When countries *do* tax carbon, it’s usually $15/ton or less @GreenCatherine @RusselNorman @Greenpeacenz

Source:  "Carbon pricing under binding political constraints" Jesse D. Jenkins and Valerie J. Karplus  (2 April 2016 ).

Self-driving cars may end gasoline era 

Tallbloke's Talkshop

Driver-less car [image credit: google.com] Driver-less car [image credit: google.com]
Or they may not. Robotic futures tend not to work out as predicted, but here’s another one, as DW.COM reports.

One likely roadblock is the amount of electricity required to make it feasible. Another one could be public resistance…

By 2025, self-driving cars could lead to a steep decline in fossil fuels – and in personal car ownership. Smart electric vehicles will pick you up, drop you off, and mostly look after themselves. A realistic scenario?

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Liberals Demand Google Refuse To Cover Republican Convention In July

PA Pundits - International

By Randy Hall ~

Despite the fact that Google — a multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products — has announced it will serve as the official livestream provider during this year’s Republican convention, liberal groups and civil rights advocates have called on the technology giant to sever any connection to the event, which will be held July 18-21 in Cleveland, Ohio.

According to an article by Tony Romm, senior technology reporter for the Politico website, the company’s “mere presence at the GOP convention is sure to spark new opposition from liberal groups and civil rights advocates” due to Republican front-runner “Donald Trump’s incendiary rhetoric.”

googlepolitics“Google has confirmed it will play a formal role at the 2016 Republican convention — despite pressure from critics who want the tech giant to withdraw” in protest of Trump’s controversial remarks about women, immigrants and minorities,” Romm noted.


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The Soviet Union: Brief remarks on the transition


I wanted to do a longer post on the fall of the USSR, and that will appear here at some point, but I wanted to do a quick post now with some minor points.

First, a chart of the fall, measured from peak GDP,


That’s 13 years to recover. Some communists take this to mean.. ahá! This proves that communism works, as GDPpc falled badly when the transition to capitalism happened. Here’s the chart for the years prior to the fall:


So communism was zooming along, then a transition to capitalism happened, and it took quite a few years to recover.

There’s a catch, however. Those two charts are for Nazi Germany at the end of World War II. :-). You just accepted the superiority of Nazism. Oops.

Here there is a comparison between Chile (just after Pinochet), Spain (just after the Civil War), Germany (just after the end of…

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Have A Go (Australian ad) 1970s

Europe on Hitler’s death

Nick barber: The Brexiteers: Right Answer, Wrong Question

UK Constitutional Law Association

Cross-posted from I-CONnect blog.

Nick BarberTowards the end of the 1990s I was invited to a workshop just outside of Berlin at which a group of young academics gathered to discuss the future of the European Union.  The workshop was funded by a German think-tank that had generously, if perhaps misguidedly, provided significant amounts of food and drink to assist the process of contemplation.  We had a great time, but by the end of the two days the future of the Union was, if anything, rather blurrier than it had been at the start.

One conversation I had at the workshop has stayed with me.  An earnest German doctoral student tackled me about Britain’s position on the Eurozone.  He wanted to know why Britain had decided not to join, and voiced a dark suspicion as to the answer. Was it true, he asked, that Britain planned to wait, see how…

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The renewable energy curse – does corruption turn clean energy into dirty? @GarethMP

Massimo Tavoni and Caterina Gennaioli published a nice paper showing that corruption and violence was higher in the high wind provinces of Italy after the installation of wind generators. They built on earlier work about countries with abundant renewable resources and weak institutions. The main question in their paper

… is whether an increase in the expected returns of investments in wind energy, following the introduction of the new policy regime based on a green certificate system, has driven economic agents, namely bureaucrats and entrepreneurs, to engage more in rent seeking activities.

As they studied Italy, there is no surprise about the answer which was yes. High winds ensure high returns of the wind farm investment, but whether this translates into more bribery depends on institutional quality. There was more corruption, and so especially in high-wind provinces of Italy.


Source: Green policy and corruption | VOX, CEPR’s Policy Portal.

The construction of an average wind park is associated with an increase of criminal association activity of 6%. Italy will have more corruption than elsewhere in the old European Union.

The wider problem is renewable energy is a celebrity technology. In the context of expressive politics, so many cheer for solar and wind power that standards drop in terms of who qualifies for subsidies and who should lose support when their investments do not turn out as promised.


Wind power is not new, it is intermittent, is unsuitable for modern work, and is land constrained but it is still subsidised. Green rent seeking is a real risk even in countries with the best political institutions.

Best Fawlty Towers moments


Source: The 10 best Fawlty Towers moments | Culture | The Guardian

Round up the usual suspects

One of the joys of growing up when I did was being part of the first generation to have old movies on TV. Black-and-white classics you could stumble across on late night TV.

Casablanca is a case in point. I first watched it at about the age of 13 – it was okay. I then watched it at the Friday night flicks at uni and regarded it as one of the greatest films I ever saw. This was in part because I have watched it before and therefore the 2nd time I did I paid more attention to the absolutely scintillating  dialogue.

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