Ever since the November election, when Donald Trump eked out a victory in the Electoral College, I have been trying to understand the significance of his win. Of course it has a lot to do with populism and anti-elitism as I have said previously.
In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal the economics journalist, Gregg Ip, makes a strong argument that what is happening has more to do with globalism than with globalization:
Globalization refers to people, capital and goods moving ever more freely across borders. Globalism is the ideology that globalization should lead to global governance over national sovereignty. This refers to such global structures as the European Union, the World Trade Organization, NATO, the United Nations and the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The problem is not globalization itself, which just means specialization and trade across borders, but rather the damage which breakneck globalization has inflicted on ordinary workers. Since China joined the WTO in 2000 a wave of Chinese imports wiped out 2 million American jobs, with no equivalent boom in the U.S. from exports to China.
Globalists have been blind to the nationalist backlash because their world – entrepreneurial, university-educated, ethnically diverse, urban and coastal – has thrived as the whiter, less-educated hinterlands have stagnated.
Globalists should not equate concern for cultural norms and national borders with xenophobia. Large majorities of Americans welcome immigrants so long as they adopt American values, learn English, bring useful skills and wait their turn. Opposition to open borders does not imply racism.
Conclusion. Says Avik Roy, President of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, “There is a middle ground between a nationalist and globalist approach.” This is what we should be looking for.
My last post, “The Latest Scientific Report on Climate Change,” summarizes a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It makes a very strong case that global warming is real and that it will badly disrupt human civilization before the end of the twenty-first century if not substantially mitigated.
What are we doing about it? The Environmental Protection Agency reports on its many actions as follows: “What EPA is doing about Climate Change”
Inventorying of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks has been tracking all GHG emissions since 1990.
Developing “Common Sense” Regulatory Initiatives. For example, EPA’s vehicle greenhouse gas rules will eliminate 6 billion metric tons of GHG pollution by 2025. EPA is developing carbon pollution standards for the power sector which will cut carbon emissions 30% below 2005 levels.
Partnering with the Private Sector. EPAs partners reduced over 345 million metric tons of GHG in 2010 alone.
Advancing the Science. EPA works with the IPCC to understand the environmental and health impacts of climate change.
Here is how the Washington Post describes another EPA activity, the recently announced Clean Power Plan. “The rule provides every state with a target carbon-emissions intensity for its power plants, with preliminary standards kicking in by 2020 and full goals to be achieved by 2030. As the map (below) shows, the rule generally asks the least from the states with the worst carbon-intensity at present – those that are very dependent on coal generation, such as West Virginia, Kentucky and North Dakota. While cross-state variations in the intensity of pollution controls are a standard feature of regulation under the Clean Air Act, they usually have a compelling justification: the negative effects of emissions are local, and so areas suffering from pollution problems must be more stringent. But greenhouse gas concentrations are uniform globally, making it somewhat awkward to subject identical emitters to divergent standards simply because their home states’ power mix is more or less carbon-intensive.” The purpose of this whole discussion is to illustrate how complicated it already is and will continue to be to achieve a significant reduction in GHG carbon emissions by regulation alone, even the relatively modest 30% reduction which the EPA is trying to accomplish.
Fortunately there is a better way of achieving an even bigger reduction in carbon emissions. Stay tuned for my next post!
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has just issued its Fifth Assessment Report summarizing the best scientific information about global warming that is available in 2014. Key findings are:
It is extremely likely that humans are the dominant cause of warming since the mid-20th century.
Each of the past three decades has been successively warmer than the preceding decades since 1850.
Oceans absorb more than 90% of the heat.
Land temperatures remain at historic highs while ocean temperatures continue to climb.
Oceans will continue to warm during the 21st century.
Global mean sea level will continue to rise during the 21st century.
It is very likely that the Artic sea ice cover will continue to shrink and thin as global mean surface temperature rises.
Some of the changes in extreme weather and climate events observed since about 1950 have been linked to human influence.
The globally averaged temperature shows a warming of .85 degrees centigrade over the period 1880 – 2012. And 65% of the carbon budget compatible with limiting future temperature to an overall 2 degrees C increase has already been used.
Energy production remains the primary driver of greenhouse gas emissions.
Measures exist to achieve the substantial emissions reductions required to limit likely warming to 2 degrees C.
Delaying mitigation will substantially increase the challenges associated with limiting warming to 2 degrees C.
I consider the above information from the IPCC report to be noncontroversial and providing overwhelmingly strong evidence that global warming is taking place. Next question: What do we do about it? This will be the subject of my next post!