Friday, May 13, 2011

Breathe Easier

We've had a beautiful spring week here in NYC, and it's been great to be outside breathing the fresh air. Check these charts out:

"The national picture on air quality shows improvement for almost every type of pollutant - with particularly dramatic declines in carbon monoxide, sulfur, and lead. Lead concentrations have fallen precipitously, by more than 90 percent since 1976."

The quote and charts above only go to 1996, because they are from a slightly older book, It's Getting Better All the Time: 100 Greatest Trends of the Last 100 Years, by Stephen Moore and Julian Simon. And they don't discuss greenhouse gases, whose reduction has lagged behind the reduction of certain pollutants most harmful to humans, as shown above. But I also saw this fact from a recent The Week:

"Emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in 2009 fell 6 percent from the previous year, to their lowest level since 1995, the EPA said. Reduced economic activity and a shift from coal to cleaner-burning natural gas account for the decline, the agency said."