Article Courtesy of The Guardian
Here’s a few things that US-based philosopher and academic Lawrence Torcello has been told about global warming over the last couple of weeks
It’s a “lie straight from the Jews”, it “isn’t real”, it’s a “hoax” designed to “enslave people” and it’s an artifact of scientists engaged in a “worldwide collusion to hide the truth”.
Torcello himself was told he was both a “faggot” and a “maggot” but not in the same email. Poets, these correspondents were not (he was also called a fascist and a Stalinist – another chance at a rhyming couplet criminally missed).
Torcello is an assistant professor at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York state who a few days earlier had written a story for The Conversation website.
In it, Torcello had taken aim at the “funding of climate denial” which he argued could be considered to be “criminally and morally negligent”. He wrote:
Criminal negligence is normally understood to result from failures to avoid reasonably foreseeable harms, or the threat of harms to public safety, consequent of certain activities. Those funding climate denial campaigns can reasonably predict the public’s diminished ability to respond to climate change as a result of their behaviour. Indeed, public uncertainty regarding climate science, and the resulting failure to respond to climate change, is the intentional aim of politically and financially motivated denialists.
Torcello’s article sparked a rage among conservative media and climate science denialist bloggers, who went on to misrepresent what Torcello had actually said.
Some claimed Torcello had written in anger about sceptical scientists, when he hadn’t mentioned climate scientists. Others said he was calling for jail sentences, but he didn’t call for that either.
Blog readers were encouraged to complain to Torcello’s institute.
In sharp irony, climate confusionist Lord Christopher Monckton wrote a letter to RIT suggesting disciplinary action and claiming Torcello had pushed at the boundaries of academic freedom and free speech.
I say irony, because Lord Monckton has previously called for climate scientists (proper ones, doing research in the peer reviewed literature) to be “locked up”.
All of this sparked a deluge of hate mail and phone calls to Torcello’s institution. He estimates upwards of 700 pieces of correspondence.
But Torcello told me despite this, he’d like to see more academics and thinkers considering the moral and legal aspects of climate science misinformation.
I have been thinking about both scientific literacy and the legality of funded campaigns aimed at undermining public confidence in climate science. It may be the case that a different charge is more applicable than the one I suggest, for example, that “hate speech” more appropriately characterizes such funded campaigns. I would like more philosophers and scholars of jurisprudence to take up the subject of misinformation and harmful speech with regard to climate change.
Torcello has previously argued that scientists and politicians have a “moral obligation” to acknowledge that a consensus exists on the central points of human-caused climate change, even if they don’t agree with it.
I think that if a scientist, politician or any other public figure disagrees with the scientific consensus, it is irresponsible to not first acknowledge that a scientific consensus actually exists. Failing to do so is not criminal in my view, but is is incredibly irresponsible.
The reaction to my short article and to some of my other work has convinced me that many people who would otherwise call themselves “scientifically literate” do not understand the nature of scientific consensus. Scientific consensus is not a vague marker of public opinion; it is the result of a deeply sceptical process geared toward transparency and evidence.
People seem to be conflating the notions of popular opinion and scientific consensus, when only the latter entails necessarily the vetting of evidence.
But also, Torcello says scientists themselves should acknowledge they have moral responsibilities when it comes to how they communicate their findings.
I have argued that scientists have a moral obligation to communicate their work as clearly to the public as possible, and to rebut misunderstandings as clearly as possible, when their research is relevant to public policy.
There will no doubt be plenty of opportunities to “rebut misunderstandings” next week when another hefty UN report on the impacts of climate change is released.
Given how Torcello now joins a long list of other academics targeted for work around climate change, many scientists and institutions will need to find ways to manage the potentially intimidating discourse that’s out there.
Perhaps one way might be to feed in words like “nazi”, “maggot” and faggot” into those email spam filters.
“…Because of the mix of earthy materials in his laboratory, and the constant chemical processing, he jokes that his laboratory sometimes smells “like a mix of dirty socks, rotten eggs and wood smoke” — an accurate assessment.”
The examples of how entrenched interests are responding to Uber are remarkable (read, economically asinine). A better product appears so the old smoke filled, loud radio, squeaky door providers decide that a better way to compete is not to improve the quality of their own product, but to develop and advocate for weird car-service-tariffs. Unbelievable.
Article courtesy of CNET NEWS
Developing countries present a unique challenge to financing climate-focused projects. Differing levels of development, political stability, and enormous transaction costs create barriers to private investment. Experts estimate that developing countries will require an annual investment of US$300 billion by 2020 to facilitate successful climate-change mitigation.
Two organizations, The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and The Export Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), play a significant role in financing international climate-related projects. These organizations provide a number of financial tools, which borrowers may leverage to gain access to larger pools of investment. This third installment of the “Climate Finance” series from The World Resources Institute, examines the role that public financing agencies can play in developing attractive opportunities for private climate-related investment.
Unlocking Private Investment uses a case study approach to understand the significant challenges to climate-related project finance in developing countries. For example, Azure Power, a private solar energy service provider, received a US$6.2 million dollar direct loan from OPIC, financing the first mega-watt scale energy project to sell to the Indian energy grid. One year following the OPIC direct loan, having demonstrated project success, Azure Power received over US$17 million from OPIC and the IFC to fund an expansion project. Proven viability of the Indian solar project allowed Azure Power to access Ex-Im Bank financing and secure loans from a consortium of local private banks.
If not for the willingness of public financial institutions such as OPIC and the Ex-Im Bank, projects like Azure Power’s would fail to start.
The differentiation in services from these two agencies is a key takeaway from this case study. OPIC generally provides a smaller, higher risk financial package. When the borrower is able to demonstrate a project’s success, the Ex-Im Bank is able to provide larger, longer-term loan packages that allow for expansion.
Other case studies in this publication highlight the importance of tailoring traditional financial instruments to meet the specific needs of climate-sector projects. A few of these tools include:
- Direct Loans
- Loan Guarantees
- Policy Risk Insurance
- Export Credit Insurance
Understanding the challenges of climate-sector projects in developing countries creates an opportunity for policy makers to better accommodate the needs of private climate-focused investment. The “Climate Finance” series from the World Resources Institute fills an important information gap giving policy makers the tools they need to protect at-risk communities from the dangerous effects of global climate change.
For a full text version of the study Unlocking Private Investment: Focus on OPIC and Ex-Im Bank’s Use of Financial Instruments, visit www.wri.org
For the last few years every politician’s message has been create more jobs. Everything the US Government does is focused on job creation. Why is creating jobs the goal? The idea that job creation will fix the economy is a perfect example of treating the symptoms instead of the cause.
Politically is it very easy to create jobs. Any legislation that creates jobs is on the top of the agenda because happy, employed constituents keep politicians in office – and staying in office is the primary goal of most politicians. However, I wager that a healthy and thriving economy will also keep constituents happy and employed, and therefore keep politicians in office. The challenge that the United States faces today, is that good economic policies will likely seem, or even be negative in the short run.
A growing economy will create jobs. Job creation do not necessarily need legislative incentives, or tax breaks, or subsidies. Jobs will be created when they are necessary. The principle, put simply, is that a person should be hired only when their employment will create additional value for the company. If the rationale for employing an individual is purchasing power, the individual should not be hired. Moreover, if the only rationale for retaining employees is for their purchasing power in the economy, they should be fired.
Jobs are a cost, not a benefit. Anytime a change can be made that results in a company increasing its output without an associated increase in cost (aka maintaining output while decreasing the labor force, aka firing extra people) the change should be adopted. The law of supply and demand tells us that (in most circumstances) if we can decrease the cost of good or service, the demand of good or service will increase.
Demand creates supply. Increased demand will increase supply, because in general, producers like to make money. To keep up with additional demand, producers will increase their labor force, thus creating more jobs.
The Message. The United States does not need more jobs. If the politicians want to help, they should focus on reducing the cost of employment. Economics is a set of rules, failure to follow the rules will result in a shitty economy. How long will it take us to learn?
I’m surprised TWC even admitted to the Apartment Managers Program.
Originally posted on Betabeat:
You’re going to want to stab another few pins into your Time Warner voodoo doll after hearing this one. For years, the cable conglomerate has been offering discounted (or even free) service to buildings’ supers in exchange for easier access to its repair technicians.
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