The San Francisco Chronicle has a big story today about how the California Air Resources Board overestimated the amount of pollution caused by diesel-burning trucks and other vehicles as it crafted regulations to improve air quality. It's a thorough story, and sure to be used as ammunition by supporters of Proposition 23, the oil-industry-backed ballot initiative that would suspend AB 32, the
state's landmark 2006 law to help address global warming. As the Chron puts it:
The setbacks in the Air Board's research — and the proposed
softening of a landmark regulation — raise questions about the
performance of the agency as it is in the midst of implementing the
Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 — or AB32 as it is commonly
called, one of the state's and nation's most ambitious environmental
policies to date.
Yet the article's news content isn't exactly news to the scientific community. The research that uncovered these mistakes was originally published in a report in the journal Atmospheric Environment almost a year ago. And the engineer who performed that research — Robert Harley of U.C. Berkeley — tells SF Weekly that the last thing he wants is for people to walk away with the impression that AB 32 shouldn't move full-steam ahead, or that the competence of Air Board scientists should be called into question.