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Jon Rynn's Posts

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Six irrational ideas about oil and gas prices debunked

Let's give these cuckoo ideas a reality check.Photo: Jeremy BrooksCross-posted from New Deal 2.0. It's not pretty when several irrational ideas collide. On May 12, the Senate conducted a hearing to discuss the removal of a $2 billion per year tax break for the top five oil companies. The New York Times called the testimony at the hearing "a big whine for big oil." Eliminating a tax break like this should be a no-brainer, but that idea is blocked by six irrational notions from the right that come together in an explosion of false logic: Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) claims that …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Oil

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Bob Herbert’s savvy advocacy for better infrastructure will be missed

Bob Herbert.Photo: Damon Winter/The New York TimesCross-posted from New Deal 2.0. Dear Mr. Herbert, I was sad to hear that you will no longer be writing for the op-ed page of the New York Times. Your critical perspective on the class war being waged against the middle and working class and the poor, on the waste and recklessness of our wars, and on the wrenching struggles of ordinary Americans made you an invaluable voice. But I want to suggest that even more important than those insights was your consistent attempts to point to a better future, and the path to getting …

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Lesson from Japan: We don’t need nuclear power to solve the climate crisis

Anyone watching the aftermath of the earthquake in Japan can see: The human and ecological costs of nuclear power far outweigh those of any renewable energy.Cross-posted from New Deal 2.0. On March 14, an editorial in The New York Times stated, "This page has endorsed nuclear power as one tool to head off global warming. We suspect that, when all the evidence is in from Japan, it will remain a valuable tool." I want to argue that, to the contrary, the lesson to be learned from the catastrophe in Japan is that nuclear power is not even part of a sustainable solution to …

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How we can save environmentalism — and ourselves

Can somebody throw a line?Photo: AKZOphotoThis is part two of a two-part series, cross-posted from New Deal 2.0. You can read part one here. In my first post, I started to discuss a speech by the founders of the Breakthrough Institute, Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger (N and S). In this post, I will discuss their presentation of 12 theses of environmental thought, which they hope will supply "underlying assumptions for a new, post-environmental climate movement." 1. They start off by claiming that "more, better, or louder climate science will not drive the transformation of the global energy economy." If this is …

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Is environmentalism still dead?

Sign of the times?Photo: Benny LinThis is part one of a two-part series, cross-posted from New Deal 2.0. You can read part two here. In 2004, Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger wrote an essay titled "The Death of Environmentalism" that shook the environmental community -- although probably not quite enough. Nordhaus and Shellenberger (N and S) have gone on to form The Breakthrough Institute, arguing that we need technological breakthroughs in order to solve our biggest environmental problem, global warming, as well as advocating for what they see as innovative solutions to various other problems. They recently gave a follow-up speech at …

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Investment is win-win for global economy and climate, Stiglitz argues

Economist Joseph Stiglitz.Photo: Andrew NewtonCross-posted from New Deal 2.0. Recently Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel-prize-winning economist and senior fellow and chief economist at the Roosevelt Institute, gave a very interesting speech in South Africa concerning climate change and the global economy. He argued that by implementing policies that help to reverse global warming, we can also reverse the global economic downturn. Although he also pointed out many barriers to doing so, he outlined some interesting policy proposals. For me, the most interesting part of his speech concerned the use of a Keynesian approach, not just for a single country, as is …

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Renewable energy: the power of positive feedback loops

A holistic, renewable electricity system would generate millions of good jobs.Cross-posted from New Deal 2.0. When the Roosevelt Administration designed the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), it was designed as a set of mutually self-reinforcing parts, as a holistic system -- including electrification, flood control, soil conservation, fertilizer production, and plenty of good, long-term jobs. The same concept of mutual gain applies to renewable energy -- at a regional, and even national level, an economy running on solar, wind, and geothermal energy would constitute a system, creating more than the sum of its parts. By building dams, the TVA both controlled …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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The new American can’t-do spirit

Can we change our ways? Ditch the cars and move towards a greener approach to transportation.Photo courtesy of leelefever via flickr Cross-posted from New Deal 2.0. Americans have always been known to have a "can-do" spirit. During the 1930s, the Roosevelt administration tried out many different programs to confront the Great Depression and to spread rural electrification and support agriculture. Nowadays, however, much of the political spectrum seems to have turned to a “can’t do” spirit. The sequence is often the following: Left-of-center ideas are proposed to solve some long-term, gigantic problem. The Right says that the government can’t implement …

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Every job can be green, part three

This is the third and last installment of my chapter, "Green jobs in a sustainable economy,", published recently in the book "Mandate for Change".  You can read part one and part two, in which I discuss the first six out of eight ways in which to create an environmentally sustainable economy. Seventh, the global agricultural system is coming unglued. The days of transporting food over thousands of miles, of dousing soils with pesticides and artificial fertilizers, and of growing thousands of acres of the same crop, will soon draw to a close. Millions of new urban gardening jobs could be …

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Fast action on climate change

This is a guest post from Ted Glick, a long-time progressive and climate activist. More information and contact information can be found at tedglick.com Tomorrow, April 20th, I and over 200 other people around the country and from several countries will be fasting. We'll be doing so to make a statement that it is long overdue that this country gets on the right side, gives concrete leadership, to the wide and deep clean energy revolution that is absolutely essential, and soon, if we're to have a chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change.  We're doing this tomorrow because this is the …

Read more: Climate & Energy