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An assessment of the environmental and economic effects of grocery bag bans and taxesJune 18, 2014
In the past 15 years, approximately 190 municipalities in the U.S. have passed ordinances imposing bans, fees and/or taxes on plastic shopping bags. Many have also introduced fees or taxes on paper bags. Proponents of such ordinances claim they are necessary in order to reduce litter and other environmental impacts, ranging from resource use to emissions of greenhouse gases. In addition, many proponents claim the ordinances will reduce municipal costs (such as those associated with litter removal and waste collection), with benefits for taxpayers.
This study investigates all these claims using the best data available and finds:
A plastic bag ban will cost consumers but won't improve the environmentJune 18, 2014
Many cities and counties in California have passed ordinances banning the distribution of high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic grocery bags and mandating fees for paper bags. State Senator Alex Padilla recently introduced a bill (SB 270) that would impose similar requirements statewide. The premise of these laws is to benefit the environment and reduce municipal costs. In practice, the opposite is more likely to be the case. While the impact of such legislation depends on the way consumers respond, the available evidence suggests that it will do nothing to protect the environment; quite the opposite, it will waste resources and cost Californian consumers billions of dollars. Specifically, such legislation will:
Forecasts of cyclonic doom should be consumed with a heaped tablespoon of sea salt. And policies should be framed accordingly.November 19, 2013
The terrible toll of Typhoon Haiyan—estimated to have killed more than 4,000 people—reminds us of the often awesome power of the weather. Some say the death and destruction in Asia are symptoms of climate change and that we can expect worse to come—unless we cut back on emissions of greenhouse gases. But cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases may not be the best way to address the threat of hurricanes and typhoons, even if climate change is making them worse.
The fear mongering and cronyism of climate change politicsJuly 24, 2013
If you’ve listened to environmentalists the last few days, it wouldn’t be surprising to hear you’re worried that rising sea levels will put Laguna, Huntington and Newport beaches entirely under water and that wildfires will then destroy whatever is left of Orange County.
“Droughts and fires and floods, they go back to ancient times. But we also know that in a world that’s warmer than it used to be, all weather events are affected by a warming planet,” President Barack Obama said in his major climate change speech on June 25. “The fact that sea level in New York, in New York Harbor, are now a foot higher than a century ago — that didn’t cause Hurricane Sandy, but it certainly contributed to the destruction that left large parts of our mightiest city dark and underwater.”
Environmentalists frequently imply global warming is causing an increase in the frequency and intensity of weather events like Sandy. Yet, a 2011 Reason Foundation study found that the world’s death rate from extreme weather events was lower from 2000 to 2010 than it was been in any decade since 1900.
Does California Really Need Major Land Use and Transportation Changes to Meet Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets?July 3, 2013
California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 requires the California Air Resources Board “to adopt a statewide greenhouse gas emissions limit equivalent to the statewide greenhouse gas emissions levels in 1990 to be achieved by 2020.” Subsequent legislation has emphasized the role that policymakers expect transportation and land use policies to play in reducing GHG emissions. But how significantly do GHG emissions need to be cut to meet the targets set in the Global Warming Solutions Act? And what role might transportation and land use policies really play in reducing emissions?
Some state governments are so far into the insurance business that they could be bankrupted by storm claimsNovember 5, 2012
Superstorm Sandy killed over 70 people in the U.S., knocked out power for millions up and down the East Coast, flooded the New York Subway, and damaged thousands of homes. The final price tag for the storm's damage could exceed $40 billion, which would make it the most expensive storm to hit the U.S. since Hurricane Katrina.
Coming as it did, only a year after Hurricane Irene and eight years after Hurricane Ivan, some are asking whether it is part of a trend towards more damaging storms. The answer is yes—we humans are to blame for more damaging storms, but not for the reasons you might think. One of the main culprits is government intervention in insurance markets, which creates perverse incentives to build in danger zones, thereby increasing the threat posed by storms both to property owners and to taxpayers. If Sandy had hit Florida the way it hit New York and New Jersey, it might have bankrupted the state. To reduce the scale of future damage from storms like Sandy, and the threat of fiscal implosion, federal and state governments should get out of the insurance business.
View Resources by Type
- Hottest June on Record, Says National Climatic Data Center
July 22nd, 2014
- Climatologist John Christy: "The Science Is Not Settled"
July 16th, 2014
- Does Fracking Cause Big Earthquakes in Oklahoma, California? Obama's Dept. of Interior Says No.
July 14th, 2014
- The 'War on Meat' Will Make the 'War on Coal' Look Tame
July 11th, 2014
- Did Federal Climate Scientists Fudge Temperature Data to Make It Warmer?
July 3rd, 2014
- Global Temperature Trend Update: Fourth Warmest June In Satellite Record - Prospects for Monster El Nino Fading
July 2nd, 2014
- Did NASA/NOAA Dramatically Alter U.S. Temperatures After 2000?
June 23rd, 2014
- Tax Carbon or Innovate to Save the Climate?
June 23rd, 2014
- Global Temperature Trend Update: Third Warmest May in Satellite Record Might Portend Record-Setting El Niño
June 12th, 2014
- Heads Up Climate Change Combatants: Global Warming Likely To Resume This Year
June 11th, 2014
- Why Reducing U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Is a Risky Move in a Global Economy
June 6th, 2014
- Ideology in the Service of Global Warming is No Vice
May 13th, 2014
- Why Ideological Warfare Over Global Warming Isn’t a Bad Thing
May 8th, 2014
- Earth Daze: Overcoming Environmental Hysteria
April 16th, 2014
- New IPCC Report: Cost of Unchecked Man-Made Climate Change Likely Minimal
March 31st, 2014
- What Happens When You Try to Have a Rational Climate-Change Conversation With Bill Nye the Science Guy
March 24th, 2014
- Independents Rerun Open Thread for “Environmentally Challenged” Episode Featuring Bill Nye the (Off-Puttingly Argumentative) Science Guy & More!
March 23rd, 2014
- Tonight on The Independents: “Environmentally Challenged,” Starring Bill Nye the Science Guy, Ron Bailey, Bjorn Lomborg, John Tierney, and More! (Bumped)
March 21st, 2014
- Rape: The Real Menace Of Climate Change?
February 28th, 2014
- Global Temperature Trend Update - January 2014
February 7th, 2014
- 2013 Was 4th Warmest Year on Record, or 7th Warmest
January 22nd, 2014
- Chill Out About Global Warming
January 22nd, 2014
- 2013 Was 4th Warmest on Record, or 7th Warmest
January 22nd, 2014
- Ugly Climate Models
December 18th, 2013
- Global Temperature Trend Update - November 2013
December 4th, 2013
- How Green Is that Grocery Bag Ban? (6/18)
- An Evaluation of the Effects of California’s Proposed Plastic Bag Ban (6/18)
- The Terrible Toll of Typhoon Haiyan Doesn't Excuse Bad Policy (11/19)
- No More Energy Subsidies (7/24)
- Does California Really Need Major Land Use and Transportation Changes to Meet Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets? (7/3)
Experts: Climate Change
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- Adrian Moore
Vice President, Policy
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Director, Endangered Species Project
RSS Feeds: Climate Change
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Director of Communications
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