The Great Debate

America: The anecdotal nation

By Neal Gabler
April 14, 2014

In America today, anecdotes have become the new facts.

Consider Obamacare. Opponents have produced ads featuring apparently ordinary Americans telling stories about the travails forced upon them by the Affordable Care Act. One ad, financed by the Koch brothers, highlighted a leukemia sufferer named Julie Boonstra, who claimed that Obamacare had raised the cost of her medications so much that she was faced with death! Pretty dramatic stuff — except that numerous fact-checkers found she would actually save $1,200 under Obamacare.

The State of the Union’s history of empty green promises

By Peter Dykstra
February 12, 2013

An aura of excitement and predictability surrounds the president’s annual State of the Union speech: A few days of hyped drama and TV punditry build to a political Woodstock featuring generals, justices, senators, Cabinet secretaries and House members, all under one roof. Up in the balcony, the First Lady plays host to a few iconic citizens who recently shared a heroic moment of fame with America.

The best solution for climate change is a carbon tax

By Ralph Nader
January 4, 2013

With Lisa Jackson, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, stepping down, President Barack Obama is losing one of the few people left in Washington who was willing to speak up about global warming and to push for significant measures to curb its impact. During her tenure, Ms. Jackson was frequently denounced by GOP members of Congress and all too often reined in by Obama. Despite his and Congress’ failure to pass legislation addressing global warming, Ms. Jackson advanced a regulatory agenda to pick up some of the slack.

Obama’s climate change quandary

By Sarah Laskow
November 8, 2012

After a campaign in which climate change did not come up, and after the East Coast weathered a storm that, if it was not brought on by climate change, felt an awful lot like the storms that will be, the president of the United States finally nodded in its direction. It was not much. It was not even a whole sentence. But it felt like the first rain after a long drought. From Barack Obama’s victory speech:

Waffling on climate change? Consult friends, not science

By Sarah Laskow
June 7, 2012

Ever since climate scientist James Hansen first testified before Congress about global warming in 1988, the scientists, advocates, academics and former vice-presidents who work to stop climate change have presumed that the science matters. Hansen began his testimony by telling the assembled senators: “The earth is warmer in 1988 than at any time in the history of instrumental measurements,” in full confidence that instrumental measurements would matter more than the weather outside the politicians’ front doors. Like Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth, Hansen depended on graphs (he called them “viewgraphs”) and numbers to help make his case. Almost two decades later, when Gore first raised the alarm about climate change with his documentary, his strategy rested on that same science: I dare you to look at this PowerPoint and tell me climate change isn’t a problem! It is an expectedly rational assumption to make, that a rational science like science should be a trump card. Inconveniently, it’s not true.

California voters back weakened climate law

November 3, 2010

-The opinions are the author’s own-

California voters on Tuesday rejected a measure to suspend the state’s innovative climate change law. But the state’s emission trading scheme has been substantially diluted to buy off opposition from energy-intensive industries and allay fears about job losses.

from The Great Debate UK:

Why Pakistan monsoons support evidence of global warming

August 20, 2010

-Lord Julian Hunt is visiting Professor at Delft University, and former Director-General of the UK Met Office. The opinions expressed are his own.-

To pay for vital programs, Congress must make tough choices

March 26, 2009

- Deborah Weinstein is the executive director of the Coalition on Human Needs. The opinions expressed are her own -

from Environment Forum:

Ice Age or global warming?

February 24, 2009

It looks more like an Ice Age than global warming.

There is so much snow in Oslo, where I live, that the city authorities are resorting to dumping truckloads of it in the sea because the usual storage sites on land are full.

A stimulating energy policy

January 28, 2009

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- Robert Engle is the Michael Armellino Professor of Finance at New York University Stern School of Business and a Nobel Laureate. His views are his own. -