[Vision2020] Green California Makes Progress while Petro State Texas Falters

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Sat Nov 26 17:52:30 PST 2016

Regarding California's "Green" status, professor Rachael Salcido, of the
McGeorge School of Law, gave a fascinating presentation Nov. 3 this year at
the U of I Law School, discussing California's efforts to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions:
"Government Structuring in the Face of Climate Change"

I was lucky to have a brief conservation, after her presentation, with
professor Salcido, regarding carbon fee and dividend approach to addressing
global warming, leaving the marketplace to sort out the problem, as opposed
to a more regulatory "command and control" approach.

I mentioned to professor Salcido the Niskanen Center libertarian
approach to global warming, which surprisingly does not fall under the
denialist or "do not worry it's exaggerated" spin.

It's a breath of fresh ideological air to discover a thoughtful libertarian
who does not deny the overwhelming scientific evidence that global warming
is occurring primarily caused by human activity, and suggests an
economically conservative approach to address the problem.   Read below:
Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett


April 6, 2015
Libertarian Principles & Climate Change

by Jerry Taylor

Most libertarians who engage in the global warming debate
contend—vehemently—that anything short of “just saying no” to mainstream
science and public policy to address climate risk is a gross violation of
nearly every principle libertarians hold dear. An examination of the
arguments forwarded by anti-warming libertarians, however, finds no trace
of libertarian principle at all. While it’s perfectly fine for
libertarians—or anyone else for that matter—to discuss climate change
without reference to an ideological playbook, there is nothing within
libertarian philosophy that adds weight to the Right’s reluctance to
address climate risks. Let’s consider the arguments my libertarian friends
are wont to offer in this debate.

*The science does not justify addressing climate risks.* It should go
without saying that how one feels about individual rights and liberties has
nothing to do with how one interprets the scientific literature regarding
atmospheric physics. Consider a summary of the evidence
concern about warming from *Reason’s* science correspondent, Ronald Bailey
(one of the few DC libertarians who takes climate change seriously), and
presumably the best summary
Republicans in the Senate can muster for skepticism about the same (a
summary no doubt drawing in part from information offered up by libertarian
activists who disagree with Bailey). As my friend Sheldon Richman has
argued, how does a commitment to liberty inform how one feels about who has
the stronger argument

Libertarians are free to referee the scientific debate in any manner they
wish. They are not free, however, to argue that ideological priors should
have anything to do with that call. The fact that the implications of
climate change are politically uncomfortable should not color how
libertarians assess the underlying science (a trait, historically
speaking, more
common amongst conservatives than libertarians

*Restricting greenhouse gas emissions will harm the economy and put tens of
thousands of jobs at risk.* Why would libertarian principle compel us to
care? If party A is harming party B, the fact that party A will be poorer
were they to cease and desist should be neither here nor there. This
argument would not resonate with libertarians in other contexts, so why
should it resonate here?

*Mitigating climate risks will produce fewer benefits than costs.* Since
when did libertarian principles dictate embracing utilitarian calculations
in the course of deciding whether to protect property rights? If party A is
harming party B, the contention that A gains more than B loses in the
course of that transgression should not encourage libertarians to
green-light rights violations.

*Restricting greenhouse gas emissions will increase the size of government*.
According to libertarians, the purpose of government is to protect rights
to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. If greenhouse gas
emissions infringe on those considerations (as they most assuredly do if
the scientific consensus regarding climate change is correct), libertarian
principles demand that government should act to enjoin those rights

*Future generations will be far wealthier and better positioned than we are
to address climate change.* If present generations are imposing costs on
future generations, then this is an exercise in transferring wealth from
the (relatively) rich people of the future to the (relatively) poor people
of today. Why should libertarians embrace those wealth transfers
when they are found to be objectionable in other contexts?

*Environmentalists are trying to shut-down capitalism by controlling energy
markets.* To whatever extent this is true
it is neither here nor there lest libertarians wish to make *ad hominem*
<http://skepdic.com/adhominem.html> argumentation a matter of ideological
principle. The underlying motives of *some* environmentalists in the
climate debate have nothing to do with whether climate change is happening,
whether it is caused by industrial emissions, or whether it is imposing
significant harm or the risk of significant harm.  Period.

*It is unclear who has property rights in the atmosphere so there is no
point in talking about rights violations associated with climate change.*
This is a sophisticated dodge but one that takes us down a rabbit hole. Are
we to seriously entertain the idea that manufacturers “homesteaded” rights
to the atmosphere during the industrial revolution? That would seem to run
into John Locke’s admonition
to “leave enough and as good for others when taking from the common.” If
producers don’t have property rights to the atmosphere, that means they are
either held by individuals or by the state. Given that it is impossible to
imagine the former
(at least, in any functioning manner), that leaves us with the latter.
Accordingly, where exactly in libertarian philosophy is it written that
it’s OK to destroy private property or put lives at risk as long as it’s
done through the vehicle of the public commons?

I don’t mean to argue that libertarians should be taken to task for
forwarding arguments outside of their ideological hymnals. One could make a
strong argument, after all, that libertarians have little to offer to the
environmental debate *as libertarians*
But if one wishes to carry the banner of “principle” in this conversation,
those principles do not sit comfortably
<http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2443030> with the
arguments forwarded by many self-described libertarians. And they certainly
can’t be marshaled against those who maintain that some action to address
climate change is necessary

On Thu, Nov 24, 2016 at 8:27 AM, Nicholas Gier <ngier006 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Greetings:
> For those who don't take the Daily News appended is my biweekly column.
> The version below is for the Sandpoint Reader next week, and the 1,800-word
> version (attached) will appear in Pocatello's Idaho State Journal this
> Sunday.
> There are a lot of people who don't know about CA's come back and TX's
> decline. CA still has a lot of problems, so I've replaced the DNews
> "thrives" with "makes progress."
> You can read all my articles on the Third Way between Communism and
> Capitalism at www.webpages.uidaho.edu/ngier/ThirdWay.htm.
> Happy Thanks Giving to All,
> nfg
> *Green California Makes Progress while Petro State Texas Falters*
>                  From 2015 to 2016, according to the Bureau of Economic
> Analysis, California’s Gross Domestic Product rose 4.1 percent, while Texas
> dropped 1.4 percent—right at the edge of recession. Once again conservative
> economists have been proved wrong: high taxes in the U. S. and Europe do
> not kill economic growth.  For example, social democratic Sweden is growing
> faster than conservative Britain 3.4 to 2.3 percent.
> California has the most diverse economy in the nation with 14 out of 50
> advanced industries making significant contributions to its solid growth.
> Texas, the 12th most diverse economy, has only five of those 50, and
> three of those are related to petroleum. Low prices here have hit the Texas
> hard, and Governor Greg Abbot is asking most state agencies to cut 4
> percent from their budgets to meet revenue shortfalls.
> California took a huge hit during the Great Recession because of the
> collapse of the real estate market. Like in so many states, the legislators
> were required to balance the budget with large spending cuts. With voter
> approved tax increases California is now running a surplus and has restored
> education funding.
>             At $67,458 Californians have the third highest mean income in
> the nation. Texas ranks 25th at $49, 927, and Idaho is 40th at $43,341. A
> critic would say that California has a much higher cost of living, but when
> that is factored in Texans still earn about $5,000 less per year.
> Furthermore, Texas has the largest number of workers (550,000) earning the
> minimum wage. In stark contrast, some California cities will require
> employers to pay up to $15 per hour by 2021.
> The critic persists:  Texans should take home more pay because of lower
> taxes. Texans pay no income taxes, while Californians pay some of the
> highest in the nation.  When all taxes are taken into account, the
> picture changes significantly.  A full 60 percent of lower and middle
> income Texans pay taxes at a higher rate than Californians in the same
> bracket, while Texans in the highest 40 percent pay far less. The top one
> percent pays 48 percent of California’s taxes.
> From 2009 to 2014 Texas led the country in job growth, creating 20 percent
> of all new jobs. Half way through 2015, however, California took the lead
> with 465,700 jobs in contrast to Texas’ 286,000.  The Golden State has
> made up for all the jobs lost in the Great Recession, and has the sixth
> fastest job growth rate in the nation.
> With large immigrant populations both states struggle with high poverty
> rates and income inequality. Texas actually has a lower poverty rate, and
> California, even with its progressive income tax, has slightly more income
> inequality.  A state official admitted that there are “two Californias: a
> wealthy coastal economy, in contrast to a struggling inland economy.”
> In 2014, according to Kids Count, California ranked 26th in the nation
> for child health, while Texas stood at 47th. The most alarmingly health
> statistic for Texas is its maternal death rate. In 2000 17.7 mothers out of
> 100,000 died, but that number climbed to 35.8 by 2014.  In 2011 deep cuts
> were made in women’s health funds and 53 clinics were closed. Minority
> women were hit hard with black women making up 29 percent of the deaths.  The
> Republican “War on Women” is real.
> In stark contrast is the decline of maternal deaths in California. They
> went down from 21.5 per 100,000 in 2003 to 15.1 in 2014.  The key to this
> improvement was the expansion of clinics devoted to women’s health.  European
> comparisons are illuminating and embarrassing. For 2014 Germany and the
> United Kingdom had 4.1 and 6.7 maternal deaths respectively.
> California has the greenest utilities and the most efficient energy use.
> Since 1975 per capita energy use in the Golden State has remained the same,
> but it has climbed 50 percent in the rest of the country. CERES of Boston
> ranked three California utilities as the greenest, and Massachusetts,
> Oregon, and Connecticut were not far behind.
> Governor Jerry Brown’s goal of bringing down green gas emissions to 1990
> levels by 2020 is well within reach, so he now proposing that 40 percent
> below those levels be attained by 2030. California has set a goal of
> producing one third of its electricity by renewables by 2020, and by 2015
> it had already reached 26 percent.  Barring federal intervention by coal
> and oil-loving Republicans, California should reach its goal of 50 percent
> by 2030.
> Utilities across the country are firing their boilers with natural gas,
> and fewer and fewer coal fired plants are being built. The inevitability of
> cleaner and renewable energy gives new meaning to the phrase “the ash heap
> of history.”
> Nick Gier taught philosophy at the University of Idaho for 31 years.
> --
> A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they
> shall never sit in.
> -Greek proverb
> “Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity.
> Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance
> from another. This immaturity is self- imposed when its cause lies not in
> lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without
> guidance from another. Sapere Aude! ‘Have courage to use your own
> understand-ing!—that is the motto of enlightenment.
> --Immanuel Kant
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