likely” rate of 1.7 millimeters per year from 1901-2010. Therein lies one of the complexities. Imagine the difficulty… View Article

Burying Power Lines: A Shocking Cost

The Marietta Daily Journal of September 27, 2017 published a letter to the editor in the midst of recovery from recent hurricanes that downed power lines and prompted calls for utilities to bury the lines. The letter writer raised some salient points about the inconvenience and financial and environmental cost of burying the lines. The letter can be accessed on the newspaper’s website here and is reprinted in its entirety below.   Burying power lines would unearth problems  Dear Editor: Each time a major weather catastrophe occurs, along with the clamor about “climate change” being the causative factor, there is additional, ubiquitous uproar regarding the replacement of above-ground power lines with underground utility delivery. A few years ago, I responded to… View Article

An Unhealthy Obsession with Climate Change

By Harold Brown Harold Brown, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation On June 1 came the encouraging news that President Trump has decided the United States will exit the U.N. Paris climate agreement. The agreement imposes huge burdens while producing little or no impact on the global climate. From the outrage shared by the media, one would think Trump has doomed the world to certain destruction. Signs are clear the noise will continue, in one form or another: In March, just two months after Trump took office, a “Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health” was launched to advise (alarm) the American public about global warming. The consortium published, “Medical Alert! Climate Change is Harming Our Health.” In… View Article

Global Brightening and Hazy Predictions

By Harold Brown Global warming, simplified: Burning fossil fuels generates carbon dioxide into the air, trapping energy radiated from the globe. The earth is made warmer because this energy is prevented from escaping into outer space. But then there are air pollutants that reduce the radiant energy from the sun that reaches the earth. Reducing those pollutants that cool the earth would be expected to warm it. The main cooling pollutant is sulfur, mostly as sulfur dioxide (SO2), from burning wood and fossil fuels. Sulfur and other pollutants mixed in the air are referred to as aerosols, and they reflect the sun’s rays away from the earth. Water, as vapor and droplets in clouds, is a major component of these… View Article
By Harold Brown Harold Brown, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Every year around Earth Day (April 22), people everywhere are harshly reminded just how “unnatural” environmentalists consider humans.  Humans, they argue, are against nature, and nature is being destroyed by humans. It’s unfortunate. Creating this dichotomy of humans against nature not only confuses the environmental narrative, it claims a separation that doesn’t exist and disregards enough relationships to make it preposterous. A striking recent example is the oft-repeated claim that species are threatened with extinction by human activities. National Geographic, the Public Broadcasting System, the World Wildlife Foundation and others have repeated the theme that “Current rates of extinction are 1,000 to 10,000 times the background (before humans) rate… View Article
By Harold Brown Harold Brown  Global warming (climate change) is not just a scientific subject but also a technical-social-political scramble. Several recent episodes illustrate this; just one has been widely reported. First, most recent and receiving the greatest media attention: Just days after the appointment of Scott Pruitt as the new administrator of the federal Environmental Protection Agency came the reports on the court-ordered release this week of thousands of emails between Pruitt and “fossil fuel companies like Koch Industries and Devon Energy” when he was Oklahoma’s attorney general. The Associated Press, noting Pruitt’s office contacted the lobbyist for his utility (AEP) after his power went out, reported the emails reveal “cozy ties” between Pruitt “and those that profit… View Article

The Glacial Update of Georgia’s Water Plan

By Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD Imagine a group project today where everyone must put their electronic devices in a basket and use a blackboard, notepad, pencil, slide rule or manual typewriter. Consider how many people still drive a 1955 or ‘65 Chevrolet on a daily basis. Then ask yourself if it makes sense to operate a state based on a 50-year-old water use plan. All of the above are ineffective, inefficient, illogical and outdated; much has changed over the decades.  Yet Alabama and Florida sought for decades to restrict Georgia to half-century-old water guidance, even as population, water use and demand have changed. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has finally moved beyond the tristate blame game and accepted… View Article

Climate Change Déjà Vu

By Harold Brown Harold Brown, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation This week in the U.S. Senate, Democrats took to the floor to attack national and state organizations that oppose their climate policies in what they called a “Web of Denial.” The Georgia Public Policy Foundation was among 22 signatories to a letter that denounced Democrats’ attack on free speech.   But what about the so-called Web of Denial?   Global warming is not new. In the middle of the 20th century, climate predictions, patterns and clues were similar to what we hear today, though not as loud and frequent. A Saturday Evening Post headline asked in 1950, “Is the World Getting Warmer? The article reported the first January melting… View Article

The best way to make a lasting impact on public policy is to change public opinion. When you change the beliefs of the people; the politicians and political parties change with them.

Senator Herman E. Talmadge more quotes