The Environment Today

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Science  28 Jul 1978:
Vol. 201, Issue 4353, pp. 320-324
DOI: 10.1126/science.201.4353.320


While considerable progress has been made in dealing with air and water pollution, the earth's natural systems seem in difficulty. Scientific knowledge of environmental matters remains inadequate. A massive effort to promote solar energy and a national commitment to energy conservation are needed. The Clean Air Act has important implications for economic growth, and the Environmental Protection Agency should emphasize flexibility of administration, decentralization, and close cooperation with state and local governments. Expanded use of coal presents major uncertainties in human health and atmospheric effects. Increasing emphasis on chemical pollutants requires better societal perception of risks and benefits. New efforts to avoid confrontation on environmental issues are promising. Finally, the protection of life in all its diversity is today's urgent environmental challenge.