Did these doomsday predictions come true?

Park rangers at Glacier National Park had put up signs to let visitors know that the glaciers there would be “Gone by 2020”. But guess what they’re doing with those signs now?

It’s been a year since the net neutrality rules, created by the Obama administration, were removed by Trump’s FCC. Did the doomsday predictions of what would happen come true?

And does banning plastic bags like California (and an al-Qaeda subsidiary…really) really do anything for the environment? How do we get a better bang for the buck?

Mentioned links:

Climate Oops: National Park Begins Subtle Removal Of “Gone By 2020” Signs After Glaciers Just Keep Not Being Gone

FreedomWorks Celebrates One-Year Anniversary of the Repeal of Title II Regulations

What Will the End of Net Neutrality Do to America?

Sorry, banning plastic bags won’t save our planet

Best-Run States Are Low-Tax Republican, Worst-Run Are High-Tax Democratic, Study Finds

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Show transcript

The glaciers are disappearing! The glaciers are disappearing! It says right here that the glacier si…um, the glacier signs are disappearing? Oh, well that’s not as big a deal. Turns out that in Glacier National Park in Montana they had been putting up signs all around the park saying, “Gone by 2020”, referring to the fears that those glaciers you see would soon melt away because of global warming, or climate change, or whatever this week’s term is.

But the reality is that the predictions were wrong, and in fact those glaciers have been growing in recent years. The Jackson Glacier may have grown as much as 25% or more over the past decade. So quietly, the Park Service has begun taking down the signs of doom, or changing them from saying that they’d be gone by 2020 to the idea that they’d be gone for “future generations”. That’s some serious bet hedging.

And of course, while the media reported on the signs going up, they’ve been silent on them going down. Of course.

The Internet has been growing like crazy in the past year. Fiber was deployed to more new U.S. homes than any year before. Small cell deployment quadrupled, as did the deployment of other related wireless infrastructure. We also saw an increase in average broadband speeds across the country.

More importantly, here’s what didn’t happen. You aren’t being nickel and dimed by your Internet Service Provider for access to email or Social Media or messaging or music. Now, you might be paying 3rd parties like Netflix for access to their services over the Internet, but your ISP isn’t charging extra to even be able to access such services.

And those things were predicted at the end of…net neutrality. The Internet would die, squeezed by eeevil ISPs. Now I don’t know about you, but my eeevil ISP, AT&T, bumped up my speeds a few months ago with no change in rates. This is what comes from competition because, fortunately for me, government hasn’t totally limited my choice in Internet providers. Your mileage may vary, but if this is the way they are exploiting me, they’re doing it wrong.

I’ve got a link in the show notes to an opinion piece that puts into question some of the environmental laws that have been passed recently. Now, up front I want to say that concern for our environment is a good thing. The thing is, we should get the most bang for the buck when doing that.

The writer, Bjorn Lomborg, launches out by noting that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a plan to reduce plastic pollution, which will include a ban on single-use plastics as early as 2021. Lomborg agrees that this is a “laudable” action because of the pollution caused by it as well as how it can kill animals.

Other countries have been doing this as well, more than 20. Even The Shabab, a terrorist group in East Africa that has pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda, has banned plastic bag because they “pose a serious threat to the well-being of humans and animals alike”. OK, as an aside, if you’ve been listening to me for a little while, you know how much I love irony. So to have a terrorist group decry a threat to humans and animals is just…well, we need a new term for that level of self-unawareness.

Anyway, while “laudable”, Lomborg also calls it “showy”. Basically it’s virtue signaling on a global scale, because there is hardly any bang; it’s more of a fizzle. If plastic bags were banned tomorrow, it wouldn’t make much of a difference because they comprise only 0.8 percent of the plastic in the oceans.

Further, where bans have been instituted, the result is…more CO2 emissions.

Moreover, banning plastic bags can have unexpected, inconvenient results. A new study shows California’s ban eliminates 40 million pounds of plastic annually. However, many banned bags would have been reused for trash, so consumption of trash bags went up by 12 million pounds, reducing the benefit. It also increased consumption of paper bags by twice the saved amount of plastic – 83 million pounds. This will lead to much larger emissions of CO?.

The thing is, plastic makes our lives better in so many ways. Should we also ban single use plastic syringes? Single use plastic jugs that keep milk and juice fresher? Lomborg also quotes a study by the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food which shows you have to reuse an organic cotton shopping bag 20,000 times before it will have less environmental damage than a plastic bag. We’re being “showy” instead of tackling underlying issue.

He makes the rather obvious point that the focus needs to be on the countries that are the biggest polluters like China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, and we need to address better waste management in developing countries. Going without disposable plastic entirely would leave us worse off, so we need to tackle the problems without losing all of the benefits.

And finally, about this time last year I reported on an annual study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University which ranked the fiscal solvency of each state. It uses five financial measures that gauge the states’ ability to pay bills, avoid budget deficits, and meet long-term spending needs and cover pension liabilities. Separate from this, others then label these states Republican or Democrat based on their voting record in the past 3 elections and which party controls the state legislature. If the state is not solidly red or blue, it’s purple.

Well, just like last year, the 10 states most fiscally solvent are all Republican, and of the states least fiscally solvent, 6 are solidly Democratic. In fact, of the 25 most-solvent states, all but four are solidly Republican, and of the bottom 25 states, all but five are solidly Democratic. The trend is continuing but the media won’t tell you that.

Filed under: Economics & TaxesEnvironmentNet NeutralityTechnology