David Roberts Profile picture
I run a newsletter/podcast called Volts about clean energy & politics. Subscribe & join the community at https://t.co/mAVggtRfoE! (@volts.wtf on bsky, ahem.)
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Jul 13 4 tweets 1 min read
One of the most shocking things you discover when you start covering US politics closely -- at least naive young me found it shocking -- is that most political journalists don't seem to give even a tiny shit about policy. My take on politics, though I'm not sure I could have articulated it, is "I want good results -- increased welfare -- for my fellow citizens, and to get it, I have to figure out how this stuff works." I kind of assumed that's why anyone would pay attention to politics.
Jul 11 17 tweets 3 min read
🧵The main thing Americans do not understand/appreciate about presidential elections is that you are not voting for a person, you are voting for an *administration* -- cabinet members, appointees, military leaders, advisers & analysts, the whole civil service, etc. etc. You're voting for an executive branch -- that's an *enormous* organization. The president himself makes only a tiny fraction of the decisions in the day-to-day management of that org. It's a whole apparatus, vastly larger than one individual.
Jul 8 10 tweets 3 min read
Hey, remember climate change? We kinda stopped talking about it here in the US, but ... it's still happening. A tour. 🧵

Massive, heavy rains & flooding in Bangladesh:

theguardian.com/world/article/… Heavy rains, flooding, & landslides in Nepal.

reuters.com/world/asia-pac…
Jul 5 25 tweets 5 min read
I haven't written much about politics since the debate, mainly because I'm so overwhelmed by disgust & contempt toward this country's media & commentariat that it has rendered me inarticulate with rage. Twitter probably doesn't need more rage. I do just wanna make one point tho. To be clear up front: I don't give one tiny hot fuck who the Dem nominee is. I truly don't. Biden's fine. Harris is fine. A warm puddle of vomit is fine. *There is no conceivable resolution to the nomination fight that could change the basic calculus of this race.*
Jun 26 13 tweets 3 min read
All right I've been tweeting too much today, but one more quick 🧵 before I log off this hellsite.

Here @Noahpinion makes the argument that crime is, in fact, down. He does so by citing all sorts of official statistics from FBI etc.

noahpinion.blog/p/yes-of-cours… Now, there are, of course, many in the MAGA base who will simply refuse to believe official statistics. ("You get to believe whatever you feel" is one of the benefits of membership.) But official statistics still carry weight with most media & most people. In other words ...
Jun 22 9 tweets 2 min read
To me one thing that the Hochul congestion-pricing fiasco illustrates is the importance of epistemic circles. She is practically drowning in empirical evidence and modeling, rigorous work done over years & years by professionals, but in the end ... ... what really *reached & moved* her was the testimony of the people around her. All that objective evidence ultimately could not overcome vibes. The people she hangs out with, the people she talks to, don't like it, and that's what mattered.
Jun 8 13 tweets 3 min read
Y'all, I just got back from a car dealership. Holy shit. I thought, "maybe my stereotypes are outdated, maybe it's not so bad any more."

It's ... so much worse. I couldn't believe it. I have to rant a bit. We're thinking about leasing a RAV4 Prime -- the PHEV. We thought we should at least test drive one. Dealer didn't have a Prime, but they had a normal hybrid, fine. But of course, after the test drive, they drag us inside to talk about leasing.
May 30 8 tweets 2 min read
I spent considerable time trying to get through to McKay about what an extraordinary achievement IRA is in light of the constraints Dems faced. In the moment, I managed to get to some begrudging acknowledgment. See the pod: volts.wtf/p/talking-thro… Ultimately, though, McKay--like many, many others--is more invested in maintaining his carefully constructed political identity than he is in adjusting to new information. He's a Radical calling out The System. That's the role he's going to act out no matter the circumstances.
May 15 17 tweets 3 min read
Friends, let me tell you a story about the @seattlePD. 🧵

Our story begins in Tuscon, AZ, in the early 2010s. A young man named Kevin Dave is recruited into the Tuscon police. He does not do well. Several complaints are filed, including one involving a "preventable collision." Dave was the subject of six separate investigations during his short stint with the Tuscon police -- firearm violations, avoidable collisions, and just general conduct unbecoming an officer.
May 14 5 tweets 1 min read
Said it before, will say it again: in the current political/media climate, *any* Dem presidential candidate would face a fusillade of shit & quickly come to be seen among VSPs as "flawed." It is structural. People want to think Her Emails was some unique Clinton flaw and His Age is some unique Biden flaw, but I promise you the combination of the RW shit machine & an artificially "balanced" MSM would find *something* to pin on anyone in that position.
May 13 5 tweets 2 min read
A short 🧵that captures so much about US politics.

Over a week ago, the FTC found that a scumbag oil guy (& huge Trump donor) colluded with OPEC to keep oil prices high.

cnbc.com/2024/05/02/ftc… Think about everything this snapshot captures: Big Oil shilling for Trump, Big Oil being corrupt AF, high oil prices being about *greed* rather than any Biden policy, the need for a clean energy future, etc.

In short, an episode that seems tailor-made to advance D narratives.
May 10 7 tweets 1 min read
I just said this to Chris Hayes for an upcoming pod and I think it's so important for people to understand: you can make a bulletproof case for the clean-energy transition that *doesn't mention climate change at all*. National security. Economic competitiveness. Productivity. Lower air pollution. Less inflation. Less macroeconomic volatility. Any one of these is sufficient. But if you really want to get wild ...
May 9 6 tweets 1 min read
When elites like the publisher of the NYT call something "partisan," they mean something very specific by it. To them, to be partisan, to choose a side & fight for it, is by definition unsophisticated. Brutish. To be on a side is to surrender your rational judgment. The smart, sophisticated thing to do is to see both sides, to grasp all the contrasting points & nuances, to understand the big picture in a way that mere partisans, down in the ditches, never can.
May 6 9 tweets 2 min read
I've vowed not to rant about Kahn & the NYT all day, but one thing I'll say: Kahn sets up a false dichotomy b/t what he says NYT is doing (fair coverage) vs. what libs want (cheerleading for Biden). But even if you accept that dichotomy, *NYT isn't doing what it says it's doing.* It's *not* fairly covering all issues based on what voters care about. That is simply not an accurate discussion of its current practice.
May 3 5 tweets 1 min read
I don't quite know how to describe it, but this whole presidential election has the feeling to me of being an elaborate practical joke. I can't quite make it seem real. Like, "here's a long, anguished essay with footnotes arguing that this normal human being is preferable to a pile of shit laced with broken glass." I just keep looking over my shoulder, like, who is this for? What is this weird drama we're acting out? When's the punchline?
Apr 15 8 tweets 2 min read
Polls & surveys found that most Americans were amenable to civil rights back in the early 60s, but thought that *other* Americans *weren't*. Sociologists call this "pluralistic ignorance" -- ignorance about other people's views. Now pluralistic ignorance is back ... ... around climate change. A new study found that most people are willing to act to address climate change, but believe that *other* people *aren't* willing. "Respondents vastly underestimate the prevalence of climate-friendly behaviors and norms." papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cf…
Apr 14 14 tweets 3 min read
One of the main reasons renewable energy is going to triumph in the end is, IMO, not well understood by the general populace, so here's a quick 🧵on it.

Over time, the price of fossil fuels is determined by two forces pulling in opposite directions. On one hand ... ... there's the physical resource itself (oil, gas, or coal), which, all things being equal, will drive costs up. Why? Simple: it is finite and we harvest the easy stuff first. As time passes, we have to dig or drill deeper & exploit lower quality deposits.
Apr 13 4 tweets 1 min read
Right-wing men: women will not stay with us voluntarily, because we are emotionally illiterate, violent assholes, so as a society we must force them. I do feel sorry for RW men raised in RW households because at some point they conclude that becoming an interesting, thoughtful, kind person that people *want* to be with is impossible, so they start thinking about how to force themselves on people.
Apr 11 8 tweets 2 min read
The authors of White Rural Rage respond to critics: "scholars of rural politics bend over backward to avoid saying anything that might reflect poorly on rural whites—even when it means downplaying their own research."

newrepublic.com/article/180570… I could thread on this subject forever but I just want to make one point: whenever this subject comes up, people who criticize the attitudes & behaviors of rural whites are accused of "looking down" on them. I think this gets it backward in important ways.
Apr 9 7 tweets 2 min read
As usual, Rufo's play is obvious here (he always tells). With an AI that can review giant quantities of text quickly, you will inevitably find the kind of picayune citation issues that brought down Gay. It will find stuff of at least that level *anywhere* you point it. But ... ... of course Rufo is only pointing it at black women. Here's how things will/must go: this AI will be pointed at more & more scholars, and then book authors, & then popular writers, & soon we will discover that "plagiarism," by the strict current definition, is ubiquitous.
Apr 2 10 tweets 3 min read
Some fascinating public-opinion research on EVs from Potential Energy. It's worth scrolling through the whole thing but here are a couple of things that jumped out at me. 🧵 potentialenergycoalition.org/wp-content/upl… First & perhaps least surprising: EVs have been polarized. That cat is out of the bag. Image