July 8 Sources: How to Regulate Greenhouse Gas

Below are my sources for last week. I recommend “How Should the United States Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions?.” Smart people know that a carbon tax is the way to address global warming. This article debates HOW. Also notice the great news that German unemployment dropped to 8.8%. (We cry about 4.4%.)

Energy & Environment

Nanotech Disappoints in Europe - Faced with struggling startups and a divide between research and innovation, the science of the small has yet to make it big in the EU

Lower Energy Bills Ahead for EU Consumers - The bloc's newly open energy market may yield a total savings of $80 billion a year for companies and households

Policy Issues for Coal-to-Liquids Development — Testimony presented before the Commonwealth of Kentucky House Appropriations and Revenue Committee on June 28, 2007.

Dead Rivers and Raw Sewage: Choking on Pollution in India

China’s Black Gold and Global Warming - In China, where breakneck economic growth is the norm and energy consumption rises every passing day, coal is king (Bloomberg). Every week or so, a coal plant goes online somewhere in the country.

Beware the Population Alarmists - A new UN report wrongly urges governments to curb supposed overpopulation problems.

How Should the United States Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions? – The debate over policy responses to greenhouse gas emissions.

Choking on Spruce in Germany - Half a year ago, the storm Kyrill toppled more than 40 million trees in Germany, most of them in planned spruce forests. But now, instead of environmentally appropriate replanting, foresters are returning to monocultures.


The Greening of Capitalism - John Maynard Keynes was the inspiration for today's corporate social responsibility advocates.

U.S. Society & Politics

Slouching Toward Statism - Some mornings during the autumn of 1933, when the unemployment rate was 22 percent, the president, before getting into his wheelchair, sat in bed, surrounded by economic advisers, setting the price of gold. One morning he said he might raise it 21 cents: "It's a lucky number because it's three times seven." His treasury secretary wrote that if anybody knew how gold was priced "they would be frightened."

Democrats Go Domestic: Analyzing the 6-28 Debate - Before a predominantly black audience at Howard University, the eight candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination focused on issues of special interests to minorities including health care, education, taxes and racial discrimination.

The War on Terrorism: Habeas Corpus On and Off the Battlefield - Extending habeas corpus rights to unlawful enemy combatants would impede military operations, undermine the laws of war, and unnecessarily burden an already fair legal process.

Media Earn High Marks for Coverage Of China's Product Problems - Most in public call news about safety issues involving Chinese imports accurate and appropriate in amount. Traditional media are also the main source of news about the latest in hi-tech communications: the iPhone.

Polls on Patriotism and Military Service - Since September 11, 2001, a large majority of Americans have stated that the country is united on its most important values.

British Terror Bombings Lead In News Interest - Though last summer's foiled aircraft bomb plot drew still sharper public attention, news of the aborted car bombs was followed most closely by 21% of the public, narrowly outpacing interest in Iraq. The immigration debate claimed third place in public interest, with Republicans paying much closer attention than Democrats as the controversial legislation collapsed in the Senate. On the newsmaker list, President Bush narrowly beat Paris Hilton.

Numbers: The Fourth of July, Third Parties, and More - A brief analysis of current public opinion on the Fourth of July, third parties, and more.

Marriage and Parenting: Drifting Apart - At a time when nearly four-in-ten births in this country are to an unmarried mother, the public says unwed parenting is a big problem for society. But Americans are far less inclined now than a generation ago to say children are important to a successful marriage.

America Will Prefer to Rely on Rules, Not Principles - American politics, culture, and law is more receptive to a regulatory regime that operates on rules rather than principles.

An Amateur Economist Defends Mainstream Culture - A new book on the evils of digital media is bold, provocative, and economically benighted.

How Muslims Compare With Other Religious Americans- Although Muslims constitute a small minority in the United States, in many ways, they stand out not so much for their differences as for their similarities with other religious groups, especially evangelicals.

FAQs -- and Answers – about Pew's Muslim American Survey - A recent report, "Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream," attracted a great deal of attention but also raised a number of questions about the research. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Foreign Policy & Security

Plummeting Unemployment in Germany - The German economy continues to rebound as the unemployment rate falls to 8.8% and the number of jobless drops to a 6½-year low

Australia Is the Most Popular Country For Vacations — If Cost Is Not An Issue

Pyongyang Pussyfooting - The Bush administration is already over as far as North Korea policy is concerned.

"Realism" Is Ugly in North Korea - The Bush administration's "realist" stance toward North Korea only makes Kim Jong-Il's regime more dangerous.

China, the Philippines, and U.S. Influence in Asia - Manila may be turning from Washington to Beijing as its primary economic and security partner in the Asian-Pacific region.

A quiet revolution in China’s capital markets - Reforms that attracted little attention in the Western world mark a major step forward in the modernization of China’s capital markets. [Includes audio]

India Eyes African Investments - India’s net investments on the African continent remain small relative to China’s (World Bank), but experts say a burgeoning Indian-African relationship nevertheless holds the potential to redraw economic lines of power in several African countries.

Boeing, Airbus: Prepare for Turbulence - With Boeing and Airbus receiving most of the attention, China is slipping by unnoticed with a bold new commercial aircraft production project.

Disunion - A new book explores Europe's ills by examining its demographic and migration problems.

The New EU Reform Treaty: A Threat to the Special Relationship - The EU's new Reform Treaty closely resembles the failed EU constitution and carries the same risks to nation-state sovereignty and U.S. interests.

Sarkozy's Lesson for America - It is time for the United States to return to the principles of classical liberalism.

Sarkozy's Free-Market Muscle - Finance Minister Lagarde could help him cut spending and reduce red tape

The French Lesson in Health Care - The nation's system isn't quite as superb as Sicko maintains, but it's pretty good

The Appointment of Mark Malloch Brown Will Strain U.S.-British Relations - Malloch Brown's appointment is a slap in the face of the Anglo-American alliance and does not bode well for relations between the Gordon Brown government and the Bush Administration.

"Stupid Terrorist" - Why are so many of us surprised at the lack of intelligence displayed by terrorists like those who attacked Britain this weekend?

Confronting Terror in Open Society - As British police pursue leads through quiet suburban neighborhoods (TIME), many argue Britain must do more to deal with the threat of homegrown terrorism in its large and varied Muslim population.

Muslim Networks - Comfortable with understandings and contacts nurtured over decades, one can get taken by surprise such as difficulties that the United States encountered as it pushed for democracy in the Middle East—an effort that, in retrospect, relied far more on U.S. hopes and good intentions than a clear understanding of how Arab governments actually work.

Uncowed in London - The events of last weekend in Britain show why the West has the institutions and will to continue to battle terrorism.

The Pakistan Time Bomb - Pakistan's President Musharraf has received mixed reviews as a general from his peers and has shown little talent as a politician.

Showdown At Pakistan's Red Mosque - The episode will not end the political crisis that Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf faces — it was "only one of four dramas affecting the government's future." Moreover, she writes, the episode illustrates that it is time for the United States to recalibrate its policy toward Pakistan.

Pakistan, Turkey and the Democracy Dilemma - That democracy promotion is not working out so well in places like Iraq, Palestine, and Iran, is obvious. As is the fact that Bush is not even trying any more in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, whose regimes he now appears to see as lesser evils.

Round Three with Iran - The economic noose around Iran may be tightening. Domestically, the government’s plan for gas rationing, in a country that exports the second-largest amount of crude oil, sparked protests.

Winds of War - Islamist regimes in the Middle East increasingly see the United States as a weak, retreating power. This makes war with such regimes more likely.

Orderly Humiliation - The moderates think they've found a "responsible" way out of Iraq.

The New Strategy in Iraq - What General David Petraeus is learning from past U.S. mistakes in Iraq.

Posted by Jack at July 8, 2007 9:24 PM
Comments
Comment #225356

mullah cimoc say this a perfectly good example of the cia’s domination of pakistan.

please scan: inside the company, a cia diary by phillip agee for an introductory course in subversion of nations, except the satanic forces are even more skilled now.

the usa is self destructing both psychologically and physically as the women of the ameriki becomes whores taking the LBT (low back tattoo) and making the sex with every man, while killing their children through mass abortions.

ameriki’s son is now the gay homosexual, to the pride of his divorced and sexually diseased parents.

fear not my friends as the wicked always get their reward. Musharaff will die the death of Hezekiah, his organs rotting from the inside out. It will not be pleasant. His family will be exterminated to the fourth degree of blood relations. this to include even the second cousin.

for truth: stop1984now@yahoo.com

Posted by: mullah cimoc at July 8, 2007 11:10 PM
Comment #225362

Jack,
Here comes a rant… but first:

Mullah Comic,
Not funny. If you want to go for a laugh, the LBT is properly known as a “tramp stamp.” But really, the comment amounts to spam; and you know how everyone, especially Mullahs, feel about spam.

Jack,
I am not familiar with the state of the German economy, although I would be curious to see how much of the unemployment is in East Germany.

I just spent time in Australia. They have the same unemployment rate as the US. However, they pay $400 per year for their health care. That covers everything- everything- except cosmetic surgery. And you can pay additionally for the equivalent of HMO care. In addition, they receive more vacation time- in the case of an upper level manager I visited, six weeks- and 10 days sick leave per year.

Jack, you are right, things are going very well in the US. But who benefits?

The problem is that we spend as much as the rest of the world on “defense,” and export as many arms as the next 14 largest arms exporters combined.

We are ruled by the military/industrial complex. We are ruled by multinationals, aka corporate interests. So even as corporations post decent profits, and even as the Bush administration economic program continues to make the rich even richer, the remaining 80% of the population see no benefit.

We are told inflation is under control, and pretend the impact of health care costs (for those who can afford them), and volatile elements of the CPI/PPI such as food and oil (over $70 now) do not really matter. And really, they do not. Not if you are the multinational benefitting from the Bush administration domestic and foreign policies.

Because it is all about outsourcing. Even as non-farm payroll numbers CONTINUE to fail to keep up with population growth, we pretend it is going ok.

And the outsourcing is reaching new lows. The line between the “military” and the “industrial” in the complex is disappearing. In Iraq, and enormous number of “troops” are mere mercenaries. Even the CIA is outsourcing:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/06/AR2007070601993.html?nav=rss_print/outlook

War is good for business. War is a racket:

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many.”
Major General Smedley Butler, USMC, “War is a Racket”

General Butler said: “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested.”

By the way, Butler was one of the few people in American history to win two Medals of Honor.

And what he said then is still true today.

So yeah, Jack, things are going great for the few, just dandy, and all accomplished with no sacrifice whatsoever.

But it is everyone else who is paying the bill.

Posted by: phx8 at July 9, 2007 12:43 AM
Comment #225364

mullah cimoc-
This reads like either a bad joke or a serious lack of actual familiarity with real Americans.

As for rewards and punishments, that is God’s business, and his alone, and he keeps his own counsel. Take care lest he takes offense.

Jack-
I guess I’m not smart if I don’t immediately jump on the plan.

On the subject of the EU’s new competitive energy regime, we can only hope they manage better than we have in the states with Deregulation.

All too often, the infrastructure is monopolized with one company, while the other companies play games with generation on the energy market. Markets can make things cheaper, but whenever you put middlemen in play, or get into these tragedy of the commons situations with the electrical grid and gas lines, inefficiencies and price increases can come instead of the promised cheaper rates.

My experience is, people make a lot of promises with the market that the market doesn’t necessarily tend to keep.

On the Nanotech front, it’s difficult to say who’s really ahead. Look at the landscape of players that were on the ground in the early seventies, and look who’s big now. Carbon Nanotubes are not necessarily a dead end, especially given their properties. One potential use: flat screens with the clarity and response time of CRTs. Other uses include new kinds of transparent transistors and flexible connectors.

Michael Ledeen’s commentary is an exercise in dangerous complacency. His kind of attitude is valid right up to the point where they send somebody good enough at this to kill somebody. Say, like the folks who did the Cole, 9/11, East Africa, etc. etc. We’re going to get our share of idiots (and in this case, incompetents.), but that does not mean we can relax. When the idiots are dead or in jail, you’ll still have to contend with those have their crap together.

And yes, smart people can sign up for these things. An intelligent person can rationalize just as much an idiot can, if not more. Worse, even if most of the people doing the dying are fools, a good thinker, like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, can coordinate their actions in ways that will diminish the liability that any such dupe would bring to an operation.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 9, 2007 1:08 AM
Comment #225374

Phx8

I think most of us benefit when most of us are employed and our economy grows. We are still a land of opportunity. Not everyone takes it. Generally the U.S. is better for people who want to work and change their situations. I have been to Germany and I live in the U.S. Overall, I think I would prefer to live in Germany if I was already established, but I would rather live in the U.S. if I had to make my way in the world.

No matter what we say about it, it is interesting that unemployment rates nearly double ours are considered a major success. I wrote a post a while back talking about how economic growth rates about half ours were also considered a success. We always jump to compare ourselves to anyone doing better. It is good to get the whole picture.

It is interesting that you can take so much from the short words “Also notice the great news that German unemployment dropped to 8.8%. (We cry about 4.4%.)” You will not be the last. There are many who cannot accept any good news about the U.S., even when it is delivered very obliquely.

Stephen

You will come around to the carbon tax. W/o that, we have no real chance of addressing global warming. Everything else is just commentary or window dressing.

The reason I included the stupid terrorist article is to point out that these guys often are pathetic. They can be dangerous and we should know that, but we do not need to consider them better than they are. Just as most criminals are below average intelligence, but we still have to be on guard against them.

I think the other point of the article is that the smart guys get the dumb guys to blow themselves up. They are probably happy to get rid of some of the congnitively challenged members of their communities and laugh about it in private.

I think we should help those who want to become a martyrs achieve their goal, preferable near other martyrs and away from anybody else.

Posted by: Jack at July 9, 2007 8:02 AM
Comment #225375

Jack-
You say I will come around to the Carbon Tax? That’s not a good reason to come around, just a circular argument. I believe it could play a role, but policy cannot end at taxation.

The “stupid terrorist” article is problematic because it invites people to take an approach to terrorism that assumes these people aren’t as clever and intelligent as we are. It puts us right back where we were before the rise of al-Qaeda, assuming things about the limits of the terrorists out there.

We should assume that the stupid ones, being easy to take out, won’t last that long, that eventually, that leaves the folks smart enough to do things differently. Also, we shouldn’t assume that suicide missions will remain the attack of choice. I think the Madrid and London bombings were at least partly done from a distance.

We spent years underestimating these people. We have little to gain from starting that all over again.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 9, 2007 8:50 AM
Comment #225378
I am not familiar with the state of the German economy

Germany is generally considered to have a horrible unemployment problem. It’s not like this is an apples to apples comparison. It’s like saying our education system is doing a better job than Serbia’s or something.

I do realize unemployment is getting better though.

Posted by: Max at July 9, 2007 9:56 AM
Comment #225391

Question:

I have heard that Al Gore owns a carbon tax company but haven’t been able to find anything to confirm this. Does anyone know if this is true?

Posted by: Andy at July 9, 2007 12:01 PM
Comment #225524

Beware the politicization of the carbon tax. It is already being designed by the wealthy special interests to become a bank in which credits and deposits may be made, similar to the Savings and Loan system, in which bankruptcy can be built into its future with the taxpayer becoming the bailout.

In theory, the carbon tax makes sense. In practice, with our wealthy corporate special interests at the legislative drafting table, theory and practice are all too likely to become a chasm for a bridge too far.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 9, 2007 9:17 PM
Comment #225539

Andy-
He has an interest in an investment company that looks into investing in companies making a concerted effort to go green. He does not, however, like some pundits on the right allege, sell carbon offsets, which would be kind of skeevy, since he’s exhorting people to buy them. He’s a purchaser, not a seller of the offsets.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 9, 2007 10:30 PM
Comment #225612

Offsets for individuals are BS. They are like the indulgences the Pope used to sell.

I have 178 acres of trees and I ride my bike to work. I figure that is worth at least 100 people. Anybody want to buy the right to claim they are green? Since I own that forest, does that make me greener than you? Do you all see how stupid the offset market is? Gore really cannot claim to be carbon neutral any more than I can claim to be carbon negative.

Posted by: Jack at July 10, 2007 7:46 AM
Comment #225691

Jack-
They’re only BS if there isn’t good definition of what’s being offset and how. You could probably do a scientific measurement of how much you’re offsetting through your activities. If you’ve got a car, you could measure it by the emissions given off by the model for the amount of gas it takes for it to get all the way to your workplace and back.

The B.S. Comes when there is little clear measurment in that manner.

They key with making offsets work is not being lazy about the measurements or the standards apply, and perhaps doing some kind of auditing, either by private or public entities.

Carbon Taxes are passive means of taking care of things- supposedly, you can set it and forget it. Offsets take more work. That said, the work of investing in green technology and practices, carbon sequestration being one example that figures in the article could be used, if it’s made to work.

The question of whether Gore is truly carbon neutral is a good one, but simply claiming he isn’t, with the measurements ambiguous, may not be correct. Get more accurate about the measurement, and you can truly make such distinction, and encourage people to invest more wisely.

I bike to work (at least to the bus station) every day I can. In order to figure out what the shortest route was, I actually went into one of those satellite map programs, and plotted out my route. Rather than simply play it by ear and make assumptions, I took measurements. As a result, I cut out several parts of my route that I discovered added to the distance I had to travel. For those curious about it, the distance is about 7 1/2 miles each way.

At the end of the day, the efficiency of my route depends on multiple factors. Distance, safety, and time are among them. I’m not a terribly organized person, so I set up some rules of thumb for myself concerning when I leave, what kind of conditions lead me to ride a car to the station instead.

I believe much of the business of reducing our emissions will be in the efficiencies we can create, and in the alternative methods we can employ. The only carbon emissions that come from my biking are those I breath out. Ideally, that should be our goal with alternative source. Either we should use alternative, non-carbon emitting sources, or we should use sources that act as carbon sinks before we harvest them, creating a net balance of emission to absorption.

However, folks need to invest money to get technologies to the market. The more we can invest towards those purposes, the better. With Papal indulgences, the only way to check to see whether the indulgence really bought something would be to check with the almighty himself.

We, however can audit the companies that sell carbon offsets with much less trouble and a great deal more feedback.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 10, 2007 5:09 PM
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