Welcome to the second edition of my occasional newsletter on climate and energy issues. As a reminder, my day-to-day research or writing is focused on sports governance and science policy. But I’ve written a fair bit on the topics of climate and energy over the past 25 years, including two books and a boatload of academic papers, and I’m paying attention. So caveat lector!
Climate and Energy Policies (truncated)
- So think of the Paris Agreement not as a policy framework, but rather as a potent political symbol.
- As a symbol, here is how the politics work: Trump pulls out of Paris, Trump wins. Trump stays in, Trump wins. Fun game, huh?
- In a perceptive piece, @jmcurtin writes: “The only White House climate debate is between those who want to use the Paris climate agreement as a branding and lobbying opportunity, and those who favour leaving it altogether.”
- The rest of the world should preempt Trump and just kick the US out.
- Similarly, President Trump has made a big deal of reversing Obama’s Clan Power Plan. This too is a symbolic action. According to EIA, the impact of the CPP is pretty marginal:
- In fact, its projected impact of the CPP is far less than market prices for fossil fuels, again according to EIA:
- Consider that the CPP would likely have been tied up in the courts during a Hilary Clinton administration and you get … symbolism.
- Advocates for more aggressive climate action should use the opportunity afforded by the Trump presidency to fundamentally rethink climate policy in a way that would be politically robust.
- Maybe I’m just an eternal optimist, but it does seem that the tide may finally be starting turning against the extremist views of leading climate scientists and their acolytes.
- Sure, there were smart pieces by smart thinkers at CSPO and the Breakthrough Institute: @JasonGLloyd (great piece here) and @TedNordhaus (more awesomeness here).
- But what really was encouraging was Nature magazine writing: “But name-calling and portraying the current political climate as a war between facts and ignorance simply sows division.”
- Perhaps Nature’s editors noticed that in the US, public support for science funding, once a shared, bipartisan priority, has split on partisan lines:
- Did the recent Science March help to bring people together? Early evidence says: probably not.
- After failing to get Bret Stephens fired from the New York Times, the nation’s leading climate scientist, Michael Mann (@MichaelEMann) has focused his vitriol on cartoonist Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame (@ScottAdamsSays).
- I can’t believe I just wrote that. (Seriously, if you are not yet blocked by Mann, go over and read his Twitter feed for a glimpse into the worldview of the nation’s most important climate scientist.)
- Pro tip: If you don’t want to be viewed as analogous to a religious fundamentalist, don’t go after cartoonists.