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Pollution was the other big issue on Earth Day 1970. Smog choked many American cities and sludge coated the banks of many rivers. People were also worried that we were poisoning the biosphere and ourselves with dangerous pesticides. DDT, which had been implicated in the decline of various bird species, including the bald eagle, the peregrine falcon, and the brown pelican, would soon be banned in the United States. Students wearing gas masks buried cars and internal combustion engines as symbols of our profligate and polluting consumer society. The Great Lakes were in bad shape and Lake Erie was officially "dead," its fish killed because oxygen supplies had been depleted by rot-ting algae blooms that had themselves been fed by organic pollutants from factories and municipal sewage. Pesticides draining from the land were projected to kill off the phytoplankton in the oceans, eventually stopping oxygen production.
In January 1970, Life reported, "Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support...the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution...by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half...." Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, "At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it's only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable." Barry Commoner cited a National Research Council report that had estimated "that by 1980 the oxygen demand due to municipal wastes will equal the oxygen content of the total flow of all the U.S. river systems in the summer months." Translation: Decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in America's rivers, causing freshwater fish to suffocate.
Of course, the irrepressible Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in his Mademoiselle interview that "air pollution...is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone." In Ramparts, Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during "smog disasters" in New York and Los Angeles.
So has air pollution gotten worse? Quite the contrary. In the most recent National Air Quality Trends report, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency--itself created three decades ago partly as a response to Earth Day celebrations--had this to say: "Since 1970, total U.S. population increased 29 percent, vehicle miles traveled increased 121 percent, and the gross domestic product (GDP) increased 104 percent. During that same period, notable reductions in air quality concentrations and emissions took place." Since 1970, ambient levels of sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide have fallen by 75 percent, while total suspended particulates like smoke, soot, and dust have been cut by 50 percent since the 1950s.
How exactly is global warming accelerating when there hasn't been any measurable global warming for 17 years now? There've been recent news articles regarding this.
Global Warming Pause
Quote from article:
"The pause means there has been no statistically significant increase in world average surface temperatures since the beginning of 1997, despite the models’ projection of a steeply rising trend."