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Home / Tag Archives: Energy, Environment, Resources (page 10)

Tag Archives: Energy, Environment, Resources

Global warming phonies

I seem to be one of the relatively few right-of-center intellectuals that worry about global warming. In previous posts I've argued that if the GOP were smart (no jokes please) they would propose the following policy: 1. Global warming is a crisis for our planet, and it's time to stop playing politics with the issue. Therefore we suggest that Congress pass the sort of policy that experts believe is the most effective solution, without any bells and whistles that address other partisan...

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The oil price collapse: Tax cut or reallocation?

Just about all economists agree that a sudden dramatic increase in oil prices is likely to be bearish for the US economy. Of course that's not always the case (for "never reason from a price change" reasons), but it's usually true that sudden oil price spikes have supply-side causes. So is it symmetrical? Does a sudden plunge in oil prices boost the economy? I see two views: The Keynesian view sees plunging oil prices as a sort of "tax cut", which puts purchasing power in the pockets...

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Obama: Stop Me Before I Regulate Again

After decades of talk, we finally began to wean ourselves off foreign oil. We doubled our production of clean energy. This is from President Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention, a speech that most commentators rightly hailed as optimistic. What he left out is why we have doubled our production of clean energy, most of which is natural gas. The answer is fracking. This is a little ironic because Obama has been trying to increasing federal regulation of fracking....

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Don’t Worry About Canada Becoming a ‘Petrostate’

But imagine that Canada's oil production grows so much that it becomes as important to Canada as oil is to Saudi Arabia. Is that bad? No. First, Canada is a vibrant democracy with competitive political parties and a fair amount of civil and economic freedom. Not so Saudi Arabia. Second, although many people, including Smith, worry about "Dutch disease," a situation where strong oil exports keep the value of the currency high so that manufacturing suffers, Dutch disease isn't even...

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Was Chernobyl the best thing that ever happened to Europe’s environment?

A few years ago I would have thought the question posed above was absurd. Of course if operated safely, nuclear power can actually be good for the environment. And yet despite the fact that it is an almost carbon free form of energy, nuclear power is opposed by most environmental groups. Apparently the consequences of a catastrophic nuclear accident are so dire that it's not worth the risk, despite the lack of carbon emissions from nuclear power plants. But what if it were the case the...

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The Case for a Basic Land Guarantee

Reading Chapter V, "Of property," in John Locke's "Of Civil Government" for a conference a few months ago, I had an idea for getting the federal government to disgorge much of the property it owns: a Basic Land Guarantee (BLG). We have heard much about the Basic Income Guarantee (BIG). Co-blogger Scott Sumner's brief discussion here overlaps my discussion here. One big problem that both Scott and I point to: any BIG that has a chance of being implemented would cause a huge expansion of...

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Did Global Warming Help Cause California’s Drought?

President Obama and Governor Brown believe the science is settled and carbon emissions lead to droughts. Before we test the veracity of their beliefs, consider that many of the warmest places on Earth, such as rainforests, are both warm and wet. Further, some of the driest places on Earth, such as Antarctica and Siberia, are also the coldest. The coldest city in the world, Oymyakon, Russia, has a mean annual temperature of -15.5 °C and gets only 8.3 inches of precipitation per year....

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The End of British Coal

I was going through my pile of unread Wall Street Journals over the weekend and found this news story: Scott Patterson, "End of an Era: England Closes Its Last Deep Coal Mine," December 11, 2015. Here's one key paragraph: The last deep-pit coal mine in the U.K. plans to shut its doors here next week, heralding the end of a centuries-old industry that helped fuel the industrial revolution and build the British Empire. Patterson continues: The shutdown, targeted for next Friday, represents a...

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Oil Prices are Complicated

Earlier this week I did a post on oil prices in which I failed to take account of futures markets. That's a no-no. I stated in a comment that I would likely do another post. This is it. When I graphed oil supply and demand, I looked simply at the current spot market. But, of course, expectations about the future drive oil supply and demand in the spot market. One good, though insufficient, measure of expectations in the future is the futures market price. I say "the," but, of course, there...

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Oil Economics

UPDATE: See baconbacon's comment below and my response. I may well have blown this big time. I had been meaning to write a post about oil prices and the economy. Now this article in the New Yorker by James Surowiecki has beat me to it--and done it well. It's not that long and so I recommend reading it. I'll hit one highlight and then add a couple of my own thoughts. Investors aren't just worried that oil is the canary in the global coal mine, though. They're also worried that low oil prices...

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