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Syria Update: Feb 2020, Part II

SYRIA UPDATE: Turkey is now basically at war with Assad, and it's moving in the direction of war with Russia (though I doubt that it will get that far).

Syria Update: Feb 2020

Stuff is happening in Syria again.

Stratocumulous cloud formation

About a year ago, I posted about some very ominous research indicating that stratocumulous cloud formation may shut down when we get above about 1000 ppm, which could lead to temperature increases so cataclysmic as to be incompatible with civilization. I was hoping that subsequent research would dispute those findings, but unfortunately, it's made them more likely, not less likely.

About Proposition 13 2020

There's been some confusion about the Proposition 13 that appears on the March ballot. This has nothing to do with the Prop 13 that passed in 1978; it just has the same number. This year's Prop 13 is an ordinary school bond measure.

Fake News Continues

In the last day or two, major media outlets have run two stories, one on Biden allegedly refusing to commit to support Sanders as the nominee and one on Feinstein allegedly leaning towards acquitting Trump, which had to be corrected because they weren't actually accurate. In both cases, the person's comments were available to the news organization, but were misinterpreted. In both cases, the news organization corrected the headlines in the actual article, but let the old inflammatory headlines continue to appear in Facebook posts.

Hungary's Green New Deal

Hungary has released its equivalent to a Green New Deal, and it's surprisingly ambitious, considering Hungary's historic hostility to climate goals and emissions reductions. It calls for reducing emissions by 40% by 2030 and getting to net zero by 2050. The 2030 goal is relative to 1990 levels, so I'm guessing it's roughly in line with the ~50% reductions relative to 2010 levels called for in the IPCC report. It calls for spending about 120% of its GDP over the next three decades, which is the equivalent of about $23 trillion for the US.

Sexism and US Politics

It's important to remember that sexism plays a major role in American politics. Historically, the answer to the question, "Can a woman be elected president?" has been a resounding no. Female candidates are held to a much higher standard than male ones, and are punished much more severely for failing to live up to that standard.

Carbon Tax Revenue

One of the big questions about carbon taxes are what to do with the revenue. The two main suggestions are to a) use it to pay for mitigation projects or b) refund it to taxpayers in equal lump-sum payments (which is called "fee and dividend").

There's also a third approach, which says that the proceeds from a carbon tax should be used to reduce capital gains and income taxes. The idea here is that reducing those taxes will lead to more long-term economic growth, which effectively reduces the cost per ton of CO2 that gets mitigated. This approach is called "double dividend".

A carbon-neutral US?

This is our first glance at what may end up becoming the proper climate change legislation of the Green New Deal. It's emphatically not finished yet, but it is still an interesting start.

Some key takeaways:

December Democrat Debate

So, thoughts about the debate:

First, nobody watched it. I think the candidates knew this, because they got a little goofy.

Yang was very likeable and entertaining. He also spoke for an entire nation when he gaped speechlessly at one of the worst questions ever asked in a presidential debate, about who they would ask for forgiveness and/or who they would give gifts to.


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