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OpenMarket: Energy and Environment

  • Thank Goodness for California

    November 9, 2006
    One of the least mentioned election day stories is that California - yes, California - rejected a punitive tax on oil production that would have funded alternative energy research:
    Proposition 87 was portrayed as a battle between liberal Hollywood and Big Oil in a state that has long blazed a trail in environmental causes and has one of the most aggressive greenhouse gas reduction laws in the world. But the measure, which was bankrolled in large part by real estate heir and Hollywood producer Stephen Bing and would tax oil production in California for the first time, was criticized as likely to raise energy prices for consumers. And Californians, who already pay some of the highest gas prices in the country, were seen as reluctant to tack on another tax, even in the name of progress...
    Even the Los AngelesTimes, which tends to lean left in...
  • Oh, the Humanity!

    November 8, 2006
    Perhaps the most amusing moment of last night's election coverage came from Chris Matthews, while he was interviewing congressional has-been Dick Gephardt. Let's go to the transcript:
    MATTHEWS: We have a lot of regular people in the U.S. House of Representatives. And I'm about to introduce a former member of the House who was a very regular guy, although he has advanced degrees from great universities, Dick Gephardt. Thank you, sir. GEPHARDT: Good to be with you. MATTHEWS: Well, you haven't gotten fat like a lot of ex-politicians. I'll give you that. I saw Gore the other night. I couldn't believe it. I thought I was seeing the Hindenburg coming by. And there you are; You're looking great. How's Jane? GEPHARDT: She's...
  • Kyoto Conference Reveals Disagreements

    November 7, 2006
    For all the supposed consensus on global warming, every time the Kyoto parties get together, there are disagreement s about what to do. The latest meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, is no exception: “A U.N. conference working to fix long-term rules to fight global warming beyond 2012 “as soon as possible” was split on Tuesday over whether that meant an accord should be struck in 2008, 2009 or even 2010.” At the last meeting, the only thing they agreed on was to take out all the penalties for non-compliance with Kyoto. This was hailed as an ‘historic agreement.' CEI confidently predicts that whatever agreement they come to on when to set a deadline for further talks will also be hailed as an ‘historic agreement.' Meanwhile, Annex I parties will continue to emit greenhouse gases at an increasing rate.
  • Talking Back to the 'Environmental Headbangers'

    November 7, 2006
    Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary is legendary for telling it like he sees it, rhetorical propriety be damned. He's now reacting to the Stern report on the eoconomics of global warming, with characteristic flair: Michael O'Leary, chief executive of the Dublin-based carrier, said that aviation was responsible for just 2 per cent of European Union carbon emissions. If "eco nuts" were really serious about tackling climate change they should support nuclear power and a clampdown on livestock farming which was responsible for more greenhouse gases than the airline industry, he said. Referring to last week's report from the former World Bank chief economist Sir Nicholas Stern on the economics of climate change, which warned that rising carbon emissions could wipe out 20 per cent of the world's wealth if not tackled, Mr O'...
  • Staying Cool

    November 7, 2006
    The National Climatic Data Center reports that in October, "All regions [were] near to or below normal temperature (first time since February 2003 with no regions above average temperature)." This one month finding, of course, doesn't say anything about overall climatic trends, but then again neither do any of the constant reports of this month or that summer being especially hot or especially dry. For every headline that seems to point to advancing march of catastrophic global warming - "Hottest Summer in a Century!" - there are just as many reports which don't make the headlines because they're much less likely to throw readers and viewers into a panic.
  • New Scientist: Skeptics are Meanies

    November 2, 2006
    The current issue of New Scientist magazine has a truly strange article on the impending release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's latest report (or "assessment"). The logic, such as it is, seems to go like this: scientists and organizations who disagreed with some of the conclusions in the last assessment are preparing to critique this upcoming one in the same way. These criticisms are somehow so threatening that (the author fears) U.S. climate scientists will stop participating in the IPCC review process altogether, leaving the scientific world poorer as a result. Well, you know what they say about global warming policy: "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the debate." Except that in this case, the "heat" being generated is so mild, one...
  • Lomborg on the Stern Review: "...selective...flawed...sloppy...one-sided..."

    November 2, 2006
    Our friend Bjørn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, has an excellent op-ed in The Wall Street Journal (subscription only) today taking on the Stern review of the economics of global warming:
    Faced with such alarmist suggestions, spending just 1% of GDP or $450 billion each year to cut carbon emissions seems on the surface like a sound investment. In fact, it is one of the least attractive options. Spending just a fraction of this figure -- $75 billion -- the U.N. estimates that we could solve all the world's major basic problems. We could give everyone clean drinking water, sanitation, basic health care and education right now. Is that not better? We know from economic models that dealing just with malaria could...
  • The Future: Filthy Rich or Stinking Rich?

    November 1, 2006
    The New York Sun has an editorial on the Stern review on the economics of global warming which includes a mention of our very own Iain Murray:
    Given Britons's clime it's easy to see why they would take a dour view of the weather, but even by that standard the Stern Report on global warming is something else. The book-length analysis of the economic ramifications of climate change, prepared by a panel led by a former World Bank economist, Sir Nicholas Stern, is as bleak as any overcast winter day in London. It's only a matter of time before some start trying to use the report as another excuse to criticize the Bush administration for its supposedly insufficient zeal for changing the weather. The marquee conclusion reckons we can devote a total of about 1% of the global economy to cutting greenhouse gas emissions now...
  • What Is All the Hyperventilating About?

    October 31, 2006
    If you haven't read it already, treat yourself to a radically reasonable op-ed by Prof. Richard Lindzen of MIT on why global warming is the last thing that you should be scared of this Halloween season:
    Yes, there does appear to be warming, but the amount is hardly certain or indisputable. And the amount found does not appear that alarming. The alarm, I would suppose, comes from the notoriously inadequate climate models. As the primary "consensus" document, the Scientific Assessment of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change notes, modellers at the United Kingdom's Hadley Centre had to cancel two-thirds of the model warming in order to simulate the observed warming. So the warming alarm is based on models that overestimate the observed warming by a factor of three or more, and have to cancel most of the...
  • What balance?

    October 30, 2006
    When a journalist publicly declares he doesn't believe in balance on a particular issue, you know things are really bad. When I was a journalist, I had it beat into me to get both or however many sides of the story there might be. Well, ABC News' Bill Blakemore (a network reporter!) told an audience at the recent Society of Environmental Journalists conference that he doesn't “like the word ‘balance' much at all” in global warming coverage. Blakemore was debating Senate Environment and Public Works communications director, Marc Morano, who reported on the dialogue in today's Majority Fact of the Day. Seems to me that Blakemore has been hoodwinked by the liberal enviros and he doesn't even realize it. Correction: Blakemore made the...

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