Spring: A ‘breather’ from particulates, winter’s chill at last!

The winter of 2014-’15: I remember it well; like it was yesterday. Sure was a doozy! But, glad that’s all behind, in the rear-view mirror.

Cow_female_black_white[1]Ah spring! It is definitely in the air. That has a nice sound to it, doesn’t it? Quite the metaphor, too, no?

Let’s be clear. Spring is suggestive of, if not synonymous with, a characteristic crispness, freshness, wholesomeness; possessing a noble quality all its own. Spring’s sights, sounds and smells lure folk outdoors – to partake in the good Mother Nature serves up.

What’s cooking?

Two items of import going on are Earth Day and Air Quality Awareness Week. The first occurs on Apr. 22nd; the second taking place between Apr. 27th and May 1st. This year, Earth Day, by the way, celebrates its 45th birthday. Add to this that the American Lung Association’s “State of the Air® 2015” report card should be out during the latter part of April, that is, if prior dates of release are any indication.

That’s right now. Upcoming, for later this year, on the other hand, are myriad front-and-center environmental issues. There’s the ever-present, always contentious climate change issue and the expectation, hope that a global accord will be reached this coming November at the United Nations climate conference in Paris, France. Then there’s follow-through of the Clean Power Plan and adoption of a new federal standard for ozone, as well. How much and what gets accomplished regarding mitigation of negative environmental impact remains to be seen. The results could be inconsequential, modest or far-reaching, depending.

A strong show of support?

What I wholeheartedly hope for is greater cooperation in a whole slew of areas, world air concentration of carbon dioxide being but one, and one of the more popular if not more important ones. Agreed?

640px-California's_Central_ValleyClimate is a really hot topic right at this very moment if for no other reason than because it stirs such debate, because it is so contentious. Though spring, around these parts (the San Joaquin Valley in California – something I, myself, can attest to) in the month of March there were days the thermometer reached the 90 degree or higher mark. Previous records were broken. And the drought in the west that just refuses to budge, of this there is no denying.

And, it isn’t just in the Golden State and the west that climate is on people’s radar, it’s become regular fare in broadcast and print news journalism. It is the subject of books – both in support of and against.

There is a very interesting graphical representation in the Mar. 31 onEarth magazine article: “The Dog Ate My Emissions Target: The United States and Mexico meet the deadline for their carbon pollution goals. Will others follow?” written by Brian Palmer, a very interesting title to say the least found here.

At any rate, in this graphical depiction, are four plots:

  1. U.S. Historic Emissions
  2. U.S. Projected Emissions in 2008
  3. U.S. Projected Emissions Under 2020 Target
  4. U.S. Projected Emissions Under 2025 Target

From the graph, carbon emissions rose from right around 5,400 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) in 1990 and reached a peak in 2000 of somewhere around 6,400 MMTCO2e. From there, emissions have seesawed but there has been a general downward trend, falling to south of the 6,000 MMTCO2e mark (5,700 MMTCO2e?) in what looks to be year 2013. Nevertheless, according to Palmer, even with carbon emissions, generally speaking, heading in the right direction, the U.S. is still the world’s second largest carbon emitter. The goal the U.S. has now officially adopted is a reduction in carbon of 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels (approximately 6,200 MMTCO2e) by year 2025. If met, that would bring U.S. carbon emissions down to between 4,000 and 5,000 MMTCO2e, well below levels in 1990.

It is going to be a tough haul on a quite possibly rocky road reaching these levels if we do manage to get there at all. But, it is all but conclusive that getting there without commitment and abiding support will be impossible, irrespective of whether one subscribes to or refutes the notion of global warming. That’s a given.

Nothing says ‘spring’ like ‘green’

Finally, if there is one idea that conveys spring more than any other, it’s a color, in this case “green.” I mean why else would the Master’s tournament winner at Augusta National don a “green” jacket if there weren’t a connection? I mean, really!

I rest my case!

– Alan Kandel

1 thought on “Spring: A ‘breather’ from particulates, winter’s chill at last!”

  1. Get up to date;
    We have such little smog now that “smog levels” no longer even measure smog; they measure conditions that “could” lead to being able to measure any smog. That’s why “Alerts”, “Advisories”, “Watches” and “Be Kind to Air Days” are only predictions that smog “could be” measured within the next 36 hours. And if that happens its called a; “Smog Warning” or real smog. Now for a decade and a half we have had no real detectable or more accurately; “meaningful” smog levels at all.

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