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The St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial Board:
If Congress and the president were more rational than political — admittedly, a very big if — they could kill a covey of birds with one stone. They could replace the payroll tax with a carbon tax. Suddenly Social Security and Medicare funding would be secure, which means the rest of the fiscal crisis would be fixed. Plus, you might save the planet in the process. [...]

Liberal economists like the carbon tax. Conservative economists like the carbon tax. Environmentalists like the carbon tax. Even ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell have had a few nice words about the carbon tax, though some people doubt their sincerity. [...] So why not do a carbon tax instead of fooling around with spending cuts, tax expenditures, payroll taxes, plan Bs, sequestration and all the rest of the fiscal cliff discussion?

Because the politics of it will be really, really hard. Because many politicians are still in hock to the fossil fuel industry. And because many people, Superstorm Sandy and Superdrought 2012 notwithstanding, would still rather pretend that global warming is not real.

The chart included in the link above is a must-share. Out of 13,950 peer-reviewed studies of climate change and/or global warming since 1991, just 24 have rejected climate change. As the editorial notes, "that piece represents 17 hundredths of 1 percent of the pie. End of debate."

The New York Times Editorial Board:

Since his re-election, Mr. Obama has agreed to foster a “conversation” on climate change and an “education process” about long-term steps to address it. He needs to do a good deal more than that. Intellectually, Mr. Obama grasps the problem as well as anyone. The question is whether he will bring the powers of the presidency to bear on the problem.

Enlisting market forces in the fight against global warming by putting a price on carbon — through cap-and-trade or a direct tax — seems out of the question for this Congress. But there are weapons at Mr. Obama’s disposal that do not require Congressional approval and could go a long way to reducing emissions and reasserting America’s global leadership.

One imperative is to make sure that natural gas — which this nation has in abundance and which emits only half the carbon as coal — can be extracted without risk to drinking water or the atmosphere. This may require national legislation to replace the often porous state regulations. Another imperative is to invest not only in familiar alternative energy sources like wind and solar power, but also in basic research, next-generation nuclear plants and experimental technologies that could smooth the path to a low-carbon economy.

Todd Sanford of the Union of Concerned Scientists writing in Newsday:
[M]isinformation from special interests has sown doubt and confusion about climate science among the public and policymakers.

That has to change. There's nothing ideological or partisan about first responders planning for the toll increased summer heat can take on seniors. Or farmers taking a hard look at the future for their crops. Or coastal planners anticipating how fast sea levels are rising near valuable beaches.

Post-Sandy, conversations about climate change have a new urgency.

Newly-appointed Senator Brian Schatz - who is filling the seat of late Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye -- has made clear that "climate change is at the top of his legislative agenda":
“For me, personally, I believe global climate change is real and it is the most urgent challenge of our generation,” Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz (D), whom Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) tapped for the seat, said in brief comments Wednesday.
EPA head Lisa Jackson has announced that she'll be stepping down after the President's State of the Union address. Here's the reaction from two New Jersey papers. The folks in New Jersey know Jackson well - she was former chief of that state's Department of Environmental Protection and was a chief of staff to Gov. Jon Corzone. From the The Star-Ledger Editorial Board:
If all Lisa Jackson had done was to hold her ground against the radical Republicans who want to dismantle basic environmental protections, her tenure running the federal Environmental Protection Agency could be counted as a modest success.

But that’s not what she did. She made profound progress, especially on air pollution and climate change. The nation owes this woman a huge debt of gratitude as she prepares to step down next month after four remarkable years.

Jackson’s biggest win was to establish a scientific finding that climate change does indeed endanger human health, and to fight off the troglodytes who attempted to reverse that by placing their political ideology before scientific realities.

Bruce Lowry at the North Jersey Record:
Jackson's record at the EPA will be remembered for the right reasons: helping to finalize a historic new rule doubling fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks by 2025 — based on Jackson's so-called "endangerment finding" regarding carbon dioxide and climate change — and fighting hard to establish new standards that force power plants to control mercury, arsenic and other airborne toxic pollutants. And, perhaps more than any predecessor, Jackson tried to make the impact of industrial pollution on low-income neighborhoods a priority. [...]

As far as I can tell, Jackson didn't get nearly accomplished all that she might have hoped at the EPA, but she at least got us headed in a sensible direction, a few steps away from a reliance on fossil fuels and toward a frank and open discussion about how we will go about protecting our water and air and trees in the years to come.

Meanwhile, Paul Krugman at The New York Times peeks into the future and looks at the question of growth in a new, tech-based economy:
[M]achines may soon be ready to perform many tasks that currently require large amounts of human labor. This will mean rapid productivity growth and, therefore, high overall economic growth.

But — and this is the crucial question — who will benefit from that growth? Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to make the case that most Americans will be left behind, because smart machines will end up devaluing the contribution of workers, including highly skilled workers whose skills suddenly become redundant. The point is that there’s good reason to believe that the conventional wisdom embodied in long-run budget projections — projections that shape almost every aspect of current policy discussion — is all wrong.

The Chicago Tribune:
Across the U.S., the number of homeless and hungry people is growing, according to a recent survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.[...] Food pantries in almost every city surveyed have had to cut the amount of food they distribute to each person. That's a practical effect of rising demand and reduced supplies, partly as a result of higher food prices. Food pantries put less in each bag of groceries they give away, and cap the number of monthly visits they allow each family. Soup kitchens cut the size of the meals they serve.

Each of us can step up to offer at least some help, even in — especially in — a season when charity appeals have to compete with hefty credit card bills and daunting holiday expenses. The need is real. Yes, Americans have been hearing about the growing need all around them for years now. It is tempting to give in to recession fatigue, more difficult to acknowledge that homelessness and hunger don't take winter vacations.

As a nation of individuals, we Americans can do better — and we shouldn't be relying on our local, state and federal governments to meet every human need. Opening presents was enjoyable, but it didn't signal that the need for giving has passed. At this time of year, in this economy, the persistence of homelessness and hunger testify that needs abound.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 04:35 AM PST.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS and DK GreenRoots.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Thank you for this posting ... (9+ / 0-)

      It is good to see a front page post focused on climate issues outside the 'usual suspects'.  Thus, thank you.

      I have always had a problem with the term "carbon tax".  We don't "tax" firms who pollute water, we charge them "permit fees" and/or "fines".  When someone dumps an old mattress at the county dump, they pay a "fee".  We pay "fees" for the trash collection services.  Etc ...  Thus, issue is a "fee" not a "tax".

      It would be nice if this Nov 2006 diary would be only six years too late:  Global Warming Impact Fee ... Has its time arrived?

      Times are a changing in Washington ... with real indications that the political scene is radically different when it comes to Global Warming issues.  There are several excellent diaries (noted in body of the diary) today on this today. There have been editorials in major newspapers, articles examining changed energy company views, and changing lobbyist access to Hill leadership.

      Global Warming deniers and Astroturf organizations seem to, all of a sudden, be facing a chilly environment in Congress.

      All of this activity raises some serious questions: How far can we go in moving toward a better a path for securing a better tomorrow?  Is the nation ready for a Global Warming Impact Fee? And, if so, how might we implement it?

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 05:29:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sad reflection on 2006 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koNko

        Here we are still in hoc to a murderous GOP and a do nothing set of Drmocrats.  I am sure Mr Obama will start a brief conversation about climate change by approving XL, drilling in the Chuckchi and mining in Powder River.   RL's diary really brought me up short, since it is one thing to watch this, but another to seemingly have it confirmed that Mr Obamas pretty words on climate are probably not to be believed

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:24:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  There is this today concerning Washington's own (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel, koNko

        climate. "Done deal: Washington, D.C. to complete warmest year on record in 2012" with a chart showing a long term trend.

        There is a qualification:

        In addition to the weather pattern that favored these warm temperatures, a long-term warming trend is also obvious in Washington, D.C.’s data record. The warming trend is thought to be a result of three primary factors: 1) the move of D.C.’s observing station from 24th and M St. to the warmer Reagan National Airport in the 1940s 2) urbanization 3) climate warming from increasing greenhouse gas emissions. The relative contribution of these three factors to the warming is complicated and not known with certainty.
        However the first two are not clear in the pattern as short term event spikes. The move to Washington National Airport in the 1940s was before urbanization and that event itself was a fairly rapid increase within the last decades without being particularly intense out on the runway by the Potomac.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:31:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I commented there (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koNko

          Agree absolutely re National Airport as a short-term impact.

          The Urban Heat Island, however, is likely an increasing impact in DC. (As a DC native, the growth over the past decades is impressive ...)

          Thus, to state that a local area's changes are complex and it is difficult to state, exactly, what share of warming in trend is due to global change as opposed to specific local issues seems reasonable. However, that paragraph certainly downplays climate change with throwing in a factor that is essentially irrelevant as somehow equal.

          BTW, the denier comments in that thread are quite typical of Capital Weather Gang comments whenever climate change is mentioned.

          Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

          by A Siegel on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:45:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  As always there is a big problem with "weather" vs (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            A Siegel, koNko

            "climate" and much confusion among those without much scientific background. I keep getting people citing one weather event as an indicator of climate change and others with a countering weather event as disproof.

            Unfortunately, in this case, absolute certainty will probably not come until absolute disastrous effects are a certainty. Basic risk assessment makes sense, but is not being applied as is again typical among those not versed in that specialty.

            Green house gas effect was known well and being discussed as a potential threat when I was in school in the early 1960s. One logically cannot extract and burn fossil carbon laid down over eons without an increase in the combustion result. Certainly not combined with rapid net reduction of the long term present day reservoirs, forests.

            One basically spends great effort countering very high probable risks, even when impact is fairly minor or even the low probability risks with catastrophic effect. Whether we know now or not whether man introduced carbon is the main driver, and we have enough information to be reasonably certain it is, the catastrophic result of not making real efforts in the increasingly likely event it is reflects stupidity. Then, in general, we are not a particularly un stupid species.

            The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

            by pelagicray on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:58:47 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  There is a simple way to put it. (0+ / 0-)

              We all know weather is a complex dynamic system.

              And because of that, the systematic trend of global warming affect ALL WEATHER to some degree since no weather events are independent of the system.

              Therefore, the logical burden of proof is on those who would dispute it plays a role in any single event, i.e., they have to prove a negative.

              I stopped having that argument with people about climate change a couple of years ago.

              Now if some says "you can't prove global warming affects any particular event" my reply is simply "prove it did not in this event".

              Evidence is in on systematic change on a global scale. The system has changed and continues to change, and that affects all weather.

              Full stop.

              What about my Daughter's future?

              by koNko on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:12:08 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I agree that is a good retort to the people trying (0+ / 0-)

                to counter climate change with "what global warming, it just snowed out of season!" kind of thing.

                Of course all weather events are a subset of climate and climate is changing. At the same time we cannot ourselves get into the trap of seeing every rainstorm, every snow, every wind—even odd ones—as being a specific indicator of climate change. It is the summation of all those events into a trend that indicate the climate is in fact changing.

                The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

                by pelagicray on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 09:05:17 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  They don't apply the same logic to other things. (0+ / 0-)

                For example, any one street robbery doesn't signify a crime wave. Use the climate deniers' logic and there has never been a crime wave in the history of the world.

                For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

                by Anne Elk on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 09:53:44 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  End ALL of the Bush tax cuts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laconic Lib

    President Obama, January 9, 2012: "Change is hard, but it is possible. I've Seen it. I've Lived it."

    by Drdemocrat on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 04:41:23 AM PST

    •  problem is that the benefits were disproportionate (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ohkwai, TRPChicago

      so even if we ended them today, the effects would disproportionately hit the middle class, what is left of it.  After all, when you are a plutocrat, trimming the fat is easy (and their legions of accountants are already working on the problem) while for the middle class, cutting the fat means cutting perilously close to the bone

      •  I think it means (0+ / 0-)

        cutting well into the bone.  Down to the marrow.  Bleeding out.

        Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

        by KibbutzAmiad on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 05:24:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  We have an aging population. Thus Medicare (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laconic Lib

        will get more and more expensive.  

        Thus the only way we are going to be able to deal with this is if the middle class pays more taxes so might as well end the Bush tax cuts now for I don't expect any future congress to increase taxes.

        President Obama, January 9, 2012: "Change is hard, but it is possible. I've Seen it. I've Lived it."

        by Drdemocrat on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 05:26:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am part of that population (5+ / 0-)

          I would suggest one small step would be to stop monkeying with Medicare such as the Bush Part D addition and the MC+ programs which have enriched the carriers w/o improving care

        •  The equation that aging = higher Medicare cost... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tb mare, Laconic Lib, dinotrac, tofumagoo

          ... is correct as far as it goes, but it's too simple.

          The enormous number of medical professions, service providers attendant to them, pharmaceutical companies, device makers, rehab providers, etc. - have done quite well off Medicare, woeful as doctors of a certain generation are about it and in increasing numbers not accepting it. (And it was the medical profession who once worried about a two-tier system?)

          Consumers see incredible overheads - "incredible" is the word for it - built into hospital visits for administering pills, for routine but medically advised tests, for devices whose cost is minimal but gets huge when they get delivered to a patient (e.g. arch supports). Big city hospital emergency rooms chock-a-block with patients who could just as readily be served by local clinics. Administration so bloated with process cost, including computer generated "paperwork", that no one is happy with the transaction costs.

          So a flat statement about increasing taxes - while certainly a necessary factor - doesn't touch that bundle of professions and service providers who should be looking at themselves for better management practices. And it doesn't consider the considerable promise of providing medical care, especially preventive and clinic-level care, more efficiently.  

          2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

          by TRPChicago on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:31:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well -- there are alteranatives to that. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tofumagoo

          Medicare costs vary wildly throughout the country, and not just because some places are better or more expensive than others.

          The biggest variation in Medicare costs comes from Doctors gaming the system, performing procedures at the drop of a hat.  Medical judgment has, in some places, been turned into medical ability to justify.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:25:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Guessing Boehner doesn't want to go anywhere (4+ / 0-)

    near the White House today......but.....too bad dude.

    •  yeah, and on the flipside skillet....... (7+ / 0-)

      i bet the President is all tingly at the prospect of seeing Boehner and McConnell.

      what a Drag it must be, to be in a small room with those two.

      •  Obama to Boner: 'What can you deliver?......Boner (4+ / 0-)

        to Obama: Not a damn thing.

        •  okay, then they (4+ / 0-)

          are and must be labeled obstructionist and irrelevant.  This crap has gone on far far too long.  We have one party trying to destroy the welfare of the majority of the nation.

          Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

          by KibbutzAmiad on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 05:23:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree with the labeling, but what informs the... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Laconic Lib

            ... voters back in the districts that keep sending these naysayers to Congress?

            A substantial number seem to think that less/smaller/no government is a fine thing. And the onliest way you do that is to Just Say "No" to taxes and more spending. What, you lib'ruls trying to make it harder than that? So you can tax and spend on peepul who don't deserve help?

            While I put down "those folks" with poor spelling, lousy grammar and simplistic sloganeering, there are many like them who have thought deeper about the issues and agree with reducing spending and the debt ... before anything else! (That Republicans were complicit, if not directive, in creating our debt crises makes zero difference to the end result today.)

            Not everyone is a Keynesian. But even those who are know in their very marrow that there a lot of costs that can be cut and probably should be before their taxes go up.

            Gleefully watching Boehner swing and drop. Not being unhappy if taxes go up for everyone. Putting voters down. None of that serves the public interest soon enough to make a difference. It isn't that the sky is falling and the lemmings approacheth their doom. It's that the role of government is not well enough regarded in America these days.

            We have a framing job to do.  

            2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

            by TRPChicago on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:45:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  'Boner to Obama: Not a damn thing.' (5+ / 0-)

          Obama to Boner: Then you GET nothing. Bye.'

          hopefully.

  •  Hard Landing. Hmmm Napalitano needs to call in a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, OleHippieChick

    Consultant

    As the Elites Come Together to Rise Above to Find a Third Way to do Rude things to the 99%

    by JML9999 on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 04:49:35 AM PST

  •  I am not (0+ / 0-)

    quite getting what Krugman means by this:

    he point is that there’s good reason to believe that the conventional wisdom embodied in long-run budget projections — projections that shape almost every aspect of current policy discussion — is all wrong.
    Is he saying that the budget projections regarding personal income are wrong based on the technology that will make redundant many jobs?  I apologize for my denseness in advance.

    Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

    by KibbutzAmiad on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 04:57:34 AM PST

    •  I think he is now sounding the alarm (0+ / 0-)

      about the ultimate transformation of the workplace. Robots are eliminating jobs at a furious rate. Manufacturing is coming back to the USA but the jobs aren't. And it's not limited to blue collar jobs. In the next few years, we will see robot neurosurgeons, not because they are cheaper so much as they are better, less error-prone and more precise. We are going to see this all over, in every part of the workplace.

      So Krugman is pointing out that economic projections are based on assumptions that the future will look a lot like that past. However, the way in which artificial intelligence and robots are dramatically eliminating humans from the workplace. We are rapidly entering a world in which computers design robots that then build new computers. How do we deal with the social cost of permanently displaced workers? And how does an economy work where work is increasingly not an avenue to income? These questions are going to become very important in the coming years.

      For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

      by Anne Elk on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:08:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Climate change mentioned in 4 places. Good. (11+ / 0-)


    An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. ~ Ben Franklin

    by jim in IA on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 04:58:27 AM PST

  •  Is it now (9+ / 0-)

    considered utterly passe to consider public policy that actually benefits the majority of the public?  Things like a cram down policy on underwater mortgages, student loan forgiveness, etc?  Or are financial institution interests the only ones that now matter in the US?  If so, well, what should we do about that?  

    Because we're dying out here.  Seriously.

    Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

    by KibbutzAmiad on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 04:58:53 AM PST

  •  hey we solved the homelessness problem (7+ / 0-)

    Since several cities have made it illegal to feed the homeless.  The idea is that the homeless will move on to another place but hunger has side effects which many well heeled suburbanites directly may not see, such as health consequences and crime.  After all as a nation, we have already made the Jean Valjean decision: it is better to imprison a starving man for a loaf of bread to feed his family than to imprison the banker who bankrupted him in the first place

  •  GOP intent on destroying America (5+ / 0-)

    The fiscal cliff negotiations are playing like a broken record. After having nearly brought the nation and our economy to its knees on numerous other occasions, the extreme wing of the Republican Party is intent on wrecking America yet again, throwing tens of millions of hard working folks off the "cliff" in order to protect billionaires. When is it enough? when will saving millionaires some pocket change not be seen as a virtue among the Tea Party and the GOP elite? How can our government continue to function when a large chunk of it has no qualm with bringing our country to the precipice of disaster every few months or so?   - progressive

  •  please proceed, Senator. (10+ / 0-)

    “For me, personally, I believe global climate change is real and it is the most urgent challenge of our generation,” Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz (D), whom Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) tapped for the seat, said in brief comments Wednesday.

    thank you and good luck.

  •  If you are in the Chicago area (0+ / 0-)

    please consider attending our forum on the economy:

    https://www.facebook.com/...

    Entitled , "Can't make it round here anymore", it features Dr. Bill Barclay of the Chicago Political Economy Group discussing progressive solutions to the economic crisis

    Sat. Jan 12, 7 p.m., Glen Ellyn.  

    Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

    by KibbutzAmiad on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 05:25:44 AM PST

  •  The USGS should charge more.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick, tb mare, Laconic Lib

    ...for access to and use of its data, which the oil & gas industries use.

  •  If you rebate the revenues from the carbon tax. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, tofumagoo

    Take the revenues from the carbon tax and divide it up equally to all the citizens who filed a tax return (counting the dependents) and send a check once a quarter then the carbon tax would be VERY popular.

    It would stimulate the economy and reward the people who used less carbon.

    It would hurt exports slightly but nothing is perfect.

    Call it "Obamagives".

    The highest form of spiritual practice is self observation with compassion.

    by NCJim on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 05:29:11 AM PST

    •  For us already on SS (0+ / 0-)

      this would be the better solution. Elimination of FICA would not help us financially, and increased heating/cooling/transportation costs would be a hardship for those of us on a fixed income. A different compensatory option would be to eliminate the Medicare part B deductions from our SS income to balance out what we might pay in a carbon tax.

  •  "Connecting the dots on Syria" (Russ Baker) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laconic Lib

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 05:31:24 AM PST

  •  i'm no longer amused and not longer able to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, Laconic Lib

    laugh off any if the GOP antics. They are destroying this country and if allowed, it may be irreparable.

    I'm over it.

    As Kibbutz said above: apparently it's passe to legislate in the public interest. And as LCLiberal said, this is all a repeat. Destroy the entire country because it's abominable to consider taxing a few billionaires and a handful of millionaires a few percentage points more than they're paying right now - after 10 years of tax reductions and the worst economy since the depression.

    Seriously. I'm out of here, leaving. I just can't deal with this country anymore.

    I've not been around much lately. It started with work project taking up a lot of my time. But now, I just find that my level  of frustration is only amplified by watching these idiots in fine detail. It's much more peaceful to not bother with it. I can only imagine how much I could get done in this world if I didn't live here at all.

    Sorry for the maudlin message but I truly am fed up at this point. My only goal in 2013 is to get the fuck out.

  •  Seems quite possible (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, OLinda, Laconic Lib, northerntier

    that Lisa Jackson's resignation was influenced by Keystone pipeline

    President Obama's chief environmental official departed in part over her opposition to a controversial plan to pipe oil from Canadian tar sands to Texas refineries,

    Environmental Protection Administration Administrator Lisa Jackson, who had served as New Jersey's top environmental official, had been handed a far less ambitious agenda on issues surrounding climate change after opposition from states reliant on burning coal for electricity proved a damaging political issue for Democrats in 2010. The pipeline project, bitterly opposed by environmental activists, was one of environmentalists' largest disappointments.

    Jackson "left as a matter of conscience," said Jeff Tittel, the director of New Jersey's Sierra Club chapter and a longtime friend of Jackson's. The EPA Administrator "has too much principle to support [the pipeline], between the climate impacts of it and the water quality impacts of it."

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 05:35:39 AM PST

  •  I stole it but I did make a more complete pun (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NNadir, Laconic Lib

    Slow thinkers - keep right

    by Dave the Wave on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 05:57:25 AM PST

  •  I love that St Louis idea.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laconic Lib
    They could replace the payroll tax with a carbon tax.

    Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

    by DRo on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:08:28 AM PST

    •  Yeah but.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DRo

      who are these "conservative economists" who favor a carbon tax?  Last I recall, they all wanted a free-market based cap and trade system.  Did the PD just make that up?  I'm having a hard time swallowing any "conservative economists for taxes" meme.

      I don't know what's been trickling down, but it hasn't been pleasant---N. Pelosi

      by Russycle on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 01:31:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow. The New York Times can say the word... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laconic Lib, Mindful Nature

    ..."nuclear" without choking.

    That is a surprise.   When I've read the New York Times in recent years, I came away with the impression that they wished to report - in absolute opposition to reality - that 20,000 people died from the destroyed reactors at Fukushima and that no one died from drowning, collapsed buildings, collapsed dams, and inundated cars and exploding refineries.

    Of course the opposite is true:   More people have died from the air pollution spewed to run computers wherein people tell us that Fukushima "proves" that nuclear power is dangerous than have died from radiation from the destroyed reactors, the latter number still being zero.

    (In contrast to Fukushima, the World Health Organization reports that air pollution causes 3.3 million deaths per year, 9000 deaths per day, 377 deaths per hour, 6 to 7 every minute, about one every 9 to 10 seconds.)

    Viewed in this way, one can easily determine that when viewed over their entire historical existence, the construction of the Fukushima reactors actually saved lives, but you wouldn't understand that if one read and believed the New York Times articles on energy, each of which is usually worse than the previous ones.

    Of course, the New York Times mention of nuclear energy comes only after the usual paeans to fairly wasteful and useful stuff like solar energy which, after 6 decades of uncritical cheering, and after sucking hundreds of billions of euros, dollars, yen and yuan, produces as much energy as 3 or 4 large gas plants on the whole damn planet.   The Chinese built and put on line 4 or 5 nuclear reactors in the last two or three years, which easily exceed the capacity of all the solar facilities on earth in terms of generating electricity free of climate change gases.

    The New York Times, along with the large contingent of anti-nukes who have fed for decades on the scientific ignorance therein, should stop pretending to care about climate change.

    Oh and by the way, there is no way that fracking can be made "safe."

    And another thing, the reaction by which natural gas burns is as follows:    

    CH4 + 2O2 -> 2H2O + CO2.
    You see that last molecule, CO2?

    It's, um, a greenhouse gas, a rather famous one.

    An alcoholic who announces that he's no longer an alcoholic because now he only drinks wine and beer is a liar, not only to everyone else, but also to himself.

    Have a Happy New Year.

    •  Nuclear needs to be in the mix (0+ / 0-)

      Just because economic powers have not built much solar does not make it useless (nuclear also has gotten massive subsidies to make it what it is today). Indeed, unless a miracle solved the waste problem, solar has some pretty clear benefits over nuclear in the medium term.   If plants didn't take so long to build and didn't include significant risk (just because Fukushima didn't become a massive disaster shouldn't blind anyone to how close it came).  

      Still both ate preferable to fossil fuel of any kind.   Cracking can't be made safe, especially since leaks of methane offsets any efficiency

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:20:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What "waste" problem are you talking about? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Anne Elk

        As I pointed out, 3.3 million people are killed by dangerous fossil fuel (and renewable) waste each year, in the form of air pollution.

        In the scientific literature, if not in the general public's knowledge the solar industry also has a pretty significant "waste" problem, not that anyone cares, nor should they care, since solar is - despite 60 years of cheering - a trivial form of energy.    (The solar industry can't even run the servers dedicated around the world telling us how wonderful the solar industry is.)

        As for solar waste, may I direct you attention to just one scientific paper on the subject of just one such waste: GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 35, L20821, nitrogen trifluoride, a potent greenhouse gas with an atmospheric lifetime of approximately 20,000 years?

        I quote from the text, which points out that the concentrations of this gas in the planetary atmosphere is increasing at a rate of 11% per year, even while the failed and expensive solar industry remains trivial:

        Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) has come into increasing use in the electronics industry, mainly for equipment cleaning, for the etching of microcircuits, and for manufacturing liquid crystal flat panel displays and thin-film photovoltaic cells.
        .

        The bold is mine.

        The difference between so called "nuclear waste" and solar waste is that the latter gets no attention.   In fact the entire argument against nuclear power rests solely and wholly on selective attention.   It is easily proved statistically and by direct appeal to readily available resources that nuclear is superior to all other forms of energy on precisely the same criteria that is usually applied by selectively by its critics to waste, blah, blah, blah, cost, blah, blah, blah, blah, danger, blah, blah, blah, etc...

        Used nuclear fuel is one of the most important resources left on this planet, and the supposition to the contrary is mainly embraced by people who, in fact, know very little or nothing at all about the subject.   In a rational world, we could run the entire planetary energy output on nuclear alone without operating a single energy mine of any type anywhere for centuries, if ever again.

        •  Um no (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Anne Elk

          This theory has been debunked here repeatedly, namely that many solar cells do not use these and decent industrial hygiene prevents release. The analogy would be is the nuclear industry spread its waste around on highways. They don't and it is unrealistic to say that either do

          Also your supposition that the small contribution of solar is meaningful is equally misguided.   Solar has not had the massive subsidies nuclear has has since the 1950s. Had it done so, we'd be further along.  However, consider than solar has 0.5% of the California energy mix at a little over 1,000 GWh per year.  However, there are numerous solar plants under approval or construction now that will add roughly 500 GWh a year each.  By 2015 the amount of installed solar will have increased at least 10 fold over 2011 levels.   That's quite a growth path and flies utterly in the face of the anti solar message you are peddling

          Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

          by Mindful Nature on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:39:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The paper is in a SCIENTIFIC journal. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            alain2112, ConfusedSkyes

            I don't care what goes on here.   What passes for "debunking" here is nonsense.   The scientific level on this website is pretty damn low, particularly where energy issues are concerned.

            I'm quite sure that if you desire to "debunk" the thousands of papers written on the subject of electronic waste - which is no way substantially different than solar waste - you may write papers for the journals that publish these results.

            Good luck with the reviewers.    For the record there are many thousands of LCA papers on solar energy in the scientific literature.   One may find them merely by using google scholar.   I have done this and downloaded hundreds of them, if not thousands.

            I am spectacularly unimpressed with solar soothsaying.  I've been hearing it my whole life, and I'm not young any more.   My whole damn life I've been hearing about California's wonderful approach to solar energy.   Just a few years back, Governor Hydrogen Hummer Arnie Muscle Brain announced a million solar roof program, this in a state that's cutting funding for its universities and can't provide decent public K-12 education.

            Where are they?

            Here's California's electric generation supply.

            As of 2011, it's producing less than 200 GWh more than it was in 1999.

            Am I supposed to be impressed?

            As noted by the LA Times, tens of billions of dollars have already been charged to California citizens for the solar industry.   It produced just 1016 GWh of electricity, the equivalent of a 116 MW power plant of any type running at 100% of capacity utilization, something solar plants can't do because of the existence of something called "night."   By the way, the existence of "night" requires that 100% of the world's solar plants be redundant, further increasing their already exorbitant costs.

            Am I still supposed to be impressed?

            Solar has been subsidized on a hundred billion dollar scale spread around the world.   I'm sick of hearing that the failure of the solar industry is all Ronald Reagan's fault.

            I'm also sick of hearing about "nuclear subsidies" by people who haven't looked at the budget of the Department of Energy.   It's pure garbage, however, if the government did indeed subsidize the nuclear energy industry at the level it deserves, given the number of lives it would save and the amount of clean energy it would produce, said subsidies, like say the construction of the Hoover Dam, would have something the solar industry can't seem to produce:   RESULTS.

            The entire output of the entire industry, the subsidies for which have drained the budgets of countries that could have spent the money on thousands of investments that would have been far more profitable, like health care, scientific research, housing, education, for a few examples, and yes, nuclear power research is given by the EIA.

            Here's the figures, given in billions of kwh: 31.122 Bkwh.

            For comparison purposes, the much maligned nuclear industry produced in 2010, 2,620.217 billion kwh.   (Belgium produced more nuclear energy than the entire world was able to produce with solar energy.)

            This is the entire result, up to 2010, of six decades of mindless rote dogmatic cheering for the solar industry, after sucking hundreds of billions of dollars out of world economies, producing untold amounts of waste that is simply dumped with very little attention to its health consequences.

            It follows from the solar industry that he average continuous power provided by the entire solar industry on the entire planet is thus, given that a sideral year contains 31558149.8 seconds, is about 3550 MW, ignoring the fact that spinning reserve requirements for so called "renewable" energy - because of its inherent unreliability - results in the burning of a lot of natural gas.

            We could have built four smallish nuclear plants and easily produced as much energy as all the planet's solar electricity.   In fact, in recent years, the Chinese and Indians have each done just that.

            I note that the United States built 104 nuclear plants in about 20 years and that France built 54 in about 15 years.   Yet we are now informed that what has already occurred is impossible.   Why, exactly, is that?

            China doesn't believe it's impossible.   They've announced plans to built 500 nuclear plants.   They now have 24 under construction and are, in fact, turning them out like clockwork.

            The solar energy industry does not function as an energy industry so much as it does as a talisman industry.    The approach to it does not stand up to even cursory inspection.

            It is now 2012.   This year is on track to be one of the top five worst years for increases in the dangerous fossil fuel waste, carbon dioxide, in the planetary atmosphere.

            Sixty years of cheering has not made solar a significant form of energy.    So what do you recommend?   That we repeat the same damned wasteful experiment for the next sixty years hoping for a different result?

            There are, on this planet, about two billion people who have never seen or operated a flush toilet.    There are people who barely can find enough calories to stay alive, and many who can't find said calories.    We have children around the world, numbering again, in the billions, who can't even hope to afford a decent education.   We have dying rivers, water supplies in countries like Bangladesh that are hopelessly contaminated with elements like arsenic, grain crops failing on every continent.

            Excuse me if I object to squandering more money on the faith based solar enterprise.   I think that the results show that we have far more important needs.   For the money that's been spent on it, we could have built ten or twenty nuclear plants and had a far more valuable result.

            I've spent years on this site, where very little debunking actually occurs, since so many people are clearly unfamiliar with the contents of science books, and I still here how solar energy will replace not gas - without which the solar industry would collapse in a New York minute - not coal, not petroleum, but the world's largest, by far, source of climate change gas free primary energy, nuclear energy.

            Never mind that the solar afficinados are spectacularly uninterested in replacing forms of energy that actually kill people, even during normal operation, but wouldn't it actually be time to show that solar energy can produce as much energy as nuclear energy, never mind replace it?

            But do let me know if you find one country, or one state, that announces that it will phase out any form of fossil fuel because it has so much solar energy.

            You can't and you won't.

            But don't worry, be happy.   The chance that nuclear energy could save our pathetic superstitious asses is now zero.  (I pointed this out about two years ago:  Should Nuclear Energy Be A Panacea?)   We have spent so many decades wondering and hoping that someone, anyone, would finally die from the storage of used nuclear fuel, so we could so justify the huge amount of fanciful paranoia that's surrounded the issue, that we've run completely out of time.    No one seems to have recognized that the nuclear industry has stored used nuclear fuel for decades without a single loss of life and that while the nuclear industry is decidedly not perfect - no form of energy can be - it is spectacularly superior to everything else.

            So we're done.   We're cooked.   We're finished.  Kaput.

            Have a happy New Year.

  •  I fully expect a fiscal cliff deal today... (0+ / 0-)

    And I expect it to be ugly, since Pres Obama is the one showing he wants a deal while convinced the GOP does not.  The side who wants the deal more always gives up more.

    The NRA is the Gun Manufacturer Lobby. Nothing more. Their pontification about the second amendment is nothing more than their ad jingle. They're the domestic version of the Military Industrial Complex.

    by Jacoby Jonze on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:14:32 AM PST

  •  Climate change is still stupid. (0+ / 0-)

    Nobody rejects climate change.  It's a fact of life and has been since the dawn of time.

    More people reject anthropogenic global warming, but even that's been wearing people down.

    The action now is how much, how soon, how bad, and how to react.

    Frankly, all the carbon taxes in the world won't fix the problem.  Might help a bit in the long-term, but that damned CO2 lingers in the air for a very, very long time.

    But -- the real problem with funding Social Security with a carbon tax?

    The ultimate goal of a carbon tax is to eliminate atmospheric carbon emissions.  Social Security is screwed if the tax achieves its goals.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:22:28 AM PST

  •  Rebrand the Carbon tax just extend the gas tax to (0+ / 0-)

    all forms of carbon. With the US consuming less gasoline per capita than we did 10 years ago, the highway trust fund is too low to fund everything we need to fix. By just extending the gas tax to all forms of carbon we can give it the revenue it needs to fix all the nations bridges and roads that need upkeep. Yes I would rather the money from a carbon tax go into more public transportation, but such a move would lose a lot of the allies we would gain from just extending the gas tax. Any form of a carbon tax would be good for the environment.

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

    by dopper0189 on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:42:12 AM PST

  •  The carbon tax is an idea whose time has come. (0+ / 0-)

    Ireland has cut its carbon emissions 15% since 2008 and raised a lot of revenue in the process. Good article about that in NYT today. This could really be a resolution of the fiscal cliff problem, although it actually does require legislators to think. So that's a problem.

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 09:56:39 AM PST

  •  Profound Misunderstanding of the Post-Dispatch (0+ / 0-)

    If this represents thinking at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, it indicates a profound misunderstanding of economics.

    If Congress and the president were more rational than political — admittedly, a very big if — they could kill a covey of birds with one stone. They could replace the payroll tax with a carbon tax. Suddenly Social Security and Medicare funding would be secure, which means the rest of the fiscal crisis would be fixed.
    First, Social Security and Medicare don't have any direct bearing on the so-called "fiscal crisis". They aren't government spending. They are part of the private sector, and they are requirements that employers pay the costs of their labor.

    Second, they make sure that employees are paid enough to survive not just while they are working but when they can't work, when they are disabled or too old to work.

    So, this funding is rightly directly related to hours worked because it is truly a cost of labor. To divorce it from that is to create a disconnect between the cost and the benefit. Replacing payroll taxes with any other funding source (and that includes the general fund, which is what's been happening to a certain extent) is a Very Bad Idea.

    As for a carbon tax, we should start by cutting give-aways to the carbon industry. We could do that as part of a comprehensive reform that eliminated all deductions for corporations that don't related directly to costs. Then, we could provide a direct subsidy for renewables by providing grants to them, rather than tax cuts. This makes these subsidies accountable because they would need to be renewed each year and they would be visible money going out of the treasury.

    A carbon tax is a Good Idea because they would put downward pressure on the use of carbon as an energy source. And, they could be used to fund subsidies for renewables. This directly links the economics to the behavior we want. But I'd start by getting rid of the extra funding we already give the carbon industry first because that would have a bigger and more immediate effect. The oil, gas and coal industries would have to look at the basic economics first, and that would start moving them in the right direction.

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