Archive for June, 2010

Debunking the Myths of Global Climate Change

Numerous advocacy groups, scholars, think tanks and others have proposed a variety of steps to address global warming based on a set of assumptions about the green economy. Yet, while we need to take bold action to address climate change, much of what passes for conventional wisdom in this space is in fact either wrong or significantly exaggerated.

In our recent report, “Ten Myths of Addressing Global Warming and the Green Economy,” ITIF explains how the debate on policy responses to climate change is fueled by an array of myths, ranging from assumptions that high carbon taxes will generate needed clean innovations to the belief the U.S. is the natural leader in the clean energy sector. If we are to effectively address climate change and at the same time become globally competitive in the clean energy industry, policies need to be guided by careful and reasoned analysis.

ITIF dismantles the top ten myths in the debate, which are:

  1. Higher prices on greenhouse gases are enough to drive the transition to a clean economy.
  2. The U.S. can make major contributions to solving climate change on its own.
  3. Cap-and-trade is
  4. Read the rest

Internet Regulatory Reform Proceeds Apace, Quietly

News accounts tell us that Congress, led by Chairman Rick Boucher (D-Va.) and Ranking Member Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) of the Internet Subcommittee, is developing a new regulatory framework for broadband Internet services.

Boucher and Stearns are going about this business in the way that Congress usually approaches contentious issues, by meeting with stakeholders and planning a series of hearings. Despite the canard that Congress only moves slowly, it can and does act quickly when there’s an evident consensus that action needs to be taken: The US Patriot Act, after all, was signed into law a mere 45 days after the September 11 attacks, and it was a very substantial and far-reaching law.

The difference, however, is that America doesn’t perceive an imminent crisis in the state of the broadband Internet that would warrant such expeditious action.

A recent survey conducted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) indicates that Americans are highly satisfied with their network services:

Most Americans are satisfied with the broadband speed they are getting. Fully 91 percent of broadband users say they are “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with the speed they get at home. The comparable number Read the rest

Regulatory Panic Considered Harmful

The crushing defeat of the FCC’s Comcast order in the DC Circuit Court has advocates of strict net neutrality regulations scrambling to place their implicit regulatory framework on a solid legal footing. The case for legal jurisdiction seems so urgent that larger questions about the value and purpose of Internet regulation are in danger of being lost in the shuffle. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski warns that the FCC has no means of protecting consumers from harm until the legal questions are resolved.  Amidst this background of regulatory panic, it’s worthwhile to ask whether the case for sweeping Internet regulations is as strong as many seem to believe.

According to the Court, the FCC’s theory of its jurisdiction over the consumer-facing edge of the Internet has been wrong all along. For all practical purposes, the Internet has been largely unregulated from end to end since it was privatized under the Clinton Administration.  Despite a lack of regulation, the consumer Internet experience has steadily improved from the advent of broadband networks in the mid-90s to the present, with speeds increasing and prices falling or holding steady. The price per megabit of Internet … Read the rest