In response to a tweet for a wider base of contributors, I offered my services as a libertarian and Environmental Scientist to provide a monthly science based column for United Liberty. I hope to examine scientific themed issues, the societal response to these issues, and policy (legislation, regulatory mandates and rules, and judicial rulings) surrounding these issues. I think that it is appropriate to start with the issue of our time.
An Inconvenient Beginning
We saw the graph in An Inconvenient Truth. It was aimed to scare us into action. What action? For starters, we could start to curb our carbon footprint by buying offsetting credits, a mitigation scheme that was proposed by a man who would actually profit from it.
The division on climate change (formerly “global warming,” formerly “global cooling”) started with the imperfect messenger. Mr. Gore’s message was an attempt to simplify the current status of the climate of the Earth. While most critics of global warming focused on the presenter making the point that anthropogenic forces were the cause of a warming trend, I was struck that the larger and more important variables in the climate equilibrium were not mentioned and remain largely uncovered.
Written by Marian Tupy, a policy analyst, Center for the Global Liberty and Prosperity at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
According to Sir David Attenborough, the famous British broadcaster and naturalist, “humans are threatening their own existence and that of other species by using up the world’s resources.” In a recent interview, Attenborough said that “the only way to save the planet from famine and species extinction is to limit human population growth.”
We are a plague on the Earth,” he continued. “It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now… We keep putting on programmes about famine in Ethiopia; that’s what’s happening. Too many people there.
In 2006, Sir David Attenborough was voted Britain’s greatest living icon. Popularity, however, is no substitute for wisdom. As I have explained in a previous blog post, “[The] rate of global population growth has slowed. And it’s expected to keep slowing. Indeed, according to experts’ best estimates, the total population of Earth will stop growing within the lifespan of people alive today. And then it will fall… the long-dreaded resource shortage may turn out not to be a problem at all.”
Yesterday, President Barack Obama delivered his inaugural address, symbolically beginning the start of his second term in office (he was actually sworn in on Sunday in a private ceremony, per constitutional requirements).
The ceremony was filled with the usual pomp and celebration that we’ve come to know with presidential inaugurations. Hundreds of thousands descended on the Mall in Washington to watch Obama take his oath and listen to his second inaugural address. Many stuck around to watch the inaugural parade, which went on into the evening.
The celebration, as Doug Mataconis explains, “places far too much of an air of monarchism around the Presidency.” Seeing the lengths we take to celebrate one branch of our government — one that is supposed to have only as much power as the legislative and judicial branches — is ridiculous; not to mention incredibly costly. But I digress.
For all of the celebrating that took place in Washington yesterday, President Obama’s inaugural address left much to be desired.
It was a well-delivered speech, but there wasn’t much there on substance. While he talked about the unifying, there was nothing in the speech that came even close to hinting that Obama is ready to work with Republicans in Congress. He couldn’t have delivered that message any clearer.
Have you been following the debate over the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST)? If you haven’t perhaps you should. This UN-backed treaty, which requires ratification by the United States, may not seem important since it deals with a rather mundane issue. However, it could become a vehicle for more nefarious propositions; including backdoor cap-and-trade, a policy that was defeated in Congress back in 2009.
LOST has some powerful supporters in the Senate and among special interests, for example, the United States Chamber of Commerce supports its ratification. However, a number of Republicans in the Senate are looking to derail it, permanently:
The Obama administration’s all-out push to join the United Nations international maritime treaty is just four votes short of being doomed after two more senators this week added their names to the list of lawmakers who have vowed to oppose it.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) are the two latest senators to sign on to the letter, The Hill has learned, bringing the total to 30. Treaties need a two-thirds majority to pass in the Senate, meaning 34 signatures would effectively kill it.
Accession to the treaty is championed by a powerful coalition that includes the U.S. Navy, the business community and the oil industry but that hasn’t been enough to assuage concerns that the convention would impinge on U.S. sovereignty.
Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment, a columnist on Fox News Opinion, chairman of the Internet Freedom Coalition, and author of Democracy Denied: How Obama is Ignoring You and Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America - and How to Stop Him.
The Hill newspaper named Mr. Kerpen a “Top Grassroots Lobbyist” in 2011. His op-eds have run in newspapers across the country and he is a frequent radio and television commentator on economic growth issues.
Prior to joining American Commitment, Kerpen served as vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity. He also previously worked as an analyst and researcher for the Free Enterprise Fund, the Club for Growth, and the Cato Institute.
Kerpen blasts out spirited, pro-liberty tweets @Kerpen.
We’ve all become accustomed to Al Gore’s constant preaching about global warming. He put together a movie about climate change and managed to win a Nobel Prize due to his fear-mongering and alarmism. We’ve heard various theories and claims over the years from Gore and the like about global warming and its effects. However, I may have heard the strangest claim to date.
Tim McCarver, who may be the worst sports broadcaster I’ve ever listened to, recently said that global warming is causing more homeruns in Major League Baseball. Seriously, he actually said this:
There have been all kinds of reasons given for the increasing number of home runs in baseball over the decades including more tightly-sewn balls, steroids, improved fitness training programs, and bat technology.
On Saturday, renowned Fox sportscaster Tim McCarver blamed it all on Al Gore’s favorite money-making scam.
“It has not been proven, but I think ultimately it will be proven that the air is thinner now, there have been climatic changes over the last 50 years in the world, and I think that’s one of the reasons balls are carrying much better now than I remember,” McCarver said during Saturday’s game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Really? I’ve never been one to take McCarver seriously. In all honesty, I refuse to watch games that he’s broadcasting. The guy drives me nuts. However, McCarver’s claim here deserves to be looked at a little deeper, and since it’s baseball, it makes the issue more interesting.
This particular question is one that I’ve never really looked at in-depth, but last night I went through the data dating back to 1993 to last season (the chart below shows 1992 and 2012, but I couldn’t get rid of those years for some reason).
For several years now there has been an ongoing debate regarding the impetus for President Obama’s economic policies. Were they the work of the smartest president in history, a man so intelligent that his wisdom could supplant the collective experience and choices of 300 million Americans, and in so doing restore our economy? Were they the well-intentioned but errant contemplations on an Ivy League egghead with lots of “book learnin’”, but without a shred of private sector experience that is the proving grounds for such ideas, being exposed to the unmerciful judgment of markets?
At this point I have come to the conclusion that it is an intentional effort to replace America’s free-enterprise system with a democratic-socialist style, centrally-planned, government run economy. Look at the evidence…the massive stimulus package which failed spectacularly, the auto union bailouts, government employee bailouts, Cash for Clunkers, Son of Stimulus, and myriad other economic “remedies”. Combine this with calls for increased taxes of “the rich”, more regulation and more government intervention in the market, and we end up with a long-term stagnant economy. One can no longer chalk it up to pure stupidity. If it were pure stupidity then the law of probabilities would dictate that Obama would have made the right decisions, even if only by accident, somewhat approaching fifty percent of the time.
The race for the GOP nomination for president has really heated up, but there are rumblings that Rep. Paul Ryan and Sarah Palin may be preparing to jump in, candidacies that would dramatically shake up the field. But at least right now, it seems like this is a three way race for the nomination between Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann. Polls seem to bear out that conclusion as well, though no one seems to really be the frontrunner.
Here is a look at the current power rankings in the GOP field (and yes, we’ve excluded Thad McCotter on purpose):
Mitt Romney (): If there was ever a question that Romney was on shaky ground as the frontrunner in the GOP field, it has been answered with Rick Perry. That being said, only one poll shows Romney down to Perry; so it’s far too early to say that that Romney has no path to the nomination. Romney still has plenty of arguments for Republicans to get behind him, including that he is the only candidate in the field that really challenges President Obama. However, the worst thing that could happen to Romney would be a Paul Ryan candidacy.
Well, this is one of the strangest claims that we’ve seen in a while. A group of far-Left House Democrats are pushing a resolution that says that women are disproportionately affected by global warming to the point where they could be pushed into a “transactional sex” (or prostitution). That’s not a joke — they’re apparently serious:
Several House Democrats are calling on Congress to recognize that climate change is hurting women more than men, and could even drive poor women to “transactional sex” for survival.
The resolution, from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and a dozen other Democrats, says the results of climate change include drought and reduced agricultural output. It says these changes can be particularly harmful for women.
“[F]ood insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage that put them at risk for HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and poor reproductive health,” it says.
Climate change could also add “workload and stresses” on female farmers, which the resolution says produce 60 to 80 percent of the food in developing countries.
Last week, President Barack Obama met separately with House and Senate Republicans where he was asked about the future of the Keystone XL pipeline, which was stalled early last year despite a State Department report showing that it posed no substantial environmental threat. President Obama was ambiguous about the pipeline, which would create thousands of new jobs, both direct and indirect.