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  • North v South 2.0

    January 26, 2007
    We often hear that global warming is a global problem that requires a global solution. The developing world, on the other hand, wants none of that:
    At a gathering of 2,400 of the world's most powerful people at Davos, a ski resort in the Swiss Alps, leaders from emerging nations said they wanted the United States, European Union and others in the West to be more accountable for the heat-trapping emissions their cars and factories produce. They also asserted their right to stoke their own economies, even if greenhouse gas levels rise as a result.
    While this smacks of having their cake and eating it, the developing countries are right in the latter assertion....
  • Dependent on whom?

    January 26, 2007
    Senator Inhofe makes some very pertinent and often ignored points in his Human Events article today:
    The fact of the matter is that the country is over 70% self-sufficient when we consider total energy (coal, nuclear, hydro, renewables, gas, etc). Although much of that dependence relates to oil, the U.S. does not import nearly as much from the Middle East as some suggest. As energy expert Daniel Yergin recently pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, “[s]ome 81% of oil imports do not come from that region. Thus, only 19% of imports -- and 12% of total petroleum consumption -- originates in the Middle East.” It may surprise many readers that the U.S. imports most of its oil not from Arab Sheiks but from our friends in Canada.
    We must always remember that, if we reduce our and the world's...
  • Stern vs Science

    January 26, 2007
    Some revealing quotations in an excellent BBC Radio investigation into the Stern Report:
    The IPCC is not going to talk about tipping points; it's not going to talk about 5m rises in sea level; it's not going to talk about the next ice age because the Gulf Stream collapses; and it's going to have none of the economics of the Stern Review. It's almost as if a credibility gap has emerged between what the British public thinks and what the international science community think. --Mike Hulme, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research Nick Stern: "We've drawn on the basic science. We have not tried to do new scientific research. We're not scientists." Simon Cox (BBC): "I just wonder why your figures are differrent if you've just drawn from the existing literature, why your figures would be...
  • "Fast track" trade authority -- will carry some baggage

    January 25, 2007
    According to news reports, President George Bush will ask Congress to renew fast-track trade authority — perhaps as soon as next week. The Trade Promotion Act of 2002 expires at the end of June 2007. TPA gives the president the authority to negotiate trade deals and have them voted up or down by Congress without amendments. However, Democratic Congressional leaders have said that to renew fast-track, the Administration would have to agree to include even more labor and environmental mandates in trade agreements. Already, TPA includes stringent mandates that have been used to impose U.S.-style environmental and labor “regulations” on developing countries with which the U.S. has negotiated...
  • Renewable energy -- burn dead cows!

    January 25, 2007
    There's even more talk now about alternative energy sources — spurred by President Bush's State of the Union address where he said:
    We must increase the supply of alternative fuels, by setting a mandatory fuels standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017 -- and that is nearly five times the current target. (Applause.)
    While most of the talk in the U.S. focuses on ethanol (with its huge subsidies and more to come), some countries, such as Scotland, are trying a different path to alternative energy sources: Burning dead cows. The BBC reported that a new 24 million-pound project in Aberdeenshire will “turn dead cows into an energy source.” They're going to get the dead...
  • "Tricks and traps" with Senate Banking

    January 25, 2007
    “Tricks and traps.” Those were the terms used to describe credit card industry practices to snare vulnerable and lower-income people into a vicious cycle of credit card interest payment and fees. Sound familiar? Sounds like the credit card issuers are likely to get similar treatment to those “predatory lenders” — i.e., lenders who provide credit to higher risk consumers at higher interest rates. Today, at Senate Finance Committee hearings titled “Examining the Billing, Marketing, and Disclosure Practices of the Credit Card Industry, and Their Impact on Consumers,” Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-CT) put the industry on notice that policymakers are examining their...
  • Mayor McCheese Would Be Proud

    January 25, 2007
    While we at Open Market know that there's nothing inherently bad about fast food, we're still willing to believe that an outragous stunt like eating nothing by McDonald's every day for a month can lead to a sub-optimal health results. Now, however, Swedish researchers are suggesting that even an all-QSR diet might not be all that bad for you:

    A month-long diet of junk food does not necessarily cause devastating health effects like those in documentary film Super Size Me, scientists say.

    Experts...

  • When the facts don't fit, construe!

    January 25, 2007
    At the DC premiere of Mine Your Own Business yesterday evening, I spoke with protesters who insisted that the 96% of the citizens of Roşia Montană were opposed to the controversial mining project that is the primary subject of the film. I'm certainly a believer in democracy (at least when an issue can't be resolved via property rights), so I thought I'd look into this more. The 96% statistic presented for all to see on bright white tag board can be found in a news release from rosiamontana.org:
    Rosia Montana/Romania 22. January 2007 — A consultation process conducted by the Romanian Parliament has been inviting people to comment on the Rosia Montana mine proposal since last October. As of 22 January 2007 over 96.86% of a total of 6617 participants voted against...
  • How About People for the Ethical Treatment of Humans?

    January 25, 2007
    The PETA animal cruelty trial is getting started in North Carolina this week, and the Center for Consumer Freedom is on the case:
  • When Metaphors Attack: Greenpeace Edition

    January 24, 2007
    We at Open Market HQ just received an email from John Coequyt at Greenpeace, responding to the President's State of the Union remarks about global warming. In order to put us in the right state of mind to "TAKE ACTION" (Step 1: Donate to Greenpeace), John heads to the linguistic kitchen:
    President Bush has let the issue of global warming simmer on the back burner of his presidency for 6 years. The scientific community and the rest of the world has heard the oven timer go off, but last night, President Bush continued to ignore the alarm as he served up a plateful of tepid solutions to a worldwide audience. While the chef may finally have acknowledged the brewing problem, he failed to rescue the planet from the oven. His so-called solutions of "clean" coal and nuclear energy are a recipe for disaster. Well, we're serving up a fresh new alternative to global warming...

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