Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Age of Stupid

"Some areas of the state have had 20 inches since Friday. In the northern section, areas have experienced "historic" amounts of rain well in excess of so-called 100-year predictions, which describe a storm with the likelihood of happening once every century, said Stooksbury. The downpours come just months after much of the region emerged from an epic two-year drought."
extreme weather anyone?
The spokespeople for The Age of Stupid at last night's world premiere had no scientific compunctions about linking disasters like Hurricane Katrina to climate change, from humans creating greenhouse gas emissions. It's about time!
And what of pumpkins? The squash family is known to be particularly vulnerable to ozone pollution.
I called the NJ Department of Agriculture yesterday, to ask them if they monitor in any way the effects of airborne pollution on crops and finally wound up with some cretin named Carol who repeated robotically, literally, the classic line "That's not our department, call the DEP."
Seriously, how funny is that? Wouldn't you think the faintest possibility that crop yields are down due to airborne pollution would interest the taxpayer funded Department of Agriculture?
But, nooooo....

1 comment:

  1. I'm commenting on my own blog! Right on cue, this morning in the inbox was a message from the Governor's office, saying in a much more convoluted way than the NJ Dept. of Agriculture....IT'S NOT OUR DEPARTMENT!

    Dear Ms. Zawacki,

    Thank you for you continued interest in the impacts of climate change. We discussed your concern about the use of ethanol (as additive to gasoline) and its possible adverse effects on vegetation with the relevant programs in our Department. While we are not aware of active research on the toxic effects of ethanol to plant life, we are also not aware of all on-going research. Mark Vodak at the Rutgers University Coop Extension can answeryour general questions regarding forestry in New Jersey, and might be able to direct you in terms of finding current research on this subject. Mr. Vodak's number is (732)932-8993 Ext. 10 and he can be emailed at vodka@aesop.rutgers.edu.

    The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is in the best position to pursue the issue of ethanol impacts, since the requirements mandating ethanol as a fuel additive is federal in scope. The USEPA Regulatory Impact Analysis for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS, otherwise known as ethanol mandates) is currently out for public review/comment (http://www.epa.gov/otaq/renewablefuels/420d09001.pdf) Ethanol use is projected to increase the national inventory of acetaldehyde emissions by 15-26% (table on page 476). The environmental effects of air toxics is discussed in section 3.4.6 starting on page 515. EPA mentions that Peroxyl Acetyl Nitrate (PAN) is a phytotoxicant and that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have adverse effects on plants but there is no specific mention of acetaldehyde's effects on plants. Given this, we suggest you submit your concern to the USEPA as part of the public review of the Regulatory Impact Analysis for the Renewable RFS. Public comments are due on September 25. Hopefully, as a result of your input, the USEPA will also pursue research on the issue.


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