Earth Day Update: Green Without Government

It’s the day of the year that the world celebrates being green and there’s certainly a lot to be “green” about today. The Pacific Research Institute and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) published their yearly Index of Leading Environmental Indicators showing major progress in cleaner air and safe drinking water. Despite the apparent “sky is falling” mentality of many environmentalists and Members of Congress, there are good things going on outside of government-directed environmental progress.

The report indicates that not one American or Western European city ranks among the top 50 cities in the world for air pollution in a World Bank ranking. In fact, air pollution levels are falling in the 10 most polluted cities in the United States, by as much as 27 percent over the last decade in the case of fine particulates in Los Angeles.

What should also interest lawmakers on Capitol Hill debating the Waxman/Markey Cap-and-Trade Legislation, that would impose the largest single tax in American history and in a time of severe recession no less, is that global average temperatures were flat or declining in 2008. The report’s data show 2008 was the coolest year since 2000 and there has been no discernible warming over the last decade. Oh, and arctic sea ice levels rebounded from the all-time modern low observed in 2007.

Left to their own devices, the American people are completely capable of being “green” and often decide to do so without Uncle Sam telling them what to do. So before Earth Day passes, ask yourself what is it we’re trying to accomplish exactly with an expansive new regulatory regime for energy use in the United States?

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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