air pollution

Blue Skies and Wildfire in California

An opinion piece in the NY Times reveals a disconnect between history and what we expect from wildfires and air quality

There’s a lot of news coverage about the wildfires on the West Coast right now, and rightly so. But with that news coverage comes a lot of commentary, some of which might lead us down the wrong policy path. I want to highlight an example from the New York Times opinion page, not because it …

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Regulating Interstate Ozone Pollution: EPA Nears the Finish Line

The regulatory history is dauntingly convoluted. This sixteen year regulatory saga has lessons for climate policy.

EPA issued a rule last week that will significantly improve air quality, particularly on the East Coast.  This is EPA’s fourth and final iteration of a rule-making process to control interstate air pollution that began in 2005.  Reflecting this history, this fourth rule is a second and presumably final revision of an update to an …

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The Clean Air Act Turns Fifty

A half century of progress in cleaning up the air began New Year’s Eve 1970.

On December 31, 1970, President Richard M. Nixon signed the Clean Air Act.  William Ruckelshaus and Russell Train, who later led the way in implementing the new law, stood by his side with beaming smiles.  Nixon supported the basic features of the bill. But he had considered vetoing the final version because Senator Ed Muskie …

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Let’s Talk Coordinated Governance

Chinese policymakers learn from California’s pioneering work on air and climate regulation.

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new report on Coordinated Governance of Air and Climate Pollutants: Lessons from the California Experience – authored by me, David Pettit at NRDC, and Siyi Shen. The report is an effort to introduce California’s experience in air and climate regulation to Chinese regulators and researchers. In …

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Automakers Love to Use the Great Outdoors to Sell Cars That Pollute National Parks

Franklin Pass in Sequoia National Park

Auto companies continue campaign against progress on vehicle pollution

At the top of Franklin Pass last week, 11,710 ft above sea level and deep in Sequoia National Park, I stopped to catch my breath. There’s no doubt the altitude was affecting me, but looking back towards the thick inversion layer sitting over the western San Joaquin Valley, I had to wonder to whether pollution …

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Another Casualty of US Withdrawal from the WHO: The Environment

Unbeknownst to many, the WHO does important work on pollution problems.

Withdrawing from international cooperation in the midst of global pandemic is an idea that’s just as bad as it sounds.  President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the WOrld Health Organization (WHO) withdrawal will also be harmful in other ways. Notably, a major component of the WHO’s work involves the health impacts of pollution and dangerous …

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Green Stimulus?

https://chinapower.csis.org/energy-footprint/

Why so many coal plants are still being built in China.

During this Earth Week, it is encouraging to see glimmers of environmental ambition in various jurisdictions around the world. The EU is rolling out a European Green Deal with the goal of “striving to be the first climate-neutral continent.” South Korea, the world’s 7th largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter, recently announced a 2050 net zero …

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Get Ready for Phase 2 of the Deregulation Wars

Air quality standards are next on the chopping block.

The first phase of Trump’s regulatory rollbacks has been directed against Obama’s climate change regulations.  Those deregulatory actions will be finalized soon.  What happens next will be in the hands of the courts. But the Trump EPA is now beginning a new phase in its attack on environmental regulation.  Having tried to eliminate climate rregulation, …

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Putting the Squeeze on Coal

It’s not enough to eliminate coal-fired plants. We have to cut back on coal production and sale.

Coal use by American utilities has declined sharply and will continue to decline. But we shouldn’t focus solely on U.S. emissions. But the industry also exports coal, and there’s been a big surge in coal exports in the past two years, much of it involving India. So it’s not enough to curtail coal use in …

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EPA’s Magic Disappearance Trick

The Trump EPA has come up with a way to hide hundreds of deaths in plain view.

According to press reports, EPA is preparing to ignore possible deaths caused by concentrations of pollutants occurring below the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). This is a key issue in a lot of decisions about pollution reduction.  For instance, there is no NAAQS for mercury, but pollution controls on mercury would, as a side …

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