Category: Air Quality

Fighting Fire with Fire

By Harold Brown Last fall, headlines blared the deadly conflagration in the West that scorched hundreds of thousands of acres and tens of thousands of homes. And, of course, many blamed climate change for what was seen as an increasing trend. Modern perceptions of fire trends often forget the past. A 2017 article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claimed “The United States has experienced some of the largest wildfire years this decade, with over 36,000 km2 (8.9 million acres) burned in 2006, 2007, 2012 and 2015.” A book published by the Forest History Society in 2011, however, concludes, “The area burned by wildfire each year has decreased by 80–90 percent since the 1930s.” It continues: “However,… View Article
By Dave Emanuel Earth Day arrives again on April 22, and along with it the also-predictable heated rhetoric by climate change alarmists who bolster their claims with articles and opinions and state, “Facts matter,” or, “Science matters.” Not surprisingly, alarmists point to the burning of fossil fuels as the primary cause of carbon emissions and their effect on climate change. Not surprisingly, some form of taxation is cited as the primary means of reducing carbon emissions. The alarms sounded about consequences are largely inspired by studies and models predicting the apocalypse based on historic patterns. Yet, as even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned in its 2007 report, “We should recognize that we are dealing with a… View Article

Georgia Benefits from Nuclear Plant Expansion

By Steven Biegalski The nuclear reactor expansion project at Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, near Augusta, has been plagued by troubles: Westinghouse declaring bankruptcy, construction delays and cost overruns. Fortunately, completion of the project is still commercially viable. Moreover, it will have numerous benefits to the citizens of Georgia and to the nation as a whole. The price tag for Vogtle Units 3 and 4 has ballooned. As a reminder, costs also soared for Vogtle’s Units 1 and 2, initially estimated at $1 billion and ending up costing about $9 billion during an extended construction period of about 13 years. Westinghouse’s bankruptcy led to the scuttling of a similar project in South Carolina last year. Given the three-decade gap in U.S.… View Article
By Paul Blair 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 (DOE) could use to keep the plants afloat. In response, groups across the political spectrum and throughout the energy sector have criticized the administration for “putting its thumb on the scale” for coal and nuclear. Many… View Article

Take a Deep Breath before Blaming Ozone for Asthma

By 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’ claims have… View Article

An Unhealthy Obsession with Climate Change

By Harold Brown 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 contrast to the public perception that climate change… 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 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 from burning… View Article

Climate Change Déjà Vu

By Harold Brown 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 ever of an ice bridge in 1948-1950 that… View Article
The most climate-friendly reliable source of power is nuclear energy, yet environmental activists largely campaign against nuclear. Michael Shellenberger shares the fascinating history and motives of activists’ opposition in, “CLEAN ENERGY IS ON THE DECLINE — HERE’S WHY, AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT,” in Public Utilities Fortnightly. Shellenberger writes: Utilities that own nuclear power plants are in serious financial trouble. While it is tempting to blame low natural gas prices and misplaced post-Fukushima jitters, nuclear’s troubles are rooted in regulatory capture — a capture that finds its genesis in the origins of the U.S. environmental movement. This capture is now threatening to bring this climate-friendly energy source to the brink. … How then did environmentalists come to view… View Article

To have an organization dedicated to the study of the problems that face Georgia in a bipartisan way….is absolutely one of the finest things that’s happened to our state.

The late W. H. Flowers, Jr., Chairman, Flowers industries, Inc. more quotes