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OpenMarket: Energy and Environment

  • Keeping a Stiff Upper Lip on Climate Science

    November 22, 2006
    The global warming debate this week features a furious back-and-forth between our pal Al Gore and Christopher Monckton (a/k/a Viscount Mockton of Brenchley), a former policy advisor to Margaret Thatcher. Monckton started with two articles in the Sunday Telegraph earlier this month, which Gore then responded to. The final product is this analysis and defence by Monckton of his original arguments, complete with dozens of references and citations (direct PDF link). It gets a little technical in parts, but it's a great point-by-point refutation of Gore's arguments. Almost as good, I might add, as this one, by our very own Marlo Lewis.
  • Stern's Critical Flaws

    November 22, 2006
    The Stern Review on the economics of climate change has come in for more criticism from experts in the field. Following Richard Tol, we now have Yale's William Nordhaus (PDF link), who says:
    The Stern Review is a Prime Minister's dream come true. It provides decisive and compelling answers instead of the dreaded conjectures, contingencies, and qualifications. However, a closer look reveals that there is indeed another hand to these answers. The radical revision of the economics of climate change proposed by the Review does not arise from any new economics, science, or modeling. Rather, it depends decisively on the assumption of a near-zero social discount rate. The Review's unambiguous conclusions about the need for extreme immediate action will not...
  • Weighty Problem

    November 21, 2006
    As Brooke notes below, obesity has been tied to global warming.  One of the lessons obesity campaigners drew from that study was that losing weight saves you gas money and that the US uses 938 million more gallons of gas a year because of the extra weight gain since 1960.  The often excellent env-econ blog had something to say about that:
    Let's say that a typical new car sold these days weighs about 4000 pounds. A 50 pound increase (one heavier male, one heavier female) is a 1.25 % increase in total weight. If the gasoline savings are about 1%, the elasticity of gas to weight (% change in gasoline divided by the % change in weight) is 0.80. Hmmm. Maybe the estimate ain't so crazy. Extrapolating, if the typical car turns into a typical car sold 25...
  • Democrats talk while the planet sizzles

    November 21, 2006
    The Republicans in Congress in recent years have held few hearings on global warming. But whenever they did, a long line of Democrats on whatever committee was holding the hearing would remark, always emphatically and often angrily, that the time for hearings was long past. The debate was over, we now knew that global warming was the greatest threat ever to face humankind/planet Earth, and that the Congress needed to act decisively immediately. So now that the Democrats have won House and Senate majorities, we can expect immediate action, right? Perhaps not a vote to ratify the Kyoto Protocol--even Senator Kerry recognizes that Kyoto is a dead duck--but at least votes on the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act within the first few hours or days of the 110th Congress. Alas, I'm sorry to have to report that the backsliding has begun even before the new Congress has been sworn in...
  • The Real Inconvenient Truth: "either one sided, misleading, exaggerated, speculative, or wrong"

    November 21, 2006
    In what is hopefully not a larger trend of turning PowerPoint presentations into cinematic features, Al Gore's shockumentary An Inconvenient Truth hits DVD shelves today. Paramount is making a big deal of the release, even going so far as to partner up with perennial corporate bogeyman Wal-Mart to push distribution. Sure we expected the inevitable co-marketing agreement with Ben & Jerry's, but Wal-Mart? The alarmists really must be desperate if they're willing to hold their nose and work with the Great Satan of Bentonville. Of course, we couldn't let this event go by without a response, and our own Marlo Lewis has long been working late into the night to craft not just a book-length...
  • We must all aspire to live in squalor

    November 20, 2006
    The enormously clever British environment minister David Miliband is very concerned that Kyoto appears to be falling apart because developing nations aren't willing to do their bit (note that Miliband is concerned that the ex-colonies are being led astray by evil Arabs, a fascinating subtext). Of course, we could have told him that. Anyway, Mr Miliband did a bit of sight seeing whilst in Kenya:
    During his visit to Kenya, Mr Miliband saw how climate change will affect the poorest nations hardest even though they account for a tiny proportion of carbon emissions. In the north of the country, he met nomadic tribespeople suffering from drought, and spent a morning in a slum in the middle of Nairobi where one million people live in 2 sq km.
    I can only assume he approved of...
  • The climate is just like Bambi

    November 17, 2006
    The Los Angeles Times today has a story by Robert Lee Hotz that reports on a new scientific article reviewing what's going on with the Arctic climate. The team finds that the Arctic has been warming up, but that there are now some signs that it may be starting to cool down. There is nothing remarkable in this. The Arctic does get warmer when ocean currents and winds push more warm air from the lower latitudes into the Arctic, and it cools down when the ocean current and wind patterns change and start pushing less warm air northwards. What is astonishing is how one of the scientists who did the research describes what they found. According to the LA Times story:
    "This is a region that is fighting back," said lead author Jacqueline...
  • NOAA's Ark: A Report That Includes Two of Every Conclusion

    November 17, 2006
    There's a new study on the Arctic and global warming released by NOAA, and the results are, well, mixed. The Los Angeles Times reports:

    An international team of scientists reported Thursday that rising temperatures are steadily transforming the Arctic -- warming millions of square miles of permafrost, promoting lush greenery on previously arid tundras and steadily shrinking the annual sea ice.

    Yet the researchers also found new patterns of cooling ocean currents and prevailing winds that suggested the Arctic, long considered a bellwether of global warming, may be reverting in some ways to more normal conditions not seen since the 1970s.

    So global warming is both radically altering...

  • John McCain Wants to Be One of the Cool Kids

    November 16, 2006
    Sen. Inhofe continues telling it like it is on the subject of climate change, this time in Nairobi at the (take a deep breath) UNFCCC COP-12/MOP-2. The Reuters story contrasts Inhofe with John McCain, who, according to environment correspondent Deborah Zabarenko, is worried that our current policy "makes the United States unpopular with Europeans." I'd hate to think what else is on his agenda if making us popular with the Europeans is his goal. Why not strangle the economy and start rationing energy? If we don't, Luxembourg's environment minister might be rude to John McCain...
  • Junk Food Blogging

    November 16, 2006
    Sandy Szwarc, a registered nurse, certified culinary professional, CEI friend, and all around good person, recently started a blog on the science of food -- especially so called "junk food." On her blog, you can read all about "the science that mainstream media doesn't report and how to critically think about the junk they do that's not fit to swallow." You can also read some of the pieces she's written for CEI here and here. Happy blogging, Sandy. http://www.junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/

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