Report: Emissions from driving grew faster than Harrisburg region’s population | Friday Morning Coffee

October 11, 2019 7:10 am

Interstate 83 through York County

Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

This one’s for all the Capital City commuters out there (and we’re one of them). If you’ve ever wondered what your car exhaust is doing to the environment while you idle in traffic on one of the bridges coming across the Susquehanna River in the morning, there’s now an answer.

And you’re probably not going to like it.

According to a new New York Times analysis, one of the most detailed of its kind, “emissions from driving in the Harrisburg, Pa., metro area grew faster than population between 1990 and 2017, which means emissions per person have increased,” the newspaper reported.

Its conclusions are based on data released by Boston University’s Database of Road Transportation Emissions. The “database provides the most detailed estimates available of local on-road CO2 over the past three decades,” the Times reported.

In raw numbers, total emissions in the Harrisburg metro area increased by 46 percent between 1990 and 2017, the Times reported. Emissions per-person increased by 22 percent during the same time period.

And we hate to tell you, Harrisburg, you can’t go looking down your noses at Philly and Pittsburgh here.

The Pittsburgh skyline, viewed from the Duquesne Incline. (Dllu/WikiMedia Commons)

Yes, emissions from driving  in the Philadelphia metro area also grew faster than region’s total population between 1990 and 2017. But total emissions in Greater Philly grew by 22 percent during that time period, while emissions per-person grew by 9 percent.

And in Pittsburgh, where the population decreased between 1990 and 2017, and total and per-person emissions still managed to go up during the same time period, the respective percentage increases of 8 percent and 15 percent, were still lower than the Harrisburg metro area, the Times analysis found.

The good news, according to the Times: “National fuel economy standards put in place under the Obama administration have helped temper the rise in automotive emissions because the rules require cars and trucks to use less gasoline per mile traveled.”

The bad news: “But even as vehicles have become more efficient, Americans, buoyed by a strong economy and low gas prices, have been driving more miles and buying more S.U.V.s and pickup trucks, which have lower gas mileage. Freight trucking is also on the rise,” the Times noted.

And the even worse news: “The Trump administration is expected to finalize a rollback of efficiency standards for passenger vehicles this month, a move that could significantly increase future emissions from America’s cars and trucks,” the Times reported.

Elections, indeed, have consequences.

WikiMedia Commons

Our Stuff.
Our #PennForward project continues this morning. First up, Staff Reporter Stephen Caruso takes an in-depth look at the well-established link between firearms and suicide, and what state lawmakers are doing — or not — to stop that from happening.

Between Aug. 31 — when seven people were fatally shot in Odessa, Texas — and Oct. 9, there have been a total of 45 mass shootings across the nation this year, leaving 79 people dead and 159 more wounded. And despite promises of action, Congress has not moved an inch on anti-gun violence measures. That’s the price of our inaction, your faithful newsletter author argues in a new column.

Capital-Star Washington Correspondent Allison Winter has a great read on the critically important role that members of Congress from Pennsylvania, from U.S. Reps. Thaddeus Stevens to Mary Gay Scanlon and Madeleine Dean, have played  (or will likely play) in presidential impeachment proceedings.

Opponents of Marsy’s Law are suing to keep the crime victims measure off the Nov. 5 ballotElizabeth Hardison reports.

Dozens of Pennsylvania bird species are under threat from climate change, a new Audubon Society report concludes. But it’s not too late to change course.

On our Commentary Page, veteran sages Terry Madonna and Michael Young debunk five of the more stubborn myths about presidential impeachments.

Image via Flickr Commons

Building trades leaders in Philly were asked to kick in $15k each for indicted IBEW Boss Johnny Doc’s defense, PhillyClout reports.
Pittsburgh City Paper would like you to meet the two Dems running for Allegheny County’s most competitive state House seat.
The Morning Call explains how Republicans are targeting such swing district Dems as U.S. Rep. Susan Wild on her impeachment stance.
Pa’s clerical sex abuse scandal is as awful as you remember it — and still is. PennLive’s John Baer has some thoughts.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

A new Philly City Council committee is looking at how the city can lift 100K people out of poverty, BillyPenn reports.
More states are ditching Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day observances, reports.
President Donald Trump’s allies are concerned they can’t count on the Senate GOP during an impeachment fight, Politico reports.

What Goes On:
12:30 p.m., Capitol Steps:
 Climate strike rally

Gov. Tom Wolf 
has no public schedule today.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
State Rep. Andrew Lewis, R-Dauphin
, holds a 9 a.m. clay shoot at the Hummelstown Field and Stream Association. Admission runs from a mere $100 to somewhat manageable $750.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s one by the Modfather himself, Paul Weller, for your Friday morning. It’s the gorgeous and soulful ‘Broken Stones.’

Friday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
beat Montreal 4-2 in an Original Six match on Thursday night.

And now you’re up to date.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.