pollution denial, the hot new trend ready to kill you for a quick profit
The idea that extremely fine particles of soot or chemical residue small and fine enough to settle in your lungs are extremely bad for you because they damage your organs and tissues, causing similar problems in healthy adults and kids as one could see with many smokers, shouldn’t be controversial. It really takes a special kind of malice to lead a campaign against science that hasn’t been considered up for debate or inconclusive for the last 60 years by both sides of the political spectrum. In fact, it was Republicans who went on to strengthen the first Clean Air Act into its modern form which cleared the sky of the contaminants scientists were anticipating would one day turn into acid rain rather than Democrats convinced by a hippie protest or two. But in the era of “alternative facts” that special kind of malice manifested itself as an advisor to the EPA in the form of a paid shill for Big Tobacco and the oil and gas industry who declared that more than half a century of science has to be declared null and void, and the researchers who conducted it are just pawns in the EPA’s ploy of gaming science so it has something to regulate, justifying its existence in the process. For those of you wondering why all of this sounds so familiar, yes, it’s time to play Climate Denial Bingo.
It’s the same song and dance; cherry pick or invent issues with studies, then pretend that everything is inconclusive, no one knows, and you may as well just do whatever you want, otherwise you’re killing the economy so a liberal high on drugs can hug a tree at a nude love-in, or a nefarious cabal steals all your hard earned money to make more fake studies, to get even more of that sweet, sweet taxpayer cash to party with models at exotic locations these so-called scientists will “study” for damage. Except in this case, it started with the kind of blatant and whiplash-inducing 180 only flacks completely certain their target audience wouldn’t dream of questioning them could ever try. For years even the reactionary Breitbart decried China’s famous air pollution as careless mass murder of its citizens, using the same science behind the Bush championed Clean Air Act of 1990 to rightfully flag it as a huge problem for the country’s economy. And believe it or not, China agreed, plowing at least $360 billion into clean energy projects to be completed by 2020, and swiftly moved to close down coal plants around Beijing to set an example. In short, no one was out there benefitting from pollution while developed nations are destructively burdening themselves with “useless” green tech.
But as China is progressing in cleaning up its air and expanding renewables, with India slowly pulling along with is despite a lacking infrastructure, the new government of the United States is trying to force a massive regression and the media outlets that hitched themselves to this administration started rapidly publishing anti-scientific screeds about the evils of pollution studies for the sake of easing regulations on old school businesses that have exactly zero interest in innovation and are just looking for short term gain on what little time they have left before they slip into irrelevance. Don’t be fooled by their bravado. Even in the reddest of red states people want renewables and at least basic clean air rules, and have been investing heavily in new green energy projects. They may be suspicious about climate change and they may not trust what scientists have to say on the subject, but they’re putting their money in solar and wind a lot more than coal, oil, and even natural gas. At the end of the day, they know this is the future and they don’t stand in the way of a new energy industry and the jobs that come with it.
This is perhaps the most important point here. This is not a political issue at all because liberals and conservatives want renewables, both invest in them, and while their approaches to expanding the industry may be different, the end goal is the same. Conservatives do clamor for less regulation, but they’ll be every bit as upset if their rivers and streams end up polluted and their air becomes thick with noxious smog that damages their lungs. Only those who are being held economically hostage by sleazebags currently paying all those global warming and pollution denying shills seem willing to trade their life expectancy and health for temporary jobs. I say temporary because when all that oil and coal becomes harder to extract profitably, the jobs will again dry up while the wind will blow again tomorrow, tides always come in and out, and the sun will eventually shine again. Once you figure out the right mixes of renewables and appropriate grid hookups, you can get a reliable supply of energy that doesn’t require burning dead plants and plankton, and belching out toxic soot and smog, and we’re doing this right now across much of the nation, creating many new jobs in the process.
Again, regulating air pollution is not right vs. left. This is sane, scientifically literate, and pragmatic vs. greedy, glib, and self-destructive. Those pollution deniers couldn’t care less about the side-effects of anyone taking their anti-scientific advice, mewling about how the market will decide whether we’ll tolerate pollution or not. But the fact of the matter is that once you start to spew megatons of toxic particles into the air, it takes a long time for them to come back down, and they’re seldom contained to the city where the plants and factories that produced them are built. They will float throughout vast swaths of the world, carried by air currents and all of us will have to inhale them, regardless of whether we were fine with the pollution where we live or not. And yes, the people pushing to make America smoggy again will too suffer for their quick buck, all too ready to gamble with their own and their children's’ lives to increase shareholder value and get a bonus, as if they are just visiting this planet and have another pristine Earth on hand when this one is all pillaged and choked in gray and black aches, enabled by billions in subsidies meant to keep their outdated practices cost-competitive…