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Thursday Morning Linkage – Grumpy End of Semester Edition

December 5, 2013

This week’s stories have no unifying theme other than they kind of capture the end of term mood, a certain grumpiness on the part of the writer (Bjorn Lomborg’s tsk tsking of clean energy advocates, Paul Collier’s screed against immigration) or not altogether pleasant images (an elephant run amok in a wedding, modern conflict with bows and arrows). Happy grading! Or dissertating! Or turning in those final papers! Enjoy. (My wife pointed out a hopeful Iranian “Yes We Can” video of Rouhani so all is not bleak!).

Get off My Lawn: The Written Version

  • Bjorn Lomborg, the skeptical “environmentalist” lambastes the renewables do-gooders with an inconvenient truth (that is kind of true but he still comes across as an a-hole) in his call to let the masses have their coal:

THERE’S a lot of hand-wringing about our warming planet, but billions of people face a more immediate problem: They are desperately poor, and many cook and heat their homes using open fires or leaky stoves that burn dirty fuels like wood, dung, crop waste and coal.

  • Paul Collier bemoans those damn migrants who just want a better life but are making it so hard for their home countries with their brain drain, if only all those talented Haitians stayed put. He kind of has a point but maybe we should be trying to develop people rather than places (I’m kind of with Lant Pritchett on labor mobility):

Many on the left, for their part, don’t like to recognize that we’re taking away fairy godmothers. They prefer to believe that they’re helping poor people flee difficult situations at home. But we might be feeding a vicious circle, in which home gets worse precisely because the fairy godmothers leave.

Get off My Lawn: The Photographic Version


This Week in Conservation Bad News

  • We may lose the monarch butterfly

In a paper last year, he [Lincoln Brower] cited three major factors: Deforestation in Mexico, recent bouts of severe weather, and the growth of herbicide-based agriculture destroying crucial milkweed flora in the Midwest.

Source: Washington Post – The total annual area occupied by overwintering monarch butterflies from 1994 through 2013 has declined significantly, with the all-time smallest area reported during the 2012–13 overwintering season. (Source: Brower et. al 2012 updated with data from the author for the past two years)


Hopeful Video: Yes We Can – Iranian Edition

  • Some Iranian artists inspired by the Obama campaign made a music video of the new Iranian President Rouhani and Rouhani’s unofficial twitter feeds retweeted links to the video

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Joshua Busby is an Associate Professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas-Austin. He is the author of Moral Movements and Foreign Policy (Cambridge, 2010) and the co-author, with Ethan Kapstein, of AIDS Drugs for All: Social Movements and Market Transformations (Cambridge, 2013). His main research interests include transnational advocacy and social movements, international security and climate change, global public health and HIV/ AIDS, energy and environmental policy, and U.S. foreign policy. He also tends to blog about global wildlife conservation.