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Scott Pruitt doesn’t want to politicize science.

According to a new study from the nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project, the current presidential administration has collected fewer civil penalties and filed fewer environmental enforcement suits against polluting companies than the Obama, Clinton, and George W. Bush administrations did at the same point in office.

The analysis assesses agreements made in the Environmental Protection Agency’s civil enforcement cases. For abuses under laws like the Clean Air Act, the Trump administration has collected just $12 million in civil penalties, a drop of 60 percent from the average of the other administrations. Trump’s EPA has lodged 26 environmental lawsuits compared to 31, 34, and 45 by Bush, Obama, and Clinton, respectively.

The marked decrease in enforcement likely has to do with the EPA’s deregulatory agenda. Since confirmed, administrator Scott Pruitt has systematically tried to knock out key environmental regulations, especially those created during Obama’s tenure.

The Project notes that its assessment is only of a six-month period, so future enforcement could catch Trump up to his predecessors. Or he’ll continue to look the other way.

“I’ve seen the pendulum swing,” said Bruce Buckheit, who worked in EPA enforcement under Clinton and then Bush, “but never as far as what appears to be going on today.”

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Scott Pruitt doesn’t want to politicize science.

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The coal industry is still declining, so Trump is considering a bailout.

According to a new study from the nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project, the current presidential administration has collected fewer civil penalties and filed fewer environmental enforcement suits against polluting companies than the Obama, Clinton, and George W. Bush administrations did at the same point in office.

The analysis assesses agreements made in the Environmental Protection Agency’s civil enforcement cases. For abuses under laws like the Clean Air Act, the Trump administration has collected just $12 million in civil penalties, a drop of 60 percent from the average of the other administrations. Trump’s EPA has lodged 26 environmental lawsuits compared to 31, 34, and 45 by Bush, Obama, and Clinton, respectively.

The marked decrease in enforcement likely has to do with the EPA’s deregulatory agenda. Since confirmed, administrator Scott Pruitt has systematically tried to knock out key environmental regulations, especially those created during Obama’s tenure.

The Project notes that its assessment is only of a six-month period, so future enforcement could catch Trump up to his predecessors. Or he’ll continue to look the other way.

“I’ve seen the pendulum swing,” said Bruce Buckheit, who worked in EPA enforcement under Clinton and then Bush, “but never as far as what appears to be going on today.”

Source:

The coal industry is still declining, so Trump is considering a bailout.

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Trump is going easy on polluters.

According to a new study from the nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project, the current presidential administration has collected fewer civil penalties and filed fewer environmental enforcement suits against polluting companies than the Obama, Clinton, and George W. Bush administrations did at the same point in office.

The analysis assesses agreements made in the Environmental Protection Agency’s civil enforcement cases. For abuses under laws like the Clean Air Act, the Trump administration has collected just $12 million in civil penalties, a drop of 60 percent from the average of the other administrations. Trump’s EPA has lodged 26 environmental lawsuits compared to 31, 34, and 45 by Bush, Obama, and Clinton, respectively.

The marked decrease in enforcement likely has to do with the EPA’s deregulatory agenda. Since confirmed, administrator Scott Pruitt has systematically tried to knock out key environmental regulations, especially those created during Obama’s tenure.

The Project notes that its assessment is only of a six-month period, so future enforcement could catch Trump up to his predecessors. Or he’ll continue to look the other way.

“I’ve seen the pendulum swing,” said Bruce Buckheit, who worked in EPA enforcement under Clinton and then Bush, “but never as far as what appears to be going on today.”

Original article:  

Trump is going easy on polluters.

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Can you “vaccinate” against climate denial?

Since the dawn of scientific consensus on climate change, there has been climate denial. Realists have tried to undermine skepticism through political tactics, public shaming, and shouting facts into the void. Now, scientists have pinpointed a novel approach to defend against pervasive climate denial: “inoculation messages.”

Recent research has found that people are more able to identify misinformation if first notified it will be coming their way — and it works whether or not they accept climate science.

In one recent study, participants were informed of Big Tobacco’s use of fake experts to minimize the health impacts of tobacco, which was then compared to tactics used to spread climate denial. By the end of the study, “inoculated” participants held less extreme views on climate science than their unvaccinated peers.

Michelle Nijhuis writes for Vox that it’s also important to start discussions with basic facts — of the non-alternative variety — and then segue into correcting common misconceptions, not the other way around. Repeat vaccinations are key, too.

As cognitive scientist John Cook told Nijhuis, “nobody likes to be misled, no matter their politics.”

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Can you “vaccinate” against climate denial?

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Globalization Isn’t Dead, But It’s Taking a Nap

Mother Jones

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The Wall Street Journal says that globalization is dead, killed on a rising tide of financial crisis, populism, and nationalist politics. Some threads of their evidence are more convincing than others, but a quick look at global trade shows that they have a point:

Since 2011, world trade (in both merchandise and services) has grown at a rate of about 0.8 percent per year. By 2014 it had barely recovered to its pre-recession high. That compares to a growth rate of over 17 percent per year in the first eight years of the century. Globalization may not be dead, but it’s definitely taking a nap.

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Globalization Isn’t Dead, But It’s Taking a Nap

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Here’s Why CBO Projects 10% Lower Premiums Under the Republican Health Care Bill

Mother Jones

One of the surprising things about the CBO score of AHCA, the Republican health care bill, is their conclusion that premiums will fall starting in 2020. By 2026, average premiums will be 10 percent lower than they would be under Obamacare. But why? Here’s CBO:

First, the mix of people enrolled in coverage obtained in the nongroup market is anticipated to be younger, on average, than the mix under current law. Second, premiums, on average, are estimated to fall because of the elimination of actuarial value requirements, which would result in plans that cover a lower share of health care costs, on average.

….By 2026, CBO and JCT project, premiums in the nongroup market would be 20 percent to 25 percent lower for a 21-year-old and 8 percent to 10 percent lower for a 40-year-old—but 20 percent to 25 percent higher for a 64-year-old.

Hmmm. Let’s translate this into English. First, CBO assumes that premiums will go up for old people, forcing many of them to drop out of the market. Since old people have expensive premiums, fewer old people means the average for the remaining pool will be lower.1 Second, AHCA policies will cover far less of your medical expenses, so naturally they’ll be cheaper.

The chart below shows how this “reduces” average premiums. If you use CBO’s projections and do a little arithmetic assuming a modestly younger pool, you get the average premium estimate for the overall pool shown on the left. AHCA is cheaper than Obamacare.

But the current age breakdown in the Obamacare insurance pool is 28 percent young, 38 percent middle-aged, and 26 percent old. What if you assume that stays the same? You get the premium estimates in the middle.

Finally, what if you assume that AHCA paid for 87 percent of your medical bills, just like Obamacare? Then you get the premium estimate on the right.

In other words, if you compare apples to apples, AHCA produces far higher overall premiums than Obamacare.2

Note that CBO didn’t do anything wrong here. They simply did their projections based on a (correct) assumption that AHCA would be too expensive for many old people and would produce crappier policies that had higher deductibles and paid far less of your medical bills. The “average” premium is lower, but obviously not in a way that helps anybody in real life.3

1Think about it this way. If a high school sends all its A students to a magnet school across town, the school’s average GPA will go down. This is despite the fact that nobody’s grades have actually changed.

2This is a fairly extreme example because the actuarial value changes a lot (87 percent vs. 65 percent) for the cheaper policies preferred by low-income folks. CBO has a second example that uses a middle-class worker, and it produces similar but less dramatic results.

3Hardly anybody, that is. If you’re young and don’t get any medical care, then the lower premiums really do help you.

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Here’s Why CBO Projects 10% Lower Premiums Under the Republican Health Care Bill

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Ryan Says Obamacare Is Around for Good if Hillary Clinton Wins

Mother Jones

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HuffPo’s Jeffrey Young passes along a radio interview of Paul Ryan:

Obamacare doesn’t get repealed, likely ever, if Hillary wins….Agree?

Yes. Yes, I do agree….All of us have basically gotten to consensus on what our plan is, but we have to win an election to put it in place.

OK, that’s good to hear. Except for one thing: remember what Ryan’s predecessor said a couple of days after the 2012 election? Diane Sawyer asked John Boehner if he still planned to repeal Obamacare:

I think the election changes that. It’s pretty clear the president was reelected. Obamacare is the law of the land.

As I recall, Boehner was immediately savaged for saying this, and within a few months House Republican passed yet another Obamacare repeal. Since then they’ve voted to repeal Obamacare nearly a dozen times or so, depending on how you count. The most recent attempt was in February of this year.

If Ryan is smart, he’ll call it quits on Obamacare repeal and work instead on finding places where he can horsetrade with Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, I don’t know if Ryan is smart. Nor do I know if his caucus will allow him to move on even if he wants to. We’ll see.

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Ryan Says Obamacare Is Around for Good if Hillary Clinton Wins

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The Color Line In Books About America

Mother Jones

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This is a few days old, but the Atlantic asked eleven people to recommend three books each “to help make sense of the state of U.S. democracy.” Aside from one child’s book that I discarded, they ended up with 33 books. The recommenders included five people of color and six white people. Since I’m a chart guy, I have summarized the recommendations in the chart on the right.

I don’t have a big ol’ essay in me about this, but it’s pretty remarkable. If you want to understand America, people of color apparently think you need to read about race and people of color, but nothing much else. White people think you need to understand class, poverty, religion, and so forth, but nothing much about race or people of color. And these are all pretty high-IQ folks who are well read and presumably understand perfectly well the complexity of American history, culture, and politics.

I wonder what books I’d choose if I were limited to three?

Original source – 

The Color Line In Books About America

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The pope’s call for climate action backfired in conservative America.

Miami Beach gets all the attention for its increased chronic flooding due to rising sea levels. But Miami’s poorer, inland neighborhoods on the other side of Biscayne Bay are also experiencing flooding from high tides.

CityLab reports on Shorecrest, an economically diverse neighborhood in northeast Miami that flooded during last week’s King Tide.

That’s just a sign of more frequent things to come. The Union of Concerned Scientists projects that by 2045, these sunny-day flooding events will increase from six to 380 times per year.

Miami has many neighborhoods across the bay from Miami Beach that are just as flood-prone but, being less wealthy, have fewer resources to deal with the impacts. Since all of Miami-Dade County lies barely above sea level, and sits atop porous limestone, even poorer neighborhoods farther inland are vulnerable.

Shorecrest residents complained to CityLab that they get less adaptation help from local government than richer neighborhoods. (Miami Beach is a separate, richer city from the city of Miami.) On Miami’s west side, predominantly low-income, Latino neighborhoods face flooding that could pollute their freshwater supply.

Florida and Miami need to get serious not just about climate adaptation, but climate justice.

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The pope’s call for climate action backfired in conservative America.

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Why Is the US Economy Sort of Sluggish?

Mother Jones

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A new paper from a trio of Fed researchers suggests that our recent sluggish growth is mostly a result of demographic changes and technological slowdown. The retired share of the population has increased, which means the working share of the population has decreased. Since workers are the ones who produce goods and services, it makes sense that GDP growth will slow down in an economy with fewer adults of working age. Ditto for an economy in which technological progress is slackening.

I’ve pointed out the same thing before in the case of Japan, and it makes sense. But how about in the US? The easiest way to see the rough shape of the river is to simply look at GDP per working-age adult. That eliminates most of the demographic issues. When you do this for the US, you get a trendline that still shows a decline in GDP growth: it’s down by about one percentage point since 1978.

You can also look at total factor productivity, which gives us an idea of the effect of technological change that’s independent of demographics. Over the past 60 years, it’s been pretty flat.

Both of these are volatile series, so take them with a grain of salt. That said, productivity hasn’t changed much, but GDP per working-age adult has steadily decreased anyway. This suggests that neither demographics nor technological progress really explains things. So what does?

NOTE: This bit of amateur economics was made possible by a grant from the Committee to Prevent Endless Blogging About Donald Trump. The author thanks them for their generosity.

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Why Is the US Economy Sort of Sluggish?

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