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Air pollution budget

For many, times are tough and temptations are great to exceed family budgets. Time to be responsible again. We face a similar “budget” for air pollution — Utah’s valleys are often in the red. A reprieve this year is allowing us to overspend on our fossil fuel budget — temporarily. Long-term pollution budgets must be adhered to.

Short-term weather fluxes will not improve world carbon budgets. Energy expenditures everywhere accumulate and multiply to the point where a world ledger is required and global climate is modified. How do we budget for so many cultures, economies and political systems? The prospect is daunting, but try we must; the alternative is worse.

Carbon budgeting not only applies to carpooling and conserving heat. We can curb carbon consumption by monetizing fossil fuels through a system where nonrenewables have surcharges to offset their environmental impacts. Otherwise, we are spending these resources — air, water, soil, even people — beyond livable capacity.

Each time you carpool, walk, ride a bike, take a bus or work at home, you help us locally and globally to live within our means. Can our corporate friends and global neighbors live under a similar balance sheet?

Paul Rogers