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Sunday, April 2, 2017

PaGA 2017: Day 7 Is Donald Trump Trying to Make the USA a Polluted Red Nation?

Thought I'd first share some background of myself to establish credibility on air pollution before I launch into yet another impugnment of our PUS#45's policies.  There was a period in my life four decades ago when I taught Environmental Engineering in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Hawaii.  I also had a course entitled Technology and Society, where 100 students/semester from throughout the campus interacted on Planet Earth and Humanity.  I was also head of the Environmental Center.  Thus, I was the Resident Ecologist for the institution.

Unfortunately (for me), I was also Associate Dean of Engineering, Academic Advisor to the Chancellor and had two graduates students in my laboratory.  I thus, in 1979, had five different offices.  That must have been a Guinness World Record.  Thankfully, the Second Energy Crisis came and I was asked to work for U.S. Senator Spark Matsunaga in Washington, D.C.  I thus happily left all the above to share a room with another individual.  To my surprise, this new job was even more stressful and took more of my time/day.  But it made my career.

You know by now that President Donald Trump signed an executive order dismissing the Obama-era attempts at minimizing coal.  Coal miners were thrilled, but the reality is that machines will replace people.  If allowed to occur, in time, which could take a decade or more, certain regions in our country will begin to return to those awful days when we worried about acid rain and serious smog.  This attitude could also catalyze international disregard for reducing global warming, perhaps even leading to THE VENUS SYNDROME.

The last time I went around the world journey, in the Fall of 2015, I never saw stars at night.  Especially throughout the Orient air pollution seemed to be a serious problem.

I noticed on my train rides around Japan on this trip that there was a prevailing haze not unlike those days in Honolulu when the volcano fumes wafted over the city.  Here is the Air Pollution Index of the Orient on April 1:


The lowest number I see is 31, Bangkok, and that is my next stop.  The highest is Hotan China at 991, although India is not so good either, and both countries are definitely unhealthy.  Japan is moderate but leaning in the polluted direction.  Today, Honolulu has no volcanic influence, with a rating of 17.


If 500 is really hazardous, that 991 in China must be deadly, literally.  On the other hand, look how nice the USA and Europe (save for those former Soviet countries) are compared to the Orient:


Note that Hawaii, way to the left, has that yellow blip.  That is on the Big Island, where Kilauea is still erupting.  Honolulu is green.

The matter of our environment could well become the long-term issue that undermines continued Republican leadership in both Houses of Congress and the White House.  What if our coal consumption returns?


President Trump is so proud of this presidential victory:


Red represents Republican majority.  But on the Air Pollution Index, do we want to become:

Actually, this is really the 2008 U.S. presidential election results by county.  But I was merely looking for any kind of USA with a lot of red into purple, which is even worse.

If President Trump is trying to one-up the former Soviet countries and China by becoming even redder than them in air pollution, someone, please advise him that Politics and Planet Earth are two different kinds of Red.

Patrick Chappatte of The New York Times had an appropriate cartoon for this blog:


The AQI's today for my future visits are:
  • Bangkok  95 (hmmm, what happened to the 31 of yesterday?)
  • Hong Kong 108
  • Seoul  70
  • Munich  30
  • DC  25
  • San Francisco 50
  • Honolulu  17
Cherry Blossoms are late this year, and here are the latest projections:


Thus:
  • Osaka will not be terrific
  • same for Nagoya
  • nothing for Karuizawa, Matsumoto and Sendai
However, I don't leave Japan until April 12, and Tokyo will be ideal from April 2 to 10!  The best is yet to come.

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