British Columbia

On July 13, the Canadian anti-consumerist magazine Adbusters posted what they called “Memo One” on their site under the newly minted hash tag #OCCUPYWALLSTREET: “Are you ready for a Tahrir moment?

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Coal Train Coming

The battle over new coal terminals in the Pacific Northwest hasn’t really focused on the amount of coal already moving down the Columbia River basin by train from Wyoming and then up the coast to British Columbia (via Seattle) for export to China. This post from the excellent Sightline Daily puts it into perspective.

Don't look now, but cap-and-trade is coming to the United States—and there's nothing the Senate can do about it. Earlier today, California, New Mexico, and three Canadian provinces—Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia—unveiled a plan to set up a carbon-trading system for greenhouse gases by January 2012.

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Many economists will tell you that the simplest way to address climate change is just to put a levy on carbon emissions at the source (i.e., coal at the mine, gas at the wellhead, etc.) and use the money to cut taxes elsewhere. The price signal will nudge people away from dirtier energy and toward conservation and cleaner types of power. And now there's even a real-life model to examine. Back in 2008, the Canadian province of British Columbia passed a carbon tax that rises by $5/ton per year.

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Allan Sloan, in a column criticizing the proposed tax on expensive health insurance plans, says that most of the revenue from this tax wouldn't come from the high-cost plans: [I]f you look at the actual workings of the plan, you come away far less impressed.

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“Copacetic.” “Fine and dandy,” says the Webster's New International. Textured origins can be found in the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language and the various Oxfords. Mixed origins, actually, from the black South, Creole French, Harlem jazz, Italian and Hebrew/Yiddish. The last pairing points to a Hebrew phrase, “kol b'tsedek,” “all with justice.” I've never heard this phrase, and I don't believe it's the secret behind "copacetic" for a moment.

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At this point, I’m not sure which has become more tiresome: Roland Emmerich’s penchant for emotionally overwrought end-of-the-world pictures or his penchant for giving said pictures time-specific titles. With the exception of Godzilla, which advertised its subject with forthright specificity, his titles have exhibited a peculiar insistence on emphasizing the when at the expense of the what: Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and now 2012.

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Be sure to check out Daniel Pauly, a professor of fisheries at the University of British Columbia, on NPR's Fresh Air today. He'll be discussing a piece he recently wrote for TNR, "Aquacalypse Now: The End of Fish," about the global fishing industry's threat to the fish population.

Meet The Beetles

One of the quirks of global warming is that average temperatures in the polar regions are rising a lot faster than they are in the rest of the world. (See here for an explanation.) That's not exactly reassuring, since a lot of the climate impacts we care about, especially the melting of Greenland and Antarctic glaciers and the potential release of methane gas from the tundra, will occur in exactly those areas.

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Disengagement

The pun in the title of Israel Is Real, the new book by Rich Cohen, is silly but not meaningless. The problem of reality, and how to distinguish it from fantasy, fear, and hope, has been with the Zionist project since the very beginning.

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