Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Climate Change

The Thing Scaramucci Gets Right

From time to time, we get famous speakers at Cambridge. Yesterday brought us Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci–President Trump’s briefly tenured communications director. The Mooch had some low points. When asked about climate change, Scaramucci claimed that the phenomenon is 60% human caused, but 40% caused by “natural cycles” which affect “the earth’s position relative to the sun.” This drew audible laughter from the audience. I learned in middle school about the Milankovitch cycles–the problem for the Mooch is that they take tens of thousands of years and move much too slowly to account in any significant way for changes in the climate that occur over just a couple hundred years. But while the man has his flaws, he did make one point that bears repeating–for some reason, it’s still okay in American politics to pick on Italian-Americans.

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The German Green Party Faces Political Oblivion

It’s the worst possible outcome for Germany’s Green Party–Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to form a coalition with it! At first blush, this may not seem so bad. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Greens got some experience governing? Isn’t the whole point of a political party to get itself into government? But recent European electoral history tells us that whenever a left-wing party becomes a junior partner in a coalition led by a right-wing party (and contrary to its international reputation, Merkel’s CDU is quite right wing), it’s the thin end of the wedge. Here’s why.

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The Paris Climate Agreement’s Failure Was Structurally Inevitable

President Trump has pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement:

Unfortunately, the Paris Agreement was poorly designed from the start and never really had a chance of meaningfully addressing climate change. Trump’s decision today was produced and facilitated by these weaknesses.

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5 Best and 5 Worst Reasons to Oppose Donald Trump

Too often, opponents of Donald Trump discredit themselves by distorting or exaggerating his statements in an effort to damage him. Don’t mistake my meaning–there are a lot of serious problems with Trump as a potential president. But by focusing on made up garbage instead of hitting Trump with hard policy arguments, we end up giving Trump a pass in all the areas that really matter and encouraging people to disbelieve us when we are pointing at something that’s truly important. So today I’m going to establish myself as not one of those people by picking apart 5 bad anti-Trump arguments, followed with 5 anti-Trump arguments that really should be convincing.

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What’s Going on with the Dakota Access Pipeline?

There are protests in North Dakota over the half-complete Dakota Access Pipeline. The plan is for the DAP to carry 400,000 barrels of oil per day from North Dakota to existing pipeline infrastructure in Illinois. This is about half the capacity of the larger Keystone XL Pipeline, which President Obama cancelled in response to protests from environmental groups. While Keystone was planned to transport Canadian shale oil, the DAP is a domestic pipeline transporting American¬†fracking oil. Because it is a domestic pipeline, regulatory standards are not as high for the DAP, and this has made it easier for the pipeline to secure the relevant permits. While there has been some media coverage, the DAP protests have been pushed to the periphery of the American political agenda by the US presidential race, which has at this point devolved entirely into horse race reporting–who is winning, why they are winning, what the loser needs to do to turn things around, etc.–with no serious policy emphasis. This does the issue a disservice, so I’d like to take a closer look at it.

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