The Carbon Tax Miracle Cure

Posted by , 31st January 2011

clean energyAlan S. Blinder

President Obama’s call for a major technological push for cleaner energy could be realized if decision-making is left in private hands and the jobs created will be in the private sector. Such a policy would not cost taxpayers a dime and would eventually reduce the federal budget deficit. Blinder says the “bang for the buck” from a phased-in CO2 levy would be infinite at first–lots of jobs at zero cost to the federal budget. Up to now our country has done next to nothing to curb CO2 emissions. A stiff tax would make a world of difference. Blinder promises that the US will eventually succumb to the inexorable logic of a phased-in CO2 tax, if you’re young enough to live that long.

Blinder, a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University and vice chairman of the Promontory Interfinancial Network, is a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve.

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Memo to board: we need to talk about BP

Posted by , 20th December 2010

BP oil spillMichael Skapinker

Skapinker says that following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil well disaster, all companies should set aside time to discuss the implications of a catastrophe hitting their organization. A disaster can hit any firm so they should all take time to think what their potentially grave threats are and how they would deal with them. The Deepwater Horizon disaster highlighted the importance of having a well-rehearsed response ready for when things go wrong. Skapinker adds that there is little point in firms moaning about adverse media coverage should catastrophe hit. Round-the-clock news, blogs, and Twitter accounts are the way of the world now. The smart move is to prevent a disaster happening in the first place.

Michael Skapinker is an assistant editor of the Financial Times, a columnist and the editor of the FT’s special reports

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Can Anything Serious Happen in Cancun?

Posted by , 12th November 2010

Tianjin-city-ChinaBjorn Lomborg

The upcoming climate summit in Cancun promises more proposals that ignore economic reality, writes Lomborg. World-wide public spending on research and development for clean energy technologies is a paltry $2 billion a year. Increasing this to $100 billion a year could be a game-changer. Not only would it be almost twice as cheap as the $180 billion a year cost of fully implementing Kyoto, but the effect of this kind of spending would be hundreds of times greater. Lomborg argues that this should not be our only response to global warming. We should also invest considerably more in adaptation to global warming’s effects and research geo-engineering technologies as a potential backstop.

Lomborg is director of the Copenhagen Consensus, a think tank, and author of “Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming” (Knopf, 2007). His new film, “Cool It,” opens in US theaters nationwide today.

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40 Years of Energy Panic

Posted by , 29th September 2010

Oil PumpHolman W. Jenkins, Jr.

Inflicted on us relentlessly since the 1970s, the most mischievous and misleading trope in American politics is the idea that our energy supplies are in danger, that foreigners are out to get us, that a crisis is upon us. The endless invocation of an alleged energy crisis is used to sell deep-water drilling because it’s used to sell everything, writes Jenkins. We seem to get all the oil we want at a price we’re willing to pay. For three decades our economy enjoyed one of its greatest boom periods ever–a boom that ended, ironically, not because of oil shortages but because of overspending on giant houses far from town by people happily conditioned by the ubiquity and affordability of their energy supplies. Yet by properly pricing the risks of a deep-water blowout, we’re likely to get much safer drilling.

Jenkins writes Business World for the Journal.

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Bring solar power back to the White House

Posted by , 13th September 2010

solar powerBill McKibben

President Carter installed solar panels on the White House roof in June of 1979, invoking both their enormous potential and the risk of irrelevance. Unfortunately, the latter appears to have been the case in the United States. The panels were removed during the Reagan administration and less than one percent of American homes have solar heated water. In contrast, China leads the world in solar technology with 250 million homes utilizing the panels.

McKibben, founder of the global warming campaign, is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College in Vermont and the author of “Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.”

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Jump-starting nuclear energy

Posted by , 5th March 2010

Patrick Moore

Nuclear.power.plant.DukovanyCurrently, nuclear power plants supply about one-fifth of the nation’s energy. And no member of the public has ever been injured by a nuclear power plant in the United States, nor has any nuclear worker died of a radiation-related incident. California would have to remove more than half a million passenger cars from its roads to eliminate the amount of carbon dioxide prevented by the state’s four nuclear reactors. The two reactors in Georgia will create an estimated 3,500 jobs during construction and 800 permanent jobs when the reactors are up and running. In California, where a state moratorium on new reactors has been in place since 1976, a majority of residents responding to the most recent California Field Poll on nuclear energy approved of building new reactors. Countries such as France, Japan, and Britain already have made great strides in extracting unused energy from used nuclear fuel, at the same time reducing the amount and longevity of waste byproducts. By employing advanced recycling techniques, advanced fuel fabrication, and new reactor designs, we could turn what is now considered waste into one of our most valuable future energy resources.

Patrick Moore is chairman and chief scientist of Greenspirit Strategies Ltd. and co-chair of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition.

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China’s Energy Priorities

Posted by , 26th November 2009

Oxford Analytica

Coal ChinaThe disproportionately heavy dependence on coal in China is unique among major economies and has made China the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. With coal reserves estimated to last only 50 years and in an attempt to combat environmental and ecological damage, recent years have seen increasing emphasis placed on developing indigenous renewable energy sources. China is reportedly now the world’s leading renewable energy producer. On energy security and environmental grounds, maintaining the momentum of rapid renewable energy production growth will continue to be a high strategic development priority. China’s resource endowment, its proven technological capability, and the commercial opportunities afforded by further expansion seem guaranteed to assure the fulfillment of this priority goal.

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Opinion summaries provided by Opinion Source, an organization with which Safe Democracy is associated

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Canada, the United States and the fight against climate change

Obama takes his first green steps with his neighbor Harper

Posted by , 20th March 2009

obama-harper.jpgDespite their environmental policy differences, Canada and the United States will fight climate change together.


Obama is thinking in green: you will pay for however much you pollute

The new administration launches an aggressive climate and energy plan

Posted by , 5th February 2009

obamaenergy.jpgBarack Obama has done more for the environment in a week than George W. Bush in eight years. However, the road is littered with obstacles, and the economic difficulties and challenges abroad can strongly influence any green advancement in the future.