Tuesday, June 23, 2009

love it when things work out sometime...

I am currently at the office working on rearranging some files for sharepoint and waiting for any possible emails from the home office or my profs. To waste time in between organizing folders I am perusing the news when I came on this article CBO Estimates Cost of Climate Change Bill in the washington post that warmed my heart. It kills me that in the wake of economic recession and because we've had some uncharacteristically cold winters the past two years that climate change skeptics continue to dominate potential policy and really stand in the way of meaningful policy interventions. The latest trope parroted by foes of the proposed cap and trade bill love to say that it would be economically harmful for families around the country. Well, a report from the CBO says that jut ain't so, estimating average yearly costs of $175 for the average household in 2020 and actually saying that the bottom ten percent would see a $40 savings from the bill. Of course, the repubs are responding by claiming the report does not take into account the millions of jobs that will be lost due to higher energy prices. This is of course total bullshit and doesn't follow the literature they claim to cite. They cited a report by an MIT professor and even the professor said they severely distorted his numbers, he concluded the average cots would be a little more than 300 dollars, not the 3000 dolars that Boehner and his colleagues have been pushing.

But I was mainly pleased because I love seeing good analysis combined with an explicit crititque of the overheated, wrongheaded, business-centric rhetoric that so many on the right put out in place of, you know, actual policy analaysis. So forgive me, while I take up some space on this humble blog to celebrate a victory for the geeks and wonks.

But I also want to take some space to rant a bit more. The thing that bothers me so much about the business and economic arguments pushed by many republicans is that they are not just naked appeals to industry interest but within it is the explicit assumption that global climate change is not real and that it does not provide a threat in the medium or long term. Not only does it fly in the face of the majority of the scientific community that study such things but it's also unbearably short sighted. Climate change is real and unless the companies have forecasted that they can make greater profits cleaning up the impending disasters that will befall us if we don't do something then I don't understand their position, other than not wanting to dish out money now. That's not an entirely unreasonable position but I think it puts them in a disadvantaged spot to survive the next few decades. Also, it only reinforces the necessity of a strong government response on the national and international levels. Planners most often get the shittiest end of the stick when it comes to policy work and implementation because they usually have to deal with local problems directly. They are the ones trying to deal with reconstruction of New Orleans after Katrina, they are the ones trying to figure out how to deal with water issues in the west, pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, they're the ones that have to solve problems that could be prevented or lessened if the federal or even their state governments had more seriously taken already well known risks into account.

Anyways, I'm done. I'm trying to download the CBO report analysis (it's not that big but with my internet connection a 16 page report takes nearly 20 minutes to download on a slow day like today) and get a better read that isn't summarized by the newspaper. If you're at all interested just head to the cbo website, it's on the front page.

No comments: