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Steep Declines in US Factory Pollution after Environmental Regulations

16 Aug 18

A study done by two economists at University of California, Berkeley shows that the Federal Clean associated environmental regulations has shown a sheer decline in the levels of air pollution in past decades even though the production has increased. The study showed that emissions by US manufacturing sector fell by 60% between the years 1990 - 2008 (a period of increased manufacturing output). It is mainly because of stricter regulations and cleaner production methods.

People used to worry that air pollution in LA, NY and other major cities would be unbearable due to air pollution. But, surprisingly these levels have plummeted and the study very well shows that the credits go to regulations imposed by the government. The co-authors on the study - Joseph Shapiro and Reed Walker - analyzed data on 1400 different products over a period of 1990-2008. They linked this data with emissions over same period.

The researchers concluded that most decrease is owed to changes in production technologies. Some people assume that the decline is due to decrease in manufacturing output and others assume that the product-mix has shifted - US is producing more cleaner, high-tech products and manufacturing of 'dirty' products has shifted to foreign countries. The analysis proves both the assumptions wrong.

The key driver of the change is reduction in tariffs, improved productivity and environmental regulations - which became more stringent between 1990-2008. The last one accounted for major improvements in air pollution. The research was funded in grants by National Science Foundation and US Department of Energy.

 

By: Neha Maheshwari

Content: http://news.berkeley.edu/2018/08/09/environmental-regulations-drove-steep-declines-in-u-s-factory-pollution/



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