booksJust two weeks back from sabbatical and my in-box is already so full of good stuff that I only got around to blogging on a small fraction of it. Here are some of the highlights.

Some truly alarming news about the impact of global climate change: some of the world’s most important beer production may be in jeopardy:

…the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute has found that the quality of Saaz hops—a delicate variety of hop used to make pilsner lager—has been decreasing in recent years. Why? It would appear the continuing rise of air temperature in the Czech Republic (where the crops are located) is the culprit.

An academic paper that examines the effects on children of growing up during a recession. The authors find that:

…individuals growing up during recessions tend to believe that success in life depends more on luck than on effort, support more government redistribution, but are less confident in public institutions. Moreover, we find that recessions have a long-lasting effect on individuals’ beliefs.

  • At Investigate West, former P-I editorial page editor Mark Trahant has a fascinating piece that links up the history of the old Public Service Hospital system to the current health care debate. Here’s a sample:

    …the primary mission of the new health service was to intercept diseases brought home by sailors returning from sea.The Public Health Service and the marine hospital network eventually expanded across the country. This was the first “public option” because this government plan was funded by a monthly deduction from the seaman’s wages.

    In the New York Times, an article about a lawsuit brewing as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) goes to bat to defend green certification standards from the largely industry-backed Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI):

    “They’ve essentially created a green certification system to promote their sales,” said Peter Goldman, director of the Washington Forest Law Center in Seattle, the legal firm that filed the complaints on Thursday. “We believe S.F.I. has confused the marketplace.”

    And last, but certainly not least, from the ever-brilliant folks at Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nice analysis of consumer fairness provisions in federal climate legislation. The CBPP paper is responding specifically to a position by the Edison Electric Institute, but the thrust of CBPP’s argument has a broader application: if policymakers want to convey the value of carbon permits to low-income consumers then they should give the value directly to consumers, not entrust the value to utilities.