Tag: environmentalism

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Eureka Podcast: California’s Affordable Housing Crisis

 

Real estate in California is expensive. That much I’m guessing you knew already. What you may not know is how much of this trend is driven by factors other than lots of people wanting to live by the beach. In this installment of the Eureka podcast from the Hoover Institution, I talk to Hoover research fellows Carson Bruno and Bill Whalen about how much of that premium results from conscious decisions by California policymakers rather than market forces. It’s an eye-opening discussion about how the policy preferences of gentry liberals can put the squeeze to the middle and lower classes. If you live in California — or any other state that’s becoming more restrictive when it comes to development — you’ll want to listen to this cautionary tale about the ultimate costs.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Science Guy Bill Nye’s Super-Amazing, Very Exciting Earth Day!

 

Science Guy in a Bow Tie Bill Nye wants you to be very concerned about Climate Change. It’s a cause he champions daily on social media, and in appearances at the White House, and in selfies with President Obama, and with Stoned Guy Neil deGrasse Tyson. So this Earth Day, Science Guy Bill Nye joined President Barack Obama (but not Stoned Guy Neil deGrasse Tyson), for a message of stopping Climate Change and Raising Awareness. It was a Super-Amazing, Very Exciting Earth Day for Science Guy Bill Nye.

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Curing Gaia

 

dino_and_earthHuman beings find other human beings really depressing. Even when we are quite fond of the ones in our vicinity, we frequently despair of humanity as a whole. If you don’t believe me, go to church.

I drive around my state a lot, and one of my little enjoyments is to note the sentiments on church marquees. My favorite recent example is this one, from the Reformed Church of Something-or-Other:

Services 9 & 11

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Climate Change Apocalypse

 

You can’t make this stuff up. Hillary’s revelation that during her tenure as Secretary of State she ran the department as though it were an appendage of the Clinton Foundation; Republicans doing their best impression of a Common Core civics lesson to instruct the Iranian leader, when their letter should have been addressed to America’s leader; Democrats, at least many of their multicultural, morally relativistic, blame-America-first acolytes of Jeremiah Wright’s “G. D. America” diatribe, accusing Republicans of treason; and current Secretary of State, John Kerry, trying to get a deal with the Iranians to change their nuclear program timetable from apocalypse now to apocalypse later; the list goes on. The real question is, which among these events should be considered the single most important crisis facing this generation of decision makers?

The answer is, none of the above. In fact, the correct answer is not found on this list, but rather in a speech made by Secretary Kerry to the Atlantic Council on March 12, in between executive denunciations of the leader of our most important ally in the region and negotiations with the world’s most nefarious supporter of terrorism. It’s climate change; specifically, the 97-percent-of-scientists-agree variety of climate change. Indeed, in his words, if we (the world, but mostly the American government) do nothing, “future generations will judge our effort, not just as a policy failure, but as a collective, moral failure of historic consequence. And they will want to know how world leaders could possibly have been so blind, or so ignorant, or so ideological, or so dysfunctional, and, frankly, so stubborn that we failed to act on knowledge that was confirmed by so many studies over such a long period of time and documented by so much evidence.”

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Do You Even Science, Bro?

 

As religious belief loses steam in the western world, people must look elsewhere for ways to flex their moral superiority muscles. After all, without a core belief to espouse, you look rather silly while standing on a soap box. Sure, your primary reasons for occupying the pedestal are to feel good about yourself while simultaneously letting those around you know how awesome you are, but pretext can be important for one’s self-image.

An unfortunate side effect of this impulse has been the politicization of the sciences. Rather than treating human knowledge as incomplete and ever evolving, many have chosen to treat scientists as a priestly cast, from which all decisions in life should be primarily informed. Many scientists balk at this role, while others embrace it. The Union of Concerned Scientists wants to know if you’ve got Science, and they provide a handy quiz in order to be sure. As a fun exercise, I thought we might take this as a group.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. EPA as Peeping Tom

 

Big government is creepy. On that, I would like to think all readers would agree with me (as you should most topics). However, a couple of stories have recently come to light that have taken big government creepiness and turned it up to eleven. Turns out the government is really super interested in getting in the shower with us.

First, it was the water heaters. Remember what the government did with light bulbs? Well, now they’re at it with residential hot water heaters. These new regulations, by who other than the EPA, will be two to three times the cost that they are today and significantly larger. So, have fun either remodeling your utility closet or having a water heater as an art piece in your living room.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Sacrament of Recycling

 

Office Christmas parties have few redeeming qualities. I maintain that the world would be a better place if the practice were done away with completely. I do, however, have a rule about never turning down free food. While standing amongst co-workers this past Christmas, plotting how I could subtly steal the entire tray of cannolis, some of our colleagues from Britain inquired as to where the recycling was.

One co-worker pointed to the holiest of holies, while beaming with unjustifiable pride. Mildly surprised to find that we Yankees observed the same religious rites, our British colleagues began inquiring as to the depth of our devotion. Anyone can recycle bottles, cans and stacks of printer paper, but did we recycle cardboard? The American congregation was unsure.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Fuel For Humanity

 

The modern environmental movement is guilty of a great many sins — alarmism, data-fudging, it’s knee-jerk embrace of socialism — but the clear winner is its indifference to human well-being. Occasionally, this manifests itself in open misanthropy, complete with comparisons of humans to locusts who decided to ditch their usual standards of social responsibility and just live in the moment. More often, however, it’s simply a matter of ignorance combined with selfishness: fossil fuels hurt the earth; using them makes me feel bad; therefore, we should try to use less of them ourselves and force others to do the same.

Even if fossil fuels are less-dangerous than advertised — as seems to be the case — this ignores the other half of the the ledger: what are the benefits of using hydrocarbon fuels? Only after examining that can one arrive at an informed opinion.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Greenpeace Damages Ancient Nazca Lines; Peru to Prosecute

 

The United Nations is holding climate talks in Lima, Peru, featuring delegates from 190 countries. To get their attention, the anti-science extremists of Greenpeace illegally entered a prohibited area adjacent to one of the most famous Nazca Lines.

The activists trampled across the fragile, 1,500-year-old site to install large cloth letters reading: “Time for Change; The Future is Renewable.” To put it mildly, Peruvian officials are not amused.

Member Post

 

Today I saw Christopher Nolan’s new big budget (does he even do low budget) Sci-Fi epic, Interstellar. This movie is a grand, nearly three hour long, space exploration movie; equal parts 2001 A Space Odyssey and Contact with a splash of Primer (bonus points to people who have heard of this one). I highly recommend […]

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Member Post

 

Our betters in the California state legislature have passed a ban on plastic grocery sacks. Signed into law by Governor Brown redux, the law begins to take effect next July.In a state where budget realities force Democrats to choose between boondoggles, this should come as no surprise. As a Californian and grocery shopper, the ban will […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. More Moralists Than Scientists

 

For a movement so keen to cite science and empiricism when it comes to identifying problems, environmentalism relies on moralism and feeling when it comes to solutions to a remarkable degree. Who needs numbers and statistics to know that fossil fuels are evil, that corporations are wicked, or that windmills and solar panels will bring about environmental redemption?

Even when they try to come up with solutions based on actual data and information, the sound more like snake oil than genuine medicine. Commenting on a new report that a 4B plan to reduce emissions by switching to renewable energy would be cost-neutral, Megan McArdle points out that this is hardly the most rational way to go about actually doing anything useful:

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Breaking: Scientists Discover Property Rights

 

If you can wade past the Rosseauian assumptions regarding the natural affinity indigenous Amerindians have for the unspoiled land of their ancestors — and I recommend you bring high boots — you’ll find something quite interesting in this New Scientist piece: local control and property rights are better stewards of tropical rain forests than are do-gooder environmentalists and the governments they recruit to do good:

A report from the World Resources Institute and the Rights and Resources Initiative, both in Washington DC, reviews over 130 earlier studies in 14 countries. Securing Rights, Combating Climate Change concludes that most communities are better forest custodians than governments.

Baby-With-Energy

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Climate Change, Overpopulation Fears Are a Bad Mix for the Left

 

Global birthrates are declining, but not fast enough for some environmentalists and climate-change worriers. A new piece by New York Times economics columnist Eduardo Porter suggests one way to reduce carbon emissions is by reducing population growth. Porter writes: “As the threat of climate change has evolved from a fuzzy faraway concept to one of the central existential threats to humanity, [some scholars] have noted that reducing the burning of fossil fuels might be easier if there were fewer of us consuming them.” He quotes one expert as saying:

“There is a strong case to be made that the world faces sustainability issues whether it has nine billion people, seven billion people or four billion people,” said John Wilmoth, who directs the United Nations Population Division. “Nobody can deny that population growth is a major driving factor, but in terms of the policy response, what are you going to do?”

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Trick the Bumpkin: Democrats and the EPA

 

Today’s EPA decision to limit the emissions of coal-fired power plants was expected as part of the legacy stage of Obama’s presidency. Our side immediately rushed to declare that middle-class families will be hit with higher electric bills, that we face reduced economic growth, and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.

However, today’s most important lesson isn’t that Obama is willing to wreck a sector of the economy in order to build the Tom Steyer Wing of the Obama Presidential Library. It’s that the liberal apparatus in the press, the vast constellation of left-wing advocacy groups, and the Democratic donor class are perfectly comfortable with lying to win, and that the rules they insist everyone else play by are tissue-thin political screens.

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Which Beloved Public Figures Do You Most Despise?

 

rachel carsonOn Tuesday, Google celebrated Rachel Louise Carson, arguably the mother of modern environmentalism, and, in the remarkable way modernism has with irony, murderess of tens of millions. I despise Carson, her almost single-handed fabrication of the DDT scare, and especially the “savior of the world” conceit of environmentalists resulting in the deaths of millions of, dare I say it, black African children. If I hadn’t already been told so many times that leftist and environmentalists are genetically immune to it, I might believe the ban on DDT was a racist ethnic cleansing program.

It’s positively scandalous that there are schools named after Carson — schools! With children attending! In Chicago! And other urban centers with large populations of African-Americans. Pagan “Earth Day” celebrations including Carson-worship are part of nearly every public school curriculum. Can you imagine sending your kid to Adolf Hitler Elementary? Well, he killed fewer people than Rachel Carson and her genocidal movement. By some estimates over 50 million people have died from malaria since the DDT ban took effect, and counting.

My fantasy is to see the face of every DDT-banning environmentalist just before we send him to live permanently (however long that may be) and DEET-free, into malaria mosquito infested villages with only a mosquito net as defense. “Have a nice life! You might want to reconsider sleeping, so you can make sure you don’t accidentally expose some juicy body part in the middle of the night.” Insert smiley face here.