Saturday, May 27, 2017
What's On My Mind Today
‘Net Neutrality’ or more accurately ‘internet regulation’. Do we want the net to be governed by technologists and engineers and businesspeople, as it was under the light-touch approach during the Clinton administration, or by government lawyers and bureaucrats in Washington?
Victor Davis Hanson’s Score Card
Libtards should not attempt to read this, it contains facts.
Libtards should stick to the headlines presented daily by the MSM.
Shortly after Donald Trump won the election, House Speaker Paul Ryan said that Republicans had to "go big, go bold, and do things." So far, the GOP has not delivered.
"They have the House, they have the Senate, they have the presidency — and nothing's happening," lamented PJ Media co-founder Roger Simon earlier this week.
The recent Earth Day, protests around the country focused on "science." What they didn’t focus on is facts, because the facts show that the U.S. has made huge strides in cleaning up the environment.
Given the trends in air quality, water quality, toxics and, yes, even CO2 emissions, you'd think Earth Day would be a grand celebration of a monumental achievement that has allowed this country to produce vastly more goods and services for millions more people while sharply cutting pollution.
The fact is that by any important measure, the environment is cleaner and healthier today than it was 60 years ago, 40 years ago, or even 20 years ago.
For example, data from the Environmental Protection Agency show that, from 1995-2015, levels of every air pollutant it monitors saw steady declines, to the point where they are at or below national standards.
Carbon monoxide levels plunged 72% over those years; nitrogen dioxide fell 45%; ozone, 24%; soot, 37%; sulfur dioxide, 73%; and lead declined 93%.
The sharp reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions "significantly reduced damage to water quality in lakes and streams, and improved the health of ecosystems and forests," according to the EPA.
The share of children tested who showed high levels of lead in their blood dropped from close to 8% in 1995 to just 0.5% by 2015.
Water quality overall has improved, with once severely polluted lakes, rivers and streams clearing up. Per-capita water use has declined 30% since 1975, notes the U.S. Geological Survey.
Vast improvements in farming technology mean farmers use less water and far fewer pesticides to grow more crops. Improvements in crop yields has let the country reclaim vast acres of forestland. In fact, forest acreage has climbed 6% since 1920, despite the tripling of the U.S. population, according to the Department of Agriculture.
But what about global warming? Surely we're pumping more CO2 in the air than ever before?
Wrong. In 2015, CO2 emissions were below where they stood in 1996. That's despite the fact that there are 52 million more people living in the U.S., and despite the fact that the nation's economic output was 61% bigger, after adjusting for inflation. CO2 emission have dropped 9% since 2005, according to EPA data.
It is true that at least some of these gains are the result of environmental regulations. But not nearly all of them. The CO2 reductions, for example, came before the Obama administration imposed any meaningful federal regulations. They were largely due to the vast increase in natural gas supplies that resulted from fracking, which let numerous power plants switch from coal to gas and cut CO2 emissions.
Other gains were also driven by the free-market economy's relentless demand for greater efficiency. Energy use costs money, so companies will always be looking for ways to use less of it. And pollution is a waste, which means companies will — without any push from government — tend to produce less of it.
But whatever the relative contribution of regulations and market competition, the fact is that the environment is remarkably cleaner. And if the EPA never issued a single new regulation, these gains would continue.
So, the question is, why aren't environmentalists celebrating this fantastic victory? Why do they still wear long faces and act as if the country is headed for an ecological disaster?
Is it possible that the real interest of environmentalists isn't so much a cleaner environment as it is being able to exert greater control over everyone else? Sure seems that way.