OK, I’d seen the video in a couple of places. Latest was at WUWT. It mentions the EPA desire to regulate fine particulates and having a near zero safe value (which lets them regulate any production at all to ‘best possible’ or ‘any detectable’). But the map shows the most particulates where nobody lives. Odd, that.
Now, when I look at that map, the first thing I notice is that large swath of red over the deserts of Africa, Arabia, and on into Asia. Second thing I notice is that China has a problem. Third thing I notice is that just about nowhere in The New World has a problem. Then I notice a tiny bit of color in The Farm Belt.
Sure looks to me like the “problem” is largely the result of dirt. Exposed in deserts, or exposed in plowing. China has a bit of a problem from their legendary levels of coal soot from open stacks, but that has little to do with the USA EPA.
So, let me get this straight, the map makes it clear that the EPA wants to regulate nature as it is the largest source of particulates? And they want it to get in line with a near zero level?
In practical terms this means that if you make one speck of dirt, the EPA can come shut you down as the level in nature is not zero, so it’s a “hazard” and must be reduced as close to zero as possible. That means no farming. No farm machinery (especially if Diesel powered). No nothing.
One can only wonder what they will do about dust storms in Arizona or West Texas; and Lord Help Us if Oklahoma has another Dust Bowl.
The degree of regulatory overreach here is stunning.
The NASA page describes the map as ‘health sapping’:
New Map Offers a Global View of Health-Sapping Air Pollution
In many developing countries, the absence of surface-based air pollution sensors makes it difficult, and in some cases impossible, to get even a rough estimate of the abundance of a subcategory of airborne particles that epidemiologists suspect contributes to millions of premature deaths each year. The problematic particles, called fine particulate matter (PM2.5), are 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, about a tenth the fraction of human hair. These small particles can get past the body’s normal defenses and penetrate deep into the lungs.
To fill in these gaps in surface-based PM2.5 measurements, experts look toward satellites to provide a global perspective. Yet, satellite instruments have generally struggled to achieve accurate measurements of the particles in near-surface air. The problem: Most satellite instruments can’t distinguish particles close to the ground from those high in the atmosphere. In addition, clouds tend to obscure the view. And bright land surfaces, such as snow, desert sand, and those found in certain urban areas can mar measurements.
However, the view got a bit clearer this summer with the publication of the first long-term global map of PM2.5 in a recent issue of Environmental Health Perspectives. Canadian researchers Aaron van Donkelaar and Randall Martin at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, created the map by blending total-column aerosol amount measurements from two NASA satellite instruments with information about the vertical distribution of aerosols from a computer model.
Oh God, the dreaded “computer model” again. So they want to regulate nature based on computer fantasy.
Whatever drugs these folks are on are too powerful for normal folks. We need to wean them off onto something more mild, like LSD or Cocaine… ( I’d put a /sarcoff; on it, but I’m not sure it is sarcasm…)
But it goes on from there:
The map shows very high levels of PM2.5 in a broad swath stretching from the Saharan Desert in Northern Africa to Eastern Asia. When compared with maps of population density, it suggests more than 80 percent of the world’s population breathe polluted air that exceeds the World Health Organization’s recommended level of 10 micrograms per cubic meter. Levels of PM2.5 are comparatively low in the United States, though noticeable pockets are clearly visible over urban areas in the Midwest and East.
Here we have the insight that the WHO has a standard as well (though they have a non-zero level). I can see where this is headed. A global regulatory UN body to regulate nature to stop making dust… They have already started a phony Air Scare, now they can make a Dirty Dirt Scare too. Add water (and with combustion engines already under regulation) you have effective control of Water, Earth, Wind and Fire. Not much left after that…
An Eco-Page commentary:
Mapping the global threat from deadly particulate pollution
Not all air pollution is of the kind that casts a pall over major metropolises like Los Angeles or Shanghai. One form consists of particles so tiny (1/30 the diameter of a human hair) that it is not only invisible but also capable of evading the body’s defenses and lodging deep in the lungs — where it can be deadly.
Researchers have had no reliable global picture of the full, long-term scope of the problem — until the map above was published earlier this summer in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, and yesterday online by NASA. In the map, high concentrations of fine particulate pollution is shown in yellows, oranges and reds.
Fine particulate matter, or PM2.5 (because individual particles are less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter), consists of dust, soot and smoke. According to a report in the journal Science:
Hundreds of studies have suggested that breathing fine particles spewed by vehicles, factories, and power plants can trigger heart attacks and worsen respiratory disease in vulnerable people, leading to perhaps 60,000 premature deaths a year in the United States.
And worldwide, the death toll is believed to be in the millions.
Now the “problem” is global and deadly and invisible!!! And it will kill “in the millions”!!! Crank up that scare machine!!!!!
Now, when I grew up, it was in Rice Country. Every year they would burn off the rice stubble. The smoke was often so thick you could not see the road ahead. In spring, pollen was so thick it would make darned near everyone sneeze. In between their was ploughing and spraying and… Lets just say that farm country can be a dirty place. Just to top it off, Dad was a smoker. We also had a restaurant where most customers smoked (it was in the ’60s…).
Somehow I’m starting to wonder if those studies that found all those particulates to be so “deadly” are perhaps full of statistical extrapolation and, dare I say it, models? I’m afraid to look, lest I have a blood pressure rise and the WHO decide I need to be medicated…
Oh, and good luck on regulating the global volcanoes to stop making smoke…
But, just to be sure we are not comforted by all that mild blue in the USA, NASA has another map with scary Red and Orange on it for the USA. (Changed scales can be so convenient…)
But at least we can see why they wanted a value less than 10 for health effects. It’s the only way they can get some tentacles around the Western States…
Look, I’m all for clean air. I was very happy when burning rice stubble was restricted to ‘burn days’ and even happier when some folks went to towed burners that were much cleaner ( it’s hard to not-burn, as there are a load of pests killed by burning for which little alternative exists. Organic farmers, especially, need to be able to burn weeds to avoid pesticides.) So “as clean as we can reasonably get” is just fine with me.
But regulating NATURE to a near ZERO acceptable level? Crazy Talk. Unless the goal is the destruction of farming and complete control of all industry and agriculture…
An interesting discussion here:
You can see them for attribution and discussion. Note this is discussing the more lightly regulated “course dust”…
WASHINGTON – In the latest step in its review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the foundation for unprecedented regulation of dust. According to EPA’s Second Draft Policy Assessment for Particulate Matter (PM), issued late last week, EPA may consider regulating coarse PM at levels as low as 65-85 µg/m3, twice as stringent as the current standard.
“It would be virtually impossible for many critical U.S. industries to comply with this standard, even with use of best-management practices to control dust,” said Tamara Thies, NCBA chief environmental counsel. “All of us certainly want healthy air for our communities, but this is nothing more than the everyday dust kicked up by a car driving down a dirt road, and it has long been found to be of no health concern at ambient levels.”
Because of the high dust levels found in arid climates, many critical western industries have a difficult time meeting the current standard of 150 µg/m3. In some of these areas, “no-till” days have already been proposed for agriculture, severely hindering farmers’ ability to maintain productive operations.
“Farmers could be fined for everyday activities like driving a tractor down a dirt road or tilling a field,” said Thies. “It would effectively bring economic growth and development to a halt in many areas of the country.”
If EPA regulates dust at the level of 65-85 µg/m3, areas across the country would be classified as “nonattainment,” forcing states to impose extreme dust-control requirements on businesses across the board.
“The current PM standard was set conservatively low based on historically flawed health studies,” Thies continued. “EPA itself acknowledges the current standard was based on a desire to be cautious, and not on clear evidence that this very stringent level was necessary to protect against adverse public health effects. This is especially true for the type of rural dust predominantly found in agricultural and other resource-based operations.”
Somehow I think “bringing economic growth and development to a halt” is a more likely goal than some supposed “health” issue. (It fits with the UN Agenda 21 Goals…)