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I’m Afraid to Say...



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Kerry is running rings around Newt at the moment, constantly interrupting him and taking his time, while painting Newt as using government solutions while he is using private sector solutions.

Newt is responding with the question of what encourages China and India most, which is where he could turn the tables on Kerry by arguing the adaptation point.

He should also be able to point out how the labor-intensive nature of wind power, which Kerry is lauding as job-creating, is an indicator of how uncompetitive it is.

Kerry Traps Newt



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He gets Newt to say to “Senator Inhofe” and his colleagues that, “The evidence is such that we must take the most efficient possible steps.” That goes way beyond the sort of no-regrets strategy that he’s been sailing close to, and also ignores the whole mitigation versus adaptation debate which is so important. He’s gone down the mitigation first route, which, as I argue below, is really putting the cart before the horse.

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Voluntary Environmentalism



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Kerry argues that there is not one example of voluntary measures solving an environmental problem. Newt disagrees, as a former teacher of environmental science. So would these guys.

There’s No Downside, says Kerry



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He actually argues that if he and his friends are wrong, then the worst that can happen is that there are more jobs in America. The EIA would disagree.

Kerry on Europe’s Mess



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He argues that the Europeans don’t know how to do cap and trade, but America does…

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A mistake by Newt



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I’m surprised that Newt makes a basic debating mistake by asking Kerry to clarify his plan, which he then uses as an excuse to make another full speech.

Kerry Responds



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He doesn’t think a carbon cap will be bureaucratic or invite litigation, again citing rent-seekers’ demands for regulation as evidence of their good intentions.

He claims that his approach is a market one. The father of free-market environmentalism disagrees.

He also says that China wants to limit its emissions. Really?

Newt Responds



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He argues that a coercive regulatory litigation regime is just impractical, enormously complicated and transfers a massive amount of power to bureaucrats.

Newt then praises Theodore Roosevelt and argues for tax credits. Ah well.

Yet he then reminds us of the mess that is Superfund, which he sees as the way any carbon bureaucracy will go.

He next reminds us of how the EU is exporting pollution in the name of its emissions trading regime.

Ah, but then he endorses the massive ethanol boondoggle and praises carbon capture and storage, which is a promising technology but even with massive investment many years away from being a working one.

It’s a Moral Issue



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…says Senator Kerry. As my colleague Marlo Lewis argues when Al Gore raises this point, the argument goes both ways.

He finishes by arguing for a “global price for carbon.”

Kerry Backs the Rent-Seekers



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John Kerry says that General Electric, Wal-Mart, PG&E, and DuPont are all screaming for a national price on carbon. Well, they would, wouldn’t they?

Kerry Begins



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…by saying Newt is actually a global warming denier, then goes on to the litany of scientific complaints, including agreeing that we don’t know much about temperatures over 400 years ago but then, essentially, saying that we do know enough…

He praises Jim Hansen as one of the best scientists America has to offer, and suggest that these scientists believe in a “tipping point of catastrophe.” Even the alarmists are a little more subtle than that. He also argues for a very low target for CO2 concentrations – which even sir Nicholas Stern says will be “extremely costly” – before arguing that it won’t be costly.

Newt’s Final Point



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Newt remembers the Second Earth Day and the spirit of catastrophism. He reminds how how spectacularly wrong Paul Ehrlich was. He also points out mankind’s adaptive capacity – which the IPCC ignores, as he says. Above all, he is optimistic.

Newt on the science



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He begins by re-emphasizing that we know very little about global temperatures over 400 years ago. Then he reminds us that there is no consensus that humans are the only factor influencing the climate, and points out that computer models are only computer models, and even those only suggest moderate sea level rise.

After that, he reminds us of the role of economic development. Failure to commit to economic growth will consign billions to poverty and disaster.

Now Newt gets to the meat – China is going to have cars, India is going to have air conditioning. His focus is on developing new approaches and incentives to ensure those developments. His preferred incentive is prizes, not grants. That’s good.

Newt praises Kerry’s book



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Newt begins by saying that he agrees with 60 percent of John Kerry’s book “A moment on the Earth,” to whit to those points that demonstrate how local leadership is often better for the environment than central government. That’s a fair point.

Liveblogging the Gingrich-Kerry debate



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I’m going to try to liveblog the Kerry-Gingrich debate on global warming starting now, which you can watch online here.

Make all the Bush Jokes You Want...



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…or maybe it should be the FoMoCo CEO joke. But I’m staying away from “Ford’s hydrogen-electric plug-in hybrid” and anywhere you might juice one up. Is their idea of clever design on that the average harried Joe (or U.S. President) has the ready, socket-compatible option of plugging it in properly or blowing it, himself and his immediate environs up at the service station just off the ramp? What are these, being built for markets in certain, ah, other geographical regions?

This has to be some kind of sick joke. You want to place a car bearing a compressed store of hydrogen that requires a plug for an electrical source into the land of millionaires made from the trick of spilling hot coffe on their lap?  When and where I attended law school they had courses specifically designed for engineers. How quaint.

Markets work. And let me posit that it’s going to take a(nother) federal subsidy to get these bad boys road-ready, because no insurer would touch something like that intimated in the piece. I think violating the protocol of the President’s personal space is the least of this chap’s worries.

Or, someone’s telling a fish story.

A cat speaks...



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I agree, a carbon tax is a lot better than a cap and trade scheme. But the optimal carbon tax is $0.00.

Dogs and Cats, Living Together...



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Now, I know that the idea of a carbon tax isn’t exactly popular with everyone around here, but I’m also pretty sure that everyone agrees that it makes more sense as policy than cap-and-trade.  On the other side of the ideological fence, TNR’s Bradford Plumer agrees, and, noting Ron Bailey’s interest in the idea at Reason, wonders if “maybe we’ll see some bizarre alliance between greens, right-wing economists, and libertarians on the issue.” I don’t know if we’ll ever really see an “alliance” in any true sense, but I think that it’s at least somewhat plausible that we’ll see enough rough consensus on the issue to nudge U.S. policy-makers intent on enacting some sort of global warming policy away from cap-and-trade and toward a straight carbon tax.  

A rsising tide floats all boats...



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Viewers of An Inconvenient Truth will remember the terrible images of the fishing fleets stranded in the desert that was once the Aral Sea, a disaster caused by Soviet central planning, not by climate change, of course.

Well, increased political freedom combined with ambitious engineering are reversing that catastrophe and growing the Aral Sea once more. A new dam has risen the sea level by 8 meters (yes, sea level rise is a good thing here) and 30 million fish will be released into the Sea this year.

The Aral Sea is far from saved, but mankind’s resiliency is helping to restore it slowly.

The Hybrid That Could Have Made Dick Cheney President



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From the Detroit News:

Credit Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally with saving the leader of the free world from self-immolation.

Mulally told journalists at the New York auto show that he intervened to prevent President Bush from plugging an electrical cord into the hydrogen tank of Ford’s hydrogen-electric plug-in hybrid at the White House last week. Ford wanted to give the Commander-in-Chief an actual demonstration of the innovative vehicle, so the automaker arranged for an electrical outlet to be installed on the South Lawn and ran a charging cord to the hybrid. However, as Mulally followed Bush out to the car, he noticed someone had left the cord lying at the rear of the vehicle, near the fuel tank.

“I just thought, ‘Oh my goodness!’ So, I started walking faster, and the President walked faster and he got to the cord before I did. I violated all the protocols. I touched the President. I grabbed his arm and I moved him up to the front,” Mulally said. “I wanted the president to make sure he plugged into the electricity, not into the hydrogen This is all off the record, right?”

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