Archive for April, 2010

We’re still No. 1 in air pollution, progress and all, and we won’t be dislodged anytime soon. Breathe warily.

Friday, April 30th, 2010

From the L.A. Times story

“Metropolitan Los Angeles, extending to Riverside and Long Beach, remains the smoggiest city in the United States, with an average of more than 140 days a year of dangerous ozone levels, the American Lung Assn. reported Wednesday in its annual assessment.

All of the nation’s 10 smoggiest counties are in California, with San Bernardino, Riverside, Kern, Tulare and Los Angeles leading the pack. And the state’s cities and counties, with their ports, refineries, power plants and crowded freeways, rank near the top for particle pollution.

“This is not just a nuisance or a bother,” said Bonnie Holmes-Gen, the lung association’s California policy director. “Thousands of people are being rushed to emergency rooms. Thousands of people are dying early as a result of air pollution…. It is a crisis.”

The report comes at a time of conflict over the state’s efforts to slash emissions. Citing the recession-battered economy, trucking and construction firms are seeking to delay California’s rules to limit diesel pollution from operating big-rigs, forklifts and other equipment …”

Let Freddie Mercury reinforce the point: We are the champions … of smog … mostly by our own making!

On Earth Day, here’s my 2-cents on California’s false status as solar kingpin. In truth, the idea hasn’t caught on with homeowners, and all the rebates and rhetoric can’t obscure the depressing numbers. If this is true green, in the sense of mass acceptance, then we’re color blind out here on the West Coast. From the New York Times “room for debate” roundtable

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Here’s the tease to my Op-Ed on the subject.

“Californians: meet your sun. Or, rather, remember it.

Despite living in America’s premier green state, most of the state’s homeowners continue to rebuff solar power as a way to shrink their electricity bills, and simply plug into their local public utility much as their parents did.

The numbers paint the apathetic picture. Out of 7.7-million single family homes statewide, only about 50,000 have roof-mounted photovoltaic cells. In Los Angeles, the nation’s eighth sunniest city, only 1,627 homes boast solar hookups …”

There’s a lot more to say, and I will, but for now, I encourage you to read the opposing viewpoints and reader commentaries.

Right now, to reiterate, no matter California’s “status” as the greenest of greens, a meager 1 out of 154 homeowners currently use solar power. Does that sound like consumer acceptance to you? I fear we may learn how catastrophic this is as the environment continues to degrade and we experience an earthquake, terrorist attack or other awful event that knocks out power plants and leaves people with no way to electrify their lives and meet their needs until the juice is back on (and yeah, I know you need a fuel cell).

Anyway, here’s the link and I hope it proves a little thought-provoking. Just don’t buy into labels. Buy into the numbers and the big picture.

Happy Earth Day: do we have a lot to compute.

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Class: pay attention!

* Excellent perspective on the phoniness and promise of Earth Day from the Washington Post. Link.

* California Solar Initiative: billions on the line, millions of lives potentially at stake, and yet most are in the dark. For your enlightenment, link up. California: meet Spain. Link to New York Times story on their solar-lifestyle.

*Boeing scientists use organic remedies to remove toxins at Santa Susana Field Laboratory site. Enough said with the L.A. Daily News headline. Link.

*When it comes to long distance running, L.A.’s toxically perfumed air give local athletes that competitive edge. Coughing will knock you off that medal stand. See the L.A. Marathon. Link to L.A. Times blog.

* An EPA man of substance: where was this guy when I was reporting on chromium, et al? Link from the Patt Morrison radio show on KPCC.

* Now this is a real-mini, but will the Third World embrace it in the name of post-climate change and unglamorous function. At least GM is trying, which is better than wallowing in bankruptcy blues. Link to MSNBC story.

* A couple of morsels on California’s climate law, which right now is anything but orderly. L.A. Times story on opponents pouring in money for initiative to delay the climate-change-fighting legislation. Link. On the same subject of global warming, here’s what the California Air Resources Board projects will be the economic benefits of the bill. Link to L.A. Times piece.