Lifting equipment


One strategy adopted by some environmentalists is to try to win over moderate conservative voters to favour climate action by separating it from other social issues and choosing policy instruments which they expect to appeal to conservatives as well, like carbon taxes or cap-and-dividend. Often, the emphasis is on revenue neutral carbon prices, where the revenue is offset by reducing other taxes, rather than spent on additional climate change mitigation efforts or social priorities.

Notably, this is the strategy of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) and climatologist James Hansen.

This week’s episode of The Energy Gang podcast includes a very interesting discussion of a proposed carbon tax on the ballot in Washington State. The logic behind it has explicitly been to forge post-partisan consensus instead of a left-wing coalition. Apparently, it has been rejected by mainstream environmental groups, in part because they don’t think such a coalition can succeed in getting it passed (or perhaps avoid having it gutted by state legislatures when they would be able to amend it in two years). The panel on the podcast call the issue “a civil war within the environmental left”.

They discuss this potential carbon tax in the context of overcoming Republican intransigence in the face of any effective climate change policy, explicitly considering the logic of teasing climate change out as an independent issue and presenting policy solutions that don’t seek to simultaneously advance other agendas.

At least on panelist emphasized the core logic behind cap-and-dividend as a failure in terms of political saleability (which is meant to be its strongest virtue). He claims that nobody likes revenue neutrality – it seems pointless to collect a tax and then refund it somehow. Also, this approach puts the ‘tax’ element forward. He argues that it would be much more effective to spend the revenues promoting a transition to a low-carbon economy, lead the political messaging by emphasizing how we’re investing in climate safe energy, and then put the tax at the back end as an explanation for how it will be paid for.

I would be interested in seeing Hansen and/or the CCL’s responses to this.


For whatever reason, my ribs seem to be my biggest weakness when it comes to Judo. Just a week or so after getting over my first round of contused ribs in the front left part of my ribcage (induced by a classmate practicing a Hon Kesa Gatame hold-down), at yesterday’s class I fell hard on ribs in the back right part of my ribcage, possibly leaving them even sorer than those injured the first time. Even after a night with a big of frozen vegetables against them, it’s intensely painful to cough and difficult to get up off my back.

Bruised ribs are quite a liability for Judo practice. They make warm-ups hard in terms of push-ups, sit-ups, and other exercises (even jogging was painful at the end of last class); side breakfalls inevitably involve putting them on the mats; and practicing throws like Ippon Seoi Nage and (especially) groundwork involves more pressure on them.

I hope they recuperate more promptly this time around.

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Beach sports and dancing in silly attire


East Toronto beaches


Blue and yellow


Theda Skopcol came to U of T today to talk about America’s ongoing election, and it was a bit encouraging and quite frightening.

On the shreds of sanity side, she said that Clinton will probably win, and the Democrats may even gain control of the senate, which would be vital for supreme court appointments and international treaties.

In terms of never-ending madness and the ongoing tragic decline of the U.S., she said it was likely that Trump supporters will threaten or shoot minority voters on election day, and that the Trumpist ideology of pseudo-fascism will be taken up by many American conservatives who don’t have Trump’s overwhelming personality flaws.


World TKO


I photographed Massey College’s first annual forum on science policy, held in honour of Ursula Franklin.

I previously shot this video commemorating Dr. Franklin.


Autumn in Toronto