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Posts by Gernot Wagner Subscribe

Gas Tax or Bust

0.5% of U.S. commuters bike to work. 5% take public transport. 80% drive. Mayor Bloomberg is trying mightily hard to build bike lanes and change the commuting culture of New York City. He may well succeed, and other cities may yet follow. Here’s...

Posted October 20, 2011    

Dash for Clunkers

You can motivate people to drive less through various means. Gas taxes come to mind. Or a tax on vehicles miles traveled, or a congestion fee. Whether you call it a “tax” or a “fee,” charging money is always part of the equation. The alternative to...

Posted October 17, 2011    

Energy Efficiency Fail: $20 Bills Hanging Out The Window

If you think energy efficiency is overblown, look no further than this window. Apparently, businesses are almost as bad. EDF’s own Climate Corps program has found $650 million in energy savings. No matter whether you care about the planet, you...

Posted September 27, 2011    

Pull The Highest Lever

Individual action won’t do to solve global warming. It needs to be something collective. But what if individual action is all you’ve got? Say you are running a small, grassroots organization with the aim of making a difference in the community. You...

Posted September 21, 2011    

I Remember Reading My A/C Thermostat Should Be Set To 60…

ConEd is asking New Yorkers not to buy its products. That’s not because they found religion; it’s because they have found regulators that understand the value of conserving electricity. So far so good. But here’s how they try to get the message...

Posted September 19, 2011    

Planetary Socialism

Yesterday’s New York Times published my op-ed under the somewhat provocative heading “Going Green but Getting Nowhere.” The point, of course, is not to give up, but instead to look for policy solutions that channel market forces in the right...

Posted September 9, 2011    

No Free Lunch on Climate

Plenty of studies show how we can save the planet and save money all at once. Many of them happen to be produced by McKinsey. Economists tend to deride them. If you could really save money by being green, why...

Posted September 6, 2011    

As Long As The Music Is Playing …

Betting against the herd turned out to be the smarter strategy in 2008, at the height of the financial crisis. But being right about the housing bubble was not enough. The first economists called the bubble in 2002. Putting your money on that bet in...

Posted August 30, 2011    

They're Heeeeeeerrree: Climate Wars

First came science fiction—with brave new worlds, meteors, earthquakes, and rising sea levels causing mass exodus, war, and worse—and there was no reason to react because it was science fiction. Then came fiction—with well-researched accounts of...

Posted August 25, 2011    

What If It Is All A Big Hoax?

This cartoon has been makings its rounds since Copenhagen. Sadly, it’s as apt as ever.By Joel Pett originally ran in the Lexington-Herald.

Posted August 23, 2011    

UNESCO, Rolling Stones and the Art of the Trade-Off

Economists have some hard and fast rules that—to put it mildly—don’t necessarily endear them to everyone around. For one, there’s the idea of trade-offs. It makes so much sense it’s sometime easy to forget how difficult an idea it really is. You can...

Posted August 21, 2011    

Advanced Biofuels In Search Of Customers

The White House is starting an advanced biofuels initiative, putting money toward researching a new generation of biofuels for planes and boats. That’s all good. But BF < O has two sides. New technologies need customers who actually want the...

Posted August 18, 2011