This is most impolite

Via Bishop Hill, we get this.

The first part seems to be that Irish macroeconomics forecasters warned of the property bubble in 2005, not much notice was taken of their warning and other later predictions concentrated on other matters.

Ho hum, macro forecasters right is hardly a basis for criticism. Rather a cause for celebration, given how rare it is.

Then we get this:

Lomborg operates the Copenhagen Consensus Center (CCC) which, in spite of its title, has served solely as a vehicle for the political views of its leader. The Copenhagen Consensus projects involve Lomborg hand-picking researchers, with Tol a favourite, to engage in rigged research projects which Lomborg further distorts beyond the point of fraud to oppose any reduction in fossil fuel use.

Eh? \”Beyond the point of fraud\”? And where does Lomborg say we shouldn\’t reduce fossil fuel consumption? The whole point of his work has been that yes, of course we do want to reduce such: the argument is only over how we do so (do we pour money into renewables research? Should the carbon tax be Nordhaus or Stern? etc, etc) and how much we do so (will tight restrictions now cost us more than the benefits later?).

Long-term Lomborg critic Kåre Fog took Tol, whose FUND computer-model was the basis for the simulation, to task about the study. Tol admitted that the study used a discount rate that fell gradually from 5% whereas all the competing proposals used a 3% rate.

Don\’t see what\’s wrong with that. Treasury Green Book approach. We should use market interest rates out to a decade or couple, because that is the interest rate that we use to decide upon other plans out to a decade or three. But for long term decisions we do need to reduce the interest rate applied: this is the flip side of noting that humans are liable to hyperbolic discounting. We place too much weight on things in the near future and not enough on the long term future (not all that surprising in a species evolved to live some handful of decades really).

The outlier in all this is Stern but then that\’s opening another can of worms.

Fog’s criticisms did not end there. Tol claims his research showed a net benefit from global warming until mid-century, after which the effects turn sharply negative. For this purpose, welfare effects were calculated in local economy terms, with deaths for example being costed at a certain multiple of local per-capita GDP. Thus a single European saved from winter influenza, probable – in actuarial terms – to be elderly and infirm, outweighed not one but many Africans dying – likely in the prime of life – due to global warming.

Yes, this is normal. For when we assign a value in a cost benefit analysis we are not assigning some true, eternal value. Such things do not exist (Aquinas was wrong, sorry). We assign the often arbitrary but always subjective values that human beings apply to the things being valued. And yes, us human beings do indeed value lives of those in rich countries more highly than residents of poor countries value the lives of residents of poor countries.

In some parts of the world people really do get slaughtered over a pile of yams: here the gain to be made from murdering someone is usually thought of as needing to be rather greater than that in order to trigger the action. You know, like the wife\’s life insurance policy or something.

Don\’t forget, economics is very little to do with the way things ought to be: it\’s much more concerned with the way things are.

While empirically-based criticism is central to science, Tol has shown no zeal in his dealings with Lomborg or with Ian Plimer, another scientific fraud alongside whom Tol acts as scientific advisor for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a secretive pressure group opposed to fossil-fuel restrictions.

You mean Benny Peiser? Secretive? Lord Lawson on the board and it being almost impossible not to be getting the daily email? The GWPF which publishes books, gives speeches and so on? Secretive? And again, I\’ve seen no evidence whatsoever that they\’re opposed to fossil-fuel restrictions: I\’ve seen a great deal of discussion about what those restrictions ought to be though.

Plimer I\’ll be a great deal less defensive of of course.

Tol’s ready facilitation of Lomborg’s systematic falsification of science cannot but draw the ESRI into disrepute.

\”Systematic falsification of science\”? Lomborg? Blimey mate, take more water with it, you\’re frothing.

The neo-liberal consensus that dominates policy-making globally and of which the ESRI is part,

Ah, finally, the meat of the complaint. Those bastard people who think markets are often a pretty good idea, eh?

As to who Adrian Kelleher is I can\’t really find out. Other than that he\’s a regular commenter at Richard Tol\’s blog. As far as I can tell this is all a bit like Richard Murphy taking to The Guardian to denounce me as a neo-liberal. All very amusing but of not great import.

Although I have a feeling that Ritchie would take more note of the libel laws to be honest… would The Guardian\’s lawyers.

Many of these economic points are of course made in my book:

3 thoughts on “This is most impolite”

  1. As Bjorn was the first to notice that the emperor had no clothes, he is reserved a special helping of hatred from the Loony Greens.

    The fact that he has never actually denied the existence of global warming / climate change, drives them to further extremes of rage.

    By accepting the problem but questioning the solutions, he has made their little plans of Stalinist Utopia so much more difficult.

  2. “Plimer I’ll be a great deal less defensive of of course.”

    Why? Is he a baddie?

    Tim adds: Mostly because he keeps talking about the science which I’m not competent to judge.

  3. Lomborg is a scrupulously honest and even-tempered writer on such issues. It drives the Deep Greens nuts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *