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Climate Change and Ozone

May 6, 2014

Climate Change and OzoneL.A. Times reporting today that climate change is now expected to worsen ozone levels by 70% by 2050 according to a new study (see link).

What the public has not been told is that because of the way the current Clean Air Act works, local citizens will be required to offset this climate change penalty with additional NOx and VOC controls on their cars, businesses, and other sources since the Clean Air Act requires States to achieve attainment of the ozone standard regardless of the potential impacts of climate change—and States could not implement enough GHG controls via the SIP process to reduce world-wide climate change enough to drive down local ozone formation for the State to demonstrate attainment of the ozone NAAQS (see 42 U.S.C. § 7407(a)).

It is a “small multi-pollutant world after all”.  We can’t live behind the walls we’ve erected on these issues anymore.  As Robert Frost once wrote, “Before I built a wall I’d ask to know what I was walling in or walling out, and to whom I was like to give offense.”  Walls that were built to protect can become walls that imprison potential.  Time to tear down these walls.

The world is changing.  We must change with it.  Time to transform the SIP process.  We can make it happen.


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