Climate & Clean Energy
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#3: A professional climate denier changes his mind

Published on
June 21, 2022
Show notes

In Episode 3, Quinn and Brian host the first of three conversations with conservative climate activists. In the first, a professional climate denier changes his mind. Meet Jerry Taylor, former professional climate denier turned good guy. Like Darth Vader, or The Terminator, or Severus Snape. Anyways. We discuss the moment Jerry knew he was wrong, and his ambitious plan to drag Republicans into sensible action — action they should actually be excited about, because it means throwing all of the sissy liberal regulations right out the window. Also don’t miss: details on Jerry’s award-winning board games. FOR REAL. Want to send us feedback? Tweet us, email us, or leave us a voice message! Links: Jerry Taylor on Twitter Bob Inglis on Twitter The Conservative Case for a Carbon Tax Quinn Emmett on Twitter Brian Colbert Kennedy on Twitter Intro/outro by Tim Blane Subscribe to our newsletter at! Like and share us on Facebook! Check us on Instagram! Follow us on Twitter! Pin us on Pinterest! Tumble us or whatever the hell you do on Tumblr! Ok that’s enough good lord


Quinn: Welcome to Important, Not Important, episode three. I'm Quinn Emmett.

Brian: And I'm Brian Colbert Kennedy.

Quinn: Still? 

Brian: Come on I'm just razzing on you now.

Quinn: You're still sticking to that?

Brian: What if I called you Quinn MA, right?

Quinn: Yeah. 

Brian: So stupid. 

Quinn: Yeah, not into that. How's your motorcycle?

Brian: It's good. It's really good. I just ordered a backrest so that a passenger doesn't just have to hold onto me only they could just sort of chill. 

Quinn: You put other people's lives your hands when you're doing this maliciously dangerous thing. 

Brian: I don't ever force anybody to get on the motorcycle with me. If somebody wants to I will gladly oblige. 

Quinn: But do you warn them? Do you give them your version of the pack of cigarettes? Like, "I would love to have you on this ride with me, but you should know your chance of death is up 90% while we're driving?"

Brian: If you don't know that already then something is wrong with you. You're getting on a motorcycle with somebody. you're handing your life over and I accept the responsibility. I am a good motorcycle driver.

Quinn: But you don't tell them that. 

Brian: No I don't say those words of course not. 

Quinn: Do you know that those messages on cigarettes have been incredibly effective?

Brian: Effective in that it makes people not buy them?

Quinn: Uh-huh. 

Brian: So what I should do is?

Quinn: As you handing them the helmet with that big smile of yours, so adorable, say hey this gonna be great but quite literally the odds are you are probably going to die.

Brian: No it is not you are probably going to die.

Quinn: In this town, it's up there. You're skating on thin ice.

Brian: The backrest can also be used to attach luggage so it is for that too. 

Quinn: That would imply you are driving a long way on the highway, huh?

Brian: Yeah. The highway is the best place to ride.

Quinn: Okay, well, we have a special guest today. Coming over from the dark side and today's question is, "How do we convert climate change deniers?" Or at least super stubborn Republicans into climate advocates? 

Brian: Not an easy job, Quinn. 

Quinn: Right.

Brian: But we do have somebody pretty great here to help us out today. His name is Jerry Taylor and Jerry is special because he was basically the godfather of climate deniers and then what happened, Quinn?

Quinn: Jerry got owned. You know what's great? Jerry admits he got owned and he converted at least on this one. Now he's trying in his own libertarian way to save the planet man. And he is trying to drag some people along with him because he knows we need them.

Brian: And we want to know how it is going obviously and what we can do to help. So stay tuned and just a reminder that you know this is still the beginning guys. We are getting better but be patient with us. 

Quinn: We're trying our hardest. We are vulnerable. I cry quite a bit. Not just about not even really about this but about a lot of other things.

Brian: Just a normal amount of crying, yeah?

Quinn: For me.

Brian: Yeah. Yeah.

Quinn: Which is not normal for other people but you know.

Brian: Everybody's different with their crying. 

Quinn: Uh huh. 

Brian: Before we get into it just a reminder guys subscribe to our newsletter it is at

Quinn: No.

Brian: No it's not. That's just how you wrote it. I've been to our website. It's important, not important.

Quinn: Son of a. 

Brian: Go to our website and subscribe to the newsletter. It is free. It costs no money and seriously, there's a lot of news on there that you may have missed and you should read. And some of it is good and some of it is bad but you need to know all of it. And hopefully at the very least it starts a little conversation.

Quinn: It's the stuff you need to know. We try our hardest we curate it for you and we put it out and then you know Most of you don't open it. And that's fine. I'm used to it. I've got kids. Nobody listens to me. Anyways are you ready?

Brian: I'm ready.

Quinn: All right let's do it. Let's go talk to Jerry.

Brian: Let's dive in. 

Quinn: Our guest today situation Jerry Taylor. We talked about Jerry back in November cited his piece in Mother Jones a place I'm sure he never thought he would set foot titled he was a professional climate skeptic and then he switched sides. So let's find out who he is. Jerry welcome.

Jerry Taylor: Thanks, hi welcome.

Quinn: So Jerry, tell us your story. Who are you? Where do you come from? And what do you do?

Jerry Taylor: That's a really big question. The most relevant part of it I suppose for the program is that I came to Washington in the late 1980s as a Republican activist whose ambitions was to be the next Lee Atwater or Carl Rove but that didn't quite work out since there are about 10,000 people a year that come to Washington with exactly those same ambitions. Found myself by chance as an intern for energy and environmental task force at Alec and so I took the position and found out that what I thought was a terribly uninteresting set issues was actually quite interesting.

Jerry Taylor: Shortly thereafter I became the taskforce director for the energy and environmental task force at Alec and so I came on board at the Cato Institute in 1991. My portfolio was energy policy but then I left the Cato Institute in 2014 for a series of reasons. One of which of the course of my time at Cato I moved from a climate skeptic who was a professional gunslinger for arguing why ambitious federal responses to climate change were unwarranted ambitions unwarranted to somebody who increasing accepted mainstream climate science and the need for  policy action carbon tax and the idea that most efficient way of addressing these rifts is by adopting a carbon tax. But there is really no room for that argument at the Cato Institute and for that amongst a few other reasons I have decided to leave and start my own think tank where I have room to make exactly that argument. And so I am now the president and co founder of the Niskanen Center here in Washington DC. 

Quinn: All right beautiful thank you for that summary. So you know I am curious your initial fighting against climate change efforts was that more based on what you felt was lack of convincing science or was it more based on the libertarian viewpoint? Which is we don't need all this? 

Jerry Taylor: Well all of the above. The argument that I had forwarded when I was at Cato was that climate change was real. I wasn't in the business of arguing with sun spots or just random fluctuation where nothing is going on. I and the Cato Institute as a whole conceded that climate change was real. That it was largely driven by anthropogenic emissions. In other words, by industrial activity and mankind. But that the consequences of warmer were likely to be on the lower side of the range of possible outcomes as outlined by the IPCC. And that extreme scenarios of environmental dislocation and extreme events were very unlikely and shouldn't occupy our time. So that climate change is a real thing and it is a real matter but it's impacts will be far more modest than expected and the cost of doing something about those slightly modest impacts, ripping fossil fuels completely out of global economy on a relatively quick order, is an incredibly expensive and economically problematic undertaking where the cost would be far higher than the benefits. 

Jerry Taylor: That was the line that I had forwarded while I was at the Cato Institute.

Quinn: When exactly did you cross the line? And how did you cross the line with your colleagues at the Cato Institute?

Jerry Taylor: It was a gradual process. There was no one thing in particular but it was a matter of time eroding the case. So there are a few incidences that stick out in my mind, which were fairly significant. The first was my shaking confidence in the scientific narratives that I was a major part of the story I just told is that climate change would be on the low end side of the possible range of outcomes that the IPCC offered. So one day I was a TV show, I don't recall exactly, which one, I believe it was MSNBC or CNBC or something like that. Maybe it was CNN. I did a lot of debating those days. It was the early 2000s I believe. And I was on a show with Joe Rom. 

Jerry Taylor: Now Joe presently is at the center for American Progress before that he was in the Clinton administration and he was a guy debating a lot on TV back in the day. We are talking about climate change and I offered what was one of my more standard narratives at the time. And I said look back in 1988 James Hanson goes in front of the United States Senate. He says that climate change is real and it is significant and it is a dangerous threat. If we don't do something about it and we continue down this business as usual path we are going to see extreme warming in our future. It is going to have big impact. 

Jerry Taylor: I said look in 1988 when he gave that testimony he actually gave projects about what he thought business as usual was going to do if we didn't act on climate change. And we can now look back at those projects and see how well they have shaped up because it has been more than a decade since he gave that testimony. It turns out we have only seen about a third of the warming that Hanson predicted we should have seen by now. Which suggests that the climate is not a sensitive to the industrial green house gas emissions as he had thought. And given that that adds weight to the argument that climate change while real is not going to be quite the existential disaster that James Hanson and Al Gore would have you believe.

Jerry Taylor: So we go back into the green room and Joe Rom says to be as we are getting our makeup taken off and de miced and all that. And he says did you ever really read that testimony or are you just kind of making this crap up?

Quinn: Wow. He called you on it right there?

Jerry Taylor: Well if you know Joe he is a pretty straight forward guy. And I said well I read it a long time ago. This particular story was built on testimony given a few months ago in the United States Senate by a colleague or by someone I had been working with. And he says look do yourself a favor go back to your office and look at that testimony again. He says, "Now if you look at that testimony again you are going to find, strictly speaking, what you said was correct. But James Hanson offered several scenarios for future warming and he gave several projects for what temperature increases might be. You offered scenario A. He also offered scenario B and C." 

Jerry Taylor: He said, "But the difference between these scenarios he thought we might be seeing in the future. So you're right Hanson's business as usual scenario was off but if you look at it you will find it is off because he expected far more green house gas emissions from the global economy than we have really seen. So if you want to say that Hanson was not a great economic forecaster because how much industrial emissions we have is a large function of global economic outcomes he said that is fine. He said, "But that is the reason he is off. But if you look at some of his other censorious actually gets the emissions' portfolio since 1988 pretty spot on. And then if you look at the temperature predictions he provides for that emission scenario you will see likewise it is spot on for the most part. It is pretty much right there." 

Jerry Taylor: He said, "So the point here is you are being incredibly misrepresentaitive. Yes he called scenario A business as usual but it is just basically short hand for different loads of emissions of what temperature emissions might be. You tried to tell this audience that he was off because his models were off and that he over estimated the sensitivity of the climate to green house gas emissions. And the reality is that he did no such thing." He said, "But notice it took me about 3 minutes to explain that to you. I don't have 3 minutes on television to do that."

Quinn: Right.

Jerry Taylor: He says, "That is what frustrates me about climate skeptics like you. You actually don't know what you are talking about and you are very misrepresentative." He said, "If you aspire to actually know what you are talking about do me a favor go back to your office, read that testimony, see if what I told you is correct." He said, "Or don't just be a hack most of you guys are you don't care if you are right."

Quinn: Wow. So, did you in that moment think, "Wow I'm a fucking hack." Or did you feel like, "Fuck you I'm a well informed guy and I take a lot of pride in this." Or did you think, "Maybe I should go read that again?"

Jerry Taylor: Well kind of both. The latter 2 for the most part. So you know the challenge my ambition was to wrestle with the best and the brightest of the climate alarmists as I called them back then. And to demonstrate why my arguments were strong. So you didn't want to ignore it. It was a challenge. So I went back to my office and I'm thinking I'm going to prove Joe wrong on this. And plus I want to double check it just to make sure. 

Jerry Taylor: And I went back and read the testimony and he was right. Or at least it looked like he was correct and so I then talked to one of the climate skeptics that I had been working with on this topic who was forwarding that exact information. And I said look, I was just on television with Joe Rom and I explained what happened and I went back to my office and took a look at the testimony and from what I can tell Joe is right. So what am I missing here?

Jerry Taylor: And it turns out I wasn't missing anything. For about 20 minutes the scientist in question hemmed and hawed and was very defensive. He says, "I don't know what we are having a conversation about. Hanson offered a business as usual scenario. He projected warming from business as usual. We have had business as usual. We have had no consequential global response to climate change from a policy perspective and we didn't get anywhere near the warming he expected us to get. QED I have no idea why were are having a debate." 

Jerry Taylor: And it occurred to me that this was not a matter of miscommunication this is a matter of a scientist who was knowingly forwarding a rather disingenuous narrative to score an easy debate point. 

Quinn: That must have been quite the 'Sliding Doors' moment for you there. Sort of the veil being pulled off. 

Jerry Taylor: Well absolutely. It is not that I didn't expect that kind of thing to happen in political debate. You expect it to happen all the time. Except you think your opponents are the ones doing it.

Jerry Taylor: So from that point forward I started paying a lot more attention to these scientific narratives I was tracking [inaudible 00:14:30]. 

Jerry Taylor: And I guess the final thing that happened near the end of my time at Cato was as I already had gotten to the point where I don't want to talk about climate change at all here at Cato because I could not say very much with confidence that wouldn't get in trouble with management. That didn't mean Cato didn't continue to do work. Pat Michaels had something called the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute which is an interesting thing in and of itself. So by that time a lot of the energy environmental work was being autonomously outside of my supervision. 

Jerry Taylor: But then a guy named Bob Literman came to see me. Bob used to be a partner at Goldman Saks. He has moved on now he is at [inaudible 00:15:13] in New York. But most interestingly Bob was the first risk manager to work in Wall Street. He was in charge of risk management at Goldman Saks.

Quinn: What year was this? 

Jerry Taylor: This was probably 2012 or 2013 maybe? 

Quinn: Okay.

Jerry Taylor: So anyway, Bob came to see me and a colleague at the time, Peter VanDorn, who I had worked with a long time at Cato on some of these issues. And he wanted to talk to us about climate change. And we knew coming in that he was a climate activist and he thought that Cato's position on climate change was in need of revision.

Jerry Taylor: So, we were happy to meet him. But here is a guy who has instant credibility with people like me, right? He is from Wall Street. He is kind of a soft Libertarian. He works at Goldman Saks. He does risk management in the private sector for a company that definitely has a great appetite for intelligently managing risk than about anybody else you could possibly imagine. 

Jerry Taylor: And he said, "Look in my job Jerry I manage risks like climate change all the time. They don't go by the name climate change but we have plenty of occasions in which we have investments decisions to make where there is a wide range of possible outcomes. And we don't worry about what the most likely outcome is. I mean want to know what that might be but that is less relevant that the full distribution of possible outcomes. Because after all if you only went with the most likely outcome you wouldn't need a company like Goldman and Saks you would just put all your money in equities and walk away probably in an index fund and be done and done, right? Because most likely that is going to be your best return on capital. But people hedge against that because they know any given years odd things can happen."

Jerry Taylor: He said, "So at Goldman Saks we look at the full range the full distribution of possible outcomes and we price the risk associated with those different scenarios. And by doing so we then try to figure out the optimal investment strategy. Does it mean that we are always going to bow down to the high impact low probability scenarios to guide our investments but we have to pay attention." He said, "Now if you do that on climate change it virtually screams for a federal response because at the higher end of impact in the distribution of possible outcomes from climate change there is truly apocalyptic consequences."

Quinn: Sure. It's bye bye. That's it.

Jerry Taylor: He says, "But you guys at Cato and like many environmentalists it is not just you get into very hot vein popping arguments about what is the most likely outcome for climate change. And you may be right you may not be right. I'm not a climate scientist but I can tell you from a risk management perspective that is not the right question to ask." 

Jerry Taylor: And I had never really thought about it in that sense.

Quinn: It is such a valuable perspective, you know? Because it seems whenever the climate models come out with new stuff even today everyone is going, "We think this is what is going to happen." And that is what everyone reports on in the Post and the Times every week. And we think now this is what is going to happen. But there is such a huge variety. We have already gone through so many versions of it. Short answer is, it is probably going to be worse than we think. But considering all of those and pricing them out and realizing like he said, worst case is truly the most literal definition of worst case is incredibly valuable. 

Jerry Taylor: Yeah so anyway, to wrap up the long and drawn out genesis story of this.

Quinn: No. No.

Brian: It's a good one.

Jerry Taylor: I decided from that meeting forward the case of climate action is just in complete shambles. There is nothing that one could possibly say based on all the various changes. Particularly since by that time it was becoming clear that the Green Energy Revolution was making a transition from fossil fuels into low carbon alternatives increasingly plausible and increasingly economic. That might not have been the case 30 years ago when I first started at the Cato Institute but it is certainly the case now. 

Quinn: It was hard to even see it 6 or 7 years ago. And now I mean the corner is turned it is pretty miraculous.

Jerry Taylor: It is really amazing. So I decided it was time to go.

Quinn: I want to get to your seminal 2015 paper here in a second, but I guess you have come this far that is an incredible genesis story and I know you said it is drawn out but I do feel like it is important because it gives folks and our listeners a lot of context for who you are and the decisions you've made and I think it is very valuable for them to see as they are trying to find something to hold on to and folks that they can believe in and hopefully hitch a ride on.

Quinn: So you feel like now personally you are on the right path. Do you feel like you did any long term damage in your previous lifetime as a climate denier? Do you feel any responsibility to reconcile your past to reach out those influenced and say, "Hey man I fucked up this is the right way to go. This is what is happening let me try to change your mind this way?"

Jerry Taylor: Well I will probably give you a rather unsatisfying answer in that.

Quinn: I want one either way.

Jerry Taylor: I would say yes and no. I mean on the one had absolutely. I was on the wrong side of an extremely important policy issue and I regret that. I regret the fact that my due diligence for a great deal of time while I was at the Cato Institute was far less than it should have been. My credulity was far larger than it should have been when dealing with skeptical claims. And that my scholarship in the course of making those arguments was definitely left a lot to be desired in retrospect. While that is all true at the margin, in American politics there is, was, and always will be a tremendous demand for arguments that are quite convenient. And the way politics work is often the messenger is more important than the message. We generally don't trust people from other tribes to tell us about public policy. We think their morals are different than ours. They have nefarious ends. They have weird and disturbing world views. We distrust them. But I can talk to a Republican congressman or staff member much more easily than say someone from Sierra Club can because I can say, "Look man for 15 20 years I was where you are. Look I know exactly why you are skeptical about climate change."

Quinn: That's valuable.

Jerry Taylor: That is where I was. In fact, I probably wrote most of your talking points.

Quinn: You might not know it but those slides you've been reusing for 15 years, right. 

Jerry Taylor: Yeah they call came from me and people I know. But let me tell you why I changed my mind.

Quinn: Sure. I mean that seems yeah that is such more valuable and probably going to be listened to than some fucking tree hugger who is like, "you're burning down my town." 

Quinn: So let's get into the economics. Speaking of the Republican party being the sort of blockade to any sort of solution and in fact going the other way, how do you feel like your paper 2015 The Conservative Paper for Carbon Tax, how does that stand now with Scott Prude and his merry band of assholes ignoring if not outright destroying any well meaning regulations left and right. I know the Libertarian and your argument is to institute the carbon tax we can do away with these regulations but at the same time there is this like you said apocalyptic worst case scenario and right now the regulations are the things that are getting it done. Where do you feel like your paper stands now?

Jerry Taylor: Well, as more evidence comes in we can certainly strengthen and upgrade the paper. Something I have done episodically at the Niskanen Center with our blog and with our climate operations. So it is by no means the last word on the story. But I know that Scott Pruitt has seen my paper and I'm fairly certain he has read it. One of my colleagues handed it off to him at a CPAC meeting before. Before Donald Trump won the presidency and I know he was looking it over at that point. I don't know I have very low faith that anyone in this administration or the Republican Congress as it is currently constituted is ever going to seriously entertain a carbon tax. It is not impossible to imagine but it is as near 0 as it probably can be.

Jerry Taylor: But political change is about long term phenomenon and the lobbying often takes a long time to play out. So at present I don't have a great deal of hope for Republicans embracing market monitored responses to climate change but then again if you would have asked somebody who was an anti smoking activist in 1987 what they thought the chances are of holding the tobacco industry liable for the damages they were causing public health their answer would be, "I don't see it." But only a few short years later that is exactly what happened. 

Jerry Taylor: Because what often goes on in Washington and politics in general is the tectonic plates beneath the political landscape shift and change. They are not visible to most observers because they are not in Washington they don't see these things. But the tectonic plates move and then all at once an earthquake will happen. And politically I think that is what we are seeing in the long run on climate. We don't have 20 30 years to play this out politically because the carbon budget is fairly limited and climate change demands an immediate response. We don't have 20 or 30 years to be patient on it. But within the Republican party we spend a great deal of time on Capitol Hill talking to political actors and the GOP and the change in Republican sentiment at least amongst elected members is rather notable. T

Jerry Taylor: here are we have found about 40 to 60 members of the House and maybe about a dozen Republican members of the Senate. 40 to 60 Republicans now so about a dozen Republicans in the Senate who are deeply uncomfortable with the current position in the party of abject climate Mendelism and nuttery. And they would like to see a Republican response to climate change. They are not entirely sure what that response ought to be but they are in agreement that it needs to be meaningful and it needs to harness market forces whenever possible. And it needs to be something politically they can brand as a Republican answer to climate change. And I think that it will not be that long before I believe you are going to see carbon taxation becoming a major element of Republican rebellion in the GOP Cacus. It may never get leadership support but I think you will see a day in the not too terribly distant future when significant numbers of Republicans begin to embrace this as a Republican issue.

Quinn: Is there? Go ahead Brian.

Brian: While Trump is in the White House?

Jerry Taylor: Really depends on how things go with Donald Trump. If the GOP or if members in Congress decide that it is in their electoral self interest to distance themselves visibly from the White House climate change is a great way to do that because after all if you want to signal to voters that you are not these people. You are different. You disagree with them not just on grammar and tweets or something like that but actually when it comes to real concrete public policy climate change is a great way to show your distance from the White House. Because if you try to show your distance from the White House from say gun control. Oh my gosh Jihad from the NRA are going render you bloody and politically dead. But if you defect on climate it is a low salience issue but that also works against this in many cases because people want to do something about climate change.

Jerry Taylor: But it also helps us in other cases. It means it is low salience it is low salience on both sides, which means Republicans can defect and talk normally about climate change and not necessarily face a Jihad and we saw that it was only a decade ago that the Republican party nominated a man for the President of the United States who talked about climate change the way Hilary Clinton talked about climate change in the last campaign. And the Republican party put forward a platform at their convention whose language on climate change could have been written by Senator Sheldon White house from Rhode Island. One of the leading Democrats who is interest in aggressive climate action. That was only a decade ago.

Jerry Taylor: Did John McCain gain support in the GOP for those issues? No probably not. But you know what? It didn't cost him either because a lot of Republicans said, "Okay I don't agree with him on climate but I agree with him on this, this, this, and those things count." So there is reason to hope that if Republicans find say under a Trump administration a reason a political reason of putting distance between themselves and the White House this would be a good place to do it. In fact, we have seen some of that with Daryl Isa a Republican congressman in California who has never been any friend of climate action. He has always been one of the most conservative members of the Republican Cacus and yet he joins the Climate Solutions Conference last year. Which is a group of Republicans and Democrats who are interested in crafting meaningful bi partisan on the policy.

Jerry Taylor: Now did happen because he saw Al Gore's latest documentary? I doubt it.

Quinn: Did he see Al Gore's latest documentary? I doubt it. 

Jerry Taylor: Probably happened because his district is shifting pretty Democratic these days. 

Quinn: It is.

Jerry Taylor: It is one of the most engaged members of the Republican.

Quinn: It really makes me wonder probably less so now but going up to 2018 or post 2018 and it hard to say. People say that Democrats need their version of this. But I do wonder like you were saying it is theoretically the easiest and unfortunately least tangible and threatening way to break away from Trump. But I do wonder if going into November and post November with all these really interesting young conservative energy and environmental action groups that are out there, if there is some version of like energy environmental tea party that springs up among the Republican among the GOPs and the House and the Senate, probably more the House saying we are will to form a collision we are willing to look at a conservative case for carbon tax if we can start to take down some of these regulations. 

Jerry Taylor: Well there are organizations that are engaged in trying to build either a tea party like movement on the right for climate action renewable energy. Or to move the existing tea party from survival policy agendas drafted by the oil and gas and coal sector into a real positive position on climate. 

Jerry Taylor: So for instance my friend Bob Ingles who runs Republic In is involved in trying to build a grassroots conservative movement for clean energy and climate action. Debby Douly is a tea party clean energy activist. I mean she is real tea party. She is from Alabama and saw her in the press defending Roy Moore to the last dog. But she is also a climate activist. And she is trying.

Quinn: Might not be pretty but we'll take it. 

Jerry Taylor: May not be pretty but we'll take it. So there may not be people who are engaged in that business I am a little bit skeptical of it. I am not holding my breath that we are ever going to see a meaningful grassroots conservative advocacy committee for climate action. I don't think it is a necessary prerequisite going forward. I think it would be a wonderful thing though so I hope that I am wrong and we see something develop.

Quinn: Sure and something I've been thinking about and you'll have to excuse me I have like a hoard of young children influence much of my day to day life for better or worse but you know one of the things I have noticed is that they are very curious and they care a lot about the environment and things like that. And I told my 4 year old where paper comes from and now he never wants to use paper again because he loves trees so much. But the easiest way to get a child to do something is to make it seem like it was their idea in the first place. Whether it is eating dinner at night or getting dressed for school or picking where to go. Yada yada. 

Quinn: So I wonder how we apply that to these pretty ignorant slash negligent assholes in Congress. What is it going to take for them to take responsibility for both their actions past and present and future but also the future stability of either their district or their state. The lives of their constituents and their children and their children. You hate to say it is going to take Hurricane Sandy or catastrophic weather event or Houston or The Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico but it is hard from our perspective and that of our listeners to not sit back and go like, "Well maybe when you get your hurricane you will fucking understand. And that is when you will change your tune."

Jerry Taylor: You know that is so unlikely. There have been a number of stories that you have probably seen in the media or if you haven't you can Google them. There are small islands in the Chesapeake Bay, which are not likely to survive even 50 or 60 years. 

Quinn: I spend half the year in Virginia yeah. I'm aware.

Jerry Taylor: Sea level rise. I mean it is an immediate in your grill probably for these communities. And these are islands however, which I think everyone has birth given a pacifier and a Fox News TV subscription. So it is the Trump based to the enth degree. And endless stories about climate scientists going in saying we need to do something about sea level rise at least for your little island. What are we going to do about your town your home it is going under the waves. Nope don't believe it. It is a lie. How can this not be? Or someday we will worry about that but today I'm not worried about it. 

Jerry Taylor: So the idea that some extreme weather event is going to wake people up I guess it is possible but I mean we haven't seen it yet. I mean half of New York goes under water from a hurricane and that didn't change anything.

Quinn: Sure. And that is what makes it feel just a little desperate from our end as much as that is not the perspective we are trying to push here. We are looking for things that push action. For people that help us and help our listeners get active you know. 

Jerry Taylor: Well if you are looking for scenarios where change can occur there are plenty of them. I think the reason that people sometimes get frustrated and worried and downcast about this is that they assume that public opinion dictates policy change. And it is simply not true. It is simply not true.

Quinn: Clearly not.

Jerry Taylor: So, I think increasingly as baby boomers retire out and millennials become a larger share of the national vote there will be a lot of political self interest. I think finally and we shouldn't make too much the politics of it or at least of voter centered, there are plenty of Republicans I have talked to off the record, members of Congress who say one thing in public. Hand waving and dismissing climate change but in private say another. I would guess that easily a majority of Republican elected officials in Washington DC believe climate change is real, believe it is a risk, and believe it demands a policy response. 

Jerry Taylor: But politically, they don't see a window of opportunity to act right now. And they don't understand the issue well enough to be confident. I mean after all if you are a Republican Congressman I guarantee you didn't get in to politics because of climate change. I guarantee that is not what you campaigned on and I am pretty sure you probably never had to take a tax from Democrats and your democratic components because how often do Democrats talk about climate change? How often did Hilary talk about it during her campaign? Hardly ever. How did much Bernie Sanders talk about it? Hardly ever.

Quinn: There wasn't a single fucking debate. It is incredible.

Jerry Taylor: Yeah so you're not comfortable with the issue. There was a Congressman, I won't use his name, who I talked to recently, he is a member of the Freedom [inaudible 00:35:11] and he's concerned about climate change. He believes that the party is not serious on it. His own personal opinion is that Congress needs to act and this is really dangerous stuff but he is Leary because he just doesn't understand the issue well enough to confidently engage. And he is afraid you make a misstep here or there and you're going to have Tea Party Jihads coming down his throat and he needs to be able to confidently make his case.

Quinn: Sure.

Jerry Taylor: So, there is a lot of education that needs to be done as well. 

Quinn: But it just feels like such a fucking, not you, but they are offering these fucking ridiculous excuses. We talk to some incredible lady scientists a week ago and they were talking about they went and talked to a bunch of folks in Congress and talked about their time in Antarctica and their work with geology and such. And not a single GOP staffer showed up. So it's like if you want to understand the issue you have to try to understand the fucking issue. Again they have got jobs to do. I know they have a lot going down even though they are basically just trying to destroy the economy left and right. 

Quinn: But again I come back to young kids, right? They know what they don't know and it sounds like whoever that Congressperson was they know what they don't know. But children are constantly looking for answers. They want a deeper and broader understanding of the world so that they can then participate in it. And it just when the scientists told us how none of the GOP staffers showed up it is like, are they even asking questions anymore? What is the best way to show that you care? Is that they are paid off? Is it that they are scared? Is it that they are ashamed that they don't know anything? Maybe. 

Quinn: Or they simply don't want to lose their seat like you said we don't have any tangible threats to show them they will lose their seat if you they don't do anything you know. Despite most Americans supporting actions against climate change. So it just feels like a big fucking excuse when you have got people going there who know what they are talking about who are willing to open up a dialogue and say, "Hey we are not here to combat you. We want to educate you." And nobody shows up. 

Jerry Taylor: Well there are a couple reasons for that particular story. First of all remember messenger is more important than message and if there is one thing that Republicans have been eating and drinking for the past 15 20 years it is that universities are hotbeds of pseudo Marxism and socialism and anticapitalist sentiment and environmentalists have locked the place down and there is a lot of self interest in college professors and academics in this issue are because all their grant money comes from Washington DC and these agencies that dole out grant money for research and climate policy are all generally in favor of climate action. And so in fact that is what the Cato Center for the Study of Science is all about. I mean think about the name, Center for the Study of Science. 

Quinn: Cato, I would love to see that room. That is just oh god.

Jerry Taylor: You can go to their website and read all about them. The narrative offered by my old colleagues at Cato is the scientific community has become corrupted, ideological, and untrustworthy because they are simply responding to self interested scientists who are trying to seize grants in the climate arena, which are being doled out by Washington bureaucrats who are ideological zealots. And so you can't trust anything they say and that is part of the broader Republican narrative about not being able to trust the leads, right? 

Jerry Taylor: So when I talk to climate activist and say let's get some climate scientists in there to talk to these people they are like no, no, no. I mean as much as that would be great. 

Quinn: Sure. Then where does it begin if they are not willing to even to do that? Where if they are saying behind the scenes they know that eventually there will have to be some sort of action however fucking vague that might be, then where does it begin? If they also admit that they are not educated?

Jerry Taylor: So for instance, my friend Mitch Hectchcox who is an environmental climate activist but he is also an evangelical minister and he is the head of the evangelical environmental network. He meets with members, they like him, he is a trusted member of their tribe. Hell, he used to be in the coal industry Mitch was before he became a minister. So, he talks to members they will listen to him just like they will listen to us and then if he thinks they want to hear more about science he will connect them up with Kelly He ho or somebody like that who is a likewise an evangelical Christian who is also a climate scientist.

Brian: Big fan of He ho. 

Jerry Taylor: Yeah. Or likewise at the Cato Institute, look most of my organization are filled with expats from the Libertarian world. So I've got people who work for me who used to work for me at the Cato Institute who also work for the Charles Coke Institute who work now for me. And Mercades which is the largest Coke funded think tank in Washington and they are all here at the Niskanen Center. We all have friends in the Republican party we are pretty trusted agents. Nobody thinks we are secret [00:40:04] activists or anything. And we have a climate shop with a climate scientist on board who can talk to these folks without that kind of baggage.

Jerry Taylor: So it's not that Republicans don't, in fact even a lot of climate skeptics in Washington, elected members like Lamar Smith people like that. I won't single him out in particular I just mean people like Lamar who is leaving Congress after this session. They talk to our scientists and our climate shop a lot because they have staffers that are like look, the congressman went home last night read some crazy stuff from CEI. He wants me to do XYZ on this and my job is to separate the wheat from the chaff. What is credible and what is crazy being put on the table? Because my job is to keep my boss from looking crazy. 

Brian: Sure.

Jerry Taylor: And we can provide help and say look all of this is pretty bad but this stuff is screaming nonsense. This other stuff you can maybe build a case on but be very careful because here are the problems with that argument. But this other stuff, no. You are quoting like a senile retired real estate agent in Lancaster England who doesn't know anything on this topic. Don't go there.

Quinn: And you're right the messenger does matter, sure. So two other items I would love to talk about. The second item is I want to hear your pitch of the carbon tax to millennials because I am just fascinated by that. But the first is then I guess okay then what is the thing that they can grab on to that they know? Again how do we meet them in the middle because again fearing apocalyptic change, how do we meet them in the middle to just get this thing started? 

Quinn: And I go back to your paper and there is a line that I loved about it. How there are to date so few tech and financial incentives with the current regulations and the way it is being dictated from on high and this line sticks out to me, which is, "Furthermore commanding control regulations tend to freeze the development of technologies that might otherwise result in greater levels of control. Little or no financial incentive exists for business to exceed their control targets in both technology based and performance based standards discourage adoption of new technologies. Business that adopts a new technology may be rewarded by being held to a higher standard of performance and not given the opportunity to benefit financially from its investment except to the extent that its competitors have even more difficulty reaching the new standard." 

Quinn: So, yes goodwill can only go so far. None of these people creating carbon capture internationally or finding a way to create lower priced solar panels in the US to compete with China. Goodwill can only go so far. But if we want to talk about making the economy stronger, if they want to talk about making American businesses more competitive and making fucking America great again this is what they do. How do we make them grab on to this side of it and go, "Fine you don't give a fuck how hot it is great let's just focus on the business side of it."

Jerry Taylor: If you want to make an argument that it is better to harness price signals and market actors to reduce emissions than government regulators that is a pretty good argument to make. Except for you are in a world in which the regulators and the regulations are under siege by Scott Pruitt, you don't need to trade a carbon tax for regulatory authority you are already going to go kill the regulatory authority without the carbon tax. 

Jerry Taylor: So that is one of the difficulties. The reality is that the Trump assault on climate regulation, environmental regulation, at large there is almost less there than meets the eye. I mean it is not inconsequential I am not saying that it is not worth paying attention to.

Quinn: Well half of it is going to be held up in courts anyways.

Jerry Taylor: Well even forget that. Even if it weren't they are not changing the underlying statutes. So what can be done by executive order can be undone by executive order. 

Quinn: Of course.

Jerry Taylor: So in a world in which Elizabeth Warren or somebody in the Democratic party takes over the White House in 2020 assuming that Russians let a vote happen.

Quinn: Don't get your fucking hopes up.

Jerry Taylor: But under that world I guarantee you we are in absolute reversal. Everything that Donald Trump had done will be undo in a flash. That doesn't mean that damage won't have been done in the meantime, but the real danger would have been had Donald Trump been able to rewrite the clean air act. Had the Republican Congress done that and taken green house gas regulations out of the CAA. That would have been a big deal. Or if under Trump they were to roll back and climate the endangerment funding at EPA and the courts let that go through that would be a big deal. None of these things have come to play, and they are very unlikely, so I'm not sure how we got off on that tangent.

Quinn: No I mean again, I am just staying going back to there is a segment of them that now know that action needs to happen in some way, they don't feel educated, they don't feel up to snuff on the science et cetera. It's like okay this is the thing that you guys claim to be good at, and the thing you claim to care most about which is building American business for a great economy. I am not saying there is going to be this enormous 7 percent growth in our economy. I mean it is obviously entirely theoretical, but it is grounded in historical economic precedent. There has never been a perfect precedency. There has never been an industry really built on saving the world though I guess the industrialized military build up around World War 2 might be a decent example however short lived that was. 

Quinn: But the point is how do we take this to them and right the slides and say, "Look this is how you can encourage those businesses to profit from this and this is how we can build quote unquote make America great again and yes it also happens to be saving the planet but don't worry about that." 

Quinn: Why can't we get that conversation started?

Jerry Taylor: Well you know that conversation has been going on. As you know the low carbon energy technologies have become increasingly cost competitive with fossil fuels. Solar is becoming increasingly on the present especially in red state America.

Brian: Hell yeah.

Jerry Taylor: In Texas.

Quinn: In Iowa. 

Jerry Taylor: Yeah in Iowa and places like that. Now it is not translating into any increase interest in climate action, but it has at least made it extremely difficult for conservative hardliners to climate subsides and preferences and whatnot for renewable energy because.

Quinn: Well I mean we have got the corporations on board now. That was the thing you know like we said you know would have been hard to imagine 20 years ago when you were Darth Vader. But now when you have got the big corporations on board, and it is ridiculous when Apple and Google are 100 percent renewable but everyone else looking around saying this is the best case for my business is to use renewable energy then that is a big win. And like you said it makes it harder for them to remove those things.

Jerry Taylor: Yeah so as renewable energy and low carbon energy becomes more and more economic as cost continue to decline it is going to easier and easier it is going to become increasingly apparent even to Fox News viewer. The future of the American economy is a green future it is not going to be built on coal. It is going to built on wind and solar and batteries and is being built that way in front of their very eyes. Now what conservatives, what I used to say, was yeah that is all well and good but it is still a tiny part of the economy the growth rates are large but that is because we are starting from a very low base.

Quinn: True.

Jerry Taylor: And that is only occurring because of all the massive subsidies and preferences and whatnot. You take all that stuff away and that whole industry goes away. So it is not you are not seeing evidence of underlying economic improvements you are seeing evidence of political favoritism. That is a nice story, but it is increasingly screamingly untrue. Even unsubsidized renewable energy is beating fossil fuels. 

Jerry Taylor: There was an auction on New Year's Eve in Europe, which find that offshore wind, which is traditionally been one of the most expensive sources of renewable energy was coming in for bids at an unsubsidized rate and winning those bids for eclectic power.

Quinn: It is incredible. Sorry to interrupt but if you saw the news that that particular ocean current may change and the wind power may change there effectively nullifying the wind power there and you are just like god dammit can we get a win?

Brian: At least decreasing it a little bit. Right? It was going to totally climate it.

Quinn: I know but come on we just got it. We just got it.

Jerry Taylor: Well the company that was putting the bid in seems confident enough to go in.

Quinn: I will take it but can we keep the wind blowing at least?

Jerry Taylor: The broader question of what is going to bring the Republicans on is you need to give them a storyline that is copasetic with their world view. So think about what you are asking Republicans to do. First of all you are asking a lot of them to say you know what? Al Gore was right all along. That is something no Republican wants to say. That Al Gore was right and if the Sierra Club was right and Bill Mcgibbon was right about climate.

Quinn: We fucked up.

Jerry Taylor: And it is all on us. Of course, they don't want to say that it is a heavy lift and eventually you need Republicans to say climate change is real. That has to happen. But if you are also going to say that Republicans need to say.

Quinn: Who do you think is the most likely to say that? Who do you think is going to be the first one to step up? Are they in office yet?

Jerry Taylor: Well John McCain has already done it. Newt Gingrich had done it before. In other words these are not hypotheticals we have seen conservatives say this before it is just that since 2008 and the Tea Party the party got frozen up.

Quinn: Fear of God. 

Jerry Taylor: But the Tea Party ain't what it used to be and Donald Trump may be in the business of burning the last remnants of it out of political relevance so who is to say what the future holds in the GOP. Mitt Romney I think is one of our greater hopes. Mitt Romney has I know in private been far more open to climate action.

Quinn: Mitt Romney who may have a Senate seat very soon.

Brian: Yeah by the way. 

Jerry Taylor: Yeah he is going to have a Senate seat very soon. There is more sentiment in the state of Utah I have experienced first hand than in a lot of other places in the United States of America. So he could be a champion on this down the road we will see.

Quinn: How many full bred Libertarians would you say are in the Senate?

Jerry Taylor: None.

Quinn: None. How many do you think care enough about sort of your I mean arguably Libertarian fundamental building principles of property rights to look at things that are happening some of the stuff we have covered in our newsletter. The trains carrying coal rolling through historic impoverished black communities and the kids there have 10 times as much as asthma as a normal white kid in suburban America? 

Jerry Taylor: Well Bernie Sanders already did it and did it well right? I mean.

Quinn: Sure but what is your version as again the converted?

Jerry Taylor: You know I have to tell you.

Brian: Yeah we need to hear from Darth.

Jerry Taylor: It is a different question simply because we don't generally spend our time talking to millennials or to voters at large or to the mass public. We spend most of our time talking to Washington political actors because our theory is that they are the agents who have to change their mind.

Quinn: Right but if you are the one writing their talking points?

Jerry Taylor: You know there is a friend of mine David Fenton he is the guy who does this kind of work for a living and a lot of this is public relations. So for instance I am told by many people who know this business don't call this a carbon tax. Nobody likes taxes. Call it a carbon fee. Like you know that maybe that is what you do if you are a politician but I guarantee you 100 percent you are tricking nobody. No one is going to impose the biggest revenue raiser in federal history and say you know I think you think it was a tax but it's just a fee.

Quinn: It's just a fee. It's a little thing.

Jerry Taylor: Come on. So there are lots of people who are very slick at this who would like to give these sorts of answers. But I generally the general arguments I use in Washington is that there are 2 ways to control green house gas emissions. WE can try to regulate every single nook and cranny in the economy, every single person producing energy, every single person consuming energy, and then regulate the hell out of how they behave. Which is going to require tens of thousands of pages of regulatory code. Tens of thousands of regulatory actors in a bewildering series of complex and costly regulatory interventions. Done by people who probably don't know enough to do any of that work efficiently no matter how well intentioned.

Jerry Taylor: Or simply put a cost on carbon. Simply put a price on the risks that are being imposed on the planet. The minute you price carbon you are going to see it reflected in market signals in price signals and then let each consumer and producer decide when, where, and how to respond.

Jerry Taylor: So maybe the right answer is carbon capture and storage. I mean that is a good response. Maybe it is energy efficiency. Maybe it is nuclear power. Or maybe it is wind and solar. Maybe it is a lot of different things. I don't know, but I don't have to win an argument about it if it makes sense economically to invest in CCS or this that or the other than it is going to happen. And if it doesn't, and it turns out that my conservative friends are correct that it some circumstances many circumstances it costs too much to reduce green house gas emissions relative to the risk then you are just going to pay the tax. You are going to continue producing and consuming fossil fuels. 

Jerry Taylor: In other words we are going to let market actors figure the way out of this. And when you are talking to Republicans who are the only audience worth talking to mostly because Democrats and Senators and Leftists are already there. They get to say look we are put on this earth with the perfect respond to climate change. Harnessing pricing those and market forces and capitalism that is how we are going to save the planet not by tripling the number of people at EPA and passing 5 new environmental laws with hundreds of thousands of pages of regulation.

Jerry Taylor: And it turns out at least for now that argument is the exact same argument that has been offered by Bernie Sanders. It is being offered by Al Gore. It is being offered by Sheldon White house. I'm not sure how much longer that will be the cause but for now you can make that argument, and you can envision a political collision to get there.

Quinn: So Democrats take the Senate and they have to 2 seats on the Republicans. They barely take the House and in 3 years you have President Joe [inaudible 00:54:11] in office. What is your next move?

Jerry Taylor: Well I think under a scenario like that you would immediately see the Democrats looking to use budget reconciliation to write their own version of tax reform or at least to undo the aspects of the GOP tax reform that just ran through budget reconciliations. They are going to back and bite that apple pretty much right out of the gate because it is an easy one. You don't have to worry about filibusters just use your majority seat. 

Jerry Taylor: In that scenario carbon taxes are immediately in play. You can put a carbon tax into the budget reconciliation package bring in 1 to 2 trillion dollars of revenue over 10 years. Pays for a heck of lot of tax reform. It is a lot of revenue that can pay for a lot of different things. 

Jerry Taylor: So under that scenario the window of opportunity is there for climate action right out of the gate and it would be my hope that there would be enough Republican support for that to offset whatever democratic losses occur in the course of moving a carbon tax. And if you don't need Republican votes, maybe you don't, I mean it could just be another party line exercise. Which I think would be unhealthy in the country for the long run because if you don't have some degree of bi partisan buy in there is no stable political equilibrium. 

Quinn: Ever.

Jerry Taylor: [crosstalk 00:55:19]So all we can do

Quinn: Bounce back and forth. 

Jerry Taylor: Bounce the tax code to pieces every time there is a new party figure in the White house. But I think that would be the immediate opportunity. So it is not impossible to imagine if the next 2 election cycles go in a certain direction you could see very meaningful very powerful climate action in the relatively near term.

Quinn: So let's say they need some carbon votes, or carbon votes? Jesus. Some Republican votes and they insist on taking apart the clean power act and the clean power plan and other regulations including doing away with some of these subsidies for green energy or electric cars or such. I notice now where in the paper did you talk about doing away with the subsidies for oil simultaneously. Is that just going on unsaid? Or would those remain? How could those remain?

Jerry Taylor: Let's be very clear.

Quinn: I mean they are going to be impossible to get rid of.

Jerry Taylor: These are mostly political issues. They are not really subsidize policy issues. The main reason for that is if you had a meaningful carbon act. Let's say 25 or 30 dollars a ton or 40 dollars a ton. 

Quinn: Oil just goes away?

Jerry Taylor: Well yeah I mean the regs become non binding. It doesn't matter if you get rid of the regs or not. You are going to see market responses to the carbon price that are so great that the underlying regulatory orders are going to be met just through endogenous market response. 

Quinn: Sure. They almost go away in 5 years because you don't need them anymore. 

Jerry Taylor: And everybody who understands this issue knows that full well. They know it at the Sierra Club. They know it at NRDC. They know it here at the Niskanen. But for voters and politicians it is maybe not all that clear. So they say look symbolically this is what we are going to need or maybe they are under the illusion they need this regulatory relief to justify their vote. So it seems to me that if you are an environmental activist and that deal is put on the table and the tax is meaningful enough to make the regulations non binding. Come on of course you take that deal. You would be crazy not to take that deal because the regs don't mean anything anyway under that price. And in fact what clean power plan are you trying to save? The one that Scott Pruitt is going to put in place next year, which I guarantee you will be meaningless?

Quinn: Right.

Jerry Taylor: Even the Obama clean power plan was borderline meaningless. The Republican version is going to be screamingly neon lit on stilts meaningless. And you are going to go save that?

Quinn: Right.

Jerry Taylor: Come on that just seems politically naive to me. And most Democrats I talk to understand that full well. So no, I don't think it would be a barrier.

Quinn: So I really appreciate all the context you have given to the political and the economic situation and seeing both sides of it as a switcher. Our listeners want to be part of we want to understand things we want to part of imagining solutions. We want to know how they can take part and change the what and how and how to implement it. Whether that is voting people out or running themselves or just pissing on their mayor's lawn because they don't know what the emissions levels are and where they are coming from in their city or state or township. I am curious. California has its cap and trade program in the northeast as a version of its own, do you know of any sort of hyper local versions of that make sense or that are implemented in any way? Or any ideas for things like that that people can take to their local city council or their state house and say this is something we should look at?

Jerry Taylor: Well it is not always the case that municipal action on climate change at least carbon pricing makes a whole lot of sense. So for instance there is a carbon tax proposal working its way through the DC government right now. Which I doubt will go into play but it is a political issue here. DC is the lowest the city of Washington DC is the lowest carbon intensity political entity in the United States. It is meaningless to have a carbon tax here. There is virtually no carbon here. So yeah there is gasoline so you could have a gasoline tax. 

Quinn: Sure but there would probably. Yeah but they are one of the most susceptible to sea level rise so I can see why people are like we have to do something even if we are not causing the problem.

Jerry Taylor: The overall point is you need carbon pricing and climate action where you have the greenhouse gas emissions and the places where you get the most interest in doing something about green house gas emissions and climate change happen to be in the lowest carbon economies.

Quinn: This has been awesome. Who all should we talk to? Again our audience like I said is us pretty well informed pretty sciency actionable voters want to make some change obviously pretty progressive. On this subject or any other, who all should we be talking to? 

Jerry Taylor: I think there are plenty of people who are worth your time and attention. Bob England is a Republican and is tremendous. I mean has got the first hand experience of being a conservator Republican who changed his mind on climate just as I did. Arguably that change of heart on climate contributed to his election defeat in 2010. And yet he is now one of the most articulate and outspoken and biggest proponents of climate action in the Republican party. And he is in the business unlike mine. My business is to work Capital Hill and to work with political elites and Republican insiders and Democrats as well to try to build coaliltion for changing in the House and the Senate. So in other words I have a very insider audience for the most part. Bob is far more engaged in talking to the public at large and voters at large and conservatives. He would be a great person to talk to. I think he would be well worth your time. 

Quinn: Awesome. Are you a board game designer Jerry?

Brian: Are you an award-winning board game designer Jerry? 

Quinn: I don't want to come out of left field but all I am going to say is we stumbled upon your Wikipedia page and everything seemed normal, carbon tax, carbon tax, carbon tax, what? 

Jerry Taylor: Well when I was a younger man I used to play a lot of board games. War games for the most part. And I remember watching Brave heart some years ago thinking that would be a great game. 

Quinn: THat's a great idea.

Brian: Yeah. 

Jerry Taylor: And I knew a guy who ran a game company. I played the games he made. Columbia Games. And I pitched the idea and I said you should design that game and he says no you should design that game. I said I don't know how to design a game. And he says you'll figure it out. I think he was just trying to get rid of me. So it was a moonlighting hobby of mine and so I ended up designing 3 board games. 1 on the Scottish wars of independence with William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. And 1 on the 3rd crusade the Richard the Lionhearted and the 3rd on Richard the III, which is really a game of the Wars of the Roses.

Quinn: That is amazing. Everybody has got to have a hobby.

Jerry Taylor: Yeah. 

Quinn: Wait where can we buy these games? Tell our listeners. This is very exciting. 

Jerry Taylor: They are produced by Columbia Games so you can find them on the web I suppose is their website. If it is not Google will quickly point you in the right direction.

Brian: tells me that I can buy them at Amazon also.

Jerry Taylor: Yeah you can probably buy them on Amazon too.

Quinn: That is amazing. I love it. I spend a lot of hours playing Risk and Stratego in my basement growing up. It is as good as it gets.

Quinn: All right Jerry anything else you want to talk to our listeners anything you want to say any speak and truth to power right now that we haven't gone over yet?

Jerry Taylor: Generally it is a half a bottle of scotch and I keeping up with what is going on with Donald Trump in the White House so I'm not entirely sure I have a lot to say oh good lord but.

Brian: I hear you on that one Jerry.

Quinn: My wife has developed an interesting mixology habit where I get handed a cocktail every night. And I am not arguing with it but it is interesting the timing.

Jerry Taylor: That is certainly true.

Brian: No coincidence there.

Quinn: Jerry where can our listeners follow you online? 

Jerry Taylor: Well I have a Twitter account. The Niskanen Center we have a Facebook page. We have a website as you can imagine There are plenty of ways to follow us on social media or in the blogosphere. We are certainly as visible as we can possibly be. 

Quinn: That is awesome. Well Jerry can't thank you enough for both turning away from the dark side and throwing the emperor down the tube. For taking the time to talk to us today and for all that you are doing there. You are truly fighting the good fight and we really appreciate it. 

Jerry Taylor: Well wonderful well thanks for having me on the program.

Brian: Thanks Jerry very much I appreciate it. I look forward to playing Hammer of the Scots.

Jerry Taylor: You'll like it. It is a great game.

Brian: And here's hoping we can get Literman and Joe Roth in a green room with Trumpy maybe they can change his mind too.

Jerry Taylor: Well change his mind and follow with about 5 long hot showers I would say. 

Quinn: Thanks to our incredible guest today and thanks to all of you for tuning in. We hope this episode has made your commute or awesome workout or dish washing or fucking dog walking late at night that much more pleasant. A reminder please subscribe to our free email newsletter at It is all the news most vital to our survival as a species.

Brian: And you can find us all over the internet. You can find us on Twitter at Importantnotimp. So weird. Also, on Facebook and Instagram at Important Not Important. Pinterest and Tumblr the same thing. So check us out. Follow us. Share us. Like us. You know the deal. And please subscribe to our show wherever you listen to things like this and if you really fucking awesome rate us on Apple podcasts. Keep the lights on. Thanks.

Quinn: Please.

Brian: And you can find the show notes from today right in your little podcast player and at our website

Quinn: Thanks to the very awesome Tim Blaine for our jamming music. To all of you for listening and finally most importantly to our mom's for making us. Have a great day.

Brian: Thanks guys. 

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