Sunday, April 04, 2010

Environmental policies that work - Air pollution in the US, 1980 vs. 2008

(Via Brad DeLong.) It's sometimes necessary to remind ourselves that sensible policies in the service of environmental sanity can work, if we make a serious effort.

At first glance, I also can't help being struck by the fact that the downward trends in these forms of air pollution carried on through several anti-environmentalist Republican presidential administrations--beginning with Reagan in 1980. Back in 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency was created with the support of then-President Richard Nixon, and of course one of the founding fathers of the environmental cause in US national politics was the conservative reformer Teddy Roosevelt. Historically, the Republican Party was not always or uniformly identified with opposition to environmentalist policies. Since the commencement of the age of Reagan, that has changed. But once these policies are set in motion, they seem to develop their own momentum.

--Jeff Weintraub