Bloggers on an economics-based analysis of climate change.

Bloggers on an economics-based analysis of climate change.

Bloggers on an economics-based analysis of climate change.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Oct. 30 2006 3:37 PM

Climactic

Bloggers are ruminating over a new economics-based analysis of climate change, disturbed by the Mexican military's actions in Oaxaca, and mourning the possible demise of the pink-flamingo lawn ornament.

Climatic: In a new report about impending global climate change, British economist Nicholas Stern issued a warning befitting his last name about the steep costs of ignoring global warming: $9.6 trillion or a depression rivaling the great one. On the bright side, if the world addresses climate change seriously, the global economy could see a $2.5-trillion gain in the coming years. "We know now urgent action will prevent catastrophe, and investment in preventing it now will pay us back many times," British Prime Minister Tony Blair said.

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Former editor-in-chief of the Economist Bill Emmott, blogging at the Guardian's comment is free, believes that climate change is a reality that we now must address: "[T]he scientific case that warming is occurring, that human actions are a principle cause, and that warming could produce damaging outcomes is so strong that complete denial of it now relies on either lunacy or the same sort of spurious claim to certainty of which deniers accuse greens. … Where fair debate can and should occur is over how much needs to be done about it, and when and by whom."

Glen at environmentalist Climate Ark applauds the report for its accuracy: "This is not alarmist doomsdayism - it is the best policy predictions based upon the current science. … The report is the best policy document to date regarding likely apocalyptic social and economic outcomes of doing nothing to address the global ecological crises of which climate change is part and paramount."

At Energy Outlook, Virginia-based energy consultant Geoffrey Styles is heartened by this novel take on climate change: "The key contribution here is something we've lacked for some time: a serious cost estimate grounded in the science of climate change but focused on the economy and the consequences of the status quo and various levels of response."

But others see the findings as merely another way to inflate the government. At Right is Right, Rumsfeld the Brit is unamused by the prospect of new taxes, the details of which the report roughly outlines. "The cretins in Westminster and on the TV news seem unable to understand that even if the whole of Britain completely gave up the car, and stopped producing carbon emissions, it would make absolutely bugger-all difference to global warming. Britain's overall global emissions are miniscule," he writes. Brit Philip Chaston, Samizdata's UK Affairs expert, is similarly irked: "These taxes are politically unpalatable and would be rejected by the electorate, if levied without green cover. Therefore, climate change and catastrophism are the reasons for a 'greener than thou' ratchet effect, where politicians use Britain and our money to puff themselves up as a moral example for others."

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Conservative Virginian Jerry Fuhrman at From On High is upset about the report from across the pond: "The chief economist of Great Britain has become a soothsayer. He's predicting massive floods and drought (at the same time) and is calling for ... drumroll ... a boatload of new taxes."

Read more about the British report on climate change.

Oaxaca in crisis: Draped in riot gear and backed by water cannons, Mexican federal forces on Sunday dispersed a group of protesters. The members of a yearly teachers' protest had been encamped in the center of Oaxaca since May and were clamoring for an end to the corruption plaguing their state.

Remembering a Oaxacan protest she once observed, Beth Whitman, writing at her Seattle Post-IntelligencerTravel Blog, voices solidarity with the protestors: "This is about Oaxaca and an amazingly strong group of people who are fighting for what they believe in." At Elena's Adventures, the traveling blog's namesake files a dispatch from the chaotic city: "Oaxaca is burning: buses, tires, encampments." But she cautions that the end may not be near: "We may be starting all over again. … Keep your fingers crossed for the people of Oaxaca."

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TourPro of normally mountain-inclined Adriondack Base Camp has set up a special section of his site to monitor the goings-on in Oaxaca. "I always fondly remember the first day of school. You know, having your mommy walk you past the burnt debris, finding half burned Molotov cocktails along the way, unwelding the school gate, saying hi to federal forces, etc." An American English teacher living in Oaxaca, Mark in Mexico, has been liveblogging the events.

Read more about the trouble in Oaxaca.

Flamingo no-go : The pink flamingo lawn ornament, that 49-year-old triumph of kitsch, may be going extinct. The Massachusetts-based Union Products Inc., the only manufacturer of these suburban icons (eyesores?), will cease production on Nov. 1.

While no bloggers seem able to conjure up real tears, they do their best to sound maudlin. Houstonian Jeff Balke mourns America's loss: "This is a travesty. It's a sham, a mockery. It's a traveshamockery!!! We must save the pink flamingo or we must die trying."

Washingtonian Jeff at Quid Nomen Illius waxes poetic about the "flamingo wars" of his youth: "We looked up, and up, and up, and there it stood, high above the peaks of our very steep roof: a beacon of pink perched proudly, impossibly, upon our chimney, where everyone on the highway could see it," he writes. "All the flamingos have passed from this earth, gone to yard sales, every one. But some future day, when I drive down that highway, I may have to stop and catch up with Jack's kids. We're all good adults who can break bread in peace, so we'll each raise a glass to the flamingos of our fathers."

Read more about the demise of the pink flamingo.