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OpenMarket: Energy and Environment

  • An Ostentatious Display of Escaping Poverty

    October 25, 2006
    Statist environmentalists' stern condemnation of what they consider spendthrift consumption is nothing new in the West—but developing countries unaccustomed to such hectoring might be taken aback enough to react strongly. Officials in the United Arab Emirates have done just that in response to the World Wildlife Fund's (WWF, not to be confused with the old World Wrestling Federation) new Living Planet 2006 report, which claims that, “the world's natural ecosystems are being degraded at a rate unprecedented in human history," and that UAE residents are placing enormous stress per capita on the environment, according to the Dubai-based Gulf News. Majid Al Mansouri, Secretary General of the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi, called...
  • No Unnecessary Travel Allowed in the War on CO2

    October 25, 2006
    I'm going to be flying to Vermont tomorrow, and some of my colleagues are also taking airline trips soon, including a few to far off Guatemala. This will doubtless anger British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, who is busying herself advocating for a "global warming tax" on airline travel of as much as £50 ($94) per ticket, in order to cut down on the number of airline trips her constituents can afford to take. One imagines that the number of flights Ms. Beckett herself takes, will (being taxpayer-funded) see no decline.
  • Does Gulfstream Make a Hybrid Jet?

    October 25, 2006
    In a shocking development, we find out this morning that environmentally fixated, hybrid-loving celebrities don't necessarily live the green dream that they preach to everyone else. When asked about this disconnect, George Clooney's publicist told entertainment website TMZ.com "You clearly have no understanding of certain people's need for private transport." Actually, that's the whole point - we all have our own unique mix of transportation needs, which is why it's a bad idea to try and use the public policy process to force the public into vehicles that don't meet their needs. In other news, new poll results suggest a widespread consensus on public transportation among U.S. consumers.
  • If Current Trends Continue …Environmentalists Will Continue to Be Wrong!

    October 24, 2006
    In a changing world, it seems that at least one thing is certain: If current trends continue, environmentalist predictions about the future will continue to be wrong. Yet unfortunately, policymakers continue to heed their warnings, passing foolish regulations to ward off the “impending catastrophes.” A new report issued by the World Wildlife Fund says that if current trends continue, the earth will be too small to sustain humanity. “Pressures on the earth's natural systems are both predictable and dire,” according to the Living Planet Report 2006. Environmentalists have been making such wrongheaded—anti-growth, anti-technology—predictions at least since Rachel Carson launched the movement with her 1962 book Silent Spring. There she warned of an impending cancer epidemic that would result unless we stopped using many manmade chemicals. It didn't happen. Paul Ehrlich warned...
  • Another doomsday report – Simon redux

    October 24, 2006
    Shades of Paul Ehrlich: WWF in a new report says that the earth cannot support its human population, especially those in the developed world with their insatiable appetite and unsustainable lifestyle. WWF's report states:
    “Since the late 1980s, we have been in overshoot — the Ecological Footprint has exceeded the Earth's biocapacity — as of 2003 by about 25 per cent. Effectively, the Earth's regenerative capacity can no longer keep up with demand — people are turning resources into waste faster than nature can turn waste back into resources. Humanity is no longer living off nature's interest, but drawing down its capital. This growing pressure on ecosystems is causing habitat destruction or degradation and permanent loss of productivity, threatening both biodiversity...
  • And Now for a Word from the Critics

    October 19, 2006
    We've just heard that our friend Marc Morano will be one of the panelists at the upcoming Society of Environmental Journalists conference in Burlington, Vermont. Marc will be debating with the AP's Seth Borenstein and The New York Times' Andy Revkin on whether or not reporters are "playing up the fear factor and skirting inconvenient uncertainties" when it comes to global warming stories. Open Market will also be there in Burlington, blogging, meeting and greeting the attendees. Keep an eye out for posts October 27th-29th.
  • Vote for Alternative Energy with Your Feet

    October 19, 2006
    Tokyo rail users will now be expected to not only pay for their own tickets, but also to power the machines that sell them. "A Tokyo rail company has put footstep-powered generators under its ticket-vending machines; the tread of passengers generates electricity to power the machines." Another wonderful thing from Boing Boing.
  • The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Revisited

    October 18, 2006
    Marc Morano over at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is drawing our attention today to an op-ed in L'Express last month by distinguished French geophysicist Claude Allegre making the scandalous claim that "the cause of climate change remains unknown." I guess Mr. Allegre didn't get the memo that every scientist in the world has already agreed otherwise, as we are constantly reminded. One wonders how many dozens of prominent climate skeptics will have to crowd onto the public stage before the alarmists acknowledge that they exist.
  • The Newest/Oldest Lesson: Why Energy Is Bad

    October 17, 2006
    In reference to my previous post about morally righteous (anti-) global warming celebrities, I suggested that those who are horrified by CO2 emissions should curtail al energy-intensive activities until some technology such as cold fusion is perfected. A dedicated reader reminded me, however, that the global warming alarmists aren't so much energy future optimists as they are anti-energy Malthusians. Good call. One of the best examples of this truth is a quote from one of our old sparring partners, Paul Ehrlich. Prof. Ehrlich, a man, by the way, with a worse public gambling record than Bill Bennett, when confronted...
  • It's Tough Out There for a Morally-Consistent Performer

    October 17, 2006
    Tired of loosely-informed celebrities nagging you about global warming? It's beginning to look like the most hard core among them could end up taking themselves out of the fame game of their own accord. The lead singer of Radiohead, Thom Yorke, has suggested that taking a band on tour is immoral because of all the atmosphere-killing CO2 that is emitted in the process - even when the hip kids on the bus have purchased carbon credits to offset their emissions. Clearly, he's on to something here. Anything that uses any energy is evil - taking a rock band on a world tour and flipping on a lightswitch is merely a difference of scale. Thus, performing and making music (or movies, or whatever) is itself essentially immoral. Until the alternative energy crowd brings us the magic technologies that are perenially "just around...

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