Saturday assorted links


#1 is one of those things that is ironic on some level, even if the author doesn't consciously recognize it. That or garbage. You're a story, it is just one that is in serious need of an editor.

I'm a choose your own adventure book.

In #4, Mankiw didn't do his homework. The environmental groups in Washington State aren't opposed to a carbon tax. They have chosen not to support it because the Republicans who control our State Senate won't pass it and because it polls so poorly among the public who would vote on it as an initiative. A carbon tax is a good idea economically and a pipe-dream politically. Maybe that will change in some future version of the Republican Party, but not now.

Washington state should enact a carbon tax and a carbon tariff against imports from non-taxing states and countries (coughChinacough). Either that or enclose the state in a geodesic dome.

I think that's exactly what Mankiw said.

It is what he said - except for the partisan attack at the end that blamed it all on the leftists.

As already noted, I think that's what he said. Oddly, down here in Australia we had a tax on Carbon emissions, albeit it not ideally implemented, that was introduced by a left government and repealed by the subsequent right government, in favour of a "direct action" policy i.e. picking winners.


Apparently Greg Mankiw is for a carbon tax but only if you take an oblique shot at Democrats. Here's Mankiw quoting a third party:

"I am increasingly convinced that the path to climate action is through the Republican Party. Yes, there are challenges on the right — skepticism about climate science and about tax reform — but those are surmountable with time and effort. The same cannot be said of the challenges on the left: an unyielding desire to tie everything to bigger government, and a willingness to use race and class as political weapons in order to pursue that desire."

Exactly why race and class are referenced in the last sentence in an article about carbon taxes is not stated.

Just another cheap shot I guess. If Mankiw is in favor of a carbon tax, then he has to justify it by trashing his straw man opponents on the left. I just do not understand why intellectuals of Mankiw's stature (and many others) keep making the same error: Confusing rational arguments for political, tribal, arguments.

After all people concerned about climate change on the 'left and 'right' (whatever they are) have been pushing for a carbon tax for years.

I'm glad to see some movement on the 'right' to support this effort to implement carbon taxes even if it's hedged with anti-left talking points.

Whatever it takes to get to a sensible policy is what I'm in favor of.

What is a "carbon tax" meant to do? From the standpoint of climate change, which has occurred time after time before man acquired the technology that supposedly causes it, how will giving governmental bodies more unearned wealth create climate stasis? Will making day-to-day life artificially more expensive for the population of the planet cause sea levels to drop? Would that be good? And for whom? It's a commentary on the increasing complication of society that people can even explore a subject like this without being regarded as demented.

Hey, you miss the point.

Greg Mankiw is for a carbon tax, a revenue neutral tax, as proposed. It's not my proposal. It's his. Even though he doesn't come our and directly say it.

You should read first. Answer second.

I've made no statement as to whether anthropogenic climate change is real or not. I'm just commenting on the article written by Greg Mankiw. If you think a carbon tax is a bad idea, you should write Mr. Mankiw. Not me.

> "I’ve made no statement as to whether anthropogenic climate change is real or not."

But you firmly stated: "I’m glad to see some movement on the ‘right’ to support this effort to implement carbon taxes...Whatever it takes to get to a sensible policy is what I’m in favor of."
That's clearly your personal endorsement of carbon taxes-- and carbon taxes are clearly an endorsement of AGW. Skip the coy evasions and just honestly state your view.

And you "do not understand" Mankiw's approach because you sharply overestimate Mankiw's intellectual stature and objectivity.

AGW and carbon taxes are complete and total nonsense, rationally indefensible.

It would be surprising if increasing the atmospheric concentration of the most important greenhouse gas by approximately 50% didn't substantially strengthen the greenhouse effect. The immediate pre-Industrial level was about 270 ppm, in 2013 it exceeded 400 ppm. Ice core data indicates that during the last 800,000 years it has varied between 180 ppm and 300 ppm. In 1896 Arrhenius did a crude back of the envelope calculation that doubling the concentration of CO2 would increase temperatures by 4°C. Basically you would expect warming from the known physical properties of the gases.

"AGW and carbon taxes are complete and total nonsense, rationally indefensible."

What a great argument. Thats it, I'm convinced.

Possibly raise the cost of emitting carbon?
It seems fairly obvious that if you make it expensive to emit carbon then a given reduction in emissions will be more likely to be cost-effective. It then creates an incentive for the private sector to find an use methods of reducing emissions of CO2.

lxm September 5, 2015 at 3:52 pm

Exactly why race and class are referenced in the last sentence in an article about carbon taxes is not stated.

He explains exactly what race and class are referenced. The fact that the Left has no interest in the climate or the environment - both issues traditionally on the Right - except as a way of disguising their preferred political options. They want to use the environment as a stalking horse in order to push policies on race and class. They see CO2 as a way of smashing capitalism rather than doing anything for pandas.

It is not as if they hide this fact.

The 'Left' that wants to smash capitalism consists of about a dozen old men in Brooklyn.

And Naomi Klein. Don't forget her.

OK make it baker's dozen.

"The fact that the Left has no interest in the climate or the environment – both issues traditionally on the Right."
Ha, ha, ha. The trolls are the best part.

If I ask you about your childhood, answering with discrete acts sounds strange. "I had a burrito." "I opened a box of Cheerios." "My uncle took off his leg." A more normal response would be something like "I knew my uncle Dan was a bit dodgy when he took off his leg, As I'd never encountered a wooden leg before..." This strikes me as a narrative response.

As well, if I ask you about smoking, I would not expect you to respond "I saw a cigar." Even if you respond that you don't smoke, there's still an expected story about why you don't. Narrative is basically acting in a context, which is what we generally do, and we report upon our actions as so.

So MR links to an article that claims Chinese drivers all too often reverse over the people they have hit to make sure they are dead. Because it is cheaper. What is interesting is that this is Slate claiming this too.

Meanwhile on another thread there is just as much evidence that some immigrant groups rape a lot more than the majority communities in which they live. That gets a lot of angry Leftists denying it.

So can we expect a deluge of the same people coming here and angrily denying that the Chinese do any such thing? Because, like, we are all the same and culture doesn't matter or something.

How is it that the Left views some claims as acceptable but not others? Does anyone think if the same laws applied in Sweden, Swedish drivers would be reversing over their victims?

I find the backing up over victims story really hard to believe.

This used to happen in Taiwan as well, for the same exact reasons.

Linked article:

But its not super common, like everyone is out there backing up over bodies.

In Taiwan it was truck drivers who did this a lot.

I think this is just an example of perverse incentives which doesn't have much specifically to do with race. And the Chinese are known to have some strange customs regarding death (in Old China, if a person saved another from near death, but that other still died afterward, the savior is responsible).

I don't think it has anything to do with race. Culture on the other hand ....

We can test this without too much trouble. The Warsaw Convention, as amended by the Montreal Convention (and by a few others in between) limits the compensation that airlines have to pay in the event of someone dying. At present it is about 15,000 Special Drawing Rights. Which as a rule of thumb can be called 66 cents. Let's say $10,000.

Think what the costs of caring for someone injured in a crash is.

Therefore airlines have every incentive to kill their passengers rather than injure them. What is the median whiplash settlement these days? Does anyone think their airline is planning to kill them in the event of an accident?

It should be really, really, clear that climate change is real and the co2 forcing is real. All those shoddy arguments about no warning or no forcing should be well buried. In a rational world those that made them should feel well chastised.

Sadly though we have gone from shielding arguments to acceptance, and not doing anything anyway.

No proposed plant, tax, or scheme is seriously enough to change the climate trajectory, and so we will get what we will get. As has really been evident for a decade.

Why should it be really really clear that climate change is real and the CO2 forcing is real? Scientists have just admitted they missed about 1 in 8 trees on the planet. That is a pretty big thing to miss. They have been claiming all the excess heat has been hiding in the oceans - even though no one noticed this until about tea time last Thursday.

We simply do not know enough to make confident predictions.

There has been no warming since 1998 or so. The data has been manipulated so badly that we have no good record of any unusual warming at all. Yes, the 1990s were a little warmer than the 1970s. But it was within the margin of error. And that is about all you can say. How do you know it is warmer now than in 1915 or 1815?

I do agree nothing we are doing it likely to change much. That is because everyone who is anyone knows this is garbage. If bad things are happening they are not happening fast, they are unlikely to entirely bad, and we have plenty of time to work out what is going on and do something about it.

That is why Al Gore bought a house on the beach. He doesn't actually believe a word of it. Just like Leonardo di Caprio doesn't or he wouldn't fly so much.

I totally agree with you. Climate change is a non problem. In addition Carbon dioxide is a net external benefit. Idso (2013) found that the increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide that took
place during the period 1961-2011 was responsible for increasing global agricultural output by 3.2 trillion dollars (in 2004-2006 constant dollars).

So, given that CO2 is a net external benefit, I imagine you are advocating for more government subsidies of fossil fuels? If not, why not?

it's increasing by 2.1 ppm per year currently. No subsidies are needed. Subsidies for costly alternatives (solar/wind) should stop.

Ahh, Weekend MR: come for the click bait, stay for the profound discussion in Comments on science.

By people who apparently have never studied any of it, nor who understand the scientific method.

Hard to tell who that comment is addressed to, but by all means, please explain to us all what the relevance of your comments is? How does the scientific method apply here - except in so far as it looks like some of my critics have failed to understand how it works.

Its also logarithmic, meaning the first carbon emissions have the most effect and the emissions now have much, much smaller effect. This is why a carbon tax to slightly cut emissions will have a tiny effect.

What do you expect? These same people are still fighting evolution and the earth being more than 6000 years old.

"It would be a very foolish business leader who never accept a debt, because it might sometimes be a good idea to borrow at time when funds are cheap and there are good uses for the money. So how come we don’t use that analogy rather than the household analogy?”
This seems like a straw man argument by Krugman. Of course borrowing is sometimes good, in fact most countries have large borrowings. The problem is many western governments think if things are going well (it's a good time to borrow) and if things are going badly (it's a bad time not to borrow)

Re: Mankiw: It seems that the Oregon initiative shows that there is not enough support from Democrats alone to support a progressive, revenue neutral carbon tax without support from some Conservatives. Whether that support will be achieved before Hell comes into thermal equilibrium with ice, remains doubtful.

Of course there are an almost infinite number of good ideas which, if proposed by Republicans would be supported by Democrats

1) Progressive consumption tax.
2) Higher EITC instead of an increase in the minimum wage
3) Relaxation of occupational licensing
4) Higher density, more "walkable" zoning
5) Relaxation of copyright

That does not mean that "the path to [Reform X] is through the Republican Party."

I would be very surprised if Democrats would support even one of those proposals

On EITC, the answer is clearly yes. One of the main reasons Democrats push minimum wage hikes is that surveys show a sizable number even of Republican voters support them. EITC, on the other hand, shows up as government spending in the budget which means that anytime a Republican politician goes on a rant about x% of the population depending on government handouts or about runaway government spending, they are implicitly (and often hypocritically) going after the EITC. Republicans can win votes by showing how big government spending is or by quoting numbers about how many millions of people are getting handouts from the government. They can't quite demagogue a higher minimum wage in the same way.

Meanwhile the Democrats are able to demagogue the minimum wage. Oppose it and you're a super stingy meanie who hates the poor! But in reality, its pretty easy to support taking someone else's money (the business owner's) and giving it to someone else.

And, as you point out, no taxes have to be increased, so the minimum wage is the Democrat's choice.

BTW, any links to Democrat support of the EITC?

I am pretty sure they are campaigning on the MW because its a better wedge issue.

Maybe if they win the presidency they will do a compromise.

Does this count?

Temperatures for 90% of the last 10,000 years were warmer than today.

Earth's history shows a warm planet is a biologically productive planet.

Even if humans are primarily responsible for what is at most moderate warming, why would we spend trillions to prevent it?

Well, we could use anti-AGW policies to enact world-wide redistribution of wealth to the global south, and intra-national redistribution from private to public sectors.

For 90% of the last 10,000 years, economic growth and individual freedom was worse than it is today.

Earth's history shows that a warm planet is an economically unproductive and politically tyrannical planet (see above).


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