Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Smog or Greenhouse Gas Debate - What Difference Does it Make?

According to Greenwire... EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that her 40-year-old agency is battling a new problem: Americans are taking a healthy environment for granted. When EPA was created in 1970, Cleveland's Cuyahoga River was so polluted that it caught fire. Pittsburgh and Los Angeles were choking on smog on a daily basis. And the widespread use of DDT and other toxic chemicals was killing off bald eagles -- the very symbol of the United States. The nation's rivers aren't burning anymore, Jackson said. The air is clean enough that many people don't notice it. Struggling species have rebounded. But because younger people have no memories of those days, they might not realize why the agency was created in the first place, she said.

This got me thinking and ended up as part of my Letter from the Editor...

In the recently released Kelley Blue Book survey study on consumer’s lack of interest in buying electric vehicles, one particular response caught my eye. For those interested in alternative vehicle technology, 83% cited reduction in pollution, and 83% checked reduction in vehicle emissions as primary reasons. So what’s the difference between the two? To me, a simple definition would be: pollution = smog from the tailpipe; vehicle emissions = greenhouse gas or CO2 emissions (global warming). There’s a difference between the two.

There’s always debate about whether global warming and climate change are for real, and whether humanity could do anything to positively affect climate patterns. Whether or not that question can be answered, I do believe that air pollution is the core reason for bringing advanced clean technology to the auto industry. I’m reminded of being eight years old and going to the LA Zoo on a grammar school field trip when the smog was so thick, my eyes watered and my throat grew sore and thick. Today, even though there are more vehicles on LA freeways, the air pollution has been dramatically reduced and air quality improved. I’m all for that happening around the world and look forward to seeing green machines become a valid option for car shoppers.

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