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Elsewhere – in Exeter

The Economics department is continuing our regular series of faculty talks showcasing the research happening in the department and panel discussions on important current events of the day. Please come along and ask any questions, or just come and listen to how economists think about these issues.

On Dec 6th (from 12:30-1:30pm) we will be holding a panel discussion of the current Climate Crisis that is the major crisis facing humanity and the recent COP Summit in Egypt. We will be discussing the economic issues related to this topic and how economic analysis can help us solve these problems.

Our panel (in alphabetic order) is:

Ray Connell — (Investment banker)

Brett Day — Land, Environment, Economics and Policy Institute (LEEP)

Mario du Preez — Economics Lecturer

Tim Worstall — Adam Smith Institute

I think I’m there as the let’s fry Flipper voice. Not quite what I’m likely to say of course.

24 thoughts on “Elsewhere – in Exeter”

  1. “Not quite what I’m likely to say of course”

    And why not? Don’t hold back the truth.
    Those fearing the sky falling should lie down in a dark room until the hysteria passes, and those planning to attend Baksheesh 28 should securely lock their (taxpayers) wallets before attending.

    Oh, and would those who want to freeze to death in the dark please get on with it, and leave us fossil fuel burners alone. Thank you.

  2. But like I’ve said before, the mistake all along has been debating the subject. (This is something any club bouncer knows) Once one enters a dialogue one’s conceding the validity of one’s opponent’s argument. It would have been much better if they’d been told to go forth & multiply in the first place.

  3. Why isn't basic income + open borders the best solution?

    If mostly uninhabited Siberia, Greenland, northern Canada etc. become lush farmland, why shouldn’t flooded climate refugees move there?

  4. “the major crisis facing humanity” rather than, say, the possibility of a vaxxocaust, the effects of Long Lockdown, the nascent WWIII, the chronic economic problems brought on by Central Bank control of fiat currencies, the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the Woke religion, and the demographic problems boiling up? Oh yeah, and the criminal folly of Gain-of-Function research which has, in all probability, already brought us one pandemic.

    Instead the major crisis is the wholly imaginary Catastrophic, Anthropogenic Global Warming. Next time I meet someone banging on about CAGW I must ask them about their experience of dealing with Infra Red absorption – say, by using IR Spec in the lab or doing furnace heat transfer calculations – their expertise at mathematical modelling of physico-chemical systems, what their original contribution to finite element methods has been, their experience with fluid mechanics modelling, their expertise at temperature measurement, and their background in statistics.

    Poltroonery from “economists” is rather irrelevant except in the sense of saying “even if you naively believe all that bollocks why do you insist on dealing with it in a stupid way rather than an intelligent one?” I suppose the last is your duty Mr W. Give ’em hell.

  5. Why isn’t basic income + open borders the best solution?

    So you’re expecting subsistence farmers from Bangladesh to be successful subsistence farmers in Greenland? Try growing rice in Greenland.
    On the basic income fantasy: In reality, we all benefit from our individual productivity in proportion to that individual productivity. And we are people with free will. Move too far from that & the above average producers will have no incentive to be above average producers to compensate for the below average. A universal basic income will approximate to the lowest common denominator. Or approximate zero. Take your choice.

  6. Bottom line: there is no climate crisis and not a shred of scientific evidence to suggest that there is.
    I engage in endless conversations with suggestible people who accuse me of being a climate denier who is driven by self interest.
    Having established that the climate has been changing for 100s of millions of years, with temperatures and CO2 levels frequently being much higher than at present, periods known as climate optima because the planet was healthy and abundant during such times, we eventually end up at the “current rate of change is unprecedented”.
    Nothing says “I have never actually researched this subject” quite like that claim.
    A few figures showing the last 20,000 years of sea level rise and the temperature changes during the Dansgaard-Oeschger oscillations usually puts them back in their box except for the terminally stupid who don’t know when they are beaten.

  7. dearieme – woke religion? Here’s a little something to cheer you up:

    There are people who used to wear trousis
    Who now walk around in girls’ blouses.
    If they cut off their spigot
    What’s that to you, bigot,
    Since that’s what the Church now allows is

    Perfectly normal behaviour
    As was practised, en douce, by our Saviour.
    Was a whole lot of fun
    In Judea – and now in Belgravia.

  8. Sorry Tim, you’re not a Knight in shining armour trying to defeat their argument – you’ve accepted their basic premise that there really is a problem caused by man burning fossil fuels but favour a different method to solve the delusion. Angels on pinheads and all that.
    Good luck all the same.

  9. What you’ll say:
    Stop doing the micromanagement of the economy and people’s lives, and just have a carbon tax.

    What they’ll hear:
    . . . . do . . . the micromanagement of the economy and people’s lives, and . . . . have a carbon tax.

  10. ‘… how economic analysis can help us solve these problems.‘

    Just like CoVid, where the ‘problems’ were not caused by the virus, a natural phenomenon beyond Man’s ability to control, but by Government’s response to it; the climate change ‘crisis’ is the crisis wholly manufactured by Government response to a natural, cyclic event beyond Man’s ability to control it.

    The solution therefore is rope and sturdy lamp posts.

    I prefer my Flipper brushed with olive oil and grilled.

  11. Must confess I am driven by self-interest, DocBud. Otherwise I wouldn’t pay any attention to the nonsense.

    Which is why I think the German approach is better than ours. They always seem to be able to restart their lignite burners whenever there’s a fuss. Whereas we blew up that one in South Australia.

  12. dearieme: Judith Curry has an item on her blog about how difficult CFD is to do well and how the climate modellers really aren’t up to it. Climate models are basically all GIGO so far, and from what the guy says it will be very hard to develop one that isn’t. And if you do, how do you test it?

  13. @TG: my research students have found CFD to be really useful but our interests have been infinitely simpler than The Atmosphere – not least because (i) we get to control the initial conditions, (ii) we have excellent values for the parameters in the equations and boundary conditions, and (iii) we do not have to run many cycles of simulation with the inevitable accumulation of error.

    On one thing I plead ignorance. Atmospheric models are multi-variable, nonlinear, and cyclic. You might therefore fear that you’d generate “chaotic” solutions. Has anyone managed to prove that this difficulty does not arise?

  14. The biggest aspect of global warming that does not get much attention is the assumption that it is in everyone’s interests to prevent it. Any big change will mean that there are many losers, but there can also be a considerable number of winners. And those winners will likely be places which are currently poor – because the rich areas will have adapted best to the current climate and therefore have most to lose. If that includes Russia and China, there’s not much hope for trying to prevent change and we should instead be addressing how we can best adapt to it.

  15. “that you’d generate “chaotic” solutions. Has anyone managed to prove that this difficulty does not arise?”

    The system is inherently “chaotic”, so expecting any result that isn’t is…well.. ignoring certain basic facts.

    As-is, I believe us re-introducing locked-up CO2 in the atmosphere is a good thing, up to a certain level. Because the volcanoes stopped doing it for us at levels that keep pace with the fixation by plants a couple 10’s of million years or so.
    In fact, the idiocy of net-zero, if implemented at the levels the Greentards/Statists want, will cause the next ice-age to be a long one.
    The ice ages themselves are a “warning” in and of themselves we’re at the very bottom range for certain parameters when it comes to keeping this planet comfortably warm enough for us in any appreciable geological timescale to begin with.

    But that’s just the opinion of one, of course.

  16. Man after my own heart, Mr G. We should preface all discussions with “In the present interglacial …”

  17. The climate models are tuned using hard-coded parameters instead of properly-derived variables. In fact guess which are adjusted in order to make the models not go crazy. They have checkpoints during each run and if things aren’t going in the right direction the run is stopped. If by chance they run away hot OR cold the results is discarded. The are about 20 models in the ensemble. Each is the proud representative of the nation or organisation which developed it. Some run way hotter than others and way hotter than the observed temperatures. Those models ought to be chucked out of the ensemble, but they aren’t. For instance the Canadian model has run hot for years. It doesn’t get thrown out. Some of the mof=dels do approximate observed temps, but they are at the bottom of the ensemble so their result is rolled in to the mean of the ensemble to get the warmingest result. \\\there is no mathematical or statistical justification to average supposedly unrelated models.

    So any graph or prediction using those models is bogus. Tell them that and see if they produce a counter-argument that is not reducible to ‘Denier!!!!!!!!’

  18. rhoda: Yes, the ‘averaging’ is bollocks on stilts. The very fact that the IPCC indulges that is reason enough to ignore the IPCC completely. But here we are 🙁

    Even with the models at the bottom of the range there is no guarantee that they are actually any better than any of the others.

  19. For the last 2 years, in the UK we have effectively had a basic income economy. It has rebounded well from the emergency shutdown but it does not look very healthy

  20. (1) So, what _is_ the correct temperature?
    (2)Are you suggesting that the climate was in stasis before 1800? Climate change denier!

  21. Dear Mr Worstall

    Carbon dioxide is plant food. The magic 280ppm or thereabouts of pre-industrial levels is getting perilously close to starvation for most plants. The major beneficiaries of higher CO2 levels are subsistence farmers. How much of the raising of people out of abject poverty is down to higher carbon dioxide levels gifting subsistence farmers better crop yields? Seems like a good project for an economic institute or two.

    A few degrees of warming in polar regions is going to leave the temperatures well below freezing, so how is that going to melt the ice caps?

    To help the poor we should be burning more fossil fuels and letting wind power distribute it around the world. Much more useful than windmills, which are useless for running a civilised economy, as we are about to find out the hard way.

    Eat plenty of calories, exercise and wrap up warm.

    Hope this helps.


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