Weekly Roundup: June 16, 2023

PUBLISHED

At the Blog

On Monday, Savannah Cox, John Hogan Morris, Zac J. Taylor continued our series on climate, economics, and “green capitalism”, arguing that credit rating agencies like Moody’s, who have amassed vast proprietary datasets about climate risk, are increasingly guiding our society’s response to the climate crisis. In contrast to views that identify a “climate leviathan” that will wield the authority to decide how our world responds to climate change, the authors envision “climate authority in less herculean, and state-centric, terms: specifically, as emergent from the practices of physically dispersed public and private actors in the shared, networked, and ultimately banal business of risk assessment.”

On Tuesday, Madison Condon explained why she is mad at climate economists: their reliance on overly simplistic models and tools radically underestimates the likely damage from climate change. Mainstream economic models probe relationships between historic temperatures and economic output to determine how bad future warming will be, even though there is no reason to “think the journey from 1.2 to 2°C and beyond is going to resemble the journey from normal temperatures to 1.2°C.” As she writes, “One reason why economic models perform so poorly—and why we shouldn’t hold our breath that we can make them much better without borrowing approaches from other fields—is because we don’t have data on what the economy looks like when all the ice melts. The hotter it gets, the more unpredictable it becomes, and even our science models running on supercomputers start to lose forecasting power as we depart the climate conditions from which we have gathered all of our data. I don’t need a model to tell you that we should be trying very hard to avoid the worst.”

And, on Thursday, Duncan Kennedy, Karl Klare, and Michael Turk argued that to address the current rental housing crisis, we must address the imbalance in power between landlords and tenants. To this end, they propose a Wagner Act for Tenant Unions, sketching the architecture of a legislative package that would entitle tenants to organize into unions with specified rights, powers, and protections against retaliation. Such a proposal would, they write, also secure “fundamental tenant rights that presently are either unprotected by law or unenforceable in practice,” including the right to habitable conditions and compliance with health and safety regulations, protection against bad faith evictions, and a right to counsel in eviction proceedings.

In LPE Land

For those in New York, LPE NYC will be gathering for their first Summer Happy Hour next Friday, June 23, from 5:30 – 7:30 PM ET at Greenwood Park (BK). Outdoor seating will be available!

For those looking for work, we have extended the final deadline for applications for the open Deputy Director position to Wednesday, July 5, 2023. Tell your friends!

This week on How to Save a Country, Felicia Wong and Michael Tomasky ask Sabeel Rahman about the value of the administrative state and how to protect it.

For those of you who missed the show (or want to experience it again), all the recordings from this spring’s LPE Conference on Labor, Social Control, & Counterpower are now available on a brand new webpage. And if you’re wondering what to watch, check out our handy viewing guide.

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