Times editorial: The High Cost of Dirty Fuels

NYT Editorial: “The I.M.F. estimates that calculated properly, energy subsidies will amount to $5.3 trillion this year, or 6.5 percent of the global gross domestic product. China, the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, will be responsible for nearly half of that amount, or $2.3 trillion, and the United States will be the second biggest at $699 billion.

The arguments for cutting subsidies are not new. But the I.M.F.’s exhaustive research makes the case even stronger and more timely. The fund calculates that by raising taxes on fossil fuels, basically eliminating the subsidies, nations would reduce premature deaths caused by air pollution by 55 percent. That would make a big dent in the 3.7 million premature deaths that the World Health Organization links to all outdoor air pollution for just 2012.”

The Times makes many good points. I question whether not taxing to recoup externalites is exactly the same thing as subsidizing a product. Am I splitting hairs, or isn’t a tax to recover externality costs a different animal than a direct subsidy?

Ending subsidies for fossil fuels would save many lives, a report from the International Monetary Fund makes clear.
nytimes.com|By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Saint Nicholas: The Power of Hope Is Real

InconvenientNews.Net

Great news from the work of Esther Duflo at JPAL/MIT, and Dean Karlan at Innovations for Poverty Action. Thank you Saint Nicholas.
These economists and their colleagues are using micro-finance, randomized trials and psychology to show what works and what doesn’t in the war on poverty — very exciting.
The dark side to such valiant efforts, is that population growth makes their efforts less useful. Without education, family planning, and population control, all those donated animals will soon be eaten.

A new trial involving 21,000 people in six countries suggest that a cow or a goat and the belief in a better future can significantly impact poverty.
nytimes.com|By Nicholas Kristof

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Saint Nicholas: The Power of Hope Is Real

Great news from the work of Esther Duflo at JPAL/MIT, and Dean Karlan at Innovations for Poverty Action. Thank you Saint Nicholas.
These economists and their colleagues are using micro-finance, randomized trials and psychology to show what works and what doesn’t in the war on poverty — very exciting.
The dark side to such valiant efforts, is that population growth makes their efforts less useful. Without education, family planning, and population control, all those donated animals will soon be eaten.

A new trial involving 21,000 people in six countries suggest that a cow or a goat and the belief in a better future can significantly impact poverty.
nytimes.com|By Nicholas Kristof

Hillary, Jeb, Facebook and Disorder by Tom Friedman; my call for an umemployment tax

I suggest you read Tom Friedman’s column before my comment, posted at the Times:
This writer is deeply worried about the facts and forecasts that Tom Friedman brings forward in yet another excellent column. As I struggle at the super markets to find a human available to ring up my groceries, I ponder a new unemployment tax on all US businesses and business people. It would be a federal tax that would go up when unemployment rises over 5%, or an appropriate number, and keep r

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Huge disruptive inflections in technology, the labor market and geopolitics have the 2016 presidential candidates in a leadership quandary.
nytimes.com|By Thomas L. Friedman

Free Trade Is Not the Enemy – William daley, NYTimes.com.

William Daley:  “The economic impact of the deal was immediately undercut by the collapse of the Mexican peso in 1994. But opponents’ predictions of “a giant sucking sound” accompanying the departure of millions of jobs from American workers never materialized, either. From Nafta’s ratification through the end of President Clinton’s final year in 2000, America added over 20 million jobs, including more than 300,000 in manufacturing. When the manufacturing decline began in earnest in 2001, the main culprits were the offshoring of jobs to China, with which we have no trade deal, and automation.”

“Geopolitically, President Obama is also right. If we don’t set the rules for commerce in the Asia-Pacific region, China will. Since 2000, China has concluded trade agreements with 23 countries, Hong Kong and Macau and is now drafting its own Asia trade deal that cuts us out. This deal apparently omits any mention of labor rights and environmental standards common in modern American-led deals. It would keep many of the region’s economies relying on the same substandard factory floor conditions that China and other Asian nations used to become manufacturing giants.”

via Free Trade Is Not the Enemy – NYTimes.com.

Free Trade Is Not the Enemy – William Daley, NYTimes.com

William Daley:  “The economic impact of the deal was immediately undercut by the collapse of the Mexican peso in 1994. But opponents’ predictions of “a giant sucking sound” accompanying the departure of millions of jobs from American workers never materialized, either. From Nafta’s ratification through the end of President Clinton’s final year in 2000, America added over 20 million jobs, including more than 300,000 in manufacturing. When the manufacturing decline began in earnest in 2001, the main culprits were the offshoring of jobs to China, with which we have no trade deal, and automation.”

“Geopolitically, President Obama is also right. If we don’t set the rules for commerce in the Asia-Pacific region, China will. Since 2000, China has concluded trade agreements with 23 countries, Hong Kong and Macau and is now drafting its own Asia trade deal that cuts us out. This deal apparently omits any mention of labor rights and environmental standards common in modern American-led deals. It would keep many of the region’s economies relying on the same substandard factory floor conditions that China and other Asian nations used to become manufacturing giants.”

via Free Trade Is Not the Enemy – NYTimes.com.

Chemo for the Planet – Joe Nocera, NYTimes.com

Joe Nocera has guts. He has also learned quickly a lot about climate change politics and science. He writes:

“The deliberate use of technology to manipulate the environment — usually in the context of fighting climate change — is called geoengineering. One method is carbon capture, traditionally conceived as a process that sucks up carbon from the air and buries it in the ground. A second is called solar radiation management, which uses techniques like shooting sulfate particles into the stratosphere in order to reflect or divert solar radiation back into space. This very effect was illustrated after the volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991. Spewing 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide in the air, the volcano caused global temperatures to fall, temporarily, by about 0.5 degrees Celsius, according to Wagner and Weitzman.

Somewhat to my surprise, a good portion of Wagner’s and Weitzman’s book is devoted to the subject of geoengineering, especially solar radiation management, which they describe as relatively inexpensive and technologically feasible, with a serious bang for the buck. The reason I was surprised is that the authors have solid environmental credentials — Weitzman is an environmental economist at Harvard, and Wagner is a senior economist at the Environmental Defense Fund — and many environmental groups object to the very idea of geoengineering. They even object to research into the subject, viewing the desire to manipulate nature as immoral. Ben Schreiber of Friends of the Earth, an advocacy group, recently described discussions about geoengineering as a “dangerous distraction.” ”

via Chemo for the Planet – NYTimes.com.

What Bill de Blasio Can Learn From John Lindsay — nytimes.com|By John Guida

“What are some of the similarities and differences between the mayors’ agendas as they came into office?

Both came to City Hall with progressive social agendas, but each was a product of his own time. John Lindsay, who served at the height of the civil rights movement, defined his goals in terms of racial justice. Bill de Blasio, who came to office at a time of growing income inequality, defines his agenda more in terms of economic justice. For Lindsay this meant providing Af

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What can our current mayor learn from New York’s civil rights-era occupant of Gracie Mansion?
takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com|By John Guida

When Birds Squawk, Other Species Seem to Listen — NYT

Hey, we knew this. Bill Staines wrote, “All God’s critters got a place in the choir, Some sing low and some sing high,
Some sing out loud on the telephone wire, and some just clap their hands or paws, or anything they got now.”

A professor’s hunch is that birds are saying much more in warning of danger than previously suspected, and that other animals have evolved to understand the signals.
nytimes.com|By Christopher Solomon