Aggregating Skeptical Thought

Gore gives it to the Senate

Over at SciAm blogs is a post about Gore’s recent trip to the Senate to talk about his favorite topic, global climate change.

Here’s an excerpt of Gore’s 9 point plan as reported on SciAm.

1) I think we ought to have an immediate freeze on co2 reductions and start from there.

2) We should use the tax code. What I’m about to propose I know is is very much outside the range of what is now politically feasible.

I think we ought to cut taxes on employment and make up the difference with pollution taxes – principally CO2 taxes. Some countries are talking about it seriously.

In the developed world our big disadvantage is that these developed countries have access to tech and container shipping. We don’t want to lower our wages – but we don’t want to pile on top of those wages these taxes.

We ought to use some of the revenue [from carbon taxes] to help the poor with the adjustments that are coming forward.

3) I’m in favor of cap and trade and I supported Kyoto. but I understand the realities of the situation.

I think the new president should take office at a time when our country has a commitment to defacto compliance with Kyoto. And I think we should move the start of the new treaty period from 2012 to 2010. We need a tougher treaty that starts in 2010. And we need to find a creative way to get China and india involved sooner rather than later.

That’s important not least of which because China’s emissions will exceed ours in the next couple of years.

We need to ratify a cap and trade system so the market will work for us rather than against us.

4) We should have a moratorium on new coal plants that are not fixed with carbon capture and sequestration technology.

5) I think our congress should fix a date beyond which incadescent lightbulbs are banned. [aside: Australia is about to do this.]…

It’s like wal-mart. It’s not taking on the climate crisis simply out of the goodness of their heart. They care about it but they’re making money at it.

6) The creative power of the information revolution was unlocked by the Internet. When the science and engineering pioneers came up with arpanet and this senate empowered them with a legislative framework and money for r&d, that came together.

We ought to have [an analogous] electro-net and we ought to encourage widely distributed power generation. We ought to take off the caps and let individuals sell back as much as they want on the grid.

Know that the opposite of a monopoly is a monopsony – a single buyer who dictates prices, so we need to have an open market to deal with that [so it’s not just the utility company dictating the value of electricity sold back to the grid]. You give individuals the ability to do that and you watch – families, small business will go to town on this.

7) I think we ought to raise the CAFE standards. Don’t single out autos, but as part of it.

8) Pass a carbon-neutral mortgage association. Here’s why: buyers of new homes and buyers and sellers all focus on purchase prices. But the expenditures that go into more insulation and window treatment and those that don’t pay back immediately but pay back over 2-3 years, those don’t get counted as savings. Put those in a separate instrument – then have a Connie May [like the government’s Fannie Mae, which handles mortgages] which can create a separate instrument. So that people can save and reduce co2 at the same time.

9) Require corporate disclosure of carbon emissions. Investors have a right to know about material risks that could affect the value of their stocks in the future.

Technorati Skeptic

Filed under: Economics, Environment

TED2007 wrap ups

I have previously posted some wrap ups from the TED conference. Here are day 3 and 4

Day 3 wrap up including JJ Abrams and Jeff Skoll.

Day 4 wrap up including Richard Branson

Filed under: Economics, Internet, Law, Science

TED2007 wrap ups

Day One wrapup; some cool guests Steven Pinker and Murray Gell-Mann.

Day Two wrapup; some other cool guests like Bill Clinton and Larry Lessig.

Filed under: Economics, Internet, Politics, Science

The single variant analysis and averaging dilemma

I know it’s an awesomely geeky title and makes me look far smarter than I really am 😉 Especially when you see that I stole it from someone far smarter than me.

There’s a really cool “guest blog” post over at Freakonomics about the dangers of

…what appears to be an increase in decisions based on single variant analysis and averaging, often ignoring consequences of those decisions and/or the context of the analysis

He cites the recent decision by the U.S. Postal Service to remove mailboxes, closing of underperforming schools and the it’s-only-one-degree-warmer-that’s-not-global-warming crowd.

Filed under: Economics, Environment, Science


Forbes has an article, The Achievement Gap, detailing some of the research performed by Roland Fryer that attempts to use economic theory to explain the gaps (overall poverty, education, wages) between Blacks and Whites in America.

It’s a very interesting article and carries on in the same vain as the wildly popular book Freakonomics and is in fact linked from the Freakonomic’s blog.

Filed under: Economics


  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.