Environment

More Environmental Epic Fail

Featured image Does it seem like most environmental policies backfire to some extent, or just 95 percent of them? I lately returned to the 2012 National Bureau of Economic Research paper on how electric cars are actually more polluting in some states, depending on the electricity source, e.g. if you live in Indiana, every Tesla should come with a bumper sticker that says “How Do You Like My Coal-Powered Car?”  Heh. Earlier »

The Pope’s Encyclical (1)

Featured image About Laudato Si, the Pope’s encyclical on the environment, some preliminary observations: First, although “encyclical” bears some etymological relation to “encyclopedia,” Laudate Si is either too short to be considered an adequate treatment of the wide range of concrete issues and philosophical themes it treats, or too long because it tries to do too much but does it poorly. It raises specific scientific controversies it would have been better to »

How Many Windmills Has the Pope?

Featured image Pope Francis has become a deeply problematic figure, all the more so after his encyclical on global warming was leaked to an Italian publication. The letter, some 129 pages long, is directed to Catholic bishops, but Francis grandly says that it is intended for every person in the world. The letter has not yet been translated into English in its entirety, but portions of it have been run through Google »

Oh Frack! EPA Lets the Greens Down

Featured image This morning the EPA released its long-awaited, multi-year study of hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking,” though those of us with more refined sensibilities call it “rock-massaging”), and it’s going to be a major bummer for the anti-energy left. Here’s the Wall Street Journal headline: Fracking Has No “Widespread Impact” on Drinking Water, EPA Finds A decade into an energy boom led by hydraulic fracturing, the Environmental Protection Agency has concluded there »

Whatever Happened to the “Population Bomb”?

Featured image That’s the question the New York Times asks in its latest “Retro Report,” a series that looks back and updates prominent stories from the past.  “The Unrealized Horrors of Population Explosion” is fairly devastating to the leading figure of that famous apocalypse, Paul Ehrlich, author of the monster best-selling book The Population Bomb: No one was more influential — or more terrifying, some would say — than Paul R. Ehrlich, »

The EPA: Protecting Us from . . . Nail Salons

Featured image Good to know that the EPA is finally getting around to looking into the massive environmental threat posed by . . . nail salons.  From the National Journal: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy will take a trip to a San Francisco nail salon Wednesday—a visit intended to shine a spotlight on health risks posed by the industry. McCarthy’s West Coast trip arrives on the heels of a New York »

From the Oldies File: George Carlin on Earth Day

Featured image This old George Carlin (RIP) routine about environmentalism has been around a while, but since it’s Earth Day, time for an encore. One thing I noticed upon watching again recently is that it seems you can make out a few disagreeable people in the audience heckling him for transgressing the Party Line: »

Happy Earth Day, Hypocrisy Edition

Featured image Is it Earth Day again? Why yes, yes it is. (It’s also Lenin’s birthday. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.) I’ll be having a Green Weenie roast on my charcoal grill.  Now, where to start? How about with Obama jetting off today to the Everglades in Florida (estimated jet fuel burned: 9,000 gallons) to use that famous overgrown swamp as a backdrop to warn us of the peril of climate »

Meet “Eco-Modernism”—The New Face of 21st Century Environmentalism

Featured image For a long time I’ve been arguing that environmentalism needs its own Protestant Reformation, with a Martin Luther figure to nail a new 95 Theses to the front door of the Sierra Club (on recycled paper, of course).  The first attempt at this was Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus’s 2007 book Breakthrough: Why We Can’t Leave Saving the Planet to Environmentalists.  Though Michael and Ted are left-leaning figures, they broke »

Americans to Environmentalists: Yawn

Featured image Gallup is out with its annual poll of environmental issues.  I’ll just go with their headline: In the U.S., Concern About Environmental Threats Eases Among the key findings: Consistent with the decline in worry about specific environmental problems, Americans have become more positive about the quality of the environment in recent years. If Americans perceive the environment to be in relatively good shape, it follows they would be less concerned about potential »

Is “Sustainability” Sustainable?

Featured image I recall taking in a British comedy sketch on TV over in London many years ago that featured the familiar device of an “interview” with a historical figure—in this case, the Lord Jesus Christ himself. The deadpan interviewer asked, “I suppose you’ll be going around doing your usual miracles again—raising the dead, healing the sick, turning water into wine, and so forth? To which Jesus replies with a qualification: “Yes—but »

Why No One Trusts Environmentalists

Featured image It didn’t start with global warming: environmentalists have been distorting (and sometimes fabricating) facts for a long time. As a result, most people have learned to view environmentalists’ claims with skepticism. Here is a case in point. A group called Environment Minnesota started a petition campaign against Flint Hills Resources, which operates the Pine Bend refinery in Rosemount, Minnesota. Pine Bend is one of two refineries in the state. Environment »

The Obama Administration’s Attack on the Constitution: Part 2, Environmental Protection Agency

Featured image The Environmental Protection Agency has long been in the forefront of Obama administration lawlessness. Don’t forget: before Hillary Clinton’s secret email server came to light, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson was conducting government business off the books as “Richard Windsor,” which, she explained when caught, was the name of her dog. The EPA’s current usurpation, an effort to remake America’s power supply system, is much more serious. The EPA has proposed »

Jay Leno Hates Ethanol

Featured image And so should you.  From Jay’s column in Autoweek: CAN’T WE JUST GET RID OF ETHANOL? There have been a lot of old-car fires lately. I went through the ’70s, the ’80s and most of the ’90s without ever having read much about car fires. Suddenly, they are happening all over the place. Here’s one reason: The ethanol in modern gasoline—about 10 percent in many states—is so corrosive, it eats through »

Of Bottled Water and Bobbled Heads

Featured image The Wall Street Journal’s “Notable & Quotable” section this morning flags one of Don Boudreaux’s typically insightful posts from his CafeHayek blog (very much worth reading for basic booster shots of economic literacy) about the emergence of bottled water a couple decades ago: I remember back in the late 1970s or early 1980s when I first noticed that still water began to be offered for sale in single-sized bottles.  I »

Conversations on the Environment

Featured image Last month I trekked up to Syracuse, New York, where global warming had brought temperatures around minus 10 F for my visit (that’s why I’m wearing a sweater in the thumbnail photo), for a conference on environmentalism broadly considered that was sponsored by SUNY’s School of Environmental Science and Forestry.  One of the things I did there was tape a broadcast of their “Conversations” series with Prof. Scott Turner, a »

Drowning in An Ocean of Misinformation?

Featured image The oceans are dying, says . . . just about everyone. Well at least the New York Times, which reported last month that “Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says.” And the Times never makes any factual mistakes; I checked to make sure this story wasn’t from Gail Collins. But to my amazement, there’s a broad study out in the latest issue of BioScience, a premier journal in the »