And I thought Chris Huhne trained as an economist?

What is this nonsense?

And third, our economy will be more stable and secure as energy imports wane. Every business will benefit from moderating boom and bust.

We\’re not actually supposed to be worrying about businesses. We\’re supposed to give a shit about consumers. And consumers are very definitely not benefitted by a stable and secure environment for businesses. We want those gales of creative destruction to roar through the economy. More, boom and bust is what brings us the tehnological revolutions: has done from canals to the internet, with railways, electricity and all the great changes inbetween.

A low-carbon economy presents an opportunity, not a cost. Investment in our clean energy future should not be mistaken for a cost to the economy, or the public purse.

Investment isn\’t a cost now eh? Jeebus, how can a man trained as an economist ignore opportunity costs? Or even energy costs? Producing energy via technologies which cost 10 times the alternatives are, umm, a cost.

Instead, as Lord Stern has shown, it can be strong driver of economic growth – boosting demand, and creating new supply in a sustainable way.

Bollocks he did. He showed that, using certain carefully crafted assumptions, doing nothing might in 89 years time be more expensive than doing something. What he didn\’t show was that a certain set of somethings was better than another.

\”Something must be done, this is something, therefore this something must be done\” is not in fact either sound logic nor what Stern managed to prove.

Globally, the low-carbon goods and services industry is worth £3.2 trillion, and employs 28 million people. It is growing by 4 per cent a year, faster than developed world GDP, and will accelerate.

Quite: and as an economist would point out those are costs. 28 million people not curing cancer but faffing about with windmills. This is a cost of getting windmills, for we get windmills not the cure for cancer.

Globally, investment in renewables now outstrips investment in fossil fuels.

A cost again, as we\’re not investing in, say, searching for little green men or in new antibiotics.

The second reason to choose the low-carbon path is self-evident: it is more resource efficient.

No it isn\’t you gargantually stupid onanist. It is \”more expensive\”. More expensive is a way of measuring \”greater resource use\”. We pay 46p per unit of solar PV \’leccie, 9 p for coal derived. Thus each unit of solar energy uses 35 p more in resources than each unit of coal derived. Shit, this isn\’t economics even, this is just accounting!

It uses less energy and fewer resources per unit of GDP.

It would be desirable if it did but:

A survey of 300 top executives from large global corporations found more than three quarters of respondents expect their annual clean energy technology spending to rise over the next five years.

You see? They\’re spending more on it! Increasing their resource use as they go low carbon! Going low carbon increases resource use therefore!

Blimey, is it actually necessary for someone to put aside all of their hard earned professional knowledge when they go into politics?

28 comments on “And I thought Chris Huhne trained as an economist?

  1. “Blimey, is it actually necessary for someone to put aside all of their hard earned professional knowledge when they go into politics?”

    No. Just their principles.

  2. Globally, the low-carbon goods and services industry is worth £3.2 trillion, and employs 28 million people.

    Hmmm. I wonder how they arrive at these figures? Sounds to me is they lump in every bureaucrat who is loosely involved in something related to Green policies, because the global oil and gas industry probably doesn’t employ that many people.

  3. Globally, investment in renewables now outstrips investment in fossil fuels.

    This sounds like shite too, even if we conflate spending with investment. There are several multi-billion dollar oil and gas development projects underway now – Usan, Egina, Shtokman, Kashagan, Prelude, Icthys, Pazflor, Clov – just off the top of my head, not to mention the billions being spent in exploration, drilling, and field-life extensions. On top of that you have the Canadian tar sands, shale gas, and coal.

    Where exactly are all these renewable projects, or are they counting money pissed away by governmetns on summits and posturing as investment in renewables?

  4. Hmmm. I wonder how they arrive at these figures? Sounds to me is they lump in every bureaucrat who is loosely involved in something related to Green policies, because the global oil and gas industry probably doesn’t employ that many people.

    Which is the whole fundamental error in measuring spending as a proxy for production, e.g.in measuring that strange thing, “GDP”.

  5. Here in Eastleigh during the 2005 General election Chris Huhne quoted that he made his fortune in economics and referred to his two books “Real world Ecnomics” and “both sides of the coin” where Chris huhne was in favour of joning the Euro.

    i seem to be one of the few who read the books and one ofthe few who read both books, shame
    he doesnt appear to practice what he preaches.

    we are all waiting for the Electoral comiions report in September, fancy having an agent who pays your utilty bills and loans you interest free
    10k for the election and when they ask for the money back by the cut off date the money is not repaid.

    several councillors say huhne has to pay the money as it was spent on his campaign, thats
    a lesson in Huhne economics for anyone

  6. The hypothesized damages quoted by Lord Stern are completely inconsistent with empirical evidence

    World Bank

  7. I also understand that the discount rate used by Lord Stern is totally out of kilter with the real world. I seem to remember it was 2% or 3% which was unrealistic.

  8. Isn’t it just a simple observation that he’s bat-shit crazy lost most of the greenies – a fact we won’t escape when the lights go out because we haven’t enough juice?

  9. “And I thought Chris Huhne trained as an economist? … is it actually necessary for someone to put aside all of their hard earned professional knowledge when they go into politics?”

    It worked for Vince Cable (until he got torn apart in that Andrew Neill interview).

  10. “This is a cost of getting windmills, for we get windmills not the cure for cancer.”

    As someone in the middle of a chemo treatment, bless ya for saying that and keep drumming it in!
    This from the Daily mail today….

    “Takings from “green taxes” – purportedly to deal with tackling climate change – now exceeds £40 billion more than our defence budget. We must be very green if we believe it’s being spent on the environment. Some wonder why a “Conservative” prime minister presides over this huge tax scam but what else can David Cameron do, having launched his leadership on “2006” with the “hugging – a – husky” PR stunt in Norway?”

    Poor Bloody Infantry! No planes, No tanks but Hey! We have things to kill birds and bats!

    Do you get the feeling that its getting beyond protesting crap science and dropping to the level of pure bloody hatred of these fools?

  11. @Pete: Is that not a category error? Green taxes are not those hypotocated for environmental purposes, but rather those designed to encourage green behaviour by punishing un-green behaviour by making it more expensive.

  12. “[Is it actually necessary for someone to put aside all of their hard earned professional knowledge when they go into politics?”

    Yes.

  13. It may be accounting, but good quality accounting would make 46 minus 9 equal 37, not 35, wouldn’t it?

  14. “The second reason to choose the low-carbon path is self-evident: it is more resource efficient.”

    But, “We pay 46p per unit of solar PV ‘leccie, 9 p for coal derived. Thus each unit of solar energy uses 35 p more in resources than each unit of coal derived.”

    The mistake environmentalists make is that they forget that human time and effort is a resource. Only oil and coal are resources. Hence all the arguments along the lines of: it only takes a few minutes to sort your rubbish for recycling. But human time and effort is irreplaceable. I will never get those few minutes back!

    John B talks of externalities. But they were already covered above: it’s the “doing nothing might in 89 years time be more expensive than doing something”.

  15. If Huhne & DECC consider ‘green’ energy to be so good & useful, why do they use any other sorts?

  16. Huhne said in his 1990 book Real World Economics that Britain joining the European Monetary System would be an anti-climax.

    Masterful prophecy!

  17. John B talks of externalities. But they were already covered above: it’s the “doing nothing might in 89 years time be more expensive than doing something”.

    Aye, but they aren’t covered in the market price, so it’s misleading to say you waste 35p by using solar instead of coal. If the total cost of the effect of the emissions released by burning the coal is 36p, then we’re right to use solar.

    (I’ve no idea whether this cost is 36p or not, but that isn’t the point – the point is that the market price doesn’t capture the actual cost difference between the two technologies.)

    Tim adds: With the German feed in solar tariffs (just because I know this figure) the costs are $1070 per tonne of CO2 not emitted. As compared to Stern’s estimate of $80 per tonne of CO2 emitted. So while the externalities are indeed there, we’re rather over compensating for them.

  18. Interesting point by Mike Newland – thats another name to add to the list of 25 i know who
    read Huhnes Real World economics.

    did you read both sides of the coin though – only
    6 of u so far

  19. He’s Just an opportunist politician, spouting political rhetoric.
    On the economics, he’s not even practising.
    He only got the job to keep the Lib Demz. sweet, in their balance of power. They’ll all be gone at the next election, though not before they’ve feathered some nice nesting positions to be appointed to in the EU.

  20. I read somewhere that Cameron & Clegg are both Common Purpose clones, fully signed up to the Agenda 21 scenario, allegedly. Old Tories have abandoned the Conservative Party az lost to the European Project.

  21. @Pete
    Good luck with the chemo!

    For me it’s not just the opportunity cost of people playing with windmills versus doing cancer research. It’s the millions spent on windmills when that money could be spent treating cancer patients in the here and now.

  22. “Blimey, is it actually necessary for someone to put aside all of their hard earned professional knowledge when they go into politics?”

    Only if they want to be in the Lab/Con/Dem party who, through our corrupt electoral system, hold power. Or if they want to be journalists which is how Huhne started.

  23. Let Huhne work his magic in good old Blighty so us Colonials in Florida will have a dire example of what does not work.

  24. Pingback: Pretty useless and with enormous opportunity costs attached (wind farms, of course) | JunkScience Sidebar

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