Barack Obama

The Social Cost of George W. Bush

Bush promised climate action but reversed himself. The result: billions of dollars in global harm.

When Bush ran for President in 2000, he endorsed mandatory limits on CO2 emissions.  Within three months of taking office, he reversed himself to the dismay of some members of his own administration.  The upshot was that the US resisted any effort to address climate change and embraced a “drill baby drill” energy policy. You …


Zinke’s Report Recommends Downsizing or Loosening Restrictions in 10 National Monuments

Report Lacks Details on Boundaries but Recommends Management Changes to Permit Wider Range of Uses

Late last night, the Washington Post reported that Secretary Ryan Zinke had recommended making changes–by downsizing and/or by loosening restrictions–to a total of 10 national monuments. The list of monuments goes beyond what had been reported last month. The Post released a leaked copy of Zinke’s recommendations that were submitted to President Trump on August …


News from a Warming World

Coal versus wind power; China’s air; poll results; Ted Cruz; arctic ice.

There’s been a lot of interesting environmental news recently, much of which seems to have gotten little notice. The topics range from U.S. wind power (growing) to U.S. coal power and Arctic sea ice (both shrinking), with a bit of Ted Cruz to spice things up. Here’s the round-up: Out with coal, in with wind. The …


Tonight’s State of the Union (Plus “2013 SOTU Climate Change Bingo”)

Environmental policy wonks around the country:  it’s time to order your vegan hot wings, purchase some organic beers, and don the uniform of your favorite political party (red or blue tie, of course)!  Tonight is the (second) biggest television event of February: President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union.  Obama is set to score major …


What to expect from President Obama’s inaugural address

The countdown to President Obama’s January, 21 2013 inauguration begins: there are only ten days left for the President’s speechwriters to put the finishing touches on the President’s second, and final, inaugural address.  The inaugural address is the first of two important opportunities President Obama will have in the coming months to describe the course …


Nate Silver Denialism & Climate Change Denialism

It’s perhaps unsurprising that some of the same people that deny the overwhelming data on climate change also happened to deny the overwhelming data presented by Nate Silver of the New York Times about the likely outcome of the election yesterday.  Silver, the sports-statistician-turned-poll-analyzer, used aggregate poll data and analysis to show that Obama had …


A Side-by-Side Comparison of Romney and Obama on Energy and Environment

I’ve put together a table of language from the issues sections of the official campaign websites dealing with energy and environment. I decided to use the candidate’s own language to avoid interposing my own views on the issues. Please keep in mind that the table uses their language, not mine. Not surprisingly, the candidates frame …


Ranking the Presidents on the Environment

Keith Poole has spent years devising measures of political ideology.  The late Phil Frickey and I used his scholarship in our work on public choice theory.  He has now produced similar information about Presidents, incorporated in the following chart: It would be useful to have a similar measure for environmental policy. The early part of …


Who Killed the Ozone Rule?

It seems that Bill Daley did: Obama’s surprise move to block an ozone regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) followed immense pressure from industry trade associations, which made numerous personal appeals to White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley.  Daley met with the heads of several business groups more than two weeks before Obama …


…in which I become petty and backbiting — sort of

Elena Kagan might not be the greatest scholar in the world — and that might be why President Obama appoints her to the Supreme Court.