February 05, 2005
Oil and Terrorism
Arnold Kling explains why efforts to wean ourselves from the consumption of foreign oil, as a means to combat Saudi funding of terrorism, are a bad idea.
June 05, 2004
June 04, 2004
I recently heard a talk by John Mackey, founder and president of Whole Foods, the US-headquartered supermarket group. Whole Foods has vastly more organic produce than its competitors, but Mackey is no fan of government control. He votes for the Libertarian Party, and came to his political position reading books by Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand. His business is the most profitable supermarket chain in the United States. It does business in the way many environmentalists demand, but Whole Foods does it inside a market structure, rather than against it. There is certainly a demand for more expensive, organic, locally-sourced food. Let it compete in a marketplace.
I did not know that about Whole Foods.
May 21, 2004
Kyoto: A Totalitarian Ideology?
The Adam Smith Institute blog has an interesting post on Russia's position on the Kyoto Protocol:
Andrei Illarionov, chief advisor to President Vladimir Putin, addressed an audience at the Adam Smith Institute today on key policy issues. Clarifying Russia's position on Kyoto, he said: "Kyoto would result in an economic holocaust for Russia. Kyoto-ism is another example of totalitarian ideology like Marxism, communism and socialism. Russia has imported those ideas from Europe and suffered badly in the twentieth century. Kyoto-ism would lead to the creation of bureaucratic monsters at national and supra-national levels that - through allocation of emissions quotas - would be a blow against basic human freedoms and human rights, and would decide the fate of nations, companies and people worldwide." . . .
Illarionov pointed out that there is a strong link between wealth creation and environmental protection. "Kyoto harms economic growth, perpetuates poverty, and would undermine everyone's ability to achieve a cleaner, healthier environment. Therefore, the most important policy for environmental protection is creating the right conditions for economic growth. Kyoto has the opposite effect and is therefore environmentally harmful."
May 16, 2004
Stoking Enviromental Hysteria
On March 13, the Guardian newspaper of London, beating the American networks by nearly eight months, called the U.S. presidential election -- for Sen. John F. Kerry. The Democrat would win, the paper declared, not because of his plan for Iraq, or his proposals for the economy, but because of . . . a movie.
Specifically, a movie about global warming. It's called "The Day After Tomorrow." And if it doesn't actually unseat George Bush, it won't be for lack of trying. It opens on May 28, but this movie is already being vocally touted by none other than former vice president Al Gore, on behalf of MoveOn.org, a liberal Internet advocacy group backed in part by billionaire George Soros that appears to be dedicated to defeating Bush.
At least that's the take-home message from the MoveOn Web site, which ominously calls "The Day After Tomorrow" "the movie the White House doesn't want you to see" -- because it will supposedly ignite a backlash against Bush's global warming policies, which favor slow technological evolution over immediate (and expensive) reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. As a climatologist, I'm concerned that this putative backlash could be caused by scientific nonsense.
Let's not forget that the planet is warmer than it was when the Little Ice Age ended in the 19th century, and that people have had something (not everything) to do with that. But what Gore and the movie do is to exaggerate this largely benign truth into a fictional apocalypse
In a piece that's really quite interesting, Patrick Michaels goes on to explain in the WaPo today why "The Day After Tomorrow" is a movie with an implausible story line. Apparently, though, that's not stopping certain Democrats from hyping it for political gain. (Via Volokh.)
May 12, 2004
Are We Running Out of Oil?
April 20, 2004
I wonder if Richard Serra put his money where his mouth was:
It was just over 30 years ago that SoHo was rescued from a Robert Moses plan to raze its 19th-century buildings and replace them with a crosstown expressway. Back in the days when the Friends of Cast Iron Architecture mobilized to save the area, the artist Richard Serra once stood at the corner of Broadway and Spring Street and doomfully predicted to the museum curator Marcia Tucker that "one day this will all be boutiques."
I've heard stories of people buying entire SoHo cast iron buildings in the 1970s for as little as $20,000. Indeed, ground floor commercial space in the neighborhood can now demand more than that amount for a single month's rent. You can imagine what such buildings sell for today.
Let's just be grateful Robert Moses wasn't successful in destroying yet another historic New York neighborhood with a "public works" project. Here's an interesting bit on one of Moses' foes.
April 08, 2004
Global Warming Meltdown
An interesting FuturePundit post on the melting of Greenland that is predicted by some:
Further complicating the models are the contradictory effects a warmer climate may have on polar ice sheets. As temperatures rise, evaporation from the surrounding oceans will increase, sending more moisture inland. This will increase snowfall over high-elevation accumulation zones. On the other hand, the simultaneous increase in summer rains could accelerate the melting. So the net effect of increased precipitation is hard to predict.
Is it "[t]ime to buy real estate that is near the coast but right at the edge of the future coastline once the seas rise"? I wonder if the environmentalists are making that bet, and if not, it surely isn't because they're not comfortable speculating.
April 06, 2004
Union of Concerned Scientists: Apolitical?
Gregg Easterbrook doesn't think so:
Of course, there's no reason scientists who are politically active shouldn't sign a document that makes a political complaint — which brings us to the core problem with the UCS report. It protests that Bush is being political with science, but the union is itself political with science.
The group is best known for campaigning in the 1980s for the nuclear freeze — perhaps a just cause, but a quintessentially political cause. Its mission statement declares, "We augment rigorous scientific analysis with innovative thinking and committed citizen advocacy." The assumption that science and politics should mix is the whole reason the UCS exists.
Enviro Scare Tactics at the Times?
Gregg Easterbrook writes in TNR:
ANOTHER OVERSTATED NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE STORY: "Up in Smoke: The Bush Administration, the Big Power Companies and the Undoing of 30 Years of Clean Air Policy." So blares the cover of yesterday's New York Times Magazine. Author Bruce Barcott isn't responsible for the headline, but might not it have occurred to some editor somewhere at the Times Magazine that there is nothing in the 13-page article that supports a claim of "undoing" clean air policy? All pollution regulated by the Clean Air Act is declining, has been declining for years, and continues to decline under George W. Bush. That's not mentioned in the 13 pages, since it would more or less spoil the entire premise of the story and the dramatic cover. No factual statement in the Times Magazine piece appears wrong, but the article systematically ignores counter-arguments and counter-facts in order to create a picture that is, overall, inaccurate.
Read the whole thing here if you're interested in clean air issues. For someone who doesn't follow these issues closely, I found it quite informative -- apparently the air is steadily getting cleaner (who would have known?). (Via InstaPundit.)