Benjamin Studebaker

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

Tag: Environment

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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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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Britain: For Pity’s Sake, Stay in the EU

On 23 June, Britain is having a referendum on its membership in the European Union. I care deeply about British politics–I’m doing my PhD there as I write this. But more importantly, Brexit would be a stunningly poor choice, undermining British interests in both the short and the long-term, and I would feel deeply remiss if I didn’t do my part to point this out.

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Candidate Evaluations: Chris Christie

Chris Christie has waded into the presidential race, so let’s evaluate him. I’ll be looking at Christie’s background, policy history, and explicit statements to determine whether or not he would make a good president. I won’t be paying attention to electability or likeability, as is often common elsewhere on the web.

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Does the US/China Emissions Deal Make a Difference?

Recently the United States and China agreed to a carbon emissions reduction deal to combat global warming. Under the terms of the deal, the US agrees to reduce emissions by 26% to 28% from 2005 levels by 2025, while China agrees to reach peak emissions by 2030, and to generate 20% of its energy with zero-emissions technology by that year. Diplomacy is notoriously difficult, and consequently any deal on climate change heartens those who watch international politics. But are these emissions reductions sufficient to avert the worst of what global warming potentially has to offer? I’m not seeing much coverage of the deal from a climate science perspective, so I decided to look into it.

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