Happy Earth Day, from Bjørn Lomborg #rsrh

H/T @seanhackbarth

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/04/22/earth-days-good-news-column/2101327/

Moreover, our focus on solar and electric cars diverts us from the world’s most deadly environmental problems. In wealthy countries, most environmental indicators are getting better. We have cleaner air and cleaner water, and we suffer fewer environmental risks. But air and water pollution kill 6 million people each year and harm billions worldwide. …

Poor countries should have the same opportunity to develop — so they, too, can have clean drinking water and switch to cleaner energy sources, instead of using dung and twigs for fuel. …

Earth Day also presents an opportunity to recognize our own environmental achievements. In spite of decades of political wrangling, which failed to produce a meaningful global climate policy, it was ultimately the shale gas revolution that curtailed U.S. carbon dioxide emissions.

Fracking has caused a dramatic transition to natural gas, a fuel that emits 45% less carbon dioxide than burning coal. Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed that in 2012, carbon dioxide emissions was 12% lower than the peak in 2007. The shift from coal to natural gas is alone responsible for a reduction of between 8%-9% of the entire U.S. CO2 emissions. In fact, it amounts to twice the reduction that the rest of the world has achieved over the past 20 years. …

This Earth Day, we need a dose of realism about real environmental challenges — such as the air and water pollution that make life so miserable for billions — and the real opportunities that exist for environmental innovation, to make our planet a better place.

Bjørn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist and Cool It, is president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center.

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