AUTHOR: Slublog DATE: 12/13/2004 09:40:00 AM ----- BODY: Compare. Contrast - Read this editorial in the Bangor Daily News about auto emissions standards, a move that would make living in Maine even more expensive than it is already. Then read this, a speech by Michael Crichton about junk science. Now ask yourself. Is 'consensus of scientists' a good enough reason to take steps that will further hurt the U.S. economy? UPDATE: A reader emailed me to point out that in some states, the standard is so low as to be ridiculous and that some standards are needed. I wholeheartedly agree, and should clarify my point on this one. There should be a standard for vehicle emissions. All of us have probably experienced the joys of being behind a badly-tuned car or one missing a catalytic converter. The exhaust coming out of such cars is unpleasant, to say the least. A well-tuned car, or one with a working converter, emits few pollutants. Eventually, I would like to see manufacturers produce a car that emits little to no pollutants. I may be a skeptic on global warming, but that doesn't mean I like the smell of car exhaust. The California standard, which Maine wants to adopt, is far more strict. It wants to set standards at a level based on the very science that Crichton decries in his speech. In other words, it's making the perfect the enemy of the good. A state inspection should ensure that vehicles are safe and well-maintained. Asking too much, too soon could have unintended consequences ranging from cars we can't afford to putting auto workers out of business. (After all, remember the "luxury tax?") --------