“Why America’s Air Quality is Better than you Think”

Thursday, September 29th
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Joel Schwartz

On September 29 2005, Mr. Joel Schwartz, one of America’s foremost experts on air pollution, presented the 10 th seminar in the Lindenwood Economic Policy Lecture Series. The speaker touched on a number of topics, including:

  • At current and recent levels, air pollution plays a minor role in people’s health. Whatever the benefits of reducing air pollution, most have already been achieved.
  • Air pollution in the United States has been declining and will continue to decline. Already-adopted requirements will eliminate most remaining air pollution risks.
  • Trusted sources of environmental information—environmental groups and media – paint a false picture of air pollution problems. Most Americans believe air pollution hasn’t improved or is getting worse, and is still a serious and widespread health threat; exactly opposite of the true situation.
  • Exaggerating risks from air pollution leads to counterproductive policies. Excessive resources devoted to an exaggerated risk means fewer resources for everything else— addressing other larger risks and other needs and desires such as food, housing, education, leisure, health care, an so on.

 In his most recent study, No Way Back (AEI Press), Schwartz writes,

It would be virtually impossible for anyone, no mater how tenacious or determined, to prevent continued and substantial reductions in air pollution.”

President Spellmann Welcomes Joel Schwartz While ISEE Director, Dr. Kenneth Chilton Looks On

Joel Schwartz is a Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC and previously directed the Air Quality Project for Reason Public Policy Institute. Mr. Schwartz has also been a public servant -- executive officer for the California Inspection and Maintenance Review Committee and a senior policy analyst in the Legislative Analyst’s Office in Sacramento.