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OpenMarket: Energy and Environment

  • 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...
  • Here He Is, Your Komodo Dragon...

    September 13, 2006
    There's a new book for anyone ever frustrated by the bureaucratic enforcement of the Endangered Species Act: The Hunter's Guide to Endangered Species by "The Old Biologist" (Xlibris, 2005). The pseudononymous author takes a light-hearted approach to the world's biological rarities, including recipes for such delicacies as California Condor Soup. Of course, not everyone will be amused by this extended jest. The publisher's press release opens with the question "Do environmentalists have a sense of humor?" I think we know the answer to that one.
  • Take Your Dirty Economic Development Elsewhere

    September 12, 2006
    It's only been a couple weeks since the state of California decided to create a cap on greenhouse gas emissions, and some businesses are already looking for an exit, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal: The cap, designed to cut greenhouse gas output 25 percent by 2020, evoked stern responses from business advocates such as the California Chamber of Commerce, which said in a statement that the act would drive companies and jobs out of California and jack up power and fuel prices for residents of the GoldenState. Gino DiCaro, a spokesman for the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, said the limit will weigh heavily on emissions-producing cement makers, power companies, steel manufacturers and oil refiners. The Milken Institute reported that doing business in...
  • Beyond Accountability

    September 11, 2006
    Our friend Steve Milloy is back on the shareholder activist battleground, with a petition before the SEC to change the rules for U.S. shareholders in foreign-based corporations: “The purpose of the petition is to ensure that U.S. investors in certain foreign companies have the same opportunities to participate in corporate governance as the shareholders of domestic companies already enjoy under SEC rules,” said Action Fund Management's Steve Milloy. “U.S. investors should not be relegated by their government to second-class status.” Although this rule is long past due given the increasing involvement of foreign corporations in U.S. domestic affairs, we call this the ‘BP rule,'” said AFM's Tom Borelli. “Given BP's current legal problems that have caused adverse economic...
  • A Backyard Texas Tea Party

    September 7, 2006
    Despite recent good news on the oil front, some people are still upset with current energy prices. Louisiana oilman Steve Jordan has even decided to open a new field under his swimming pool. Like we at CEI, Mr. Jordan thinks the U.S. government should open up more domestic locations to energy exploration. We wish him the best of luck recouping his $2 million investment in equipment.

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