PolitiFact says California Governor Jerry Brown was wrong to claim that "smog was invented in LA"Breaking News
tags: smog, Jerry Brown, California
"Smog was invented in Los Angeles. It was," the governor told an audience at Griffith Observatory, with downtown Los Angeles cloaked in a brown haze several miles away, as shown in photos of the event. "The name was invented. There was a fellow at Caltech and he came up with the idea and they called it smog."
The governor made the claim during a ceremony marking the signing of California’s landmark climate change bill, SB 350. It requires the state to get 50 percent of its electricity from air-friendly, renewable energy sources by 2030.
We decided to fact-check Brown’s "smog was invented in Los Angeles" statement, to cut through what seemed like a dubious claim.
First, it’s clear L.A. has no ownership over the term smog. Brown sounds like he was having some fun with the "invented in Los Angeles" portion, from listening to him speak. Still, he was literally and blatantly wrong.
News articles from as early as 1905 credit London doctor Harold Des Veaux with coining the word smog to describe natural fog contaminated by smoke, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
Great Britain’s affliction with foul air is referenced in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, written in 1606. But its soot-choked skies date as far back as the 12th century, when wood became scarce and residents turned to burning coal to keep warm, according to a history of the country’s air pollution by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
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