Worldwide, a billion people still use things like fire and wood for energy, and in more developed areas they may have gas or diesel generators.(1) Both are terrific sources of pollution but if it's all you have, you are going to use it.

Millions of Californians are getting a taste of that now. In 2017 a wildfire was blamed on the utility PG&E and the lawsuits forced them into bankruptcy. Legislators demanded reform, telling PG&E they should have shut off electricity when they knew there was greater risk. Energy companies in California are heavily regulated(2) so they did as they were told, and in September of last year rolled out their plan for when they would shut off the power during higher risk times.

That happened this past week and two million are now without electricity.

Those citizens didn't commune with nature, they used generators; portable gas, diesel, and propane electricity makers, but lacking the scrubbers for emissions that even coal plants do quite well. California politicization of science has been a fantastic subsidy for Yamaha and Briggs  &  Stratton (which, by California law, have to be made special for California, so you can't even buy generators from other states(3)) but terrible for people who actually care about the environment, rather than being professional activists.

These generators are not spewing "virtual" pollution, like the PM2.5 hysteria that can only be detected with an electron microscope, this is actual pollution, PM10.
California regulators, which even last year were blaming cars, natural gas and coal for all air pollution, are now scrambling to assure us that these new generators are not going to be a concern and that "air quality" is due to many factors.

"Air quality"? What happened to calling everything 'air pollution"? I was seemingly the only person in the whole state noting that we actually have terrific air quality, geographical blockages such as valleys in southern California aside, and "air pollution" and debunking claims that it was going to increase when EPA got tired of California creating arbitrary "pollution standards" and forcing companies to obey them.

Now, they are talking to Associated Press about how air quality is not a worry due to hundreds of thousands of generators all kicking on at once, because nature will just dissipate the smog. Dr. John Balmes, a spokesman for the American Lung Association, which has harped on PM2.5 claims incessantly without any evidence it impacts people, is waving this issue away, saying that it won't impact air quality, even for asthmatics. "There would have to be a lot used at the same time to have much of an impact outside the immediate area of the generator." 

Well, American Lung Association gets $24 million a year from the government so I suppose they have to play ball.

Who knew that the only thing it would take for California regulators and advocacy groups to start taking a critical look at air quality claims was to have their own policies blow smoke in their faces?


(1) Western nations prevent the migration to something cleaner. Yes, centralized coal plants are far more clean than individuals cooking using wood or dung in homes. But western nations have refused to let the World Bank fund centralized energy plants unless they are solar or wind, which poor countries cannot afford. Californians now have a better understanding of what it's like in the Third World, thanks to California government, and the one thing none of them are thinking about is emissions.

(2) Which, like cable television, can be wildly profitable if you have the government-endorsed monopoly. California was resistant to energy deregulation so they prevented companies from signing long-term contracts, owning both plants and energy lines, and then mandated solar power must be purchased from consumers at the same rate utility companies charge. Except utility companies have to pay all of the employee costs. This has led to Californians paying the highest utility rates in the country despite having the largest market, which actual capitalism would have inverted.

(3) That goes for LED bulbs too.