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  • Toronto Ice Sheet Decimated by Global Warming

    March 5, 2007
    Global warming deniers could perhaps dismiss the breakup of the polar ice caps as a far away phenomenon irrelevant to their daily lives. But now climate change is striking closer and closer to home, causing premature calving of the much-beloved Toronto ice sheet: "Police closed several major Toronto streets Monday after huge slabs of ice started skidding off skyscrapers in the city's downtown core."
  • Insider trading in TXU deal?

    March 5, 2007
    The Wall Street Journal's energy blog is reporting that the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating possible insider trading in the TXU takeover deal. The deal was unusual in that there were early outside discussions with third-party groups, including environmental organizations. Developing...
  • Global warming round-up

    March 5, 2007
    Lots of global warming-related stories you may have missed:
  • The Nanny State's Next Frontier

    March 4, 2007
    Many libertarian economists and commentators have long criticized professional licensing as a protectionist scheme that restricts competition to the benefit of some (licensed) producers and to the detriment of their (excluded, unlicensed) competitors -- as well as to the detriment of consumers, who face fewer choices. That's bad enough. But now nanny state nags are trying to use licensing laws for another pernicious aim: To control individual behavior. At the great libertarian blog, We The People, Baylen Linnekin highlights this phenomenon in Alexandria, Virginia, where some politicians would like to withhold licenses from restaurants unless they ban smoking.  
  • So that's what climate skeptics need, a "futurist"!

    March 4, 2007
    Today's Washington Post "Outlook" section features an article by science fiction writer Bruce Sterling that needs to be read to be believed. Suffice it to highlight this quote for now. I don't think it needs any commentary.
    "It's 2007, and the old world has backfired so comprehensively that a new era is truly at hand. I actually knew this would happen. I guess, for a prophet, this is what victory feels like! "Back in 1998, the Mexican state of Chiapas caught fire and the smoke from its rainless 'rain forests' stretched all the way to Chicago. In Austin, my home town, the sky was the color of a dead television channel. Living under that hideous gout of smoke, I realized that the much-anticipated greenhouse effect was as real as dirt. Most people didn't grasp that at...
  • When the Appeased become the Appeasers

    March 3, 2007
    Today's Journal also reports that the two environmental groups that endorsed the recent buyout of the utility TXU Corp. after the company agreed to not build several previously planned coal-fired power plants -- the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Environmental Defense -- are under fire from other green groups for not being even more stridently opposed to new energy production, and for allegedly falling for a TXU public-relations ploy.
    "Just days after two of the nation's leading environmental groups blessed an investor plan to buy TXU Corp. and take the controversial Texas utility in a new and "greener" direction, a battle has broken out in the environmental community over the terms of the deal. "The Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Defense...
  • WSJ on Rent Seeking to Save the Planet

    March 3, 2007
    Today's weekend Wall Street Journal's lead editorial (available free online at OpinionJournal.com) addresses the Climate Action Partnership, reitarating some of CEI's arguments against this corporate rent-seeking exercise:
    "Senator Barbara Boxer touts all the jobs that would be created for people trying to game the system -- er, save the planet. 'And her colleague Jeff Bingaman calls cap-and-trade 'market based,' because, you know, people would trade stuff. "But for that to happen, the government would first have to put a cap on CO2 emissions, either for certain industries or even the economy as a whole. At the same time, it would allocate quotas for CO2 emissions, either based on current emissions, or on energy output, or some other standard. If a company then 'over-complied,' which means...
  • Spinach Contamination Confirmed As Organic

    March 2, 2007
    Last summer's outbreak of E. coli contamination in packaged spinach that killed at least three people and sickened more than 200 others has now been confirmed to have come from a 50-acre organic farm in California's San Benito County. According to the Associated Press, at a legislative hearing in Sacramento on Tuesday, California Department of Health Services officials said that "investigators identified the grower who was farming that plot, which was in the second year of a three-year transition to organic production." At the time, many observers speculated that such was probably the case, given that organic farmers may not use synthetic fertilizers and are therefore the primary users of animal manure on food crops. Still, that was not at all clear, given that the...
  • Yet More on Card Check

    March 2, 2007
    I noted yesterday that vetoing the Employee Free Choice Act, the mandatory card check bill that the House passed yesterday, would provide President George W. Bush a great opportunity to reconnect with and reenergize his conservative base. There's been plenty of righteous noise about this bill from conservative pundits -- but it's not all just from the Right. Vetoing mandatory card check could give Bush a boost among some in the political center. In today's Washington Examiner, James Kirchick of The New Republic takes organized labor to task for taking "a decisive turn in an anti-democratic...
  • Pessimist Alarmism vs Optimist Realism

    March 2, 2007
    David Ignatius is worried about the planet's vulnerability to climate change, citing futurist Peter Schwartz. I see David's Peter Schwartz and raise him an Indur Goklany. Things aren't as bad as he suggests. Yet even if they were, as a colleague noted, "Interesting that he makes the point that the poorest people of the world are most vulnerable to climate change but still seems to conclude that the usual tax & regulate plans will help these people more than wealth-building (ie less gov't corruption, more focus on reliable justice system, free markets, etc)." Precisely - the most vulnerable people on the planet are vulnerable not because of climate but because they have either rejected or haven't been allowed to...

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