Category Archives: Economics

The “Hottest Year On Record”

What are they hiding?

I was very gratified to see that all of the climate BS on the White House web site is now gone.

[Update a few minutes later]

Obama did leave one more last-minute turd in the punch bowl; he outlawed three-way bulbs. That should be one of the first things that Trump undoes. In fact, Congress should repeal that idiotic law.

The Department Of Energy

Rick Perry now regrets wanting to say he’d abolish it:

“My past statements made over five years ago about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking,” Perry said at his confirmation hearing Thursday to be secretary of Energy.

“In fact, after being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination.”

Here’s the thing: Just because an entity does a lot of things doesn’t mean that it needs to be a department, with a cabinet secretary. All of the nuclear stuff was happening before the department was created in the Carter administration. The renewable R&D (if we should be doing it with federal money at all) could just as easily be done at (e.g.) Commerce. Or it would be an independent agency, like NASA. If you want to trim government, it starts by eliminating departments.

[Update a while later]

I hope this is true:

The departments of Commerce and Energy would see major reductions in funding, with programs under their jurisdiction either being eliminated or transferred to other agencies. The departments of Transportation, Justice and State would see significant cuts and program eliminations.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely.

Overall, the blueprint being used by Trump’s team would reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years.

The screams of the stuck pigs will be deafening.

[Update a few minutes later]

Ignore the fake news about Rick Perry:

None of this is to make a positive case about Perry, who lost my vote (such as it is) when he walked back his bold and eminently sensible plan to get rid of one more usless cabinet-level department and reassign its core functions. But the treatment of Perry by the legacy press—Twitter lit up like a Christmas tree yesterday with journalists and other media types hyping and amplifying the Times’ story—is an object lesson in the urgent need for media literacy during the Trump presidency.

Simply put: Don’t believe everything you read, especially if you basically agree with the outfit reporting it and want to believe whatever moral lesson is being imparted (this goes for Reason loyalists, too, of course). I write this not as a Trump supporter or even as a Trump apologist. I would rather that he not be president of the United States. But he is and much of the media despises him while a solid chunk will also explain all of his bullshit moves. In either case, caveat lector, friends: Let the reader beware. We are entering one of the least-expected and weirdest episodes in American history and I remain optimistic that what we are witnessing are the death throes of a post-war Leviathan that is ideogically exhausted, financially unsustainable, and wildly unpopular.

I hope so.

The “Warmest Year On Record”

#ProTip to “scientists.” We have never been heading into a “known” climate. At least they included some cautionary voices, from people like Christie, Pielke, and Curry, even if they shoved them to the end.

And speaking of Judith, she has some thoughts on the “social costs” of carbon:

The bottom line is: water, food, energy. Heck, even the folks attending Davos get it. People need it and large numbers of people want more of it. And there are more and more people all the time. A single minded focus on reducing CO2 emissions neglects a lot of real problems facing many nations across the globe.

Climate variability and change impacts water, food and energy. But there isn’t much we can do to influence the climate on the timescale of the 21st century — however much we have impacted the climate over the past 70 years or so, those impacts (large or small) will work their way through climate system over the next centuries as the oceans act as a big flywheel on the climate system.

Back to the question posed by Revkin: Will Trump’s climate team accept any social cost of carbon? Well, I hope not.

I hope not, too. The uncertainty is far too great.

[Update a while later]

As usual, the “threats to science” come from the Left.

Geoengineering, Space Tech, And Societal Risk

Some interesting thoughts from Oliver Morton (who I unfortunately missed having lunch with in London last week, maybe next time):

AI worries people more, but geoengineering seems pretty well placed in second place. (Incidentally, what’s up with space as the top societal risk enhancer? If AI takes the laurels in terms of economy, geopolitics and tech, how come space outdoes it in the exacerbation of societal risks? A mystery for another time…)

Indeed. I have some ideas, and that some it arises from ignorance and too much bad SF in television and movies, but I’ll let the commenters have at it.

Pity Eric Holthaus

He’s having a climate meltdown. Which reminds me: Did he ever get that vasectomy?

[Update mid morning]