A Primer on How to Avoid Magical Solutions in Climate Policy


Roger Pielke Jr. summarizes the most critical points from his work on climate and energy policies that work. Hint, Kyoto is not one of these policies. Any proposed policy should be analyzed in the context of the Kaya Identity. Which of the four factors does the policy act on?

Carbon emissions = C = P x (GDP / P) x (TE / GDP) x (C / TE) [where TE is total energy]

In the following excerpt Dr. Pielke examines why effective decarbonization must be grounded on accelerating energy innovation (C / TE)): 

By now there is really no excuse for any professional involved in climate policy not to understand the implications of the Kaya Identity. The risks of not understanding the Kaya Identity is that one can get caught out proposing magic as the main mechanism of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Developed by Yoichi Kaya, a Japanese scientist, in the…

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a first class economist on the minimum wage

reality is not optional

An important post on the Minimum Wage debate. Don Bourdreaux posts some blog comments from an anonymous commenter. Excerpts:

On possible unintended consequences:

(1) Low-skilled workers can be replaced by slightly more-skilled workers once the wage difference between them has dramatically compressed.

(2) New workers can enter (or old workers can increase their labor supply) in response to higher wages; if this happens, people who might need the job will be disemployed even if labor demand is constant.

(3) Labor can be replaced by automation.

(4) Customers can substitute between businesses that provide the same basic service but with dramatically different business models. (e.g. less shopping at Walmart, which is now more expensive, and more shopping at Costco; only problem is that Costco has half as many workers per dollar of sales, so labor demand decreases dramatically)

… and so on.

In general, the exasperating thing about left-wing economic commentary…

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Jon Haidt on the origin of the offense culture

Why Evolution Is True

I want to call your attention to a piece by social psychologist Jon Haidt on the Heterodox Academy site: “The Yale problem begins in high school.” It recounts a lecture that Haidt gave to an elite high school (the kind that feeds students to Yale), as well some discussions Haidt had with students at other elite schools. What he encountered was a conundrum:  many of the students are in principle in favor of free speech, but fear to express their own views for fear of social opprobrium. In other words, what we see at places like Yale, Columbia, Wesleyan, and Stanford are problems that are already evident among high school students.

Haidt and Greg Lukianoff have suggested that the root cause of the student “offense culture” is a childhood upbringing of “vindictive protectiveness,” and have suggested solutions ranging from abandoning college speech codes and trigger warnings through teaching cognitive behavioral therapy to incoming students to help…

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Jonathan Haidt discusses free speech and victimhood culture on college campuses

Why Evolution Is True

Here’s your evening’s entertainment: visiting the State University of New York at New Paltz, psychologist Jon Haidt talks about free speech, the lack of “thought diversity” in academia, “social justice,” racial issues, the campus victimhood culture and its inevitable infighting, sex differences in interest and their sequelae, and a variety of other topics that we discuss on this site. It’s worth listening to, and I’m surprised that people didn’t try to disrupt this meaty but non-strident talk.

The talk proper starts at 11:35 after two introductions. The talk ends at 1 hour and 21 minutes and the rest is Q&A.

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-12-46-50-pmh/t: Cindy

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Why the environmental movement is important for nuclear power


In 2014 Academy Award Nominee Robert Stone, the environmental activist Kirsty Gogan and the Swiss Entrepreneur Daniel Aegerter co-founded Energy for Humanity (EfH). EfH is a rare breed of non-profit — an NGO that is both pro-humanity and pro-nuclear.

Energy for Humanity has made a significant impact on both the political leadership and the public. Testimony to this impact is that EfH has been shortlisted for Business Green’s prestigious 2016 NGO Of The Year award [there are only three other nominees, none of which are the Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace crowd]. Another example is last year’s biggest climate event, the COP 21 Climate Summit in Paris, where EfH organised and hosted a series of high profile, well-attended events. One of these events was a major press conference for four of the world’s most renowned climate scientists.

The scientists — Kenneth Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution, Kerry Emanuel of…

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The laws of cartoon physics

Why Evolution Is True

To end the week, we have a lovely post that gives the cartoon laws of physics, whose author is, sadly, unknown. But they’re hilarious, and if you’re of a certain age you’ll recognize them all. Here they are; I’ve put my favorites in bold.

Cartoon Law I
Any body suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of its situation. Daffy Duck steps off a cliff, expecting further pastureland. He loiters in midair, soliloquizing flippantly, until he chances to look down. At this point, the familiar principle of 32 feet per second per second takes over.

Here’s an illustration:

Cartoon Law II
Any body in motion will tend to remain in motion until solid matter intervenes suddenly. Whether shot from a cannon or in hot pursuit on foot, cartoon characters are so absolute in their momentum that only a telephone pole or an outsize boulder retards…

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