September 23, 2019

Climate Strike and UN Climate Summit

Editor's note: We couldn’t be more proud of one of our teammates, Isaac Rose-Berman, who penned his first op-ed this week in USA Today: “How college students can bridge American divides: 'Study abroad' in Alabama or New York.” Please give it a read, and share far and wide!

Young people afraid for their futures protested around the globe Friday to implore leaders to tackle climate change… Marches, rallies and demonstrations were held from Canberra to Kabul and Cape Town to New York.” AP News

“United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he is banking on new pledges from governments and businesses to abandon fossil fuels during a special climate summit in New York on Monday… U.N. officials expect about 60 countries to build on their commitments to the 2015 Paris Agreement to combat global warming.” Reuters

See past issues

From the Left

The left applauds the protesters and urges US politicians, China, and the rest of the world to take action.

“The rate of climate change now vastly exceeds anything observed in the last ten thousand years. Since roughly 1850, atmospheric CO2, the dominant greenhouse gas, has grown at an explosive rate, close to what mathematicians call ‘exponential.’ Human population, GDP and fossil fuel emissions accelerated simultaneously in a similar manner… doubling of CO2 from preindustrial levels, which is projected by 2075 — due to the combination of industrial emissions and huge volumes of ancient greenhouse gases rising from melting permafrost – will put the earth at CO2 levels not seen for 35 million years, the last time that Antarctica was ice-free…

“In a fleeting moment of geological time, humanity has fundamentally changed the earth system, bringing life-changing consequences.”
John Brooke, Michael Bevis and Steve Rissing, Time

“Some might criticize Greta and her fellow climate crusaders as zealots or as short sighted, just as many said that about the Parkland students. But even if one disagrees with their proposed solutions, don't dismiss the power of children in the streets -- calling for change -- to create an impetus for action. At least once before [in the civil rights era], a children's movement was a core inspiration for our country to address its greatest injustices. Today, the young speak with moral clarity again.”
David Gergen and James Piltch, CNN

Former vice president Al Gore writes, “We have the technology we need… For example, according to the research group Bloomberg New Energy Finance, as recently as 2014 — a year before the Paris climate agreement was reached — electricity from solar and wind was cheaper than new coal and gas plants in probably 1 percent of the world. Today, only five years later, solar and wind provide the cheapest sources of new electricity in two-thirds of the world… To pick [another] example, Google has reduced the amount of electricity required to cool its enormous server farms by 40 percent using state-of-the-art artificial intelligence. No new hardware was required…

“[But] we don’t have the right policies because the wrong policymakers are in charge… Next year’s election is the crucial test of the nation’s commitment to addressing this crisis, and it is worth remembering that on the day after the 2020 election, the terms of the Paris climate accord will permit the United States to withdraw from it. We cannot allow that to happen.”
Al Gore, New York Times

Former secretary of state John Kerry states, “The need for leadership has never been more urgent; certainly the destruction from Hurricane Dorian and the fires in the Amazon should have refocused everyone’s minds on the fragility of our global carbon sinks. Most wars start with a bomb dropped, a leader killed or a line crossed. But today we stand on the precipice of the greatest battle humanity has ever faced, precisely because no one has done enough… In the temporary absence of U.S. leadership, we need other major emitters to step up… now is the time for China, India and other countries to prove just what we are missing.”
John Kerry, Washington Post

Others note that “The Chinese government has [already] pledged more than $1 trillion dollars in air, water, and soil cleanup plans, shuttered coal mines throughout the country, capped coal consumption, established a nationwide carbon trading system, poured hundreds of billions of dollars—more than any other country in the world by far—in renewable energy, and promoted the manufacture and sale of electric-vehicles… China has set itself an ambitious agenda. It will not be readily realized. But China, at least, is in the climate game and moving forward… It’s past time for the U.S. to step up.”
Daniel K. Gardner, New Republic

“The fundamental injustice of climate change is that… many of the wealthiest countries in the world have historically emitted the most greenhouse gas emissions, but the poorest who contributed least to the problem stand to suffer the most. That includes island nations like the Bahamas facing rising seas and fiercer storms like Hurricane Dorian, or countries in Southeast Asia suffering from extreme heat waves… The UN has created a number of mechanisms to help correct this discrepancy… it’s worth paying attention to see how much more developed economies are willing to contribute to these programs.”
Umair Irfan, Vox

Others argue that “Biden was almost the only one on the stage who talked like a normal person. There was a point near the end of the debate when he was talking about getting men involved in stopping domestic violence and he said that we need to keep ‘punching’ at it… I knew that the twitterati and the analysts would tut tut. Ol’ Joe is just out of touch! He doesn’t know you can’t use words like that. Meanwhile, every non-political junkie watching the debate thought there was nothing wrong with this. Biden was just using ordinary language, not worrying too much if it was fully approved by the woke brigade.”
Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

From the Right

The right is critical of the protests and skeptical of excessively pessimistic predictions about climate change.

From the Right

The right is critical of the protests and skeptical of excessively pessimistic predictions about climate change.

“San Diego’s school board should be more concerned with educating its students than canceling classes to send little kids to fill a picket line in support of a partisan agenda… a 2018 assessment of California student performance shows 43.65% of San Diego Unified School District’s students don’t meet standards in English Language Arts/Literacy and 52.84% don’t meet standards in math. Sounds to me like San Diego’s kids should be in class! That’s what we pay for as taxpayers, not political activism.”
Rebecca Friedrichs, Fox News

“It’s not much of a ‘strike’ if The Man is practically begging you to ‘resist.’ And in this case it’s not just [New York City’s] mayor tweeting out his support for the rally, or the DOE declaring the Battery Park affair to be a ‘civic event’ and the student strike as ‘principled truancy.’ It’s also the regular curriculum.”
Editorial Board, New York Post

“Human-driven climate change is a real problem. But anyone with sense understands that it's a problem to be dealt with through technological improvements that reduce carbon emissions and also protect living standards. It isn't about meaningless international treaties such as the Paris accord, which allow major polluters such as China and India to do nothing on carbon emissions, leave the European Union to do little, and mostly just burden America (which has in most recent years led the world in carbon reductions)…

“When you start instructing people to stop eating meat and flying for vacations, the majority rightly view that as a nonstarter. Such suggestions close off all serious policy debate before the discussion even begins. They show that climate change advocacy is just a cover for an unrelated far-left ideology.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

The Youth Climate Strike manifesto includes “progressive reforms that relate to climate change only as a result of a stretch of the imagination. Among them, the creation of state-owned banks, affordable housing, ‘local living-wage jobs’ and ‘fully paid quality health care’ for affected populations… The climate strike is all about indoctrination, not science.”
Noah Rothman, New York Post

Many argue that “before anyone is tempted to start believing any of these predictions [about climate change], it’s worth recalling that similar predictions of impending environmental doom have been made regularly for the past half-century…  Paul Ehrlich, who became famous with publication of The Population Bomb in 1968, regularly predicted global mass starvation by the 1970s and 1980s because of overpopulation and resource depletion. In 1970, Ehrlich predicted that the oceans would be dead in less than a decade, that Americans would face water rationing by 1974 and food rationing by 1980…

“James Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies beginning in 1988 predicted major droughts and up to six feet of sea level rise in the 1990s… Al Gore predicted in 2009 that the North Pole would be completely ice free in five years. A U.S. Navy scientist in 2013 concluded that the Arctic’s summer sea ice cover would all be melted by 2016… After 50 years of misinformed, misguided, and mistaken predictions, is there any reason to believe that the current prophecies of global warming apocalypse are likely to come true?”
Myron Ebell, Washington Examiner

Others propose a “plan [that] is based on the concept of carbon dividends: a gradually rising fee on all carbon emissions, whose proceeds are returned directly to the American people through quarterly dividend checks. It also calls for significantly simplifying carbon regulations and a border carbon adjustment to protect and promote the competitiveness of American firms… if implemented in 2021 the plan would achieve 50% U.S. CO2 reduction by 2035, as compared with 2005 levels. It would also exceed the 2025 U.S. commitment under the Paris agreement by a wide margin…

“The vast majority of Americans will be economic winners under our plan. According to the U.S. Treasury, 70% of American families—including the most vulnerable—would come out ahead, receiving more in carbon dividends than they pay in increased energy costs… And the more you shrink your carbon footprint, the more you come out ahead. This aligns—for the first time—the economic interests of American families with climate progress.”
Christopher Crane and Ted Halstead, Wall Street Journal

Others note, “I’d hate to be a Democratic member of Congress trying to convince Joe Sixpack that this is a whole new ballgame. The transcript shows Trump being Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky trying to ingratiate himself with the big dog by, for instance, mentioning that he stays at Trump hotels. Trump’s conversation is typically scattershot, wandering all over the field, leaving a reasonable listener puzzled about what the takeaways are supposed to be…

“I think Joe Sixpack’s response is going to be a hearty shrug. After all that has emerged about Trump so far, his approval rating is closely tracking Obama’s approval at the same point in his presidency. To get Mr. Sixpack’s attention you are going to have to do better than this.”
Kyle Smith, National Review

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“After adding in the ultra-millionaire’s tax and factoring in the other capital taxes Warren wants to levy — on financial transactions, on unrealized capital gains, on corporations — we’d be asking every billionaire to hand over more than two-thirds of their total wealth over a 10-year period. If the government actually managed to collect it, their fortunes would rapidly erode — and so would tax collections. The plan might be a good way to smash wealth, but it’s a terrible way to fund the nation’s health-care system…

“If Warren makes it to the White House, and tries to pass a plan, the Congressional Budget Office will eventually attach more reasonable numbers, with more defensible assumptions, sparking an even more spectacular political blowback than the one that greeted Friday’s announcement. Outside of the progressive Twitterati, there isn’t necessarily an enormous constituency for spending $20.5 trillion to herd every American into a national health insurance program; there would be even less support for spending what Warren’s plan would actually cost.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

On the bright side...

A company will pay you $1,000 to drink coffee for a month— but you're not allowed to visit Starbucks.

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