Energy

EPA Claims Sunlight Is ‘Not Always’ Good For Plants … Links To Defunct Webpage

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor
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Sunlight is good for plants, right? Not always, according to the EPA, which is now claiming that “sunny days” aren’t necessarily good for plants.

The EPA tries to justify its claim that sunlight-driven ozone, or smog, is hurting foliage by linking to an agency webpage that ostensibly had information on this subject, but interestingly enough, the link only leads to this:

epapage

Source: EPA webpage, searched 1:15 PM EST 9/30/2015

EPA’s claim was lambasted by Dr. Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace who left the group decades ago. Moore called the EPA “boneheads” and went on to criticize the agency’s claim of sunlight harming plants.

Maybe the agency was trying to link to this other webpage explaining the link between high ozone levels and impaired plant growth. The basic argument is that ozone, which is the product of airborne chemicals interacting in the presence of sunlight, impairs plants by inhibiting their ability to absorb carbon dioxide and dissolves water within plants. It also reacts with other chemicals that may inhibit growth.

But how certain is the link between ozone levels and impaired plant growth? NASA says that “[a]lthough research shows that ozone pollution harms forests and that prolonged exposure has serious consequences, the precise extent of ozone damage to mature forests has proven a difficult issue to resolve.”

“Natural ecosystems are highly variable and complex, and laboratory studies can never fully simulate them,” NASA says. “Variability extends to individual plant species, subspecies, and varieties; some react to ozone more strongly than others.”

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