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Acid Rain: Rhetoric and Reality.

Acid Rain: Rhetoric and Reality, by Chris C. Park. Methuen, 29 W. 35th St., New York, NY 10001 (1989). 272 pp. Softcover, $25.

Why another book about acid rain? Especially when our knowledge of the subject is advancing at a pace that leaves slowly produced books several giant steps behind current journals and conferences.

Despite the pace of research and writing on acid rain, understanding the problem requires a basic science and history. We must be talking about and measuring the same thing, and we must put our measurements in historic perspective if we are going to judge how far we have diverged from nature's own norms. For the nonspecialist who wants to learn these basics before taking a political stand, this may be the most readable book on the market.

The international side of the acid-rain debate plays a central role here because the author lives in Britain, which has come under heavy fire from Europe, particularly Norway, for contributing to the acidification of mainland lakes and streams. Part of Britain's response has been to point out that while British smoke emissions have fallen by 85 percent since 1958, acid precipitation has increased. Such phenomena are why Britain and America have emphasized that throwing big money at smokestacks might be aiming at the wrong target. The author notes that the evidence has begun to suggest that ozone and nitrogen compounds from vehicles might be much more serious pollutants than sulfur from coal.

This book is not the impassioned battle cry that some environmental groups want. It is not even a supply train of facts for the activists on the front line. It is more like a brief for the kind of civilized negotiations that must ultimately yield an international plan.
COPYRIGHT 1989 American Forests
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Copyright 1989, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:American Forests
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Nov 1, 1989
Words:291
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