Econ4′s James Boyce explains what rent’s got to do with climate change:
Read his piece here.
Some good news from the energy efficiency frontlines:
[I]nvestment in energy efficiency is large and growing: $300 billion in 2011 by companies and governments in 11 countries. That is the same as total investment in electricity generation from oil, gas and coal, though less than investment in renewable electricity plus renewable-energy subsidies. But it saves more in emissions of carbon dioxide than all the spending on renewables, and pays for itself.
Read more here.
Sean McElwee and Lew Daly write about the disconnect between valuing oil and gas reserves and valuing the future of our planet:
A whopping two-thirds of reserves listed on markets are potentially worthless.
Steve Waygood, head of Sustainability Research at Aviva Investors, a global asset management company, sums up the conundrum: “Valuations of the oil and gas sector still assume that they will be able to take all proven and probable reserves out of the ground and burn them. Based on credible data we cannot be allowed to do that…” So in much the same way that pre-Great Recession housing prices were based on the assumption that their values would continue to rise and homeowners would pay off their mortgages, the valuation of oil and gas companies is based on the assumption that they will be able to extract resources that must remain in the ground.
Read their piece here.
From Robert Reich’s blog:
A basic economic principle is government ought to tax what we want to discourage, and not tax what we want to encourage.
For example, if we want less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we should tax carbon polluters. On the other hand, if we want more students from lower-income families to be able to afford college, we shouldn’t put a tax on student loans.
Read his post here.
Econ4′s James Boyce writes that we need better measures of economic well-being, better public policies, and better language:
We need to move beyond the stale “pro-growth” versus “anti-growth” rhetoric of the past. It’s time to raise a new banner: Grow the good and shrink the bad.
Read more here.
Econ4′s James Boyce on how to translate good principles into good practice:
Five years ago, this picture appeared in report titled Nation Under Siege: Sea Level Rise at Our Doorstep. It depicts what would happen – and this week, did happen – as a result of a 3-meter rise in sea levels in New York City:
Was superstorm Sandy a preview of what sea level rise will bring—permanently—to New York and other coastal cities by century’s end?
Read about it here.
Senator Bernie Sanders (Ind-VT) writes on winners and losers in U.S. energy policy:
It is not about whether government is picking winners and losers, because clearly government has been doing just that for years, with the fossil fuel and nuclear industries being the big winners. What is necessary to reverse global warming and create jobs is that we pick the right winners – the technologies that will transform our energy system and protect the environment.
Read his take here.
Big Chem is worried about your health – excuse me, worried about you worrying about your health – writes Nicholas Kristof in today’s Times:
Big Chem apparently worries that you might be confused if you learned that formaldehyde caused cancer of the nose and throat.
Read about the cancer lobby’s effort to suppress the National Institutes of Health’s updated Report on Carcinogens here.
Bill McKibben breaks down the “new math” of global warming:
We have five times as much oil and coal and gas on the books as climate scientists think is safe to burn….
Yes, this coal and gas and oil is still technically in the soil. But it’s already economically aboveground – it’s figured into share prices, companies are borrowing money against it, nations are basing their budgets on the presumed returns from their patrimony. It explains why the big fossil-fuel companies have fought so hard to prevent the regulation of carbon dioxide – those reserves are their primary asset, the holding that gives their companies their value. It’s why they’ve worked so hard these past years to figure out how to unlock the oil in Canada’s tar sands, or how to drill miles beneath the sea, or how to frack the Appalachians.
Read it here.