Bruce D., PA
It is unfortunate that innovation has taken a back seat in the challenge to reduce emissions. Ignorance is our greatest downfall when it comes to global warming and pollution.
In my youth when the steel mill in Bethlehem, PA was operating blast furnaces day and night, one would wake up to cars coated with heavy particulate matter. Yes, this industry is no longer operating here, but after a lapse in the levels of airborne particulate pollution in the years after the plant closed, there has recently been an observable increase in particulate residue found on vehicles in the Bethlehem, PA area. I'm note exactly sure what to make of this.
I know that in third world countries where I have directly observed the ability of the public to track industrial production output based on the amount of smoke coming from heavy industry, it serves as an important visual marker for the plants and stock markets alike. So gauging whether or not to buy or sell stock based on perceived production spurred by hours of pollution produced is the normal practice.
Therefore, the plants and the general public continue the mindless production of carbon dioxide and pollutants based on economics alone. The inability of people to change habits driven by the need to succeed will always put economics ahead of health and safety of the general public. It can be observed that people here in the Lehigh Valley with allergies are experiencing more irritation and headaches due to these additional pollutants.
I have seen the effects directly by chess players not coming to play because they have headaches affecting their performance or ability to over the past seven to eight years. Multiply that with others who lose productivity due to air quality health issues, and the effects are most definitely significant.
That is where the government must act to change behavior, as it is harmful to the human condition while balancing the risk to the overall economy wherever possible.
First published: June 4, 2014