Planet Gore

The environment is getting cleaner

Imagine this headline on page A1 today: “The environment is getting cleaner.”
Given the daily state of fear in America’s media, that would be news to most Americans. But as Joel M. Schwartz reveals in a National Center for Policy Analysis study “pollutants have been reducing steadily for the past several decades.”

Schwartz points out that air quality in America’s cities is better than it has been in more than a century. Between 1980 and 2005, lead air levels dropped 96 percent, sulfur dioxide reduced 63 percent, and carbon monoxide concentrations fell 74 percent.

In addition, fine particulate matter was reduced 40 percent. Soot, nitrogen oxide and organic compounds have all decreased as well. In fact, in all of last year, there was not a single code red ozone day. Not one.

All this improvement has come at a time of increased motor vehicle use, energy production and economic growth. Since 1980, miles driven each year nearly doubled (93 percent), as new gas-powered autos (forget hybrids) are near zero-emission vehicles.

Of course, enviro-activists and their press allies will tell you none of this as their power relies on keeping the public spooked. But it also explains why Greens are trying to get carbon dioxide classified as a pollutant – because real pollutants are getting scarcer and scarcer.

Henry Payne — Henry Payne is the auto critic for the Detroit News.

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