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Thu, 2009-04-16 08:29Jim Hoggan
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Standing on Principle: Explaining the DeSmogBlog's Position on the BC Election

An election campaign is unfolding in the Canadian province of British Columbia over the next month, the outcome of which could have important implications all over North America and, ultimately, around the world.

A central issue in this provincial political squabble is a carbon tax - according to most analysts, the least-expensive, most effective and most transparent of climate change solutions (check this report, for example from the U.S. Congressional Budget Office [PDF]).

But if carbon taxes are popular among economists, they are widely regarded as toxic among voters - as any new tax is likely to be. That’s why the B.C. election is so important. For people outside this jurisdiction, it is being seen not so much as a minor election in a distant place, but as a referendum on carbon taxes. The assumption here is that if the tax fails here, it won’t be worth trying anywhere in North America.

Mon, 2009-03-30 16:49Jim Hoggan
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Freeman Dyson is flailing outside his field of expertise; the NYT should be embarrassed

Freeman Dyson seems like a nice man and, in 1949, he was certainly one of the most impressive physicists in the world. Nicholas Dawidoff is a great sportswriter. And the New York Times (with obvious exceptions) is held to be a reputable and credible publication.

But none of that helps to explain why the NYT Magazine would ask a sportswriter to research an 8,000-word article on an issue he knows nothing about - featuring an 85-year-old “expert” who is similarly at sea on the issue.

Take what position you will on the degree of urgency, climate change is unquestionably one of the most important public policy issues currently facing any government in the world. It is somewhere between casually irresponsible and criminally reckless for a respected medium like the New York Times to undermine the quality of public discussion by putting so much focus on people who are so clearly out of their depth.

Wed, 2009-03-18 17:28Jim Hoggan
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Climate Change is on America's Mind

A new research report out today details the fact that, despite the global economic meltdown, over 90 percent of Americans agree that the U.S. should act rapidly to combat global warming, including 34 percent who feel the U.S. should make a large-scale effort even if it costs a lot of money.

 

 

Americans overwhelmingly support calls for a comprehensive set of climate change and energy policies, including funding for research on renewable energy (92%); tax rebates for people buying fuel-efficient vehicles or solar panels (85%); and regulation of carbon dioxide as a pollutant (80%).

The study [PDF], entitled “Climate Change in the American Mind: Americans’ Climate Change Beliefs, Attitudes, Policy Preferences, and Actions,” was conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication – both of which are objective professional groups known for their cautious approach to opinion research.  The study authors surveyed over 2,000 Americans last fall to extrapolate the nationwide figures. 

Highlighting the increasingly powerful role of consumer activism in pressuring companies to take bold steps forward, the researchers found that roughly half of Americans are willing to reward or punish companies for their climate change-related activities. However, two-thirds of those consumers surveyed said they did not know which companies to target, posing a barrier to effective consumer advocacy campaigns.

Tue, 2009-01-13 23:17Jim Hoggan
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Canada to study economic impact of climate change

It’s hard to know whether to celebrate or to weep.

CanWest News Services reporter Mike de Souza has learned that the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is calling for a lightning fast (eight-week), bargain basement ($40,000) report on the potential economic impacts of climate change in Canada.

We certainly laud the Prime Minister’s sudden interest, but if this is anything more than a public relations exercise designed to lobby the anti-science cohort in his own caucus, it is an affront - so terribly inadequate to the task as to only further humiliate Canada on the international stage.

Sun, 2008-12-21 07:34Jim Hoggan
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The Big Ask: "Act Now!" on global warming [video]

This video is well done. Help spread the message by emailing it on to your friends and family.

Tue, 2008-12-09 06:39Jim Hoggan
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Great Idea! Bob Lutz Offers Himself as GM Sacrifice

If Congress wants a sacrifice, it should be me.”

- GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz

We don’t often agree with GM’s head of product development, but on this point, Bob Lutz has a point.

As we reported the other day, Lutz is the quotable character who is struggling to position GM as a conscientious green company, even while continuing to deny climate change and to blame his company’s disastrous condition on everyone but management.

In his most recent gaffe, Lutz told CBS News today that whoever is charged with monitoring the U.S.  government’s auto-industry bailout should look harshly on the negative impact caused by California fuel regulations.

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