Why listen to a climate scientist on economics?

Experts all, of course, have their areas of expertise.

Dr Hansen, who was one of the first scientists to warn of the dangers of global warming more than two decades ago, said that any deal reached at the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen would be a “disaster track” for the world.

He said it would be better for world leaders to rip them up and start over again……..

Dr Hansen is vehemently opposed to the carbon market schemes currently proposed, where permits to pollute are bought and sold.

They are seen by the EU and other governments as the most efficient way to cut emissions and move to a new clean energy economy.

James Hansen is clearly a very clever man. He\’s also clearly very well informed about climate change itself.

But what, pray, does this add to his knowledge of markets or the economics of them?

Very little, it has to be said.

When we talk about the economics of climate change we should be taking evidence from economists, economists who have studied the economics of climate change perhaps. And that rather excludes James Hansen and whatever misunderstandings about markets he might have.

For we don\’t actually care who reduces emissions, from what process or in which country. We only care that emissions are reduced, meaning that it\’s entirely logical that we should have a market in emissions so that we reduce emissions at the lowest possible cost.

8 comments on “Why listen to a climate scientist on economics?

  1. “For we don’t actually care who reduces emissions, from what process or in which country. We only care that emissions are reduced, meaning that it’s entirely logical that we should have a market in emissions so that we reduce emissions at the lowest possible cost.”

    Quite. All we have to do is stick BIG corks in all those volcanoes. Or better yet, stick an even bigger cork in James Hansen’s pie-hole.

  2. Actually Hansen’s opposition to carbon trading schemes may be the only bit that I do agree with. You’re correct that we want to reduce emissions by the cheapest means possible (assuming that reducing emissions is something we should worry about at all), and in _theory_ a carbon trading scheme should provide the right incentives to do this.

    The problem is that pesky reality stuff getting in the way. As an entirely artificial market (i.e. one that exists only by government fiat), it is wide open to abuse and manipulation. Rich country governments will protect unionised heavy industries, while poor country governments now have an incentive to create cheap polluting activities just so that they can be paid to stop them.

  3. When we talk about the economics of climate change we should be taking evidence from economists

    Fair enough; I’d certainly be happy to accept that one, if the non-climatologists who believe they’re talking about the science of climate change would shut up and fuck off.

  4. john b,

    I happen to hold views contrary to the received wisdom on climate matters, where I wouldn’t on matters of biology or chemistry, because one can assume that most biologists and chemists are knowledgeable and honest, an assumption becoming increasingly untenable in the case of climate scientists.

  5. What is “climatology” except a specialist corner of physics? So lots of people who are not climatologists are perfectly able to say sensible things about it once they’ve done a bit of reading. And at the level of revealing incompetence or lies, you don’t even need much physics. Steve McIntyre’s speciality is data analysis not physics, and he demolished Mann’s “Hockey Stick” rubbish conclusively. It turned out that, among other problems, Mann was a statistical illiterate. If he’d done a bit of experimental physics in his time, he might have had to learn a useful amount of stats.

  6. john b: you’re a climatologist? No? Then shut up and fuck off. The argumentum ad verecundiam is a pretty shaky foundation, you know.

    Dearieme’s right: as someone with graduate level qualifications in physics and engineering, I am more than capable of critiquing the methodology of the climatologists. And anyone who’s seen the standards of data curation in academia will tell you that Climategate was a fiasco waiting to happen.

  7. johnb, unfortunately, in your stupidity, you seem to overlook the fact that those who claim to be “climatologists” also know fuck-all about climate science, ethics, and honesty.

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.