Global Warming Expected to Increase Smog

Enviros sometimes struggle to connect distant, abstract issues like global warming to kitchen-table issues like dirty air and asthma. Well, here you go: By 2050, global warming is likely to increase the number of smog-alert days (in which air quality violates federal standards) by some 60 percent in 15 cities in the eastern U.S., according to a report released yesterday by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The problem, it turns out, is that even if human-made sources of pollutants remain at current levels, the rise in global average temperatures will lead natural sources of some pollutants — like, say, trees — to produce more. Longer warm seasons will also mean earlier and more pollen and accelerated growth of hay fever-causing ragweed. The National Association of Manufacturers dismissed the report as “yet another attempt to mislead the public and the media during a hotly contested election campaign” — said attempt presumably aided and abetted by the researchers at Johns Hopkins and other top U.S. universities who compiled the data.