Moveon.Org is running a series of TV ads accusing Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Ben Nelson (D-NB), and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) of “working to roll back the Clean Air Act.” The ads tell the Senators to “Leave it [the Clean Air Act] alone,” because “Many Americans are already smoking the equivalent of a pack a day just from breathing the air.”
As I show here, Moveon’s attack ads are a triple whopper, piling falsehood upon falsehood upon falsehood.
(1) The Senators are not working to roll back the Clean Air Act. Rather, they are working to stop non-elected bureaucrats, trial lawyers, and activist judges from ‘enacting’ climate policies not authorized by the people’s elected representatives. It is the Senators’ defense of regulatory accountability — of democracy — that Moveon vilifies.
(2) Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions do not form smog or soot, history demonstrates that we don’t need CO2 controls to clean the air, and EPA currently does not regulate CO2 emissions. Hence, it’s complete bunk that stopping EPA from setting climate policy for the nation ‘rolls back’ the Clean Air Act.
(3) No American smokes the equivalent of a pack a day, or even one cigarette a day, just from breathing the air. Pope et al. (2009), a study published by the American Heart Association, finds that a pack-a-day smoker gets a daily dose of 140 to 240 milligrams of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), whereas a non-smoker living in a city with high PM2.5 levels inhales 0.44 to 0.56 milligrams per day. The pack-a-day smoker’s dose is hundreds of times greater. In fact, smoking just one cigarette delivers roughly 12 to 27 times as much PM2.5 into the lungs as does breathing the air in a city with high PM2.5 levels.
Moveon should promptly do three things: (1) Apologize to Sens. Lincoln, Nelson, and Landrieu for subjecting them to a smear campaign. (2) Apologize to their members for peddling disinformation. (3) Return every penny to anyone whom the ads angered or frightened into making a financial contribution.