Memo to economists: Please read the scientific literature before opining on the impacts of global warming.
Climatopolis by Matthew Kahn has a deeply flawed main thesis, captured in its subtitle, “How Our Cities Will Thrive in the Hotter Future.” On page after page you will find assertions that are dubious, unsubstantiated, or just plain wrong. Also, the book does not appear to have been well edited. Indeed, it contains at least one (repeated) glaring quantitative error that is so egregious it is very puzzling how it could have persisted to the final version.
But most importantly, the author just doesn’t know what he’s talking about because he hasn’t done his homework. It bugs me that so many economists — a discipline notorious for leaping all over non-economists who write on economic matters without doing their homework — write so much about climate change without reading the extensive climate science literature or talking to leading climate scientists.
Discredited WattsUpWithThat blogger makes up more stuff, while scientists and media critics slam Fox News
Fox News managing editor Bill Sammon was widely condemned yesterday for an email telling the network’s staff not to report on even the most widely accepted scientific facts without immediately challenging them, as I reported here.
The only ones defending Fox News are, predictably, the originators and repeaters of the very disinformation that FoxNews reporters are being ordered to repeat. The leading online disinformer, discredited former TV weatherman Anthony Watts of WattsUpWithThat, actually went so far as to fabricate phony claims about the email in order to defend Fox News
Yesterday, he wrote (falsely) that it was a “stolen email” and “illegally obtained” –on the basis of no facts whatsoever. In fact, as MediaMatters explained to CP, “It was provided to us by a recipient.” I think that was pretty obvious from the story and from the email itself, which was clearly sent to a great many people in FoxNews. It would be hard to imagine that no one on the distribution list thought the email was journalistically inappropriate.
So why would Watts make up such a libelous claim, one that is so transparently false and easily checked (notwithstanding the fact that it is his modus operandi)?
Yesterday afternoon, Mike Huckabee denied that he ever supported a mandatory cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse pollution. “I never did support and never would support it – period,” the former Arkansas governor, Republican presidential candidate, and Fox News personality claimed in a blog post on his political fundraising site Huck PAC. However, when he spoke at the Clean Air Cool Planet conference in Manchester, NH, on October 13, 2007, Huckabee was unequivocal in his support for “cap and trade of carbon emissions” because “it’s all our responsibility to fix” climate change:
Yesterday afternoon, Mike Huckabee denied his long-standing support for a mandatory cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse pollution. The former Arkansas governor, Republican presidential candidate, and Fox News personality strongly attacked the idea that he has ever supported cap-and-trade policy in a blog post on his political fundraising site Huck PAC:
In a recent internet post, a contributor makes the claim that I supported cap-and-trade in late 2007 while running for President.
To put it simply, that’s just not true. . . . This kind of mandatory energy policy would have a horrible impact on this nation’s job market. I never did support and never would support it – period.
However, when he spoke at the Clean Air Cool Planet conference in Manchester, NH, on October 13, 2007, Huckabee was unequivocal in his support for “cap and trade of carbon emissions”:
The one thing all of us have a responsibility to do is to recognize that climate change is here, it’s real. What we have to do is stop pointing fingers about who’s at fault and saying whose responsibility it is to fix it and recognize it’s all our fault and it’s all our responsibility to fix it.
I also support cap and trade of carbon emissions. And I was disappointed that the Senate rejected a carbon counting system to measure the sources of emissions, because that would have been the first and the most important step toward implementing true cap and trade.
Huckabee concluded his 2007 speech by repeating a metaphor from his book From Hope to Higher Ground, excoriating “thermometer” politicians who change their positions based on polls and popularity, instead of “thermostat” politicians who stand by their convictions and provide true leadership:
Leadership comes down to whether you want to be thermometers or thermostats. And that’s probably a term most of you in this room care about, thermometers and thermostats. Let’s remember this: a thermometer can read temperature and reflect what it is. It just can’t do anything about it.
Unfortunately, a lot of leadership in this country is like a thermometer. Polls will be taken, temperature will be gauged, and then speeches will reflect. What we do not need in this country is thermometer leadership. What we need is thermostat leadership. The thermostat reads the temperature as to what it is, but its primary purpose of the thermostat is to seek to adjust it to what it ought to be. And I would suggest, that regardless of your politics, that you insist that people commit to being more than thermometers, and they commit to being thermostats, to help to adjust not just the climate of this earth, but the direction of this country. Not accepting what it is, but leading to what it ought to be.
The Mike Huckabee of 2010 has evidently chosen to abandon the conviction-based approach of the Mike Huckabee of 2007.
The US renewable energy and biofuel industries were celebrating yesterday after the Senate overwhelming approved plans to extend crucial green tax breaks and grant programmes. Senators voted 81 to 19 in favor of the controversial bi-partisan tax bill, which extends the Bush-era tax cuts supported by Republicans, but in return extends federal unemployment benefits for 13 months and provides a raft of incentives to clean energy projects.
Edited by Joe Romm, we cover climate science, solutions and politics. Columnist Tom Friedman calls us "the indispensable blog" and Time magazine named us one of the 25 "Best Blogs of 2010." Newcomers, start here.