Chicken-Fried News: Clear the air

There’s something in the air. Oklahomans, like the Chicken-Fried News staff who pop Zyrtec on the regular to ward off allergies, are all too aware of this. On a national level, it seems the number of people who get sick from air pollutants is on the rise.  A recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change states that air pollution-related deaths could claim the lives of 60,000 globally by the year 2030 and that U.S. citizens will be among the casualties. One of the study’s authors and lead researchers described the link between climate change and air pollution in an interview with CBS News.

“Hotter temperatures can speed up the reaction rate of the air pollutants that form in the atmosphere,” Jason West, who is an environmental sciences professor at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, said in the interview. “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions has a really big benefit for air pollution and, therefore, for human health.”

President Donald Trump’s desire to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, his support for reducing restrictions on carbon emission restrictions for U.S. coal companies and the outward disbelief in climate change indicated by his Twitter feed offer no hope to Oklahomans who understandably fear that we are heading into the danger zone.

Thank God then that one of our own is heading to Washington to offer the president sound, evidence-based advice on science, technology and the environment.

On July 31, Trump appointed Okie Kelvin Droegemeier as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Droegemeier is a meteorology professor at University of Oklahoma whose political experience includes working on the National Science Board and serving as Gov. Mary Fallin’s secretary of science and technology. Droegemeier’s appointment could result in sound advice for a president whose scientific opinions echo the hopes and sentiments of conspiracy theorists and toddlers nationwide.

We offer our congrats to our fellow Okie on his new appointment and hope that he will use his power to sway the president to adopt or consider policies that will improve the lives and health of Americans. Please, please, do not make us hold our breath.