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OpenMarket: Energy and Environment

  • We know how he feels

    November 15, 2006
    Tony Blair is resisting demands from the environmental pressure groups and, err, the Conservative Party to impose annual targets on greenhouse gas emissions for the quite sensible reasons that this will be disastrous for British industry. The other party speaking sense on the issue is the UK Independence Party, which is now the closest thing the land of Margaret Thatcher has to a libertarian party. Coincidentally, a Conservative MP described global warming in the following terms today:
    "Climate Change is the defining issue of our age. Previous generations had to deal with the rise of Nazism or communism. This is the issue on which my generation of...
  • Samuelson on Stern: “…a masterpiece of misleading public relations”

    November 10, 2006
    Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson has a bracing take on the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change today:
    [Based on the report's findings] no one could fail to conclude that we should conquer global warming instantly, if not sooner. Who could disagree? Well, me. Stern's headlined conclusions are intellectual fictions. They're essentially fabrications to justify an aggressive anti-global-warming agenda. The danger of that is we'd end up with the worst of both worlds: a program that harms the economy without doing much to cut greenhouse gases. Let me throw some messy realities onto Stern's tidy picture. In the debate over global warming, there's a big gap between public rhetoric (which verges on hysteria) and public behavior (which indicates...
  • Warming Watch in the Senate

    November 10, 2006
    Barbara Boxer is slated to replace James Inhofe as chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, and she's got big plans for global warming legislation. According to the Associated Press, "a top environmental aide at the White House signaled Thursday that the administration would work with Boxer."
  • 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...

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