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OpenMarket: Energy and Environment

  • A Storm of Scientific Controversy on Capitol Hill

    October 17, 2006

    The CEI email server is abuzz this morning with news of an upcoming briefing on global warming and hurricanes being put on by the American Meteorological Society. Will the assembled panel give us real data and empirical observations, or a lot of emotionally-fueled nonsense? Only attendees will know for sure. If you plan on being in the vicinity of the Russell House Office Building this Friday between noon and 2pm, stop in for an unpriced buffet lunch and lots of climate talk.

    For our take on the global warming, hurricanes and the (public policy) aftermath of Katrina, see this, by Marlo and Iain.

  • When Cosmic Rays Attack

    October 16, 2006

    Our friend Steve Milloy has an excellent column on a new global warming study out of Denmark, and the unsurprising reasons it doesn't seem to be getting the coverage every alarmist publication does.

  • Making Decisions on the Fly

    October 13, 2006
    Our occasional journalisitic nemesis George Monbiot, as part of the promotional flurry surrounding his new book, is taking the presidents and directors of big green groups in the UK to task. Are they not working hard enough? As it turns out, they're working all too hard, traveling all over the globe for conferences and speeches and - you guessed it - emitting that ole devil called CO2 everywhere they go. Tony Juniper of Friends of the Earth responded to the scolding with an appeal to necessity, saying “We do all we can to cut travel but we need to do some flying to make decisions.” It's not clear why airborne decision making is so essential to running a large organization, but I guess that...
  • Tobacco Litigation Update

    October 3, 2006
    In Schwab v. Philip Morris, a federal judge in Brooklyn recently approved a class-action racketeering lawsuit against tobacco companies on behalf of millions of smokers of "light" cigarettes. Up to 30 million smokers will be able to sue based on allegations that the tobacco companies exaggerated the health benefits of smoking “light” rather than regular cigarettes. Many smokers compensate for the reduced nicotine in light cigarettes by inhaling more deeply or smoking more cigarettes. That offsets much of the health benefits of light cigarettes. The tobacco giants apparently suspected as much but didn't tell the public. This ruling has triggered debate, since the Federal Trade Commission arguably approved the tobacco companies' use of the “lights” label, as the Illinois Supreme Court concluded last year when it quashed another class action lawsuit against the tobacco companies. But...
  • Liveblogging an Environment Debate

    October 2, 2006
    The Conservative Party Conference in the UK are discussing the environment this afternoon. The Conservatives have rebranded themselves as a green party, fully in favor of restrictions on carbon emissions. The spokesman in favor of these policies is terribly posh. Questions from the floor have been very hostile to new taxes, and have pointed out the economic costs of higher fuel prices and air travel. One lady pointed out that she went to the Alps by train. The "opposition" spokesman pointed out those trains are powered by nuclear power, which the Tories are also against.
  • "Until some of these scientists are dead."

    September 25, 2006
    Dr. James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York City, became a darling of the left by claiming that the Bush Administration tried to censor or suppress his personal opinions on global warming public policy questions. (If they did, they did a poor job.) But Dr. Hansen has quite a record of trying to suppress the expression of opposing views. This summer he refused to testify before a House committee hearing on the grounds that the committee had invited a scientist (Dr. John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville) who made the mistake of not conforming his views to Dr. Hansen's. On a television debate broadcast on October 24th, Dr. Hansen complained that one of the five panelists held views that he considers objectionable. He also told the Associated Press in a story published Sept. 24th that "Some of this noise won't stop until some of...
  • The New York Times Gets Chemical Plant Security Wrong

    September 25, 2006
    Why do liberals always assume that the solution to every problem is regulation and yet more regulation? That's the thrust of an editorial in today's New York Times that whines: “Congress still has done nothing to protect Americans from a terrorist attack on chemical plants.” It assumes that Congress has some magical answer to the issue members refuse to employ because of chemical industry lobbying. It also wrongly claims that nothing has been done to protect these plants. Consider the evidence first. All the answers that Congress has considered largely involve growing the federal bureaucracy with needless paperwork and meddling in production processes of which they have no knowledge. Indeed, the chemical plant security issue has mostly been used as an excuse for environmental activists and their allies in Congress to push an environmental agenda to reduce or eliminate the use...
  • Lockyer: SUVs Don't Kill People, Car Companies Kill People

    September 21, 2006
    California's attorney general has sued carmakers DaimlerChrysler, General Motors, Ford and subsidiaries of Honda, Nissan and Toyota for global warming impacts on the state. Interesting that the state isn't trying to hold individual car owners — the ones who actually drive and produce the emissions at issue — liable for the alleged damage. This suit seems rather reminiscent of the lawsuits first filed by U.S. cities against gun manufacturers in the late 1990s. Critics at the time pointed out, of course, that it's the people who actually shoot the guns who should be held liable for any damage caused by them. Congress was sufficiently alarmed by the prospects, however, to pass the...
  • A Taxing Question

    September 18, 2006
    The UK Conservatives, currently mulling over the idea of raising "green taxes" while lowering other tax rates, will be paying careful attention to reaction to the Liberal Democrat Party's similar announcement. The Liberal Democrats, a center-left group with some libertarian inclinations, have decided to increase taxes on SUVs and other vehicles that emit comparably large amounts of carbon dioxide per gallon of gas used. This has prompted the understandable objection that this may lead to a situation where an owner of a large vehicle* who drives it only a small amount around a city may pay more taxes than someone who owns a smaller vehicle but emits more because he uses it more.
    The Sun, arguably the most influential daily newspaper, read by around 4 million people, reacted to the...
  • DDT to the Rescue

    September 18, 2006
    In an extraordinarily good development, the World Health Organization has officially called for greater use of DDT around the world in order to combat malaria, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of lives. CEI people and our friends have written widely on the issue of DDT and malaria over the past several years, and it's a relief to finally see some movement in the right direction. It's never too late to exorcise the ghost of Rachel Carson from...

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