Ronald Bailey

Ronald Bailey Talks Designer Kids, Paris Climate Agreement, and More on Federalist Radio

Host Ben Domenech also asks about deregulation at the FDA and EPA.


Ronald Bailey

At a new Federalist Radio podcast, host Ben Domenech and I discuss Trump's science policies, the ethics of designer babies, alcohol regulations, and more.

Does Trump withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord have any tangible effects? "With regard to greenhouse gases in the United States, it was practically irrelevant," I claim. "The clean power plan is not what destroyed the coal industry. What destroyed the coal industry is fracking."

I point out that however onerous Obama's clean power plan would have been (its provisions had not yet been implemented, due to a Supreme Court injunction), the real enemy of coal is cheap fracked natural gas. No matter how much the president loves miners, most of those jobs are gone forever.

The U.S. power sector is likely to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by about 32 percent even without the clean power plan, given the price trends for natural gas and renewable energy technologies, as I reported last week. A new analysis from the Rhodium Group consultancy bolsters those earlier conclusions: "Our current projections put power sector CO2 emissions 27% to 35% below 2005 levels."

I also argue that the folks who want to ban the gene-editing kids are calling for something akin to state-imposed eugenics. Progressive Era eugenicists used government power, via nonconsensual sterilizations, to forcibly prevent parents from passing on traits deemed deleterious. Now, 21st century eugenicists want the government to require people to risk passing along genes that the parents think are deleterious. In both cases, the state is empowered to decide what sorts of people may be born.

Go here to listen to the discussion.