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Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday morning enviropessimism!

* Another day, another record price for oil: $147.

* Antarctic ice sheet 'hanging by a thread.'

* The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that the value of an American life has dropped nearly $1 million to $6.9 million. Lest you think this merely a theoretical decrease, the number actually has real consequences in environmental policy, and of course the new devaluation won't be good for anyone but Big Pollution:

When drawing up regulations, government agencies put a value on human life and then weigh the costs versus the lifesaving benefits of a proposed rule. The less a life is worth to the government, the less the need for a regulation, such as tighter restrictions on pollution.

Consider, for example, a hypothetical regulation that costs $18 billion to enforce but will prevent 2,500 deaths. At $7.8 million per person (the old figure), the lifesaving benefits outweigh the costs. But at $6.9 million per person, the rule costs more than the lives it saves, so it may not be adopted.
* Luckily our president takes these important issues very seriously.

* And of course there's good news, too: pollution may be slowing global warming. We're saved!