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ThePragmaticPolitico

What Makes a Liberal: Climate Change

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With the "What Makes a Liberal" thread under espionage, here is a fresh thread.

 

So "what makes a Liberal" with regard to Climate Change? To kick it off, two questions:

 

1) Is the net economic benefit greater if the federal government mandates fuel emission standards for auto manufacturers, or...

 

...If the federal government leaves the auto industry to the free market while the federal government itself directly funds massive investments in eco-friendly transportation alternatives - batteries, self driving cars, nat gas-fueled public transit, etc?

 

Or is a "net economic benefit" framework not an appropriate framework, and the government should simply treat "Climate Change" as a crisis that must be fought at virtually any cost?

 

2) Should Congress have to approve an international agreement such as the Paris Climate Accord?

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With the "What Makes a Liberal" thread under espionage, here is a fresh thread.

 

So "what makes a Liberal" with regard to Climate Change? To kick it off, two questions:

 

1) Is the net economic benefit greater if the federal government mandates fuel emission standards for auto manufacturers, or...

 

...If the federal government leaves the auto industry to the free market while the federal government itself directly funds massive investments in eco-friendly transportation alternatives - batteries, self driving cars, nat gas-fueled public transit, etc?

 

Or is a "net economic benefit" framework not an appropriate framework, and the government should simply treat "Climate Change" as a crisis that must be fought at virtually any cost?

 

2) Should Congress have to approve an international agreement such as the Paris Climate Accord?

 

The "What Makes a Liberal" thread is not "under espionage." We have a standing practice of not hijacking pinned threads with pet issues. Starting a new thread was the way to proceed here.

 

From my perspective, the answers to the posed questions are complex (as opposed to absolute either/or responses.)

 

As to fuel efficiency standards, I think it is preferable—in the main—for the government to set standards and let private companies figure out how best to meet those goals.

 

That said, there may be times when publically funded labs hit on technologies that provide breakthroughs for energy conservation, and in those cases, it seems entirely appropriate that they should hold patents and license the technologies to third parties. In these latter cases, public labs would increase competition for sound technological solutions.

 

And leaving the automotive industry as one primarily driven by a regulated free-market doesn't mean the government shouldn't be involved in eco-friendly infrastructure projects like rail, subway, or busses. These projects, in turn, rely on private enterprises to compete for bids and contract for the best technological solutions.

 

As to the economic model, too often in classical economic the cost of the damage done to publically held resources (air, water, land, and climate) was not accounted for when it came to profit and loss. We need a more sophisticated economic model that does account for economic activity that exacerbates climate change. "Net economic benefit" needs to be understood in the largest picture, much as in the concept of "self-interest" vs "enlightened self-interest."

 

Bill

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The "What Makes a Liberal" thread is not "under espionage." We have a standing practice of not hijacking pinned threads with pet issues. Starting a new thread was the way to proceed here.

 

From my perspective, the answers to the posed questions are complex (as opposed to absolute either/or responses.)

 

As to fuel efficiency standards, I think it is preferablein the mainfor the government to set standards and let private companies figure out how best to meet those goals.

 

That said, there may be times when publically funded labs hit on technologies that provide breakthroughs for energy conservation, and in those cases, it seems entirely appropriate that they should hold patents and license the technologies to third parties. In these latter cases, public labs would increase competition for sound technological solutions.

 

And leaving the automotive industry as one primarily driven by a regulated free-market doesn't mean the government shouldn't be involved in eco-friendly infrastructure projects like rail, subway, or busses. These projects, in turn, rely on private enterprises to compete for bids and contract for the best technological solutions.

 

As to the economic model, too often in classical economic the cost of the damage done to publically held resources (air, water, land, and climate) was not accounted for when it came to profit and loss. We need a more sophisticated economic model that does account for economic activity that exacerbates climate change. "Net economic benefit" needs to be understood in the largest picture, much as in the concept of "self-interest" vs "enlightened self-interest."

 

Bill

Paragraph 5 is really what I would like to see done more systematically and at a much larger scale. Much like has been done with wind and solar, where those technologies are now getting to a point of standalone viability.

 

Wrt fuel standards, perhaps push the private sector to improve over time while funding the necessary R&D and investments more directly until standalone viability is achieved...?

 

 

What is your thought on the Paris Accord, particularly wrt the greater lenience afforded to China?

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Paragraph 5 is really what I would like to see done more systematically and at a much larger scale. Much like has been done with wind and solar, where those technologies are now getting to a point of standalone viability.

 

Wrt fuel standards, perhaps push the private sector to improve over time while funding the necessary R&D and investments more directly until standalone viability is achieved...?

 

 

What is your thought on the Paris Accord, particularly wrt the greater lenience afforded to China?

 

I'm not really sure I'm following all your points.

 

I'm skeptical that the government needs to be the funding agent for the private sectors R&D efforts, but might support such efforts in extremis, as we bailed out Chrysler when it was on the brink of failure. Otherwise, it is best IMO if private enterprises fund their own technological research driven by market competition or that enterprises license winning technologies from others.

 

On the other hand, where publically-funded public laboratories can advance clean energy technologies (and share in the revenues that flow from the discoveries) I'm all for it.

 

As to the Paris Accords, I don't have sufficient policy depth on the details to have a fixed judgment. Obviously, a climate change agreement won't count for much without China and India (and other rising economic powers) doing their part. I understand their counter-argument that the industrial West has gone through our "dirty period" and they need to do the same in order to develop.

 

The key, in my estimation, is finding clean technologies that allow developing nations can afford while cutting the use of fuels such as coal so they can advance without replicating the environmental damage of earlier industrial revolutions.

 

Reversing the effects of climate change will take a global effort. We will need to be smart about it.

 

Bill

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I'm not really sure I'm following all your points.

 

I'm skeptical that the government needs to be the funding agent for the private sectors R&D efforts, but might support such efforts in extremis, as we bailed out Chrysler when it was on the brink of failure. Otherwise, it is best IMO if private enterprises fund their own technological research driven by market competition or that enterprises license winning technologies from others.

 

On the other hand, where publically-funded public laboratories can advance clean energy technologies (and share in the revenues that flow from the discoveries) I'm all for it.

 

As to the Paris Accords, I don't have sufficient policy depth on the details to have a fixed judgment. Obviously, a climate change agreement won't count for much without China and India (and other rising economic powers) doing their part. I understand their counter-argument that the industrial West has gone through our "dirty period" and they need to do the same in order to develop.

 

The key, in my estimation, is finding clean technologies that allow developing nations can afford while cutting the use of fuels such as coal so they can advance without replicating the environmental damage of earlier industrial revolutions.

 

Reversing the effects of climate change will take a global effort. We will need to be smart about it.

 

Bill

We're largely on the same page.

 

The auto companies are running up against technological reality in getting to 40+ MPG profitably...and the base auto biz is not egregiously profitable anyway.

 

So funding battery tech R&D and/or building out recharging station infrastructure is a perfect area for federal dollars to step in.

 

What's frustrating about Paris is that the public is overwhelmingly bipartisan about the need to address Climate Change...but Congress can't actually come together to agree on a bipartisan set of scientific standards and framework to address.

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We're largely on the same page.

 

The auto companies are running up against technological reality in getting to 40+ MPG profitably...and the base auto biz is not egregiously profitable anyway.

 

So funding battery tech R&D and/or building out recharging station infrastructure is a perfect area for federal dollars to step in.

 

What's frustrating about Paris is that the public is overwhelmingly bipartisan about the need to address Climate Change...but Congress can't actually come together to agree on a bipartisan set of scientific standards and framework to address.

 

The auto companies have always claimed to be running up against technology when dealing with mileage or emission standards.

 

I grew up (and live) in Los Angeles. Before CA mandated emission standards (that the automobile companies claimed were impossible, the air here was incredibly foul. Some days the air was orange and simply breathing it caused one's windpipe to burn.

 

Today the air is dramatically cleaner and blue skies are the norm.

 

A key to better fuel economy and lessened pollution is lighter vehicles. But instead we see the market filled with greater hulks every year. It isn't sustainable.

 

I'm open to government R&D in battery technology and building a re-charging infrastructure.

 

If it is Tesla, or Apple, or another big-tech company, or publicly-funded lab, or now-obscure upstart that has the critically need breakthrough is pretty much immaterial to me, so long as we find answers. I'm a pragmatist.

 

Add me to the list of those who morn any bipartisan remaining in American politics. It ain't easy when one party has no affinity to science, and the liberals are undermined by the far-Left when they act as the grown-up party.

 

Bill

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The auto companies have always claimed to be running up against technology when dealing with mileage or emission standards.

 

I grew up (and live) in Los Angeles. Before CA mandated emission standards (that the automobile companies claimed were impossible, the air here was incredibly foul. Some days the air was orange and simply breathing it caused one's windpipe to burn.

 

Today the air is dramatically cleaner and blue skies are the norm.

 

A key to better fuel economy and lessened pollution is lighter vehicles. But instead we see the market filled with greater hulks every year. It isn't sustainable.

 

I'm open to government R&D in battery technology and building a re-charging infrastructure.

 

If it is Tesla, or Apple, or another big-tech company, or publicly-funded lab, or now-obscure upstart that has the critically need breakthrough is pretty much immaterial to me, so long as we find answers. I'm a pragmatist.

 

Add me to the list of those who morn any bipartisan remaining in American politics. It ain't easy when one party has no affinity to science, and the liberals are undermined by the far-Left when they act as the grown-up party.

 

Bill

CA would be a great case study then. Off the top of your head do you know the stats of emissions/capita, MPG then and now, and population growth over that time?

 

I assume the population growth has been parabolic. So I'm guessing MPG has gone up significantly? Or is there also a big industrial emissions component as well?

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CA would be a great case study then. Off the top of your head do you know the stats of emissions/capita, MPG then and now, and population growth over that time?

 

I assume the population growth has been parabolic. So I'm guessing MPG has gone up significantly? Or is there also a big industrial emissions component as well?

 

I don't know the stats off the top of my head. I'm sure they are documented. The population is up, pollution is down. The difference between the air my son breaths today vs the air I breathed in the 1960s is quite dramatic.

 

There have been other air quality measure taken, but my understanding is the (by far) greatest factor in Southern California's air pollution problem (and fix) was automotive exhaust.

 

Bill

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I don't know the stats off the top of my head. I'm sure they are documented. The population is up, pollution is down. The difference between the air my son breaths today vs the air I breathed in the 1960s is quite dramatic.

 

There have been other air quality measure taken, but my understanding is the (by far) greatest factor in Southern California's air pollution problem (and fix) was automotive exhaust.

 

Bill

Interesting. I'll have to study up.

 

FYI, this is pretty good if you haven't read:

 

http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21717365-world-turned-upside-down?frsc=dg%7Cc

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Interesting. I'll have to study up.

 

FYI, this is pretty good if you haven't read:

 

http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21717365-world-turned-upside-down?frsc=dg%7Cc

 

I had not read this Economist article, but quite interesting.

 

Being able to store daylight (or wind) generated clean electricity (just one of the topics discussed) certainly will a major challenge we'll need to surmount to expand renewables to the maximum degree. How the economics (including government policies) shapes renewables is fascinating.

 

Bill

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I had not read this Economist article, but quite interesting.

 

Being able to store daylight (or wind) generated clean electricity (just one of the topics discussed) certainly will a major challenge we'll need to surmount to expand renewables to the maximum degree. How the economics (including government policies) shapes renewables is fascinating.

 

Bill

Absolutely fascinating.

 

And if you read what Berkshire Hathaway has done with wind, for example - setting aside what you may or may not think about BRK - it is the quintessential public/private framework necessary for a sub-scale industry such as renewables.

 

BRK admittedly can only earn a "fair" return with regulatory assistance. They run their Wind investments thru their utility sub, so the return is a utility-like 10-12%, maybe a bit higher, but doubt by much. Very fair, IMO.

 

I think Tesla has some tax credit assistance. Perhaps it's bigger than I realize; but would love to see a big push behind Tesla's battery "field" (?).

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Agree with much said here. The infrastructure does need to be overhauled in smart ways so that the grid doesn't lose much of the green energy that can be supplied to it. I think that all new homes should be mandated to be equipped with PV roofs / redo all fed and state buildings with PV as well. No question that government vehicles should use electric or any type of vehicle fleets that will reduce fossil fuel use - this also helps to push private auto corps to move forward with increasing GPM standards.

 

Also incentivize business to do the same along with lighting systems that use less electricity. A building itself could become it's own green recharging system possibly giving back more to the grid than it takes - carbon trading perhaps would make sense.

 

There is economic worth in going green both in the reduction of pollution which is responsible for a large amount of human disease as well as in jobs - estimates make a green economy easily tripling jobs, possibly even higher rates of job production compared to fossil fuel jobs- this I don't have the data on just now. I do know that wind turbines require constant maintenance - a friend of mine works on the transmissions at a wind farm and they are always understaffed.

 

There is so much electricity waste in most homes that smart technology could tackle - it's a win win for the environment and for the economy overall!

 

Peace!

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Ben Shapiro - not a popular guy on this forum - had an interesting segment on yesterday's podcast about climate science. I embedded the video within a blog post outlining some of the thoughts I have shared in this thread:

 

http://thepragpol.com/2017/04/22/ben-shapiro-on-climate-science

not sure I understand what is so interesting regarding climate science here. there are a whole host of illogical statements coming from this fellow. I would center on the first that comes out of his mouth regarding hate speech. He subsidizes his translation with hate speech, by saying no - all speech is free speech. Yes, it is, then he says there are exceptions, mainly fighting type words, are his definition, which anyone who knows law understand are illegal. I find that quick computer like read to be quite interesting... :(

 

the manhattan institute, interesting group of quantitative economic theorists - to put it blindly, regarding any approach to climate change which, for legal reasons we must surmise at this point in time they agree is real. (thank god almighty).

 

the government can't do a damn thing. don't leave it up to the government. well the sad truth is, we haven't much and not a lot has been employed, yet the good thing is a lot of tech much of which has come from public/private R&D has been done, and yes, we have the technology today to make a huge dent - however, and this is absolutely an imperative however, action from the government needs to be taken, and not hastened like it has been!!!

 

just the considerable effects of air and water pollution have hindered health and prosperity here there and everywhere. He says that science has no morality, like facts are facts and they are, and yes, they do not hold any morality, zero in fact. that was the only thing I could construe that makes sense in his logic. I will admit I did not listen to the entire video. maybe partly because I hold what they call a liberal bias.

 

Peace!

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