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  • Won't someone please think of the consumer?

    February 5, 2007
    Greg Mankiw notes that President Bush is considering some form of road pricing to reduce congestion. London has a congestion charge which deeply divides opinion. Today, horrifyingly, the administrators of the charge received a letter bomb. CEI actually strongly supports dynamic road pricing (as in, for example, HOT lanes), but recognizes that there are trade-offs involved in all such moves. The key should be that the scheme is based on increased convenience for the consumer, not on convenience for government. The London charge is an example of a badly thought-out scheme that puts the needs of government before the needs of citizens. If any presidential scheme repeats...
  • NYT is funny about global warming!

    February 5, 2007
    Today's New York Times has a funny op-ed (both funny ha ha and funny odd for the NYT). It's a spoof by Rick Moranis on global warming -- steps to take to reduce one's carbon footprint. Moranis uses a mock letter to the board of directors of a hypothetical upscale co-op to list eight steps to mitigation. Here are the first three to titillate your interest:
    1. It's crucial that we begin harvesting rainwater immediately. According to the co-op's proprietary lease, shareholders who have terraces don't actually own their outdoor square footage, so reclaiming them should not be a problem. Bob suggests using sort of a cross between eminent domain and “pleading footprint.” For our little terrace off the library, I've ordered a 500-gallon...
  • "Political Science"

    February 4, 2007
    Also worth reading in the weekend Journal is an article by Philip Stott, professor emeritus of biogeography at the University of London, in which he describes concisely the way the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) works, areas for further climate research, and the misconceptions that have colored the climate change debate in recent years -- and which underlie carbon emission-limitation efforts like the Kyoto Protocol. First, on the IPCC:

    Unfortunately, the IPCC represents science by supercommittee, as rule 10 of its procedures states: "In taking decisions, and approving, adopting and accepting reports, the Panel, its Working Groups and any Task Forces shall use all best endeavors to reach consensus." I bet Galileo would have had...

  • Coca-Cola CEO Isdell on CSR: A step in the right direction?

    February 3, 2007
    Today's Journal also features an op ed by Coca-Cola CEO E. Neville Isdell, on his company "corporate social responsibility" policies. He cites some specific examples of the company working with local communities to gain and maintain its "social license to do business" and endorses the idea of engaging "responsible stakeholders who recognize that we cannot abandon or undermine our fundamental economic purpose." While keeping sight of the company's central mission of creating value for shareholders is laudable, giving a nod to "stakeholders" can be dangerous, because this is a category of people who are usually distinct from those who have a true stake in the company -- shareholders -- and because the very definition of "stakeholders" can expand too easily. That said, Isdell's...
  • CEI Orthopedic poll cited by the Wall Street Journal

    February 3, 2007
    Today's weekend Wall Street Journal features a favorable editorial on CEI's national survey of orthopedic surgeons, which was released earlier this week. As the Journal notes, "it might interest readers to know that 80% of orthopedic surgeons surveyed in a new poll released by the Competitive Enterprise Institute think the painkiller should be back on the market." The editorial goes on:

    That finding isn't all that surprising. These physicians work regularly with people suffering from chronic pain...Trained in the vagaries of medical treatment, they also know that almost all drugs have risks. So they see no sound reason Vioxx should be ruled out as an option for patients who can't find...

  • Waxman's Inquisition Should Look at the UN IPCC

    February 2, 2007

    Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, this week launched an investigation of the several charges that the Bush Administration has politically manipulated and interfered with scientific research so as to make the science fit its policies. The charges are specious, as I and my CEI colleagues and many others have shown, but for a real example of the political manipulation of science, Chairman Waxman should take a look at the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Science Change. The IPCC today released its 21-page Summary for Policymakers (SPM) of the first volume of its Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). The SPM is...

  • Communism 101

    February 2, 2007
    [youtube]j1PfE9K8j0g[/youtube]
  • Dupont's rent seeking explained

    February 2, 2007
    Today, in a press release timed to coincide with publication of the Summary for Policymakers of Climate Change 2007, also known as the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, DuPont calls for legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions, stating: "We believe that voluntary measures, while constructive, are not sufficient to address an issue of this magnitude by themselves." The media--for example, USA Today--treat pronouncements like this as newsworthy, as if some climate shift had occurred in U.S. politics. In reality, energy-rationing profiteers have been pushing Kyoto-style policies for years, beginning with that erstwhile darling of eco-...
  • Fun with Numbers Part 3

    February 2, 2007
    Well, it turns out that the report on which I based my previous two posts on IPCC temperature projections was hideously garbled. The reporter had confused climate sensitivity with temperature projections and so all the calculations I applied were wrong, comparing apples with oranges. I should have spotted that and so I apologize. Please disregard those previous posts.
  • Libertarian Politics Live Features Eco-Freaks

    February 2, 2007
    Last night CEI's John Berlau was a guest on Libertarian Politics Live to talk about his new book, Eco-Freaks. The entertaining interview starts about 7:30 minutes into the show. 

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