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OpenMarket: Energy and Environment

  • A Bold Prediction

    December 20, 2006
    Myron wrote earlier about how the Senate Democrats are showing no urgency to tackle global warming, otherwise known as The Greatest Threat Facing the Planet (TM - Al Gore). I challenged them to show their commitment to Saving the Planet by bringing Kyoto to the floor for ratification, even if that meant (gasp!) changing procedural rules. No dice. Now, Stuart Eizenstat, who negotiated Kyoto for the Clinton-Gore team, admits that the Democrats won't do anything to faced down The Greatest Threat Facing the Planet:...
  • #2 Onion Post of 2006

    December 19, 2006
    Al Gore exposed!
  • Model article

    December 19, 2006
    Excellent article from Ryan Meyer of the Center for Science, Policy and Outcomes at the University of Arizona on the inadequacies of models that purport to assess the damages of global warming.  Read the whole thing, but two specific points are well worth excerpting:
    The a priori assumption that global climate change is the only global change problem we need to deal with is misguided. Starting with climate change as the central problem, and then building a model around variables that plausibly can be linked to climate change, will of course yield a picture of the future in which climate change is the dominant problem. If one insists on framing problems in global terms, climate should be just one of many changes important to the future of humans on Earth. The...
  • Just how widespread is misrepresentation in climate science?

    December 19, 2006
    Roger Pielke Jr has some strong words about a forthcoming paper that he feels misrepresents his work.  Note that we're not talking about an advocacy position here, an op-ed or a short video piece that are unable to capture all nuances adequately, but an actual scientific paper.  Roger concludes:
    The bottom line here is that while this is just one paragraph in one paper, there is perhaps reason to be concerned about the fidelity of the literature, whatever the underlying causes may be. We have documented other shortfalls in the literature on several occasions on this site. To the extent that these data points are representative of broader problems in the climate literature, scientists should redouble their efforts to exert high standards of quality control. For...
  • But At Least the Egyptians Kept the Operating Costs Down!

    December 19, 2006
    And, yet, another story about the virtues of mass transit, the horrors of the automobile. John Pomfret, a Washington Post journalist, wrote an article this weekend (“L.A. Long Ruled by Cars, Becoming a Transit Leader”). After the dismissive initial comment (less than 7 percent of all trips in L.A. are via transit), he finds wonderful things to say about the L.A. subway. That numerous studies have found that transit ridership in absolute and relative terms is declining, that subways are the least cost-effective means of providing mass transit, and that the impact is very swiftly to provide wealthy people a highly subsidized alternative to driving — no coverage on these points. Subways are cool and economists are just a gloomy lot. Every society seems to experience periods of collective insanity where funds are poured into whatever mega project is currently...
  • Do as I say, not as I do

    December 18, 2006
    Interesting survey of the attitudes of British people towards the environment and their actions on the subject. As seasoned observers will know, the most alarmist news articles on global warming come from the two newspapers The Guardian and The Independent. So what do their readers think and do?
    While climate change concerns are voiced most strongly among the young, Liberal Democrat voters and Guardian/Independent readers, these attitudes are not translated into personal action. The poll showed, for example, that Guardian/Independent readers are no more likely to have taken any specific energy saving actions than tabloid readers, and are actually less likely to have insulated their homes.
    CEI President Fred Smith often talks about the need for...
  • Another Stern Rebuke

    December 18, 2006
    Hal Varian of the University of California, Berkeley, joins the ranks of distinguished critics of the Stern Report:
    As these examples illustrate, the choice of an appropriate policy toward global warming depends heavily on how one weighs the costs and benefits it imposes on different generations. The Stern Review chose a particular way to do this, but many other choices could have been examined. Exploring the implications of alternative assumptions is likely to lead to better policy than making a single blanket recommendation. At least at this stage of our understanding, exploration beats exhortation.
    In other words, the Stern Report was deeply unprofessional, as I have been saying...
  • They Call It Conservation

    December 18, 2006
    You know all of those enviro activists who are constantly hectoring us about the amount of energy we use (and allegedly waste) here in the profligate United States of America? Well their dreams seem to have come true in western Washington state recently, where hundreds of thousands of residents have been conserving 100% of their usual electricity usage, as their power has been out due to storm damage. This outage, in turn, has caused many residents to turn to unreliable, unsafe alternatives to keep themselves and their families from freezing at night. Those emergency alternatives, including indoor generators and charcoal grills, have been responsible for up to 100 deaths due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. There...
  • Climate change enhancing seals' sex lives

    December 14, 2006
    Well, there's good news today about climate change effects — male gray seals have a more active sex life. Near a remote island off Scotland, researchers found that weaker male seals can now find mates, because the females are traveling further from the dominant males to find fresh water. The weak males are finding more opportunities to mate with the females, since they're no longer under the watchful eyes of the strong males. Another positive effect — climate change is causing greater genetic diversity in the gray seal population there. To find out more about gray seals and their habits, check here....
  • Leonardo, Green Warrior, Saves the World

    December 13, 2006
    No, not that one, this one. At least one poster, "Jeffrey P," wants to save us from celebrity opinions, while combating global warming at the same time:
    "I think one of the most effective methods would be for news programs to quit asking entertainers for their political opinions. Entertainers give off a lot of hot air, even more so when they engage in political discussion. As they are generally clueless, it would be best if they just stuck to entertaining."

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