July 2008

Paul Chesser, Climate Strategies Watch

The answer — which is that they don't understand economics — is revealed in a blog post by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Lisa Stiffler. Her report explains a review by the Beacon Hill Institute (co-sponsored by the Washington Policy Center) of the state's Climate Advisory Team recommendations to raise the costs of energy so high that people will want to move their tailpipe emissions to other countries.

That was a joke – the tailpipe emissions part.

Anyway, the BHI study is similar to ones they've done for other states where the economic analyses of costs associated with climate commissions' recommendations are severely underestimated. In Washington, BHI found among other things that the Climate Advisory Team "misinterprets costs as benefits." And then there is this revelation from reporter Stiffler:

For example, jobs are credited as a benefit, but the reviewers said this is actually a cost. This sort of confuses me as I thought job creation was generally a positive step.

Of course it is "a positive step" in the backwards world of journalism, where jobs digging holes for no apparent reason are considered productive.


W e need a new John McCain, one who throws overboard some worn-out ideas he has been toting around, and — with fire in his eyes, his belly and his rhetoric — would give an energy speech something along these lines:

Florida utility regulators on Tuesday powered down an $11.4 million program designed to promote green energy, but whose budget overwhelmingly funded marketing and administrative costs.

President Bush will meet with his Cabinet on Wednesday and is expected to discuss congressional efforts to combat high gas prices.

Senate lawmakers remained deadlocked on Tuesday over legislation to rein in excessive energy speculation, as they haggled over adding amendments to the bill.

North v South 2.0

by William Yeatman on July 29, 2008

In the 70s and 80s it became trendy to talk about the global gap between “North” and “South,” in the sense that the rich countries that are mostly in the North of the planet were exploiting the poor countries to the south. That was actually an exercise in blame deflection, with the poor countries blaming the North for problems that arose from their own poor choices, such as a predilection for socialism and corruption. Today, however, there is another North vs. South conflict developing. This time, the cause is global warming, and the complaints of the South deserve much more consideration.

Earlier this month the House of Representatives voted on an energy bill called the Drill Responsibly in Leased Lands (Drill) Act. The good news, for those of us who actually want to do something to lower gas prices, is that it failed.

Former Vice President Al Gore wrote a letter to the Massachusetts House of Representatives urging them to pass the Global Warming Solutions Act, which calls for greenhouse gas emissions reductions of 20% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. The bill has already passed the state Senate. Like the 2005 California law of the same title, the bill does not contain any actual solutions but instead directs the Secretary of Energy and Environment to “adopt a plan for achieving a 2020 statewide greenhouse gas emissions limit.”

Sometimes public opinion doesn't flow smoothly; it shifts sharply when a tipping point is reached. Case in point: gas prices. $3 a gallon gas didn't change anybody's mind about energy issues. $4 a gallon gas did. Evidently, the experience of paying more than $50 for a tankful gets people thinking we should stop worrying so much about global warming and the environmental dangers of oil wells on the outer continental shelf and in Alaska. Drill now! Nuke the caribou!

Bob Schaffer's opponents have spent the past two months tarring him as "Big Oil Bob," an advocate of oil drilling and an energy-industry insider. Maybe he should thank them.