Friday is Earth Day and even making allowances for a person being 17, it was a bit sad last week hearing a scholarship winner thank her benefactors by saying she would put an education in environmental sciences to good use “because things are going downhill.”
Wherever she winds up at college, we hope she learns—and isn’t too disillusioned to find—that in her brief lifetime so far the environment isn’t going downhill; just the opposite.
EPA statistics reveal deep reductions of every major pollutant since passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970: lead, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, all hugely reduced and beating EPA air quality standards; mercury down at least 40 percent by means not even specifically aimed at reducing it; all this even though activities generating emissions have massively increased. U.S. water quality is also greatly improved.
Those are two revelations, here’s another: When things are going downhill the explanation is often subsidy-grubbing “environmentalists” badgering people to do destructive things.
Some examples would be cutting millions of U.S. trees to burn in European power plants; clearing land to grow inefficient biofuels like palm oil and sugar-cane ethanol, destroying rainforest habitat; and paving over many square miles of pristine Southwest desert with giant mirrors that ignite countless birds in mid-air, to intermittently produce solar energy in amounts obtainable 24-7 from natural gas in a structure hardly bigger than a large house.
And don’t even mention windmills producing a fifth of their ballyhooed capacity, slaughtering birds and bats, disfiguring the landscape, and requiring fossil-fueled generation not being used but running anyway so it’s available instantly to backstop the undependable turbines.
Traditional pollution problems are increasingly well-addressed in this country. But thanks to the environmental alarm industry, environmental virtue comes at a high price. For the environment.