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When UCLA started researching Southern California polluters by industry, one would have expected the usual suspects to rise to the top of the list. Certainly, the oil refineries rank as the worst aggregate polluter in the greater Los Angeles area, as most would guess; I grew up near them, and it's no great shock. However, can anyone guess which SoCal industry managed to beat aerospace manufacturing, hotels, and semiconductor manufacturers for second place? The Guardian has a surprise for Californios and movie lovers:
The city of Los Angeles is principally famous for two things: glittering movies and suffocating smog. Now researchers have found that the two are not unconnected. A study by the University of California Los Angeles shows the film and television industry to be the second largest polluter in the Los Angeles area. Only the region's oil refineries pump more pollutants into the air, it says.
While Hollywood has a reputation for pumping out unregulated quantities of hot air, the research is the first to quantify the industry's emissions. The two-year study estimates that the industry emits 140,000 tonnes a year of ozone and diesel particulate emissions. ...
"Our overall impression is that, with a few notable and inspiring exceptions," said the study's authors, "environmental considerations are not high on the agenda in the film and television industry, and that more could be done within the industry to foster environmentally friendly approaches."
Huh. And here we thought all they did was pollute people's minds.
This has to come as an embarrassment to the entertainment industry, but it's not unexpected. The phrase "limousine liberals" springs from the Hollywood tendency to scold others about their purportedly bad habits while continuing to indulge in their own. We have listened to lectures from glitterati -- and not just from traditional Hollywood -- who scold us about greenhouse gases, global warming, and the like, only to watch them leave in their gas-guzzling SUVs.
As the Guardian notes, most people think of Hollywood as an industry in economic terms, but not in a physical sense. Their product usually resides in ethereal media, such as television and movies, and so the concept of production has a different meaning to most people. However, the effort to produce the entertainment eats up a lot of resources: primarily energy, but that comes in the form of both electricity and transportation. There are also sets to be built, lots to maintain, and all of the normal office tasks that any corporation has to use to manage their business.
In truth, cutting the pollutants from all of these production tasks will present tough challenges to Hollywood, and Southern California hardly wants them to pack up and leave. But that's just the point. It's costly and difficult for all industries to reduce their pollution profiles, and the costs have to be borne somewhere -- usually with the consumer. Hollywood and its political activists have never acknowledged that, preferring in their demonstrations and in their movies and TV shows to demonize entire industries for their supposed environmental indifference or outright hostility.
Perhaps this study will cause Hollywood to gain a little humility on this subject and cut back on the preachy global-warming nonsense, like The Day After Tomorrow (whose producers paid an offset for their polluting production activities). More likely, Hollywood elites will bankroll a new film that paints UCLA pollution researchers as the head of a conspiracy to destroy the Earth's climate by silencing the film industry.Sphere It View blog reactions
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