The recession has been painful for many people. But the air is probably cleaner than it otherwise would have been. See Recession Special: Cleaner Air from last Sunday's NY Times. Here are some excerpts:
"emissions of global warming gases in the United States are down.
According to the Energy Department, carbon dioxide emissions peaked in this country in 2005 and will not reach that level again until the early 2020s."
"“The recession has led to a smaller economy, less activity and less energy consumption,” said Revis W. James, director of the Energy Technology Assessment Center at the Electric Power Research Institute, a utility consortium.
Electricity consumption had been growing at a rate of 1 percent to 1.5 percent a year, but the recession brought on the steepest drop in decades. When demand fell, the utilities cut back on the use of their least-efficient generating stations, the ones that emit the highest amounts of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour."