Action on climate change in the U.S. was stymied last year, at least on the national level. But while carbon emissions kept growing by a record amount, the Obama Administration has actually been quite effective in fighting traditional air pollutants: soot, ash, sulfur dioxide. The Environmental Protection Agency led by TIME 100 awardee Lisa Jackson laid down new rules for power plants and industrial facilities that will reduce smog and air pollution and improve public health.
Meanwhile, the Sierra Club received a $50 million donation from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to fight coal plants. Coal is a major source of carbon, but it's proved easier to frame the case as fighting the other pollutants that come from the plants' smokestacks the ones that directly hurt human health. It's a way to fight climate change without fighting climate change.
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