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Tag Archives: global warming

Hypothecation and the carbon dividend

This week's Newsroom column, now ungated, goes through the happy surprise in last week's budget: ETS revenues will be hypothecated. Well, it could be a happy surprise. It could all yet turn to custard. Treasury hates hypothecation: the ring-fencing of particular tax revenues to particular purposes. And they are almost always entirely correct in that. In New Zealand, petrol excise is hypothecated to the Land Transport Fund as an ersatz road user charge; now that technology has progressed,...

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Biden’s Climate Plan Won’t Outlaw Meat

On Friday Larry Kudlow, who was Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, told Fox News viewers that Joe Biden’s climate plans would force Americans to stop eating meat. On July 4, he declared, you’d have to “throw back a plant-based beer with your grilled brussels sprouts.”Kudlow’s remarks raise several questions. What, exactly, does he think beer is made from? Also, doesn’t he know that grilled brussels sprouts are, in fact, delicious?More important, why would anyone believe this assertion...

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Getting Real About Coal and Climate

“Change is coming, whether we seek it or not.” So declares a remarkable document titled “Preserving Coal Country,” released Monday by the United Mine Workers of America, in which the union — which at its peak represented half a million workers — accepts the reality that coal isn’t coming back. Instead, it argues, the goal should be “a true energy transition that will enhance opportunities for miners, their families and their communities.”It’s good to see this kind of realism. Remember,...

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Krugman Wonks Out: The China Shock and the Climate Shock

This article is a wonky edition of Paul Krugman’s free newsletter. You can sign up here to receive it.Today’s column was focused on the remarkable announcement by the United Mine Workers that the union is ready to support the Biden infrastructure plan — if that plan helps miners and mining communities transition out of coal. This looks like a vindication of the “Green New Deal” approach to climate policy, even if Biden isn’t calling it that. That is, it suggests that an approach that...

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When Did Republicans Start Hating Facts?

Republicans spent most of 2020 rejecting science in the face of a runaway pandemic; now they’re rejecting democracy in the face of a clear election loss.What do these rejections have in common? In each case, one of America’s two major parties simply refused to accept facts it didn’t like.I’m not sure it’s right to say Republicans “believe” that, say, wearing face masks is useless or that there was widespread voter fraud. Framing the issue as one of belief suggests that some kind of evidence...

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Republicans Can’t Handle the Truth

President Trump’s continuing attempts to overturn an election he lost decisively more than a month ago is, like so much of what he’s done in office, shocking but not surprising. Who imagined that he would go quietly?What some people may not have been fully prepared for is the way Trump’s party as a whole has backed his dangerous delusions. According to a survey by The Washington Post, only 27 Republican members of Congress are willing to say that Joe Biden won. Despite the complete lack of...

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Ruling out doing anything about 99.83% of the world’s emissions

My column in the Fairfax papers today argues that the Zero Carbon Bill shouldn't rule out New Zealand pursuing opportunities to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions abroad.  The Zero Carbon Bill requires the government to focus on domestic mitigation opportunities. But the rest of the world provides 99.83% of the world's emissions. Does it seem likely that all of the very best opportunities for mitigating emissions will be found here at home? We risk ruling out doing far more good than we...

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Electric trains

In 2016, Kiwirail decided shift to an all-diesel fleet. At the time, it made some pretty compelling arguments for the change: Running an electric bit in the middle of a diesel network meant shifting everything from one set of engines to another set of engines; Running two sets of maintenance yards is expensive; Shifting to an all-electric North Island system would cost at least a billion dollars for the trunk lines and would still need diesels on the feeder lines that didn't have the...

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Afternoon roundup

Posting has been light as other deadlines press. But I have accumulated too many browser tabs. Here are some worthies:Colby Cosh on the case for using prices to reduce carbon emissions.  Is there really absolutely nothing you can do, even if you’re quite lower-middle-class, to create energy savings in your life? You never go to the fried chicken place across town instead of the one on the next block? Are you sure you need to own a pickup for one home reno project or a bit of landscaping...

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