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August 25, 2019

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Libertarians see free markets as having no third parties intervening in market transactions. They know that to have a free market economy, you need a rule of law with civil courts to deal with disputes, police and criminal courts to deal with trespass, theft, fraud, extortion, coercion, assaults, et.

When you export about a quarter of all manufactures in the world, you have to import something. Food is something.

BTW, what sort of nation could be such a "winner" that it runs a net trade surplus with the whole rest of the world? A nation of underfed slaves, perhaps?

--TP

China's economy appears to be a form of neo-imperialist mercantilism. While a vast improvement on the great leap backward, cultural devolution period, it has its limits. Which their economy appears to be bumping up against.

Libertarians see free markets as having no third parties intervening in market transactions. They know that to have a free market economy, you need a rule of law with civil courts to deal with disputes, police and criminal courts to deal with trespass, theft, fraud, extortion, coercion, assaults, et.

All of which constitute third party interference in potential transactions.

Which is to say, their demand for "no 3rd party intervention" is actually a demand for "no interventions that inconvenience me, but plenty of interventions which help me."

List of countries by current account balance

If people think Climate Change can be addressed without wealth

I don't see anyone here making such a claim.

Charles' appears to be arguing that the way to address the impact of climate change on poorer people is to make sure they have property rights.

The first thing to note here is that poorer people - poorer nations in particular - make at most minimal contribution to the human causes of climate change. Their lack of wealth is not what is causing the problem. Suddenly enriching them through the mechanism of private property is not likely to solve the problem. They are not involved in the problem, by and large, except via bearing the brunt of it.

The second thing to note is that one of the greatest dangers at the moment is the inclination of poorer countries to follow the same path the developed world took in building themselves into wealthy nations. Which is to say, industrialization. People in emerging economies want cars, A/C's, TV's, the whole host of things we take for granted, and which they don't have. Any argument against them following that same path to wealth is, and must be, both necessary and profoundly unfair. They are obliged to take one for the team, while we refuse to make even the most basic adjustments to our own level of comfort and convenience.

Net/net, the path to what we would consider to be normal levels of wealth among emerging economies is likely to make things profoundly worse, rather than the obvious. From the point of view of human contribution to climate change.

Property rights are a great thing. I hope that people around the world are increasingly able to derive the full value, in whatever form they wish, from the things they build and own and from the fruit of their labor and diligence.

None of that addresses the causes of climate change. We - people who have been benefiting from the numerous advantages of modern industry for the last 250 or so years - are the cause of climate change. Our refusal to change what we do, and how we do it, is the issue.

Nobody whatsoever in this train of discussion is arguing against market economies, or against poorer and emerging nations improving the material conditions of their people's lives. Nobody is arguing against the goodness of property rights.

Nobody is arguing against them or for them, for that matter, because they aren't really all that relevant to a discussion of the causes of climate change and the things that need to happen to address it.

We need to stop pulling carbon based fuels out of the ground and burning them to power our lives. We need to change what we eat, and how we grow what we eat. And we need to take immediate and direct action to mitigate the consequences that are already, irretrievably, baked into the atmosphere and oceans.

That is what needs to happen.

It's great if property rights are strengthened for the people for whom they are currently weak or nonexistent. Doing that is almost completely orthogonal to the human causes of climate change.

the idea that property rights are even in the top 50 things that we need to work on seem preposterous.

from my reading of the relevant literature, the idea that GCC can be handled by strong property rights for people in the areas likely to be affected first by GCC is based on the premise that the lawsuits then brought by these people would be enough to make the polluters change their behavior. poor flooded farmers would sue polluters and the polluters would be forced to switch to clean methods in order to avoid future lawsuits.

but there's no doubt that the same people pushing that idea would also have no problem arguing that any such suits would be nonsense because there's no way to prove that the specific polluter named in the suit was responsible for the water that flooded the plaintiffs' homes. [and besides, the poor farmer is just looking for a handout! should've been born in Iowa, sucker!]

and in the unlikely event that a polluter would lose a suit like that, the reaction would be immediate legislation forbidding future such suits in the name of protecting the economy and our way of life.

So it's a "universal property rights will make everything super-duper fair, even across national borders" kind of thing.

Sometimes (OK repeatedly), the ability of this administration to come up with things which will damage the country is simply amazing.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/09/06/military-service-was-once-fast-track-us-citizenship-trump-administration-keeps-narrowing-that-possibility/

Support our troops! -- but only if they're native born, and preferably white, folks like us. Otherwise, even if they're stationed in somewhere that we have great political support, e.g. Kentucky, they're unimportant. See the list of places where military projects (specifically and explicitly approved and funded by Congress) are being shut down in order to steal funds for the ego wall.

Reading my own comment made me think of this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meBXuuy9xto

Grateful immigrants become the best citizens. That's what drives me completely insane about all of this anti-immigration bullsh*t. It's the same crap we went through with refugees from the Middle East several years back - you know, because they were all terrorists, even the ones who worked on our behalf and who only wanted to leave their home countries because they were likely to be tortured and killed for helping the US. F**king stupid.

No matter how hard they try, it strikes me libertarians cannot get around the vast collective action problem that constitutes the major stumbling block to effectively mitigating GCC.

cf tragedy of the commons/negative externalities

If one accepts the science, then one is logically compelled to seek public policies (i.e., "interventions") that either bend market outcomes (taxes, etc.) in some way to influence participants or simply take markets over and/or shut them down or radically redirect those resources (command economy).

As I recall, libertarians did not march in the streets demanding the rollback of the federal seizure (pretty much) of our domestic production during WWII.

But I guess some interventions are better than others, right?

I assume at the same population density the US would also be in need of food imports. And the US have more good arable land too.

Have you tested those assumptions?

Libertarians see free markets as having no third parties intervening in market transactions. They know that to have a free market economy, you need a rule of law with civil courts to deal with disputes, police and criminal courts to deal with trespass, theft, fraud, extortion, coercion, assaults, et.

My understanding is that Libertarians view the employer/employee relationship as an example of a market transaction that should be free from third party intervention. It is also my understanding that prostitution would be legal in a Libertarian jurisdiction because it is a negotiated transaction between two adults. Question: In a Libertarian society, would I, as an employer, be free to require my female employees to be sexually intimate with me as a part of the mutual exchange of consideration supporting our employment contract?

If the answer is yes, then Harvey Weinstein is a Libertarian, yes?

So it's a "universal property rights will make everything super-duper fair, even across national borders" kind of thing.

Nothing is ever super-duper fair. If you can get "more-or-less fair", you're way ahead of the game. Leaving that aside, no, no one is saying what you said. What is being said is pretty simple: (1) it will take a liberal, market-driven,First World industrial base to replicate the wealth necessary to deal with Climate Change, and property rights are at the core of such a state of affairs; and (2) poor countries, without the means to address Climate Change internally, are poor generally because the key ingredient to a liberal, market-driven First World industrial base is the liberal notion of property rights (as opposed the oligarch's notion of property rights, see, e.g. net worth of Fidel Castro, Nicholas Maduro, Vladimir Putin, etc).

russell: It's great if property rights are strengthened for the people for whom they are currently weak or nonexistent. Doing that is almost completely orthogonal to the human causes of climate change.

I say that if you breathe air, you have a "property right" in the atmosphere. (If your "person" consists of stock certificates, you don't.) We Americans may have a highly evolved system of property rights based on Rule of Law, but where the hell are our property rights w.r.t. the atmosphere?

Libertarians might howl or scoff, but I want to see the following in order to take this "property rights solve everything" business seriously:
1) A tax on every atom of fossil carbon extracted in or imported into the US. Maybe a fraction of a penny per mole. This is based on the fact that, close enough for government work, every atom of fossil carbon that enters The Economy eventually becomes a molecule of CO2 dumped into The Environment, thus impinging on our "property right" in the atmosphere.
2) The tax to be collected at source -- from the miner, or driller, or importer. Those "persons" could eat the cost, or pass it on -- they'd be Free to Choose for themselves, on strictly Free Market principles. But We the People would collect the "dumping fee" up front.
3) The money would immediately (say, monthly) get distributed among all persons in the US who breathe, on a strictly per-capita basis. The surviving Koch brother and a newborn in "the inner city" would both receive the exact same dollar amount, since each has the exact same "property right" in the atmosphere.

Almost certainly, Democrats would favor a higher carbon tax of this form than Republicans. And who knows what Libertarians would favor? But the dollar amounts are negotiable. "Compromise", so beloved of "moderates" and "independents", is always possible when all we're doing is haggling over the price. It's establishing what "property rights" are that I'm on about.

--TP

Question: In a Libertarian society, would I, as an employer, be free to require my female employees to be sexually intimate with me as a part of the mutual exchange of consideration supporting our employment contract?

I would say that it shouldn't be illegal if it's clearly stated in the employment contract and the employee makes an overt acknowledgment of the requirement. My impression of the Weinstein affair is that people were being blindsided by the requirement after the fact. Which brings in fraud, coercion, assault and who knows what else.

What is being said is pretty simple: it will take a liberal, market-driven,First World industrial base to replicate the wealth necessary to deal with Climate Change, and property rights are at the core of such a state of affairs

so i've read a dozen or so articles about the libertarian property-rights angle for GCC this afternoon, and they follow the argument that increasing the property rights of those affected most by GCC will allow them to sue polluters and thereby make pollution too expensive.

here's Adler again:

Developing property rights-based solutions for problems such as air pollution may be particularly difficult because it is harder to trace whose emissions are responsible for how much harm and to whom. Nevertheless, there is a broad libertarian consensus that individuals should be compensated by those whose actions create environmental problems that produce provable damages to their property (broadly understood as not just as their homes or physical assets but their body and health as well). Or so it seems save one glaring exception: Global Warming.

he then goes on to argue that libertarians should treat GW the way they do other property damages:

By the same token, if the land of a farmer in Bangladesh is flooded, due in measurable and provable part to human-induced climate change, why would he be any less entitled to redress than a farmer who has his land flooded by his neighbor’s land-use changes? Nor does it matter that Bangladesh might stand to benefit from industrial development: If one’s normative baseline includes a commitment to property rights, then aggregate welfare maximization is secondary – if not irrelevant.

property rights are the mechanism by which these people who no longer have property to stand on will be afforded redress.

The paper on free market environmentalism linked above either proposes or believes that libertarians propose privatizing the commons is the only way to avoid the tragedy of the commons.

Food for thought!

privatizing the commons is the only way to avoid the tragedy of the commons

well, sure!

once the commons is in private hands, then it's no longer 'the commons'!

increasing the property rights of those affected most by GCC will allow them to sue polluters and thereby make pollution too expensive.

The people of Bangladesh vs ARAMCO. Place your bets.

privatizing the commons is the only way to avoid the tragedy of the commons

The term "tragedy of the commons" was IIRC coined by a libertarian think piece arguing, exactly, that privatizing the commons is the only way to avoid the tragedy of the commons. The assumption was that anyone who did not have a personal, private property in a resource would be unable to restrain themselves from abusing it.

The author was apparently unable to imagine any other way that people might live in community, or think about a shared resource. Simply didn't enter his mind. And, given his assumptions, the author was correct - if the only response to a shared resource is to abuse it by taking as much of it as you can get away with, the shared resource - the commons - will in fact be degraded.

Commoning was a viable way of life, for a lot of people, for centuries. It no longer is, for a thousand reasons, not least because we no longer have the mental furniture - the vocabulary, the repertoire of fundamental ideas - to imagine it. We did, now we don't.

Leaving that aside, no, no one is saying what you said.

I was responding to cleek's immediately preceding comment. And from a later cleek comment:

so i've read a dozen or so articles about the libertarian property-rights angle for GCC this afternoon, and they follow the argument that increasing the property rights of those affected most by GCC will allow them to sue polluters and thereby make pollution too expensive.

Maybe no one here is saying it (except maybe Charles?), but someone is.

I would say that it shouldn't be illegal if it's clearly stated in the employment contract and the employee makes an overt acknowledgment of the requirement. My impression of the Weinstein affair is that people were being blindsided by the requirement after the fact. Which brings in fraud, coercion, assault and who knows what else.

Ok, and this is one reason why I'm not a Libertarian: if your first sentence were the theoretical law, then Weinstein would not have had to do what he did to circumvent the actual law, which he had to get around. That is, if was legal to tie sexual consent to employment, Weinstein could have been straight up--if using employment as a cudgel to compel sex can be seen as "straight up"--with the objects of his desire and made a quid pro quo offer of employment in exchange for sex. Quid pro quo's are illegal in the US--and rightly so, assuming it's necessary to state the obvious-- because there is an inherently exploitative potential in many employment relationships, e.g. the very poor, the very needy, etc. It's why we have minimum wage and overtime statutes and a host of other, relatively mild, third party intrusions into the market.

(and the reason i read all those articles was to try to figure out why Charles was saying property rights are the way to go. i assumed it was some libertarian orthodoxy that i hadn't heard of before, and wanted to know what it was all about.)

I want to hear the Libertarian plan for establishing strong worldwide property rights within the next decade in order to mitigate the worst of the coming environmental collapse.

I also note that McKinney's critique here amounts to "but how will we pay for all of this without shrinking the economy?" And that this question ignores the possibility that we are where we are because we have already expanded the economy beyond the sustainable point on a "fossil fuel" bubble.

GCC is a market correction enforced on the global economy by the ecological system we live in. Guess what, oil dude, you got caught holding the bag when the bubble burst, so you get to pay and that value gets wiped out.

So put that value to work in the decade that we have trying to build something that will not be wiped out when that bubble bursts, and realize from the start that you will not come out of this making money off of the deal.

Yep. It'll hurt. Welcome to spaceship earth.

It's why we have minimum wage and overtime statutes and a host of other, relatively mild, third party intrusions into the market.

Which can and often do make people worse off instead of better. When you eliminate someone's least worse option without providing them with an alternative, you're not doing them any favors.

I also note that McKinney's critique here amounts to "but how will we pay for all of this without shrinking the economy?" And that this question ignores the possibility that we are where we are because we have already expanded the economy beyond the sustainable point on a "fossil fuel" bubble.

GCC is a market correction enforced on the global economy by the ecological system we live in. Guess what, oil dude, you got caught holding the bag when the bubble burst, so you get to pay and that value gets wiped out.

So put that value to work in the decade that we have trying to build something that will not be wiped out when that bubble bursts, and realize from the start that you will not come out of this making money off of the deal.

Yep. It'll hurt. Welcome to spaceship earth.

If only. If Big Oil is going to pay, how is that going to work (leaving aside 'how do we grow enough beans to feed everyone if we can't drive our tractors and combines and whatnot?')? Big Oil may have a trillion or so collectively in cash somewhere, but most of its value is in reserves, physical and other capital assets. Here's the thing about capital assets: I can say my house is worth 100M, but if in fact I can only get 500K for it, that's how much I actually have, and therefore, that's how much is available to pay for my contribution to GCC. IN other words, you can't get more from capital assets than someone is willing to pay. If you outlaw fossil fuels, the value of Big Oil's capital assets is zero if not negative. Like it or not, if you are counting on Big Oil to pay to fix GCC, you either have to let it remain economically viable or you just put a bullet in its head and take pennies on the dollar, and even then you only get to do that one time.

Which leaves what's left of the private sector to pick up the slack, assuming the death of Big Oil doesn't pull everything else in with it.

And even then, you will not fix the problem and will most likely make it much worse if your fix is "Tough s**t private sector, we're coming for your money and we won't stop until we say we've taken enough to fix the problem". Assuming government were to do that, (1) the private sector would cease to exist and (2) GCC would be a secondary concern because there wouldn't be any beans and we'd all starve to death. Not just Americans, but pretty much the world.

So, like it or not, you won't fix anything by killing the golden goose.

Which can and often do make people worse off instead of better. When you eliminate someone's least worse option without providing them with an alternative, you're not doing them any favors.

I would need fairly clear and compelling evidence of this, assuming I understand the context. Our economy seems just fine with minimum wage and time and a half and not allowing men to compel women to submit in exchange for employment (or who promote women who do submit over women who won't), to name a few.

I've seen plenty of outright employee oppression that was perfectly legal. We are not all equally endowed, equally independent and rational economic actors. A viable, civilized and liberal society levels the playing field up to a point (at present we are several degrees short of where I would be in being pro-employee). Where that point is lies somewhere between Libertarian and Progressive policy preferences. Neither are viable long term, IMO. Neither are economically realistic, much less sustainable IMO.

McTx I've seen plenty of outright employee oppression that was perfectly legal.

I'd be interested in a couple of your examples, if you can say.

Which can and often do make people worse off instead of better.

Maybe. The study of the impact of minimum wage legislation may be rife with conflicting conclusions, but the elimination of 8 year olds going down into the mines is fairly clear.

Ya' know, price signals often make some people worse off instead of better. Amazing, yes!

Same for public policy.

The glibertarian response is to claim the so-called free market is (a.) more "efficient"; and (b.) Liberty! What is left unsaid is the current distribution of both power and wealth.

Strangely, they take that for granted.

How very strange, indeed.

If glibertarians were really sincere, they would advocate a One World "watchman" state, randomly redistribute all the people of the world based on a lottery, and give them each an equal share of existing wealth and resources.

This is an unrealistic plan that matches exactly their unrealistic policy prescriptions and their plethora of unfounded assumptions.

The people of Bangladesh vs ARAMCO. Place your bets.

In addition to being able to hire far better lawyers (even as a class action suit, how much can Bangladeshi farmers afford?), look for ARAMCO to a) successfully get a change of venue (because of course with everybody in Bangladesh impacted, they can't get an impartial jury there) and b) argue that they just pumped the oil (and have no control over whether it was burned or made into plastics or whatever).

We're having a duel. But you get a water pistol and I get a main battle tank. But hey, they're both guns, right? So it's essentially a fair fight.

The goose isn't golden and it's already dead. It's been on life support for decades with everyone in the family afraid to pull the plug because they aren't ready to pay the hospital bill for decades of end-of-life care and the decedent's estate is all leveraged debt.

The starvation you say will happen is going to happen either now or in the future and will be far worse in the future as we run up climate debt to ease our passage for the moment. Which goes back to Hartmut's 10:51 about Libertarians and lifespans.

I'd be interested in a couple of your examples, if you can say.

I can give some examples, but I'm going to switch from "oppression" to the broader "mistreatment": un-provable age discrimination, extended work hours on a daily but under 40 hours weekly basis and then that under adverse work conditions, cutting hours to avoid full time employee benefits, questionable use of "independent contractors", hiring subcontractors who the employer knows will not follow OSHA, FLSA, etc (essentially using a cat's paw to avoid the law). And so on.

A gray area that has troubled me for years is an attorney I heard of back in the day who would hire single, financially-strapped mothers as clerical help and then lend them more money than they could repay. He would then call the loans and allow them work off their debt in the Weinstein way. Nothing in writing, no paper trail and not an employment-related quid-pro-quo. He should be shot of course for being a despicable human being, but that's beside the point. I'm not sure where the illegality lies.

There is a lot of gray area and I'm almost always opposed to government mandates, generally because they almost never work. The low hanging fruit is minimum wage and time and a half for hours over 40 and that's already on the books. Plus, you wind up with a lot of unintended consequences that reward the litigious and punish the rest. Rather, I favor tax and other incentives to encourage employee opportunities to buy-in (after a certain number of years in service), to encourage larger, richer insurance and retirement benefits, those kinds of things.

In addition to being able to hire far better lawyers (even as a class action suit, how much can Bangladeshi farmers afford?), look for ARAMCO to a) successfully get a change of venue (because of course with everybody in Bangladesh impacted, they can't get an impartial jury there) and b) argue that they just pumped the oil (and have no control over whether it was burned or made into plastics or whatever).

We're having a duel. But you get a water pistol and I get a main battle tank. But hey, they're both guns, right? So it's essentially a fair fight.

WJ, you are out of your element. If--the world's biggest "if"--Bangladesh had a make-able claim against a deep pocket or a class of deep pockets, getting competent counsel would be the least of its worries. I make a good living as an hourly fee lawyer with a good client base. My contingent fee, plaintiff attorney friends out-earn me by orders of magnitude. Orders. We have a second home until I retire (which we need because I need a home where I work), they have large jets, vineyards in Napa, homes in Hawaii/Colorado/Wyoming, ranches here and there. No shortage of lawyers who are very, very, very good and who will take 40% of the recovery.

The goose isn't golden and it's already dead. It's been on life support for decades with everyone in the family afraid to pull the plug because they aren't ready to pay the hospital bill for decades of end-of-life care and the decedent's estate is all leveraged debt.

The starvation you say will happen is going to happen either now or in the future and will be far worse in the future as we run up climate debt to ease our passage for the moment. Which goes back to Hartmut's 10:51 about Libertarians and lifespans.

Perhaps, but if you are correct, find your redoubt because the end is coming. Very few have your outlook and even less are willing to pay the price to fix the problem as you would have it fixed.

Better use of my time and resources than trying to argue with death cult capitalism. Plant a billion trees: https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/plant-a-billion/

If we (for some definition of "we") somehow decided to leave the fossil fuels reserves in the ground, a huge amount of the book value of pretty much all of the big energy companies would disappear. Because their big asset is all of the stuff that's in the ground that they haven't extracted yet.

At some point I worked out a back-of-envelope measure of what that would actually amount to, as a percentage of the book value of (for instance) the DJIA. I forget what it came to, but it was a lot. As in, it would probably cost my wife and I, personally, five or six figures.

I talked about it with my wife, and we agreed that, were that option available, we'd take the hit. That is probably an unusual position.

If you did it all at once, it would crater a truly enormous sector of the global economy. Not just the producers, but all of the stuff downstream of that. At present, the world literally runs on old dead dinosaurs and ancient trees. There is no simple or easy or quick path away from that, that doesn't also involve utter chaos.

If we, for some definition of "we", were to decide to embark on a mobilization plan to transition away from all of that, we would be looking at a generation of effort. That wouldn't get us 100%, it could hypothetically get us to a place where we could "bend the curve" of the rate of growth of carbon emissions. So, over time, we might mitigate how bad things will be eventually. That would need to be, at a very bare minimum, a regional or state level effort if it were to make a dent. Realistically it would need to be national, to be really effective it would need to be in concert with other countries. All working more or less together, for something like 25 or 30 years.

That is the best-case scenario. We are not on track for the best-case scenario.

We ought to have begun addressing this 40 or 50 years ago. It was brought to our attention, it was discussed, publicly, and was considered at the level of public policy. In the end, we did not take the bull by the horns.

I don't really know what is going to happen, to be honest. I have no freaking idea. It's possible that the energy industry will simply continue to pump every fucking atom of carbon out of the ground and sell it to people who will burn it the hell up. That, to an overwhelming degree, has been our response for the last 40 or 50 years. And there are a lot of people who have vested interests I can hardly even conceive of - vested interests that make my wife and my five or six figure haircut look like milk money - who are more than extremely motivated to do exactly that. And, plan to do that. And, will do that, unless somebody or something prevents them doing that. In my opinion, the world would be, literally, well served if those folks were rounded up and sent out to sea on an ice floe with some polar bears for company, but that is not going to happen.

It's also possible, but not a sure thing, that when people who are, say, 35 and under begin to assume positions of responsibility and power in the world, they *will* actually take the bull by the horns, and the stuff we should have been doing 40 or 50 years ago, and should be doing now but we're not, will start getting done in 5 or 10 or 15 or 20 years from now. And, the generation-long clock will start from there.

That is probably the real-world best case - the best-case scenario that could, if we're lucky, actually happen.

Changes could be gradual, or they could actually be fairly dramatic. The onset of the Younger Dryas - a change of 2 to 6 degrees C, which is hella dramatic - apparently occurred over, not centuries, but decades. Within a single human lifespan. The flip back to warmer temperatures was even shorter, apparently. Single-digit years, maybe.

It's hard to even imagine what that kind of instability looks like, on the ground.

What worries me, more than anything, is that we are highly likely to see disruptions in settled patterns of life, at medium to large scale, in time frames that are really hard to respond to. The war in Syria spun off about 6 million refugees, about a million of whom ended up in the EU, which got some EU countries flirting with fascism. Which, 70 and 80 years ago - not so long ago - almost destroyed that whole continent.

People's memories are short, and when their backs are up against a wall they act out in regrettable ways. For lack of a better word.

That was 6 million people overall, 1 million in the EU. What happens when it's 10 or 20 or 100 million people? You can try to tell them to stay the hell home, but if they're gonna die if they stay home, they're not gonna stay home. They'll take their chances with anyplace they can get to.

Which could be a place that is already stressed, for any of 100 reasons, especially if they are also subject to climate related issues.

So, famine, loss of access to fresh water, decline of whatever way of life people have lived for as long as they can remember. Then migration, then hostility anger and hatred. Then war or worse.

It's not hard to see coming. We don't have a good track record of being pro-active about stuff like this.

Things are shifting, climate-wise, and that will force other shifts. A lot of that could be handled gracefully, with some planning and good intentions, but humans are not famous for either of those.

I favor tax and other incentives

I tend to agree with you. With some caveats about adequately funding tax enforcement, and jail time (not in white collar minimum security resorts either) for tax fraud.

But of course, since it's "tax", it can't be acceptable. At least to any real libertarian.

If--the world's biggest "if"--Bangladesh had a make-able claim

And that's all she wrote.

Check out how Bhopal played out. Where there were clear acts of malfeasance, and clear chains of responsibility, and the result was a couple thousand people dead from chemical poisoning.

A clear, direct line from A to B.

Union Carbide settled for $470M, which is a lot of money, but did not break the bank. Seven guys got two years and a $2,000 fine, and were then released after the verdict was found. The Indian government tried to extradite the CEO of Union Carbide, the US courts weren't having it.

The facility got passed around like a hot potato from one owner to another. It's basically still there, I don't think it's ever been fully cleaned up.

And that was that.

15 million Bangladeshis have not one slim chance in hell of even getting a first-world energy company in court let alone getting them to make them whole. The causes of, and responsibility for, stuff like sea level rise is too diffuse.

Maybe they could shake some money out of them. Spread that around 15 million people, and you're not making a very big dent. For outfits like ARAMCO and ExxonMobil, it's just a cost of doing business.

When you look at it that way, Trump is the single most representative president in the history of the US. It's all about stiffing the smaller guy to maintain a lifestyle.

personally, i don't think taxes or lawsuits are going to do it. the system that needs disrupting is far bigger than all of the courts in the world. and the time scale is shorter than the [whacks calculator a la Colbert] eternity it would take to force all oil companies out of the oil business - an end that would only lead to immense suffering anyway.

what needs to happen is that we need an alternative to oil, right now. we should be spending every cent we have to find it. instead of dicking around with tax incentives and waiting for the oil industry to put itself out of business, governments should be going after this with literally everything they have. screw F35s and aircraft carriers and walls, we should be laser-focused on alternative energy sources.

the weapons we have will last a while, and we have enough already. we can hold off making new ones for a bit.

but we won't.

because Freedom ™

Because money

No, cleek, we must listen to Big Oil Neville Chamberlain. We can't afford to antagonize Climate Hitler now while the economy is still vulnerable. We will oppose him after a brief interval of regrouping and stock repatriation.

McKinney, in a comment on the previous page:
When you run out of beans, you can't eat.

True for beans. Not true for, say, beef.

It takes a tractor and diesel or gas to run a tractor and a First World industrial base to grow your first commercially-available and exportable bean.

Also true. But all it implies is that fueling tractors should be one of the highest-value uses of fossil (hydro-)carbon atoms. Growing crops to feed people rather than to feed cattle, and commuting in small electric cars rather than in sun-darkening 3-row-seating SUVs, may decrease some people's enjoyment of life, of course. But it could be what The Invisible Hand would guide The Free Market into doing, if The Invisible Hand were not deaf, dumb, and blind as a matter of public policy.

People are going to make money -- "create wealth", if you prefer -- by inventing all sorts of ways to make life comfortable without knee-jerk reliance on fossil fuel "reserves". Americans could be those people. They would simply be different Americans from the ones whose "wealth" consists of untapped oil in the ground.

But it's a fair bet they will be Chinese, instead.

--TP

But all it implies is that fueling tractors should be one of the highest-value uses of fossil (hydro-)carbon atoms.

There's no obvious reason why a farm tractor couldn't be electric. Indeed, because you don't need widespread recharging infrastructure, it would be easier to implement than electric cars.

There's no obvious reason why a farm tractor couldn't be electric.

Or self-driving!

And few, if any pedestrians to run over. Elon Musk really missed the boat on this one.

Population density
China 145/km²
United States 34/km²
These two countries are almost identical in size.
Now imagine the US population quadrupled*.
Do the US export 3/4 of the food produced in-country? If not, the US would become by necessity a net food importer if they** had the same population density as China or they would have to vastly expand and/or modify*** the agrarian sector.

*and we 'know' that the country cannot stand/bear any more immigration or it would collapse
**as a grammar nazi I prefer the plural when referring to the US.
***switching from crops not for direct human consumption (e.g. cotton or animal feed) to those that humans will eat (grain, vegetables etc.)

wj: There's no obvious reason why a farm tractor couldn't be electric.

No obvious reason, true. Power-to-weight, endurance, and who knows what else, may be problematic with current batteries. But that's all beside the point. The main point is that McKinney's worry about growing enough beans absent fossil fuels is a red herring. Even if farm machinery had to run on steam fueled by coal, its climate impact would be mighty small compared to commuting in SUVs.

bobbyp: Elon Musk really missed the boat on this one.

Or maybe the potential market wasn't big enough for his greed entrepreneurial ambition:)

Hartmut: ***switching from crops not for direct human consumption (e.g. cotton or animal feed) to those that humans will eat (grain, vegetables etc.)

Don't get the RWNJs started on the "Libs will confiscate your hamburgers" mantra. Let's keep our vegetarian conspiracies confidential.

--TP

Maybe we should inform those RWNJs that most of the beef they consume is foreign (Latino) and a lot of it got fed with that Asian hippie crop soy and that other latino staple maize. As true patriots they should only eat home-grown cattle fed with true North American grass. And they should make also sure that the cattle is pure-bred English in (genetic) origin not miscegenated with dago cows via Argentina.

No one ‘missed the boat’ - if you exclude our governments.

The tech for electric vehicles will very rapidly be repurposed to agricultural, mining etc vehicles. Indeed for some specialised applications it already has:
https://www.autoblog.com/2019/08/26/edumper-electric-mining-truck-self-charging/
For now it’s just a function of cost and size of market.

Left to the market, we’d probably be near 100% renewables before the end of the century, but that’s nowhere near fast enough. The only thing that’s going to speed the process is government regulation and investment.

Contra McKinney and the techno dreamers, I opine that this short squib gets to the heart of the matter wrt GCC.

This is not strictly a problem of "free markets" vs. something else. It strikes to the heart of the human condition.

Take it for what it's worth.

**as a grammar nazi I prefer the plural when referring to the US.

Technically, "United States" is singular. It refers to the union, not a collection of states. So, "it" not "they". (I can grammar nazi with the best. ;-)

Unfuckingtotallybelievable:

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/09/noaa-trump-hurricane-dorian-alabama/597628/

Civil war across America first, then address global warming, because it is unaddressable, even to secure a single objective fucking weather forecast, with the current cast of cruel, dumbass, miserable malignities among the living.

With them in the world, I'm rooting for the worst global warming scenarios and chaos.

I'm heading for California tomorrow via a week a camping and hiking in Utah, including the Escalante Staircase.

Going to to do my best to not post, a relief to all haha, so I'll see ya'll in October.

Solve all issues before I return.

Be well, all.

the Bellmores among us have scored a huge victory against the violent oppression of energy efficient lightbulbs

freedom, baby

halting climate change, as he himself says, requires us to “dramatically alter our way of life.” This is not something most people are willing to do, regardless of empathy.

This.

If we can't get past this, the rest of the debate is just words.

One way or another, our "way of life" will be altered. Ours, or our grandkids'.

Enjoy Utah, JDT, that place is magic.

JDT, I've pretty much stayed out of the Trump Alabama thing, I will say, the very first forecast I saw on twc had the track right across florida, I know because it went over my house, into the gulf. The forecaster then explained that once in the gulf it could go anywhere, but most likely Alabama or the FL panhandle. I immediately called my significant other to see if I was needed there.

So, I guess I dont understand what the issue is at all, but I may be missing some nuance.

Even at that, why are we still talking about it?

So, I guess I dont understand what the issue is at all, but I may be missing some nuance.

Even at that, why are we still talking about it?

The nuance, as I understand it, is that by the time of Trump's tweet the National Weather Service had long since revised its forecast. The projected storm track was, by then, turning north rather then crossing Florida into the Gulf.

As for why we are still talking about it, that's entirely due to Trump. He could have admitted to a mistake. (OK only in theory. He seems to be psychologically incapable of admitting to error.) Or he could have just dropped the subject and moved on to other things. But no, he keeps coming back to it.

I could care less about the blame game WRT Penghazi. What bothers me is that it reinforces what we have all seen time and time again. Trump's limited attention span grabs hold of information presented within the first couple minutes in his briefings and forms unshakeable impressions of the information that he will resist changing come what may. Then he stops paying attention to anything further, having decided in his gut what his course will be.

"Nuance"?! A fucking Sharpie circle on a map is not "nuance", it's dementia.

The only reason to be "still talking about it" is because He, Trump is overdue for His next over-the-top piece of assholery. Which some people will predictably react to with a knee-jerk "what's the big deal?" because soshulism is baaad.

So an early forecast had Dorian possibly crossing Florida and maybe getting to Alabama. How many days out was that? How many days between the first forecast that showed Dorian NOT going into the Gulf and the last time Donnie the Weatherman pretended to know better than yet another set of technical experts?

Jeebus.

--TP

So, I guess I dont understand what the issue is at all, but I may be missing some nuance.

the forecast that showed the storm cutting across FL was three days old by the time Trump tweeted about it. the actual forecast when he was tweeting had changed to show it going up the east coast. and this was after Trump cancelled a trip overseas so that he could stay here and "monitor the hurricane". (which he was doing from the golf course, of course)

and then, instead of simply admitting the forecast had changed, he tweeted out a map that had been drawn on as proof that He Was Right. which made him look stupid. then he doubled-down on it. and now he's got NOAA mgmt trying to cover for him.

it's just his typical pattern of ignorant statements and refusal to admit mistakes and of fouling everything around him in the process.

he should have tweeted about the up-to-date forecast, if he was going to tweet about it at all. but he's either lazy or stupid or had some other reason for going with the out of date forecast. and someone should have made him correct his tweet, but they didn't or couldn't, instead of putting out bad info - NOAA tried, but he can't stand being corrected. so now we have to listen to his bullshit.

Fun fact about the administration's new "public charge" rule for immigrants.

the Defense Department fought — successfully — to exempt active-duty military and reserve forces from the new public-charge rule. That could be because some service members are paid so poorly that, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office, about 23,000 each year rely on food stamps.
But then, the administration's interest in what the military actually needs is generally close to nonexistent. See there clever idea to remove service in the military as an expidited path to citizenship. When the military is increasingly recruited from our immigrant population.

Starting to mimic the Foreign Legion (just with worse pay and fewer benefits). Maybe it would help to loudly announce your pride to have successfully imitated the French (after earlier adopting the Italian model by hiring modern day condottieri a la Blackwater). Next step: Janissaries and Mamluks (slave soldiers). And when the general abortion ban passes SCOTUS muster, the excess children can be turned into child soldiers (even cheaper and less scrupulous).

oh shit... i just realized that Trump's original hurricane tweet was a warning that Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama could possibly be 'hurt'.

but there's no map that has all of them being hurt.

the map he tweeted, where he drew in AL, didn't include the Carolinas at all. he had no idea at all what he was talking about.

someone should delete his twitter account, for the good of the nation.

Even at that, why are we still talking about it?

Because the president's behavior is bizarre.

And being that he is president, that is a matter of concern.

Ok, suppose that we reach the point that officials can demand to see your "papers" at any time. Why would those officials, or anyone else, necessarily believe what they read?

After all, they would be government-issued documents. And we are being taught that nothing from the government is real for more than a moment. Heck, you can't even trust the weather forecast any more! https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/noaa-staff-warned-in-sept-1-directive-against-contradicting-trump/2019/09/07/12a52d1a-d18f-11e9-87fa-8501a456c003_story.html

I can remember when the biggest problem with the weather forecast was that beyond 12 hours out it was basically a guess. Less, depending on where you lived and the availability of ground stations around you. Guess we're moving on again.

wj, especially polling places (in certain localities) are highly selective about which government-issued papers they accept as genuine and valid. E.g. concealed carry permits are 100% genuine and reliable while passports or birth certificates are highly suspicious (true patriots don't need passports just to start with) and more likely forged than not.

I've never heard of a passport not being totally acceptable! Anywhere in the US. Have you got a source for that?

I could maybe see a birth certificate not being accepted at a polling place. For those places that require ID, it doesn't include a photo (and the photo wouldn't be much use anyway) to demonstrate that you really are the registered voter.

Of course on paper a passport is a valid ID but iirc there have been recent cases of people trying to use their's as a voter ID getting accused of it being forged (without a shred of evidence and usually only aimed at persons suspected of Dem leanings or looking Latino or Muslim).
In essence, if voter suppression by requiring difficult to obtain IDs fails, said IDs will be questioned as the next step.
And US citizens with valid papers have been arrested and/or deported under Trump with baseless claims of those papers being forged (and no opportunity for the victims to challenge that).

Guess we're moving on again.

we're moving on into crazy town.

hosting the Taliban, at Camp David, days before 9/11 ?

this is what the GOP has come to ?

And US citizens with valid papers have been arrested and/or deported under Trump with baseless claims of those papers being forged (and no opportunity for the victims to challenge that).

I was aware of that. But that was ICE, which has gotten massively politicized. Not to mention gratuitously nasty.

I haven't seen anything on local poll workers refusing to accept a US passport as ID.

St. Charles County, Missouri had cases where poll workers would at first not accept a valid US passport as voter ID and demanded a driver's licence instead and then still complained about the extra effort when confronted with the letter of the law. There were also claims that poll workers there were, implied deliberately, misinformed about what IDs were valid and possibly even explicitly instructed to ignore a court order on the matter that had partially invalidated new restrictive measures.
Polling stations also refused to remove misleading/false info they had posted outside concerning necessary/valid ID.

The topic is a bit difficult to google efficiently since the results are dominated by links to voter ID laws (that of course consider a valid US passport a proper voter ID). But the question is of course about cases where poll workers for whatever reason reject IDs that the local law considers valid.

A US passport is evidence of US citizenship, but not evidence of residence at a particular address.

The official instructions on the passport, from the US Department of State is that you are supposed to write in your address in pencil, so that you can change it if you move.

Much better evidence of actual residence is a current utility bill, but RNWJ arglebargleVOTERFRAUD!acornN*CLANG!

My impression (correct me if I'm wrong) is that proof of residence happens when registering to vote. For that, yes, utility bills etc. are useful.

But at the polls, what is required is proof that the person standing there is the person (or, to be exact, has the same name as) who listed in the list of registered voters. For that you need a photo ID** and a utility bill won't do.

** Admittedly, if the purpose of the Voter ID regulations is voter suppression, rather than actual identification, the photo is irrelevant.

Regarding voter fraud:

In order to perpetrate voter fraud at a meaningful level, a big-ish number of people would have to vote who were not supposed to.

In most places, that would require pretending to be someone who *was* supposed to vote, at a particular time and place.

And to actually pull this off, it would be necessary for no-one to be aware that it had happened. Otherwise folks running the voting process would take some kind of remedial action.

Where I live, when you go to vote, you have to give your name and address in order to gain access to the voting booth. Nobody asks for ID, they just check your name off on a list of registered voters. Then, after you vote, they check your name off again, on the way out.

Somebody could walk up, say they were me, and cast a vote. And, as soon as I showed up, they'd know something was up. If anyone attempted this in numbers large enough to actually change an election outcome, it would be blindingly obvious that a fraud was being attempted in about 15 minutes.

One is an anomaly. Two is suspicious. Five is a red flag. Ten, and they'd call the FBI.

There are something north of 2,000 registered voters in my precint. The people who chsck your name off coming and going probably know 10 or 20 percent of those folks by sight.

You would have to impersonate the people who the tellers don't know, and who also aren't going to show up later in the day, in numbers large enough to make a difference.

In every precint, in every town, in my district.

For one House seat.

The whole topic is bullshit. (R)'s want to prevent people who are not likely to vote for them from voting. That is the reality.

JDT, I really hope you are at least lurking. Because I think this, from my kind of Republican, is something you should see.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-cant-erase-a-decade-of-clean-air-progress-with-a-sharpie/2019/09/08/8d6393de-d248-11e9-86ac-0f250cc91758_story.html

In fact, I doubt that there's much in it that anybody here would disagree with.

(R)'s want to prevent people who are not likely to vote for them from voting. That is the reality.

Say rather that they want to prevent people who don't look(/sound) like them from voting. Because they assume tnose people won't vote for them. That is, they assume nobody in those groups would vote for them. Ever.

Granted, they've been working hard to alienate members of those groups. But it's still an assumption which ignores a lot of individual variation in views.

That's where the 'likely' comes in. Once you have p|ssed off significantly more than 50% of a detectable group even suppression at random for members of that group will work for you.
The only other calculation you've to do is whether that behaviour will repel more potential voters from your own target audience than attract. Will it be "They supress the votes non-whites, I can't support that." or "They keep the n-words and the [insert other racial slur at will] from voting. That's how it should be, so who I'll vote for the party doing it"?
Where those tactics are most aggressive 'attracts more than repels' seems to be a rather safe bet.

Over the last couple of years, there has been a disturbing tendency for Politico to do actual journalism...
https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/09/09/jerry-falwell-liberty-university-loans-227914

"My impression (correct me if I'm wrong) is that proof of residence happens when registering to vote. For that, yes, utility bills etc. are useful."

Registration: utility bill for residence + signing a legally enforceable affidavit of eligibility. Proof of citizenship, okay, a passport doesn't "prove" that you still have the franchise. So some of the "proof" stuff has to be spot checks on registrations.

"But at the polls, what is required is proof that the person standing there is the person (or, to be exact, has the same name as) who listed in the list of registered voters. For that you need a photo ID** and a utility bill won't do."

At the polls, what is required is a utility bill that says that "person with name X is still living at address Y". Then their signature has to match.

You know, the same security that banks use.

It worked fine, before the GOP busted it.

Sad that this could easily be mistaken for non-fake were it not from The Onion.

https://local.theonion.com/school-administration-reminds-female-students-bulletpro-1837617262

And it is actually sensible. Lots of vitals below the diaphragm. So, a bulletproof apron would make lots of sense. Still leaves open the problem of head protection.

If the passport does not prove your right to vote why does (in some places) a concealed carry permit?
One advantage over here is that the (active) voting right cannot be legally separated from citizenship, You may not be eligible for office but you can (as an adult citizen) still vote even when/if behind bars for life. That some US states put it into the hands of a politician to restore (or not) the franchise to a convict by itself is a scandal.

At my polling place, you have to sign your name, and the signature is compared to what's already in the book from when you registered to vote. But, like russell wrote, you have to know where to show up to vote as a given person who is actually registered to vote, and who might have already been there or might show up later. I would guess that a 25-year-old or a female would set off alarm bells of some kind attempting to voting as 50-year-old and male me.

You do need ID to vote, because you need to be registered to vote, and you need ID to register. You just don't need it every time you vote.

NC recently passed a voter ID law, so i'll need to show my ID in 2020.

non-existent problem solved!

thanks GOP.

you're always the best.

A properly implemented National ID Card would simplify voting and much else besides.

For example, if it was also a debit card, distributing the proceeds from a carbon tax would be dead easy.

But it would also solve the "immigration problem" without any of the build-a-wall nonsense, and that would rob He, Trump and his lickspittles of a major piece of their con-job spiel. So rest easy, "privacy" lovers.

--TP

At the polls, what is required is a utility bill that says that "person with name X is still living at address Y". Then their signature has to match.

Awkward if the utilities are in your spouse's name. And you don't have the same last name. But I suppose such violation of tradition is, in itself, ground to deny the franchise....

I haven't had a printed utility bill in years.

finally, a truly "conservative" plan to end gun violence!


https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/white-house-considers-controversial-plan-on-mental-illness-and-mass-shooting/2019/09/09/eb58b6f6-ce72-11e9-87fa-8501a456c003_story.html

The White House is considering a controversial proposal to study whether mass shootings could be prevented by monitoring mentally ill people for small changes that might foretell violence.

Former NBC Chairman Bob Wright, a longtime friend and associate of President Trump’s, has briefed top officials, including the president, the vice president and Ivanka Trump, on a proposal to create a new research agency called HARPA to come up with out-of-the-box ways to tackle health problems, much like DARPA does for the military, say several people who have briefed.

After the recent shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ivanka Trump asked those advocating for the new agency whether it could produce new approaches to stopping mass shootings, said one person familiar with the conversations who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss them.

Advisers to Wright quickly pulled together a three-page proposal -- called SAFEHOME for Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes – which calls for exploring whether technology like phones and smart watches can be used to detect when mentally ill people are about to turn violent.

not only is it intrusive tattle-tale tech, it can be defeated by ... not putting your watch on.

Mass shootings are behavioral outliers whos unpredictability will make it very difficult to do much about. Great effort, expense, and intrusion into people's might reduce the occurrences a few percentage points.

Ok, we were talking about GCC and the imminent threat (10-11) years it poses upthread. Does it make sense for the Obama's to spend 14M on a mansion on Martha's Vineyard? They've been pretty specific about the threat. Is there a gap between projections and actual behavior here?

it makes more sense than having Trump fly in a 747 every weekend to go golfing.

Perhaps Obama and family think a $14M hit is worth being able to live in Martha's Vineyard as long as they can. :)

The bulk of the $14M is in green technology, high-quality insulation, and high-efficiency appliances and lighting.

as always, what one person or family does is insignificant when it comes to GCC. it's going to take a truly, fundamentally, all-encompassing, systemic change in order to save us.

that the Obamas bought an existing house (didn't clear any new land, aren't pouring concrete, aren't cutting down trees for lumber, aren't hauling materials to the site, etc) isn't going to change anything.

If you think the coasts are going to be underwater, is this where you'd spend 14M? If that's what you really thought? It appears that MV's elevation is such that it will always be there to some extent, but even so, aren't storms going to get worse, etc? Seems like a strange choice for someone whose GCC concerns are so patent.

an existing house (didn't clear any new land, aren't pouring concrete, aren't cutting down trees for lumber, aren't hauling materials to the site, etc) isn't going to change anything.

But you gotta admit it makes a great red herring.

it's going to take a truly, fundamentally, all-encompassing, systemic change in order to save us.

This sounds ominous, in a very authoritarian way. What if the "deciders" screw it up and we find ourselves inextricably committed to a path that can't be reversed and has made people's lives significantly worse than they were?

If you think the coasts are going to be underwater, is this where you'd spend 14M?

i'm sure they appreciate your concern.

according to the West Tisbury MA GIS website, the property they purchased is 30' above sea level.

no sea level rise predictions come close to 9m rise in the next two centuries.

they'll be fine.

This sounds ominous, in a very authoritarian way.

our entire way of life is dependent on the very thing that is going to destroy that way of life.

do the math.

great red herring.

the stocks of which are immune to overfishing :(

McTX: What if the "deciders" screw it up and we find ourselves inextricably committed to a path that can't be reversed ...

Yeah, what if? What if the Saudis, the surviving Koch brother, and the "rolling coal" crowd continue to be the "deciders"?

The irony is too thick, but if we could water it down and run tractors with it, the ag sector would have fuel for at least a year.

--TP

Is there a gap between projections and actual behavior here?

Now hold on just a darned minute here. Does this mean the matter about the size of Al Gore's house is closed?

What if the "deciders" screw it up and we find ourselves inextricably committed to a path that can't be reversed and has made people's lives significantly worse than they were?

But "what if" we (you know, "us" the deciders) don't screw it up? Do we get a door prize from you?

what if there aren't actually any 'deciders' at all - what if the whole idea that there are is yet another strawman constructed so that 'conservatives' can defend the status quo against the threat of change?

hmm. a real puzzle, that one.

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