The Best Sin Tax Is a Carbon Tax

Hamilton Nolan · 04/15/16 10:50AM

Sin taxes, which states levy on things like cigarettes and booze and gambling, are popular with just about everyone. So why the fuck haven’t we established the single smartest sin tax of all?

Urban Carbon Efficiency Could Save Trillions

Hamilton Nolan · 09/09/15 09:28AM

The global discussion about cutting carbon emissions often centers on how much it would cost in the short term. But in the long term, trillions of dollars could be saved.

John Muir Forever

Hamilton Nolan · 11/13/14 02:45PM

John Muir was the founder of the Sierra Club and the inventor of the modern American conservation movement. He was instrumental in preserving some of our nation's natural wonders. And now, some top environmental thinkers say John Muir's legacy is stupid.

The Politics of a Carbon Tax

Hamilton Nolan · 06/23/14 09:07AM

This weekend, Hank Paulson, the Republican former Treasury Secretary and Goldman Sachs CEO, wrote an op-ed calling for a carbon tax. Has the political landscape shifted enough to make a carbon tax a real possibility?

Yes, Obama Is Gutless on the Keystone Pipeline

Hamilton Nolan · 04/23/14 01:50PM

Last Friday, the Obama administration quietly announced that it would be delaying making a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline until at least after the midterm elections. Pipeline advocates called the decision "shameful," "irresponsible," and "gutless." They're right!

Carbon Dioxide Levels Reach Three Million-Year High

Hamilton Nolan · 05/10/13 01:00PM

A jaunty road sign on the path to apocalypse was passed today, as the level of carbon dioxide in our planet's air reached a level last seen long before mankind existed. Take a deep breath. Enjoy that air. Soon, you'll be breathing water.

We Have 'The Worst of All Possible Worlds' To Look Forward To

Hamilton Nolan · 05/06/13 09:57AM

Amid all of the hustle and bustle of daily news headlines, useless celebrity minutiae, and the mundane workaday distractions of our own lives, it can be useful at times to take a step back, get some perspective, and remember the "big picture:" we're all doomed.

State Department Finds Keystone XL Won't Hurt Environment or Help Economy

Max Rivlin-Nadler · 03/02/13 02:05PM

The State Department released its report yesterday on the environmental impact of constructing the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. It found that the massive pipeline is "unlikely to have a substantial impact on the rate of development in the oil sands," meaning that Canada will most likely proceed with developing the Alberta tar sands whether the pipeline is built or not, and it ultimately won't contribute to global warming.

Americans Aren't Using Enough Electricity

Hamilton Nolan · 01/03/13 10:10AM

If there's one thing that made this country great for the last two hundred years, it's the utility companies that built huge, fossil-fuel-burning power plants to pump out all the electricity this hungry, greedy nation could use. And how do we repay these fine industrialists now? By slowing down our electricity use. Is this Russia?

Global Warming Is Solved: Just Make Snow Out of Sewage

Hamilton Nolan · 09/27/12 08:40AM

Yes, sure, global warming is leading us inexorably down the path to all-out global war due to massive human displacement and destruction of resources. But let's focus on the real problem: what about ski resorts? What if people were forced to go skiing later in the season? Absolutely unacceptable. Fortunately, America is ready to tackle this problem head-on.

These Melting Ice Caps Could Be Great for Business

Hamilton Nolan · 09/19/12 08:34AM

Leading scientific expert Peter Wadhams warned this week that it may be only four years until the Arctic—a place once known for its ice—experiences a total melting of its sea ice in the summer months. Wadhams called this a "global disaster" with "terrible" implications. Well Prof. Wadhams, perhaps you should change your name to Prof. Deborah Downer? Because it looks like you forgot about all the money$$$??

Oh Brother Patagonia Just Give Us a Break With This Sanctimonious Crap

Hamilton Nolan · 11/29/11 11:22AM

Patagonia is a company that sells jackets with the subtle, socially responsible message "I am a significantly better human being than you." People who wear Patagonia jackets are successful enough to take ski vacations and purchase $250 items of clothing that resemble trash bags, but also conscientious enough to donate to attend lots of local environmental charity balls, in Aspen. And while you, the fat slob "average American," were scarfing down styrofoam-encased fast food and doing your "Cyber Monday" online shopping in a non-sustainable manner, Patagonia was doing something a little different for the crazy shopping day.

We Just Can't Get Excited About the Environment Any More

Hamilton Nolan · 09/22/11 11:15AM

For a brief period in the 90s—before 9/11, before the global economic collapse, before endless wars in the Middle East—it was fashionable to "care" about the environment. (You could still get laid wearing a World Wildlife Fund t-shirt, in other words.) Now? I mean, yeah, the environment... eh.