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[OP-ED]: The messy reality of global warming

 06/07/2017 - 10:10
Based on present technology and knowledge, we don’t know how to solve global warming. There is no obvious way to eliminate our pervasive dependence on fossil fuels without plunging the world into a prolonged depression and inviting widespread civil strife. 

There was no need for President Trump to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement to achieve his goal of overturning the Obama administration’s global warming policy. This had already occurred through court rulings and executive orders, which effectively halted higher vehicle fuel economy standards (up to 54.5 miles per gallon) and ended the Clean Power Plan program, which pushed electric utilities to shift away from coal.

Why EPA has dismissed half of its key board’s scientific advisers?

 05/10/2017 - 04:10
Scott Pruitt, the EPA administrator, has chosen not to renew the terms of nine of the 18-member board of scientific counselors, which advises the EPA on the quality and accuracy of the science it produces. Photo: Wikipedia

Nine scientists have been dismissed from the EPA’s 18-person Board of Scientific Counselors—ostensibly to include more voices from regulated industries, though the scientists say their work was apolitical and did not involve regulations. The US government has also postponed an important meeting scheduled for Tuesday to determine whether the country should or should not withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, a matter that President Donald Trump promised to decide this month.

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[OP-ED]: Who’s afraid of the ‘administrative state’?

 03/07/2017 - 15:28
It’s time to make the administrative state a mainstream concept, through the creation of a regulatory budget. The point is not to justify the instant repeal of most rules, as Bannon’s critics fear, but to improve understanding and accountability.

Just what White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon meant when he recently suggested “deconstructing the administrative state” is unclear. To critics, he would gut the whole superstructure of social and environmental safeguards, starting with the Environmental Protection Agency (which, say news reports, may face a staff cut of one-fifth). But regardless of Bannon’s meaning, the relentless growth of the administrative state is a reality that we can’t escape.

Plain Text Author: 
Robert J. Samuelson

[OP-ED]: Two cheers for a carbon tax

 02/19/2017 - 20:55

Fossil fuels now supply four-fifths of the world’s energy, a share that has dropped only slightly since 1990. To stabilize CO2 concentrations, we must essentially stop burning fossil fuels. How is this to happen? Supporters of a carbon tax hope that the market mechanism -- higher prices for fossil fuels -- will unleash a torrent of innovation: safer nuclear, less costly solar, better batteries. This is a leap of faith. Higher prices do not guarantee technological breakthroughs.
 

By all means, let’s have a carbon tax. It’s the best way to deal with global climate change. It would require Republicans and Democrats to compromise -- a good thing -- and would provide revenues for a government that desperately needs more revenue. Fine. But let’s not pretend that a carbon tax is a panacea for either climate change or too much debt.

Plain Text Author: 
Robert J. Samuelson