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  • Making Job Losses Bad Politics

    December 21, 2006
    Yesterday, President Bush announced that he may go along with Congressional Democrats' proposal for an increase in the federal minimum wage, in exchange for some tax and regulatory. Today, I note in The American Spectator that this may not be a politically wise move.
  • Lost in translation? Mais non!

    December 21, 2006
    Today the French newspaper L'Express attacked CEI and other skeptics of catastrophic global warming as “les négationnistes” or “deniers” -- following the low ground captured by Senators Snowe and Rockefeller (see earlier posts on this). It's interesting too that the article needed some serious fact-checking — not only about the science of global warming, but about CEI. L'Express said that CEI is “une organisation de lobbying créée par ExxonMobil.” (Translation: “a lobbying organization created by ExxonMobil”) Mais non! CEI was créée, founded, established -- whatever he did -- by Fred L. Smith, Jr. in 1984 — with no money or involvement by ExxonMobil (having a working spouse was helpful). For its first year, CEI operated from our apartment, with one underpaid...
  • Carbon Trading Enriches the Few (for no global benefit)

    December 21, 2006
    Wonder where all the money the developed world is investing in the developing world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is going? To the privileged few, of course:
    Among their targets is a large rusting chemical factory here in southeastern China. Its emissions of just one waste gas contribute as much to global warming each year as the emissions from a million American cars, each driven 12,000 miles. Cleaning up this factory will require an incinerator that costs $5 million — far less than the cost of cleaning up so many cars, or other sources of pollution in Europe and Japan. Yet the foreign companies will pay roughly $500 million for the incinerator — 100 times what it cost. The high price is set in a European-based market in carbon dioxide emissions. Because the waste gas has a...
  • Yet more Stern criticism

    December 21, 2006
    David Maddison of the University of Birmingham in the UK adds his voice (PDF link) to the criticisms of the Stern Review, concluding:
    There is much in the Stern report with which one can wholeheartedly agree. Climate change is a problem. Climate policy can be informed by cost benefit analysis. The treatment of uncertainty is of paramount importance and economic instruments have a role to play in cutting carbon emissions. Permitting tropical deforestation is madness. Some of the background material commissioned by Stern is top quality.
    But the review also contains errors, questionable judgement and inconsistencies. Stern moreover misses the opportunity to say some things which needed to be said. There is often insufficient information to discover what Stern and his team have...
  • The tension between science and alarmism

    December 21, 2006
    Early last month, at about the time of the publication of the Stern Review with its inclusion of "catastrophe" in its analysis of the risks of global warming, Mike Hulme, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, warned that things were getting out of hand:
    I have found myself increasingly chastised by climate change campaigners when my public statements and lectures on climate change have not satisfied their thirst for environmental drama and exaggerated rhetoric. It seems that it is we, the professional climate scientists, who are now the (catastrophe) sceptics. How the wheel turns.
    He concluded:
    I believe climate change is real, must be faced and action taken. But the discourse of catastrophe is in danger of tipping society onto a negative, depressive and...
  • Who gets the farm pork?

    December 20, 2006
    According to news reports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will release on Wednesday a database showing just which farmers get part of the $56 billion in subsidies listed. Although this information has been available, the data have been difficult to locate and it has been almost impossible to find the names of individuals who received subsidy payments. The USDA said the database is too huge for its website, so it is distributing the data to some news organizations and to the Environmental Working Group, which said it will post the info online. The EWG site shows that in 2005, the top 10 percent of recipients were paid 66 percent of all USDA subsidies, and the top 1 percent of those receiving payments got 20 percent of the total. As debate on the 2007...
  • Green for the Holidays?

    December 20, 2006
    The New York Times reports today that Boston has announced a plan to comply with “green building” codes for city projects. And, no, we are not talking about holiday decorations. The city, like many other cities that have made this commitment, is supposed design construction projects in ways that save water, energy, and other resources. You would think such standards would always be good for the environment and city budgets. But think again. It appears that much of the time, green building standards are more political than practical. All too often, they are counterproductive and raise costs for taxpayers. CEI details such problems in a paper on the topic Todd Meyers.
  • A woman for all seasons -- Marquise du Chatelet

    December 20, 2006
    Two books about her have been published this year, numerous book reviews have hailed her role in the Enlightenment, and an op-ed in the Financial Times today extolled her accomplishments. This week marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of Marquise du Châtelet, ...
  • Psst. Things are good. Pass it on.

    December 20, 2006
    In a world were geriatric actor Kirk Douglas can say to "America's young people":
    "THE WORLD IS IN A MESS and you are inheriting it...Generation Y, you are on the cusp. You are the group facing many problems: abject poverty, global warming, genocide, Aids, and suicide bombers to name a few. These problems exist, and the world is silent. We have done very little to solve these problems. Now, we leave it to you. You have to fix it because the situation is intolerable."
    It is nice to be reminded, politically unacceptable though it might be, that THE WORLD IS A LOT LESS MESSIER NOW THAN EVER BEFORE. Long-time friend of CEI Dr. Indur Goklany has written a...
  • What do economists really think about global warming

    December 20, 2006
    Robert Whaples of Wake Forest University has the answer. He polled American economists and found:
    The results show that most economists are not alarmed by the likelihood of continued carbon dioxide emissions. The Great Depression of 1929 to 1933 caused inflation-adjusted GDP to fall a numbing 27%. Few economists think that rising GHGs will have anywhere near this impact - only one in eight predict that GDP will fall by more than 10 percent. Almost twice as many believe that rising greenhouse gas levels will cause the economy to grow. The most popular response is that rising greenhouse gas levels will have virtually no impact on income per person (less than 1 percent lower or higher). The vast majority (73.2%) predict that the impact will be less than 5 percent one way or the other. (Here are the...

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