Monthly Archives: June 2008

McKinsey analysis: Greening would not be economic problem

The new analysis explains that “at a global, macroeconomic level, the costs of transitioning to a low-carbon economy are not, in an economic ‘welfare’ sense, all that daunting — even with currently known technologies.” Indeed, 70% of the total 2030 emissions reduction potential (below $60 a ton of CO2 equivalent) is “not dependent on new technology.”

The macroeconomic costs of this carbon revolution are likely to be manageable, being in the order of 0.6–1.4 percent of global GDP by 2030. To put this figure in perspective, if one were to view this spending as a form of insurance against potential damage due to climate change, it might be relevant to compare it to global spending on insurance, which was 3.3 percent of GDP in 2005. Borrowing could potentially finance many of the costs, thereby effectively limiting the impact on near-term GDP growth. In fact, depending on how new low-carbon infrastructure is financed, the transition to a low-carbon economy may increase annual GDP growth in many countries.

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James Hansen: “We’re toast…” if we don’t change NOW


Exactly 20 years after warning America about global warming, a top NASA scientist said the situation has gotten so bad that the world’s only hope is drastic action.

James Hansen told Congress on Monday that the world has long passed the “dangerous level” for greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and needs to get back to 1988 levels. He said Earth’s atmosphere can only stay this loaded with man-made carbon dioxide for a couple more decades without changes such as mass extinction, ecosystem collapse and dramatic sea level rises.

“We’re toast if we don’t get on a very different path,” Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute of Space Sciences who is sometimes called the godfather of global warming science, told The Associated Press. “This is the last chance.”

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Paul Minor: Don Siegelman, but worse


Larisa Alexandropovna has the story of how Karl Rove, the Mississippi GOP, Big Tobacco, and the Bush US Attorney have combined to crush Paul Minor and his family. If you thought the Don Siegelman case was bad, this will make you puke.

On July 25, 2003, three months before the Mississippi gubernatorial election, in a case that would stun the legal community, Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz Jr., Paul Minor, former chancery court judge Wes Teel and former circuit court judge John Whitfield were indicted on charges of bribery, relating to loan guarantees that Minor had made to the three judges to help defray campaign costs.

There was no state law prohibiting Minor’s contributions, and his trial resulted in an acquittal on some charges and a deadlocked jury on others. However, this trial was immediately followed by the unsealing of fresh charges.

During the second trial, presiding Judge Henry Wingate excluded evidence showing that Minor had a long-established pattern of offering loans or loan guarantees to his friends in the legal community, thus creating the appearance that Minor had helped the three judges in hopes of receiving something in return.


Although prosecutors were unable to prove that Minor had bribed the judges in exchange for favors from the bench, the second trial resulted in a conviction. The jury determined that a quid pro quo had taken place between Minor and two of the judges, Teel and Whitfield, in large part because Judge Wingate had instructed them it was not necessary for the prosecution to prove bribery.

Even thought no quid pro quo was proven and there was no state law prohibiting lawyers from making loan guarantees to judges, Minor was sentenced to serve an 11-year prison term and pay over $4 million in fines and restitution.

In a startling similarity to the case of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman — who was also targeted by a Bush-appointed US Attorney — Minor has been denied appeal bond. Both Siegelman and Minor, despite being convicted of white-collar, non-violent crimes, were shackled and manacled, and moved to out-of-state prisons.

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She played it safe

Steven Hart on why Hillary is not on her way to the White House:

This time out, as Duncan Black keeps pointing out, the elephant in the room is the Iraq war. If Hillary hadn’t decided to play it safe and let the rumpus room warriors have their way, she would be the nominee and everyone would be saying “Barack who?” She thought she was being shrewd, and it blew up in her face. That vote lost her the nomination, and yet the “analysts” and pundits are scrupulously avoiding talking about it. The war decided this primary, and it will decide the vote in November as well.

In her essay about self-respect (it’s in Slouching Towards Bethlehem), Joan Didion writes that without integrity, ”one runs away to find oneself, and finds no one at home.” I’m not a Hillary hater, but I think that sentence sums up this turning point in her political career. The country needed more from her than what she was ready to give, and now she gets nothing.

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