Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Earth Day 2009: Air Quality's Better Than Ever




Data Source for graphs: EPA

From the first
Earth Day in 1970:

“Air pollution is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone,” Paul Ehrlich in an interview in Mademoiselle magazine, April 1970.

Ehrlich also predicted that in 1973, 200,000 Americans would die from air pollution, and that by 1980 the life expectancy of Americans would be 42 years.

“By 1985, air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half...” Life magazine, January 1970.

Most Earth Day predictions turned out to be stunningly wrong. In 1970, environmentalists said there would soon be a new ice age and massive deaths from air pollution. The New York Times foresaw the extinction of the human race. Widely-quoted biologist Paul Ehrlich predicted worldwide starvation by 1975.

MP: Consider that since the first Earth Day in 1970, U.S. population has increased by 50.25%, miles driven has increased by 159% and real GDP has increased 203%; and yet air quality is better than ever.

19 Comments:

At 4/22/2009 4:38 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> In 1970, environmentalists said there would soon be a new ice age

Global Warming!!!

> “By 1985, air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half...” Life magazine, January 1970.


The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. - H.L. Mencken -

Gone are the days when the media was *not* utterly complicit in this activity.

> Ehrlich also predicted that

...The number of things which Ehrlich predicted which have not come true is probably in excess of the number of things he HAS predicted which DID come true.

Few men can make such an impressive claim to constant, unending wrong-headedness.

Yet still, the speaking offers and awards keep rolling in for this chowderhead...

.

 
At 4/22/2009 6:48 AM, Blogger 1 said...

Yes indeed, Paul Erlich has quite the track record: Doomsayer Paul Ehrlich Strikes Out Again

By Michael Fumento

Investor's Business Daily, December 16, 1997
Copyright 1997 Investor's Business Daily

 
At 4/22/2009 7:26 AM, Blogger spencer said...

It is nice of you to recognize the great success of government interference in the free market.

 
At 4/22/2009 8:26 AM, Anonymous Machiavelli999 said...

Yes, Mark there have been great improvements in air quality over the last 30 years. This is because of something called the Clean Air Act.

I mean seriously, why would I as a businessman care at all about air quality unless there was a government law on the books I had to follow about controlling my emissions.

Air quality is the perfect example of a 'tragedy of the commons' problem that can't be solved by privatization. We can't privatize air. And there are no free market incentives for companies to reduce air emissions. Government is the only entity that can set rules and regulations in which companies have to put the long-term interests of the nation above their short-term gains.

 
At 4/22/2009 8:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It is nice of you to recognize the great success of government interference in the free market."

It should be a success, if our air is a common resource, then there will be a market failure and it would require government intervention. So as somebody that's against government intervention this is one that I have no problem with. What I have a problem with is the government interfering with private goods, such as healthcare, the auto industry, housing, and many others.

 
At 4/22/2009 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I mean seriously, why would I as a businessman care at all about air quality ...Because my family and I breathe the same air as our neighbors.


Government is the only entity that can set rules and regulations in which companies have to put the long-term interests of the nation above their short-term gains.Yeah, yeah, government environmental regulations never result in more pollution.

 
At 4/22/2009 9:26 AM, Blogger QT said...

...and Ehrlich still persists in doomster lit. Funnily, there are 24 reviews with an average customer rating is 4.

Mr. Ehrlich seems to have a receptive audience despite his poor record on predictions.

 
At 4/22/2009 9:34 AM, Anonymous Machiavelli999 said...

Because my family and I breathe the same air as our neighbors. Anonymous,

I was trying to be sarcastic. Obviously that is the thought process I hope all businessmen go through, but we know that's not the case. They see our rivers, oceans and air as a common dumping ground for their toxins and if it was not for environmental regulation the improvements in air quality we have seen over the last 30 years would not have happened.

 
At 4/22/2009 9:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the above link, it should be noted that MTBE has been phased out of our gasoline supply at this point (linked article is dated 2003)

I am a whole hearted supporter of the free market, but as we know certain thing are extrernal and don't get propperly used. In those instances I have no problem with a government "internalizing" those externalities.

For example IF we are debating a carbon plan (putting aside all global warmign debates) I'd favor the simplest solution, a tax on carbon. In a nutshell it would raise the price of certain good, then the market would work to redistrobute capital and labor in the most efficient mannor.

Other great successes have been the fishign right permis in new england, or the wetland bank accross the country.

 
At 4/22/2009 12:43 PM, Blogger ExtremeHobo said...

Actually companies decrease their pollution when customers want it. Haven't you seen the Subaru ads where they cant wait to point out how green their production is? Or commercials for the ibook that demonstrates how its the greenest notebook available?

Companies will often decrease pollution volunteerily because many people see green products as having an increased value.

I still stand by having government regulations on common resources, and those of you ( anon and machivelli) seemed to miss the point of this article, which in no way disagrees with that.

I standby government regulations on shared resources that are based on actual proven science and not some fad or something that sounds good.

 
At 4/22/2009 8:59 PM, Anonymous Don Henig said...

I love this site! Please tell me the facts / graphs that show the other side. So, if this were posted on CNN, what would they post? i would like to see the other side, if there is one. Thanks, Don
PS: And yes i did read all the follow up posts. Thanks

 
At 4/22/2009 9:38 PM, Anonymous Mika said...

See, governmental action is not always bad. Yes, mach and spenc are point on. These stats clearly demonstrate that by taking measures - yes, via governmental action - we've substantially improved our toxic environment. Say whatever you want, but there's no denying it. . . . Now we need to go after the worst and most insidious offender: CO2

 
At 4/22/2009 10:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Mika

CO2 is the worst and most insidious offender? You mean that terrible thing that allows life on this planet to flourish?

 
At 4/23/2009 9:59 AM, Blogger Marko said...

I love all the posts saying that we anti-government people must now acknowledge that some government is necessary. It's funny, people have been brainwashed into thinking free market capitalists are anarchists that want no government. We are not anarchists (strangely enough, today's anarchists want more government!!), we just believe that the aim of government is to keep the market free and provide a forum for dispute resolution. If a factory is spewing externalities, like pollution, there should either be a way to subject the factory to your costs (such as a lawsuit), and this is the preferred way, or to otherwise cause the factory to internalize its externalities, perhaps by requiring that they give notice of their practices to the public, or as a last resort, to place functional limitations on the amount of pollution they can produce.

No one on our side ever said that no government was ever needed for anything. The danger is more government than is necessary to maintain liberty. We currently have, in my opinion, so much government now that it is diminishing liberty more and more. THAT is the threat!

 
At 4/23/2009 10:35 AM, Blogger ExtremeHobo said...

Well said Marko.

Us free-market proponents do not want total anarchy as I would hope the socialists that rant on here do not want a totalitarian government.

 
At 4/23/2009 12:05 PM, Anonymous ryan ochs said...

EnviroResolutions, Inc. owns the rights to design, manufacture and market a patented Scrubber that provides a significant advancement in performance and cost-effectiveness for the treatment of industrial and commercial pollution. http://www.enviroresolutions.com

 
At 4/23/2009 2:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marko, couldn't have said it any better. The Constitution as written and adopted recognized the proper role of a federal government but in no way would the authors have acquiesed in the overreaching power grab of the feds on individual liberty. Leftist ideologies have been entrenched so long in our educational system that a whole generation has been brought up believing in the evils of business and capitalism. The time is now to REVOLT.

 
At 4/23/2009 4:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lead air quality chart shows drastic improvements since 1980. Most of that can be attributed to the ban on lead in gasoline. I am a firm beliver in markets but I think that is an interesting fact...

 
At 4/23/2009 6:59 PM, Anonymous ryan ochs said...

IDO Security developed the MagShoe for shoes-on weapons metal detection – filling a critical void in the market by extending security screening to the lower body and feet.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home