Ed Driscoll

The EPA's Dirty Little Secret About The Environment

Today is “Earth Day” according to the left, though after last week’s reality wake-up call, the idea of spending the day worshiping Gaia rings even more false than usual, particularly since (a) Al Gore looked around, figured everything was cool, and cashed out his chips to Big Oil and (b) Gaia is doing just fine these days, thankyouverymuch:

The Environmental Protection Agency late last month proposed strict new “clean fuel” standards on gasoline. The EPA said the so-called Tier 3 rule would cut emissions of smog-forming pollutants, as well as toxic emissions like benzene.

What the EPA didn’t say was that levels of these pollutants have been falling steadily for years, and would continue to fall even without the new rule, which the oil industry says will cost tens of billions of dollars.

Indeed, a fact that won’t get much attention on Earth Day — April 22 — is that pollution has been falling across the board for decades, even while the nation’s population and economy have expanded. Overall air pollution levels dropped 62% from 1990 to 2012, while GDP grew 69% and population climbed 26%.

Everything has seen declines: carbon monoxide, soot, sulfur dioxide, ozone, lead and others. Many are now below the EPA’s safety threshold.

Or as Wired Magazine notes, “Luckily, our science writers of the 1990s were wrong about almost everything.” And while Wired wasn’t around before the 1990s, science writers in the 1970s were wrong about almost everything, too:

Kenneth Watt, 1970;

“The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

Who’s laughing now?

But we must always pretend there’s a crisis. Quoting author Eric Hoffer, Thomas Sowell once told an interviewer, “Intellectuals cannot operate at room temperature:”

There always has to be a crisis–some terrible reason why their superior wisdom and virtue must be imposed on the unthinking masses. It doesn’t matter what the crisis is. A hundred years ago it was eugenics. At the time of the first Earth Day a generation ago, the big scare was global cooling, a big ice age. They go from one to the other. It meets their psychological needs and gives them a reason for exercising their power.

One thing that worries me though. In earlier years, when Obama was attempting to sell is crony socialism under the guise that the planet is doomed, he always loved to take Air Force One up on Earth Day, if only to thumb his nose at the radical environmentalist true believers in his party:

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Obama is spending a rare day actually in DC today, which means he’s not paying much attention to Earth Day himself this year.

Related: At Power Line, Steve Hayward notes that just in time for “Earth Day,” “the mainstream media are starting to get a few things:”

The Washington Post’s editorial page yesterday featured a house editorial entitled, “Europe is becoming a green energy basket case.”  This is pretty delicious:

FOR YEARS, European leaders have flaunted their unwavering commitment to fighting climate change — and chastised the United States for lagging behind. But last week brought yet more confirmation that the continent has become a green-energy basket case. Instead of a model for the world to emulate, Europe has become a model of what not to do.

So the ol’ “Eco-Anschluss,” as Conde-Nast described it isn’t working out? I’m shocked, shocked!

Hayward mentions former Time-Life journalst Elizabeth Nickson’s recent book Eco-Fascists in his post. Click here for my October interview with Elizabeth discussing her book.