Climate Politics

Why I Was Wrong About Methane

I didn’t think cutting methane was a high priority. Now I do. Here’s why.

I didn’t use to think that eliminating methane emissions should be a priority. True, methane is a potent greenhouse gas. But it’s also a short-lived one, which only stays in the atmosphere for twenty years or so. In contrast, CO2 emissions cause warming for 2-3 centuries or more. So methane emissions seemed to be something …

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Anti—Anti-#ClimateEmergency

COP25

Whether to declare a climate emergency is debatable. But some critics have gone way overboard.   

Should Biden declare a national climate emergency?  There are certainly arguments that, on balance, it would be better not to take that step.  Some opponents argue that declaring a climate emergency would be horribly anti-democratic, polarizing, and counterproductive.  Those arguments seem to me seriously overstated.  I’d like to go through the major arguments against declaring …

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Taxing Carbon?

Should we adopt a corporate carbon tax? Something to think about on Tax Day.

Today is Tax Day, delayed from its usual spot in mid-April due a backlog at the IRS.  It seems like an apt time to think about a carbon tax.  At present, it doesn’t seem to be on Biden’s agenda, but agendas can change with circumstances, sometimes unpredictably. Politically, the biggest problem with a carbon tax …

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Five Myths About Climate Policy

Debate about climate policy is often distorted by misconceptions.

In this post, I want to talk about some of the ideas that make it hard to have sensible discussions about climate policy. I don’t mean outright climate denial.  Instead, I’m talking about less blatant misconceptions that keep many people from thinking seriously about cutting carbon emissions. Myth #1. EPA climate rules are a regulatory …

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Straws in the Wind

Businesses have intensified public support for climate action. That could presage a major shift in climate politics.

In the past few weeks, there’s been a notable growth of business support for climate action. A letter from the CEOs of 300 hundred major companies called for a 50% cut from 2005 carbon emissions by 2030.  The companies ranged from the utilities to tobacco to investment management. Google, McDonalds,  Walmart, and Philip Morris were …

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Trump’s Pro-Environmental Acts — A VERY Short List

Despite its general hatred of environmental protection, the Trump Administration did manage a few positive steps.

This being the last day of Trump’s presidency, it’s appropriate to look back on his environmental record.  Basically, Trump was to environmental  law as General Sherman was to Georgia.  In the time between his “American carnage” Inaugural Address to his unleashing of carnage on Capitol Hill, he and his minions devoted themselves to environmental destruction. …

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Climate Politics and the Urban-Rural Split

How do we sell climate policies to huge swathes of Trump country?

The 2020 elections revealed America as bitterly divided as ever. The split between rural and urban voters is intensifying, with rural voters delivering massive support to Trump and down ticket Republicans.  Success in decarbonizing the economy will ultimately require the support of those voters.  Short of a miraculous turnaround in attitudes about climate change, how …

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Things to be Thankful For (2020 edition)

Trump has done his best to eliminate federal protection for the environment. But there have been many positive signs.

Nearly four years into the Trump Administration, we’re now accustomed to waking up every morning to learn about a new attack on the environment.  It’s also been an awful year in terms of the pandemic. But there are some things to be thankful for. Here’s how I started a similar post in 2017, nearly a …

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Battle for the Senate: 2022 Preview

We’ve just been through one big election.  But it’s only 2 years till the next one.

We’re only two years away from the next Senate elections. Granted, we’re not completely done with the 2020 Senate elections given the Georgia runoffs.   But just 24 months from now, control of the Senate will again be at stake.  On average, the President’s party loses two Senate seats in the off-year elections.  That’s not a …

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What Next for Climate Policy?

The election outcome is still contested. Here are three possible scenarios.

We probably won’t be sure for a while who will be our next President.  The GOP will probably control the Senate but even that isn’t completely certain yet. Rather than play forecaster, I thought it would be helpful to look at how various outcomes will impact climate policy. Since we’re all suffering a lot of …

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