Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Carbon taxes highly unpopular in US

Blog FuturePundit collects loads of links citing the unpopularity of gasoline taxes in the United States. A must-read.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Collapse of the carbon market

The European market for trading carbon has collapsed, which exposes the extremely counter-productive side of carbon trading:

If permits are cheap, and everyone has lots, the green incentive crashes into reverse. As recession slashes output, companies pile up permits they don't need and sell them on. The price falls, and anyone who wants to pollute can afford to do so. The result is a system that does nothing at all for climate change but a lot for the bottom lines of mega-polluters such as the steelmaker Corus: industrial assistance in camouflage.

Even though this blog is no fan of taxes, we strongly endorse a carbon tax as a program more transparent, honest and effective than any carbon trading scheme. See this older post or simply click on the carbon tax label at the bottom of this post.

Lugar calls Cuba sanctions a failure

Sen. Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released a draft report (PDF) Monday saying it is time to reconsider longtime U.S. economic sanctions on Cuba.

This blog has long thought the current US policy towards Cuba is counterproductive. Ending the embargo would not only increase the well-being of Cubans, it would tie Cuba economically to the United States. Given the Cuban population in south Florida in particular, the United States already has strong cultural ties with the island.

On the downside, lifting the embargo would bring an influx of dollars into Cuba, which would prop up the Castro regime, much like US and petro-dollars prop up Chavez in Venezuela. In Cuba's case, this should be mitigated by new dependence on US dollars flowing from the US. Once the money stream is flowing towards Cuba, the Castros will be reluctant will close those floodgates again.

Iranian UAV capability

A Washington Post editorial from Feb 19 covers the development of a new Iranian military capability: a new generation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with a range of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles).

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Interview with Peter Singer

Wired Magazine interviews Peter Singer, the author of Wired for War, about drones on the battlefield, and how they will shape (and fail to shape) warfare in the decades to come.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Rumblings of a trade war

Foreign countries are quietly and not-so-quietly expressing their discontent with the proposed US fiscal stimulus package. The package includes a "Buy American" requirement attached to stimulus-related spending on iron, steel, and manufactured goods used in construction.