Science-informed policy

CloudsAir and water quality monitoring and related research that have informed effective environmental policy in the United States in the past 25 years, reducing adverse effects of pollutants on humans and ecosystems, need to continue as part of fact-based decision-making, according to a team of 11 senior researchers, including a University of Maine scientist.

Documentation of the progress made on a number of air pollution concerns — from emissions and lead concentrations to atmospheric deposition of mercury and ozone — was undertaken “to inform public discourse amidst attempts to negate the relevance and value of scientific data and fact-based analysis in favor of partisan opinion and ideology,” wrote the team, which published its findings in the journal Environmental Science and Policy.

“America has a remarkable record in the last half-century of science driving environmental policy that is successful and pays back many times the cost of implementation to the American people,” says co-author Ivan Fernandez, a UMaine professor in the School of Forest Resources and Climate Change Institute. “While we work for improvements in air quality that are still needed, we should also celebrate our successes.”