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link roundup March 19, 2008

Posted by KG in 2008 Elections, books, econ, environment, news, politics, race, religion, science, sex, tech.
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1) the human side of ralph nader (make sure you change the bookmark to chapter 1)

2) hillary’s “experience”

3) fred krupp, president of the environmental defense fund, talks about “his new book and his thoughts on harnessing the great forces of capitalism to save the world from catastrophe.” – direct real audio link & airtalk archive link (scroll to 3/14)

4) andrew sullivan ponders prostitution – 1 & 2

5) ezra klein on wright vs. falwell

6) TED talks (richard dawkins, larry brilliant, bill clinton, the google guys, and more)

the carbon king March 13, 2008

Posted by AP in econ, environment.
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from the wsj:

The planet is getting warmer. Richard Sandor, a 66-year-old economist, is getting wealthier.

His company, London-based Climate Exchange PLC, has carved out a key role in Europe’s booming trade in “carbon permits” — essentially, buying and selling the right to pollute. Since 2005, the European Union has required major polluters to either cut the amount of carbon dioxide they spew, or buy pollution credits in the open market.

A big chunk of the action occurs on an exchange founded by Mr. Sandor, a one-time Berkeley professor who has morphed into a gregarious climate-change entrepreneur….

It’s an unusual mix of markets theory and environmentalism. “The right wing always suspects you of being a tree-hugging environmentalist and the left wing accuses you of being a money-grubbing capitalist,” says Mr. Sandor, who back in the 1990s developed a markets-based system to cut down on pollutants causing acid rain.

oveall, an interesting article. in addition to discussing the rare common ground between environmentalism and capitalism, it also provides a good summary of the debate between cap-and-trade and carbon tax systems. on sandor’s berkeley roots:

He first envisioned a carbon market long before many people had heard of global warming. In 1992 at the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, he presented an academic paper on how markets might be used to reduce carbon emissions.

Of the conference, Mr. Sandor recalls: “There was more tie-dye there than at a Grateful Dead concert. It felt like a movement.” Indeed, the event laid the groundwork for what eventually became the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.


mankiw on carbon tax December 21, 2007

Posted by KG in econ, environment, interviews, politics, science.
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Listen Now [3 min 47 sec] add to playlist

Morning Edition, December 20, 2007 · A so-called carbon tax would put a price on any carbon released into the atmosphere. But even for the greenest voters, a tax increase that would help the environment is likely to be a hard sell. “There’s no question that, politically, tax is a four-letter word. But we have to really convince voters that this is not an overall tax increase; it’s really a tax shift,” said Gregory Mankiw, an economist and former chairman of President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisors.

Mankiw, who supports a tax, speaks with John Ydstie.

mankiw’s op-ed in nytimes 16 sept. 2007:

Those vying for elected office, however, are reluctant to sign on to this agenda. Their political consultants are no fans of taxes, Pigovian or otherwise. Republican consultants advise using the word “tax” only if followed immediately by the word “cut.” Democratic consultants recommend the word “tax” be followed by “on the rich.”

Yet this natural aversion to carbon taxes can be overcome if the revenue from the tax is used to reduce other taxes. By itself, a carbon tax would raise the tax burden on anyone who drives a car or uses electricity produced with fossil fuels, which means just about everybody. Some might fear this would be particularly hard on the poor and middle class.

But Gilbert Metcalf, a professor of economics at Tufts, has shown how revenue from a carbon tax could be used to reduce payroll taxes in a way that would leave the distribution of total tax burden approximately unchanged. He proposes a tax of $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide, together with a rebate of the federal payroll tax on the first $3,660 of earnings for each worker.