When it comes to clean air, the news is bad and the prospects are worse.

The demand for electricity is growing and even though more power is being produced by plants that use natural gas, which is less polluting than coal, the emissions from those plants add to the problems in the atmosphere. Carbon emissions into the atmosphere grew surprisingly fast last year and we do not know if this is a blip or a trend.

A growing worldwide economy means more electricity being produced by plants in other countries without the kinds of laws or regulations that we have had until now. In addition, pollution is produced by energy use that we might think of as marginal but that add up in a global scale.

Full employment or something close to it means that offices and other buildings are full, that construction is increasing in cities and elsewhere, that the emissions from cars, buses and trucks are increasing as well.

Anybody looking at this rationally would have to say that we have received a warning, the latest of many but perhaps the one that would finally rebut those who have scorned science.

But the Trump administration does not look at energy and pollution in any rational way. Faced with the new numbers, the president flatly says he does not believe them and those in the administration who are supposed to understand argue as usual that the figures are either an aberration or being exaggerated.

At this point there is little that an individual living in New York can do about national energy policy. If the news that emissions rose 3.4 percent last year, the largest since the national recovery from the recession in 2010 and the second largest gain in more than two decades, is not only being ignored but being exacerbated with plans to further weaken laws and regulations designed to keep the air clean, then we have to turn our attention to more local possibilities.

And we are fortunate that there are several fronts on which to wage this renewed war on pollution.

The first is to make sure that the Cuomo administration and the leaders in the Legislature maintain their determination to increase the production of electric power from renewable resources, especially with the looming closure of the Indian Point nuclear plants bringing alarmist calls from some about a potential power shortage.

Now, more than ever, we need to make sure that the state keeps moving in the renewable direction. That means continued opposition to power plants and pipelines, especially the Competitive Power Ventures plant near Middletown and the proposals to refurbish the Danskammer plant in the Town of Newburgh and have it operate not only intermittently as it does but all of the time.

Although these are some very local efforts, there is a national component. For all of the bad news about the rise in emissions last year, those who accept the science and understand the figures make the point that things would have been even worse had not many states begun and continued their own efforts to avoid expansion of fossil fuel use in the past decade.