Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Posts Tagged ‘alternative energy’

After Copenhagen: Climate action we can agree on

Posted by sanityinjection on December 17, 2009

In the wake of what is shaping up to be the spectacular failure of the Copenhagen conference on climate change, it may be that this presents an opportunity for a new look at the issue. I refer you to this piece by Bjorn Lomborg in the WSJ arguing that the current strategy being demanded by the global warming hysteria lobby – stringent worldwide emissions restrictions – fails not only because it is not achievable, but because even if it were achievable it would fail to benefit the people of the world’s underdeveloped countries. Because of poverty and disease, many people in these countries will not live long enough to suffer from rampant global warming. Emissions reductions, Lomborg points out, are incredibly costly and yet relatively ineffective in reducing global temperatures. For a fraction of the cost we could be wiping out malaria, for example, and save many more lives.

The irony of the global warming hysteria industry is that they have actually eroded support for moving away from fossil fuels by blotting out everything else and insisting on making global warming the defining issue. In fact, there are plenty of good reasons to support reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and expanding our use of alternative and renewable energy, while conserving energy through hyper-efficient “green” technology. You don’t have to be a faithful worshipper at the Church of ManBearPig, er, I mean man-made global warming, to support these things. Lomborg points out that even a major increase in funding for these initiatives would be vastly cheaper than what is being discussed in Copenhagen:

“Specifically, we should radically increase spending on R&D for green energy—to 0.2% of global GDP, or $100 billion. That’s 50 times more than the world spends now—but still twice as cheap as Kyoto. Not only would this be both affordable and politically achievable, but it would also have a real chance of working.”

Even the Obama Administration is taking a break from cheerleading for Al Gore to propose tax breaks for clean energy technologies – which in addition to helping the environment, also benefits the economy, unlike Copenhagen-style emissions restrictions which hurt the economy. To use a metaphor that carbon-haters can understand – the difference between promoting clean energy and mandating emissions caps is like the difference between walking and driving. Walking may be slower but it’s reliable, healthy and doesn’t cause collateral damage. Driving will get you where you want to go in a hurry, but at what cost?


Posted in Foreign Affairs, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Now that the bailout passed…what next?

Posted by sanityinjection on October 6, 2008

Free falling stock markets around the world today are a reminder that despite the federal bailout legislation, the economy is not going to rebound overnight. Having taken emergency measures to stave off a severe depression, what long-term steps should we be taking to improve the US economy?

Zachary Karabell has a piece up in the Wall Street Journal today arguing that America’s fundamental economic problem is its failure to adapt to a changing global economy in which we are no longer an economic superpower, but merely the greatest of a handful of powers. He cites enormous transfers of wealth out of the US and Europe to Asia and the Middle East over the last 5 years. The US imports goods and commodities at a furious rate but is not seeing that capital outflow reinvested in the US as it once would have been.

Karabell suggests two major changes that need to occur to put us on a sound long-term footing. The first is to achieve greater energy independence, so that we can stop sending trillions of dollars to OPEC and Russia. This of course has to involve a broad spectrum of energy investment, including offshore oil drilling and alternative energy sources. There is no reason why, in ten years, the majority of homes in the US cannot be heated by domestic natural gas, powered by a more diverse cocktail of sources including nuclear and wind energy, and have an electric car charging in the garage.

The second major change is to decrease the corporate tax rate, which is much higher than in Europe or Asia and creates a disincentive to operate businesses here (which means fewer jobs) and keep profits here. Karabell argues that arguments about the fairness of having corporations bear more of a share of the tax burden than middle-class working families are not wrong so much as obsolete, because the ability of companies to locate overseas makes it too easy to evade corporate taxation. Why have a high tax rate if it cannot be practically collected? Better to take a smaller piece of what will be a resultingly larger economic pie.

Article is here:

Posted in Domestic News, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »