Is it really that hard to find a photo of manmade smog?
Today’s Politico article “White House looks to curb smog-rule impact” (subscription required) reports on the controversy surrounding EPA’s imminent tightening of the ground-level ozone (i.e.,smog) standard. Accompanying the article is the image, below, of a smoggy/hazy Salt lake City.
Suspicious of the nature of the Associated Press photo, I tracked it down on the AP’s web site. The AP described the photo as follows:
This Jan. 14, 2010 photo shows the historic City and County Building in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah shrouded in smog. The thick layer of smog stubbornly lingering over Utah has fouled the state’s mountain air so badly this week that health officials are warning people not to exercise outside and schools are keeping children inside for recess and sports. The smog is blamed on a weather phenomenon that pins pollution to the valley floors. [Emphasis added]
So the episode really has nothing to do with industrial emissions and would not be prevented by a more stringent EPA ozone standard. Being weather-caused, in fact, this smog event wouldn’t even count against Utah in terms of failing to comply with the ozone standard.
This bogus use of an image reminds us of the time the Washington Post tried to blame a smoggy Beijing on carbon dioxide emissions, which are, of course, invisible. That article earned the Post a spanking by the paper’s Ombudsman (courtesy of JunkScience.com).