2019-02-25

Jobs. Are. Going. Away. Growth no longer creates jobs. Pardon?

calf My headline comes from a twit by mt4, except for the last word and the associated mark of interrogation, which are not his. I'm not sure how much substance there is in this to blog about, but I find, looking back, that I haven't said the obvious1 "jobs are a cost not a benefit" thing very much, so perhaps it's a good idea to have a post for me to reference. But mt in this case is more worried about the jobs going away, which is somewhat different. He should not worry I think; Timmy has told him not to.

Timmy's logic (that human wants are infinite, so there will always be unmet human desires, so there will always be jobs) makes sense to me. Some people react to this in the predictable way: "oh, those sort of jobs . But I wanted a real job, like a coal miner or a lumberjack". That's what Trump and the Trumpists say, of course. Don't be like them. A more plausible objection is that if it's the poor people with the needs they won't be able to pay you; but I think it just doesn't go like that. I could of course be wrong; it isn't as if I'm presenting any evidence, unlike mt's detailed studies.

Speaking of evidence, of course, we could look to the past as our guide to the future. This isn't something you're going to do if you believe the-jobs-are-going-away because, errm, they haven't. The mechanisation of agriculture or spinning didn't lead to vast unemployment; neither did or will the death of coal; and so on. I twot that in the sure knowledge it was a killer reply. mt replied A big question is whether this pattern is some sort of inevitable law which is an advance of sorts, because the original certainty has now turned into a question. We could worry about AI, and indeed I might worry about real AI, but we haven't got that or anything close yet.

But then comes The main observational evidence is not that employment is shrinking but that it commands smaller wages. Which I think is Not True (but notice that it, too, is a retreat from the original assertion). To examine whether it is true or not you'd need to know whose wages you care about. In this context it is unlikely that mt cares about the global poor, who as we all know are rather less poor than they used to be (as JG helpfully interjects) but this does allow mt to clarify that his sympathy is for Deciles 8 and 9 (western middle class) are having great difficulties, which the graph shows somewhat2, 3.

At which point those not in the know need to know what graph is being talked about, and the answer is this or some variation thereon:

So, OK, there are two points below 0 on that curve, though one of them is so marginally below zero as to be indistinguishable from zero in any statistical sense. And of course, that's ending in 2008, which wasn't a happy year for the world economy. But to turn this into a general summing-up of "commands smaller wages" is not I think realistic. And indeed, here's another version, with a different end point, and a different conclusion in that detail:

The negatives have now gone. Rejoice.

Of course, the future might be different. After all and so on. mt recommends Elizabeth Warren's book on the latter point but I fear she has more than one; and books have many words in them; and I doubt EW; so without something more concrete I won't be pursuing that.


Notes


1. Not obvious to everyone, of course. Indeed vehemently denied by many people. Touched on in Why don’t people pay attention to the future of their own world? in 2017.

2. After this mt and JG wander off into what seems to me a rather odd discussion of "freedom" in the context of freedom to drop out, I think; I don't think that's profitable - to me it resembles the atavistic yearning for Ye Olde Dayes of Happy Peasants.

3. Aside: suppose it were for some reason true that the Western Middle Class were losing out from Globalisation, in the way shown by that graph or more so, but yet the global poor were benefiting as it shows. And that (for inexplicable hand-of-god reasons) you had to choose between that change, and a no-globalisation slight-increase-all-round: which would you choose? Would you choose your local, globally-rich WMC, thereby condemning the globally poor to yet more grinding poverty?

4. This is all a bit personified, but I think mt's views are representative rather than original in this context, so it isn't really personal.

Refs


Ze Robots are comink
In the mid 1980s, improved economic conditions for the middle classes led to a dramatic rise in tastelessness
* Paul Voosen: One more time: Despite what you’ve heard, leading cloud scientists are dubious that cooling marine clouds will simultaneously wink out at tripled CO2 levels (retwat by Gavin)
* The Philosophy of Poverty?: My Opening Statement by Bryan Caplan
* The wage decoupling mess by Scott Sumner
* Reflections on the Balan-Caplan Poverty Debate by Bryan Caplan

A child’s garden of wikipedia, part II

52569231_1101942873335365_5705834086749175808_o Piers "mad as a bagful of badgers" Corbyn is sad because I 24/7 replaced good stuff with smears & lies in [his] so-called biography on Wiki. Naturally, I did no such thing, but I thought it might be amusing to find out what I actually did that has riled him so. For some wiki-background that may be relevant, see A child’s garden of wikipedia, part I.

Wiki has a [[Piers Corbyn]] page, whose lede is (currently) the anodyne Piers Richard Corbyn (born 10 March 1947) is an English weather forecaster who owns WeatherAction, which makes weather forecasts. He is the older brother of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. If you're unfamiliar with his forecasting methodology, think yourself lucky; you can read JA's partial evaluation here if you like. I have 35 edits to the PC page, which you can see for yourself here (arch).

That brings up [[User:PiersCorbyn]] who is (or was; he flounced off in a huff quite some time ago) the wiki-presence of PC. From his contributions you can see he was a one-trick pony, interested only in editing his own page. Which is a bit dodgy because of Wikipedia:Conflict of interest. That isn't absolute, and can be over emphasised, but if you're trying to ram through your own version of your own page, and you've been told about COI several times on your own talk page, then you're going to get blocked. As he was, by me and by that nice Vsmith. The discussion at the COI noticeboard petered out without anything interesting, probably because PC's last edit was on December the 24th so it all became moot.

But what of the substance? Mostly it was this and similar edits. PC would like to be thought of as a British weather forecaster and consultant best known for his ability to predict the weather up to one year in advance through the study of solar activity particularly charged particle and magnetic effects rather than a controversial British weather forecaster and  consultant best known for what he claims to be the ability to predict the [[weather]] up to one year in advance through the study of [[solar activity]], specifically charged particle and magnetic effects. Well, you can see why he would prefer his version but it is less clear why wiki would. That he insisted on adding His scientific advances and independently verified forecasting skill and his ‘climate sceptic’ views on CO2 based theories of global warming have caused distress among some ‘green campaigners’ who frequently spread and inaccurate information about him and his forecasts. This unacceptable activity includes inserting false statements in his biography in Wikipedia so if you are reading this please keep a copy for future reference before it gets falsified. If you want to check anything for yourself please contact Piers Corby himself via the WeatherAction website didn't exactly help his case. So, having tried and failed to edit what he added into something sane, I reverted it; rinse and repeat a few times. Then Vsmith blocked him for 48h for not paying any attention to the rules, whereupon PC said I have got better things to do with my life than piss around with reversion games and that was the last we heard of him.

In my defence, I thought things might be a bit more interesting when I began this post, and having written it I felt reluctant to throw it away.

Refs


Boris Johnson is a tosser
Piers Corbyn, his brother and communist weather forecaster

2019-02-21

Moah suing news

52352356_1101948060001513_6245324804245684224_n Nice picture, isn't it? It looks like finger-puppetry, which is why I chose it, but it's supposed to be the "all powerful" hand. Anyway, on with the story.

Judge Tosses Penn. Case, Challenges Legal Merit of Kids Climate Cases says ClimateLiabilityNews, and just like Alsup it's one where the judge has decided that the case is fundamentally politics not law1, and so should be settled by pols not men-in-wigs. The man in a wig is unusually forthright4 in this case: The Clean Air Council and two minors ask me to declare that the United States of America, the President, the Secretaries of Energy and the Interior as well as the Departments themselves, and the Environmental Protection Agency and its Administrator have violated and will violate Plaintiffs’ rights by considering amendments to environmental laws, by “rolling back” environmental regulations, and by making related personnel and budget changes... Plaintiffs thus effectively ask me to supervise any actions the President and his appointees take that might touch on “the environment.” (Id.) Defendants have moved to dismiss... Because I have neither the authority nor the inclination to assume control of the Executive Branch, I will grant Defendants’ Motion.

Before I go too far I should comment on some of the claims made. Sadly it seems to be a non-cut-n-pasteable PDF, so here's a screenshot. Meh. The kid would appear to suffer from medical issues, but the attribution to global warming is weak at best and no basis for a court case. It's kinda irrelevant anyway, though, because as CLN so delicately puts it, the judge "tossed2" the case for more fundamental problems than that.

implausible If you make it as far as para 31 and following, you'll see that they focus on the Trumpkin's "Rollbacks", which they assert are built on and motivated by "junk science", and that the govt has thereby effectively waged war on facts, data, motherhood and apple pie3. These are large claims and look more like rhetoric than sober analysis. You don't find out exactly what they mean by Rollbacks until para 141, BTW.

There appear to be some fairly basic legal errors in the case (IANALTG). On standing, hizzoner says Although the Amended Complaint is almost 200 paragraphs long [are these people getting the hint yet that boilerplate verbiage isn't always great?], only three paragraphs (one page) include a description of Plaintiffs or the harms they have suffered. The Clean Air Council make the schoolboy error of failing to even claim any damages, so have no standing. As to the two individuals, they fail on Traceability: Defendants argue that Plaintiffs: (1) fail to trace their injuries directly to Defendants’ actions; (2) ignore the role that third parties have played in causing such injuries; and (3) improperly aggregate “vaguely-defined categories of government actions and inactions.”... I agree that Plaintiffs have not made out traceability. This is the usual kind of problem. Amusingly, there's also Given that Plaintiffs sustained their injuries as early as 2011, those injuries cannot be traced to Defendants, whose challenged actions began in 2017, which is a bit of a "duh who wrote this complaint" kinda thing.

Perhaps most importantly for elsewhere, there's
Plaintiffs simply ignore that Defendant agencies and officers do not produce greenhouse gases, but act to regulate those third parties that do: innumerable businesses and private industries. The materials on which Plaintiffs rely make this clear. 
Um, I've said that before. This is going to be the hurdle at which lots of claims fail. After all that there's some stuff about Right to a Life-Sustaining Climate System, about which el wiggo opines The Third Circuit has held that “there is no constitutional right to a pollution-free environment”  and then tosses a bomb at Juliana: As of this writing, a single court has recognized a substantive due process right analogous to what Plaintiffs urge here. See Juliana v. United States... Yet, the Juliana Court certainly contravened or ignored longstanding authority. And so we end with it appears that the scope of the “fundamental” right Plaintiffs invoke has no clear limit. This, as much as anything, underscores that Plaintiffs do not seek the Court’s assistance in adjudicating a legal dispute. Rather, Plaintiffs disagreement with Defendants is a policy debate best left to the political process. And I agree. I'm all for a political process that addresses GW - via carbon taxes, not the awful Green New Deal - but it looks more and more like the courts are a dead end. My More bad news for photogenic teens has me musing about where to go.

Notes


1. And certainly not about science. Remember how exciting it was, briefly, when "the tutorial" was on? But then the Evil Oil Companies unsportingly put an end to that by agreeing with the IPCC. The rotters! Where's the fun in that?

2. You are, I'm sure, far too sensible to follow a link on "tossed" unless you're of a not-too-delicate disposition. It's one of my all-time favourite Viz cartoons.

3. Yes, I made a little bit of that up. See if you can guess which.

4. Indeed there are hints that he is a little pissed of, speaking of their lengthy, two count Amended Complaint. Perhaps this could be taken as a hint that not everyone needs to go over the same basic science again and again.

Refs


Old suing: Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp.

2019-02-16

Nash-in-nole Emergence-y

nash-in-ole From "Adolf Hitler: my part in his downfall" by Spike Milligan. This is volume 1, things are still funny, no-one has died. Well, no-one he knows, anyway.

Which seems a rather apt lead-in to Trump; you may as well get your Godwins in early and accurately1.

So, is it a nash-in-ole fuckin' emergency? No, of course it isn't. The idea is absurd; no right-thinking person could possibly agree. Only in a nation with debased political discourse could such an idea even be briefly entertained.

However, as in all such things, Trump has people running cover for him. For example:

* Climate change is a national emergency.
* 28 million Americans without health insurance is a national emergency.
* Children in cages is a national emergency.

No. None of these things are national emergencies. They are all problems that you would like solved, but they aren't emergencies. And pretending that they are just provides cover for Trump and his fanbois.

I'm currently reading The Federalist Papers, which is largely Madison selling the proposed constitution by pointing out the numerous checks and balances. He isn't too bothered by the powers of what he calls the "Chief Magistrate"2, relying on the power of Congress (ironically, of the purse) to restrain him if necessary; and of course underlying all is the will of the people.

Update


As a couple of comments have suggested, and as TF says more explicitly, it is possible to see this as Congress deliberately abdicating responsibility. This, I think, is something Madison didn't consider: the constitution depends on each branch being jealous of its rights.

Notes


1. Hint: you can't invoke Godwin to mean "I don't like that" without looking silly.

2. I think he uses the term in a deliberate effort to play down the role. No nobility no king was a big thing at the time.

Refs


CHAPTER 34—NATIONAL EMERGENCIES
* There Is No National Emergency on the Border, Mr. President by ALEX NOWRASTEH
* Speaking of comedy, there's What would happen to Earth’s Climate and Weather if we had no Moon? at WUWT - but you may prefer We Like The Moon.
* ECONOMISTS’ STATEMENT ON CARBON DIVIDENDS - The Largest Public Statement of Economists in History
California high-speed rail and the American infrastructure tragedy, explained; or Lessons from the Golden State by Scott Sumner; or Making Tracks in the US by Eli; or CA HSR, RIP (kind of) by Brian.
* Deadlock and Partisan Bitterness - by Bryan Caplan
The Dangers of Government by Executive - Volckh
* Democracy in Decline? by Loren E. Lomasky
* Apology for a Trainwreck by Bryan Caplan - poverty and sociology
Is Climate Change like Diabetes or an Asteroid? - Nordhaus
The Props assist the House by Emily Dickinson - TF

2019-02-10

The truth about big oil and climate change

20190209_LDD001_0 The Economist offers to tell you The truth about big oil and climate change. And on the whole, it does. This is welcome; less than a decade ago their review of Moah Chants of Doot failed to even mention GW1 though to be fair by 2012 they'd given up such nonsense.

However, it is necessary to read what they say if you want to know the truth; just looking at the pix and reading the short words written in big letters and confirming your preconceptions is not a good way of obtaining information. There are any number of people getting this wrong; either egregiously or egregiously.

The easiest way to go wrong is to stop at their sub-title: Even as concerns about global warming grow, energy firms are planning to increase fossil-fuel production. None more than ExxonMobil. Bad oil companies! Bad Exxon! What could possibly excuse such behaviour? If you really can't think of the answer and need to be told, then you need to go back to remedial school4. The answer is the bleedin' obvious: Yet amid the clamour is a single, jarring truth. Demand for oil is rising and the energy industry, in America and globally, is planning multi-trillion-dollar investments to satisfy it. And It would be wrong to conclude that the energy firms must therefore be evil. They are responding to incentives set by society. The financial returns from oil are higher than those from renewables2.

The Economist admits that the market cannot solve climate change by itself which I think is both true and uncontroversial. But it continues Muscular government action is needed. Contrary to the fears of many Republicans (and hopes of some Democrats), that need not involve a bloated role for the state. After a pause for a brief sideswipe at the Green New Disaster, it continues The best policy, in America and beyond, is to tax carbon emissions, which ExxonMobil backs3.

As I Twote:
Setting policy is a task for Govt. Don't blame Exxon if your govt is crap. Mostly, blame your voters.

Disclaimer


Did I mention that my parents in law used to work for Exxon? And that we have benefited financially from this. I've said this before, of course.

Notes


1. They were fairly shitty over CRUgate, too, but then so were the rest of the Meeja.

2. And perhaps in implicit rebuke to those worried about "stranded assets" it notes that the typical major derives a minority of its stockmarket value from profits it will make after 2030. Incidentally, the bit about returns-from-renewables being less is something of a red herring. FF companies know about... FFs. They have no particular advantage in renewables. Although the mindless tend to think "they produce energy. Renewables also energy. So FF companies can do renwables! It logic!" this is not logic, it is wrong. Indeed, as I've argued before - but cannot now find - I would argue that it is better for FF companies not to invest in renewables: that way you have a nice investment choice: if you want to invest in FF you can, if you want to invest in renewables you can. If substantial work in renewables were done by FF companies, the market signals would be all mixed up.

3. Technically it is true that Exxon backs a carbon tax, but their support is weak at best. They were sponsoring sane things all the way back in 2005, I find.

4. Note that you don't have to agree with the answer (though you're wrong if you don't); but you do have to be able to think of the answer; or rather, you should already know it.

Refs


Who Gets How Much in a Carbon Tax-and-Dividend? - QS
* Cowen on the Egalitarianism of the Economics Profession - by David Henderson

2019-02-09

Old suing: Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp.

50732285_2186088528122735_7685062365158572032_o Oddly enough, I missed this one when it first came out a decade ago: Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp.. I find it now via ClimateLiabilityNews's Ninth Circuit Nominee Has History of Defending Big Oil, Including in Liability Cases. And there's little to say, other than I would have argued it an obvious precedent for the Alsup case; with the slight difference that the "tenuous" chain of science is stronger; but that's not the key issue. I only wrote this so I have a note.

But while I'm here...

Kavanaugh


Since I previously opined on K, I note the Graun's whinging in Brett Kavanaugh should never have been allowed on the supreme court. This comes in the category of news-that-is-not-news: all we learn is that the Graun has not changed it's "mind", yawn. I pass over the analogy to sub-prime, which is stupid1. Now I look closer, that entire article is an undigested regurgitation of all past grievances; let's pass on to another. The substance is The US supreme court voted 5-4 to block a Louisiana law that would have dramatically reduced access to legal abortions in the state. So the Graun has what it wants (for others) but that isn't enough, because K dared venture a dissenting opinion. The Graun is terribly worried that K will overturn the RvW precedent, and is therefore obliged to ignore K saying All parties... agree that Whole Woman’s Health is the governing precedent for purposes of this stay application. I therefore will analyze the stay application under that precedent. And goes on to argue -correctly I think - that the case turns on competing predictions about whether certain doctors can obtain "admitting privileges". And produces a certainly plausible, and arguably correct, argument that the predictions could have been tested experimentally with no harm. See-also SCOTUSBlog.

The missing element here is the question as to whether the law could possibly do what it purports to do, offer any protection. K's proposal would leave no time for training of any sort, so the doctors would either end up, bureaucratically, with a piece of paper with a rubber stamp on it or not; and why that would do anyone any good is unclear. However, against that, the law is full of instances where pointless rubber stamps are required, so perhaps there's no reason this shouldn't be another one.

My own view is that the usually-omitted context for all of this is not that the SCOTUS is making law but that it is striking down law, or not. The positive law-production is the province of the states, in this case; and being in the middle of The Federalist Papers2, it seems clear that the original constitution was intended to give wide latitude to the various states.


Refs


* Kivalina: And so it begins… (2015)
Kavanaugh’s views on EPA’s climate authority
Kavanaugh's other dangerous assault - on the environment?
* BRIEF OF INDIANA AND 14 OTHER STATES AS AMICI CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES - via WUWT (sadly none of my other sources seem to cover this)

Notes


1. The analogy is stupid. My passing over it is sensible. Arguably it would have been even more sensible to treat it with the contempt it deserved and ignore it entirely.

2. Interesting, and I will finish them, but they're something of a burden.

2019-02-08

500,000,000,000 is a small number

frankie Small compared to the number of atoms in the universe, of grains of sand on a beach, or of bacteria in a hooman; but in units of dollars it would be enough to get me out of bed. Written into a political tract it certainly looks like a large number, but we all know that we shouldn't trust political tracts. Which brings me to Cortez the Killer1 via Dave Roberts: global warming at or above 2 degrees Celsius beyond preindustrialized levels will cause... more than $500,000,000,000 in lost annual economic output in the United States by the year 2100.

What is $500 B small in comparison to, in financial terms? Yes, that's right: the US GDP, currently $20 T or if you like, $20,000 B. By 2100 it will be - go on, let's guess a round number - $50,000 B; and so $500 B is 1% of that.

Throwing away 1% of GDP is not something you want to do wantonly3. Which is why you shouldn't adopt the policies in the Green New Deal, because they would cause far more damage than that. Just look at Venezuela4.

Refs


* Having said all that, for balance I should give you someone who likes it: David Roberts.
* David Appell isn't keen on all aspects.
Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius. I must find somewhere to work this is.
The case of the reviewer who said cite me or I won’t recommend acceptance of your work.
* Making Tracks in the US - Eli.
* They Live.
* Utopia now: The problem with the Green New Deal: A deeply unserious proposal to tackle climate change - the Economist.
* Republicans Have Better Solutions to Climate Change say Greg Walden, Fred Upton & John Shimkus. Their solution is to do nothing; this is better than the GND, but their inability to say "carbon tax" condemns them.
* Another way to fail: Bernie for President says Tamino.

Notes


1. Appropriate, no? And the women all were beautiful / And the men stood straight and strong / They offered life in sacrifice / So that others could go on. / Hate was just a legend / And war was never known / The people worked together / And they lifted many stones / They carried them to the flatlands / And they died along the way / But they built up with their bare hands / What we still can't do today2. Everything was harmonious, and even the human sacrifice was done in an ethnically appropriate manner.

2. This annoys me. Of course we could do it today, if we wanted to. This isn't LotR world, or Plato's Age of Iron looking dimly back to an Age of Gold.

3. Yes, I know. There's a long difficult and currently-inconclusive argument to be had about how accurate any such estimates are, and whether they wildly underestimate the true damages. But today I'm just trying to talk about Timeo Civilibus et dona ferentes.

4. Or that nice Mr Lenin. You may think the pic "unfair". But I like it, and the song.

2019-02-07

Moah costs and benefits

While ATTP tries and fails to find common ground with JC, I rather liked the pic which he found over at Reducing greenhouse gas emissions helps the economy by Patrick T. Brown, PhD1. In the end, it will turn out that there's less to the picture than meets the eye, but it isn't a view I was familiar with, so worth looking.

We start from the assumption that we're on the blue dot at the moment: which is to say, we're burning as much fossil fuel as we possibly can, consistent with making a fast buck. This is obviously a heavy idealisation but I think it is in principle trueish. And from this and smoothness assumptions, we can deduce that the shape of the marginal benefit curve of extra emissions is flat at the point we're at. And therefore we can deduce that as long as the shape of the marginal costs is negative, as we'd plausibly expect, then the "optimal" emissions - if all was accounted for - would be less than they are now.

This is little different from the familiar idea that "social cost of carbon" represents an uninternalised externality consequent on FF burning, and if costed in would reduce FF burning by increasing its costs. Although what this figure does it make it clearer that adding in SCC doesn't then reduce your "optimal" emissions to zero.

If we continue with ATTPs thoughts, we come to It’s already clear that there are economic (and other) benefits to emitting less than we otherwise could. Of course, this doesn’t tell us how much less we should emit, but it does tell us that some kind of optimal pathway involves some level of emission reductions. And here we hit the problems. Firstly, indeed, this kind of schematic gives us little clue as to how big the "optimal" reductions might be - indeed they might be trivial - and the Nordhaus stuff he inlines indicate an "optimal" pathway with apparently flatlining emissions; we've already talked about whether this is plausible or not. But there's also the problem that there's no control knob on the economy marked "FF burning", other than the one we're not prepared to use, carbon taxes2. And this is a problem because you only get to quote the "optimal" results if you do it in the optimal way. If you do it in a distinctly non-optimal way by subsidies and regulation, you get a non-optimal result.

Notes


1. Don't tell anyone, but PTB credits it to Tol. Look closer; his name is even on it.

2. Or cap-n-trade, which is worse.

2019-02-02

A note on fossil fuel subsidies

In the course of discussions on GW, one often encounters statements like direct subsidies for fossil fuels amount to more than US $500 billion per year worldwide. In this case, because of the magic word "direct", you can probably trust that the number is plausible. However, there still remains the problem of interpretation. Who is the statement aimed at? Apparently, the people and government of the West. Unfortunately, that page doesn't really provide references (it makes some token towards them, but since nothing is connected or annotated, their "references" are useless). Some Googling gets me Direct Fossil Fuel Subsidies Worldwide: Half a Trillion Dollars Annually - commentary and findings, whereupon it becomes clear that the numbers are most of a decade old, but never mind (actually it is a bit worse that that, because although the headline is $500B, and the text carelessly says "roughly $500 billion in 2010", as the graphic shows the number is $409B, which does not naturally round to $500B). We discover that $125B comes from Iran+Saudi, quelle surprise. Russia+China are another $60, and India (madly; but their pols are perhaps even more broken that others) are $22B. For a grand total of most of half the $500B more than half of $409B. and we haven't gone anywhere near the West yet.

But wait, it gets worse. The number for India is very badly out of date; this for example suggests "only" $8B in 2017. And if I then poke around, I find that the global total for 2017 is "only" $300B.

So, isn't this just a bit shit? How come that of the proudly-touted list of 3200 Belgische wetenschappers en academici, not one of them could be bothered to source their statements properly or check the numbers?

Anyway, here's a fuller pic, from the IEA. As you'll see, and as you'd probably expect, it's a pile of tin-pot energy-banana-republics.

tinpot

Which of course points you to the solution: it's nothing to do with GW, or subsidies specifically; it's "better governance".

Refs

* Imaginary $500B not enough for you? Why not go for $5T instead?
How to decarbonize? More free market!
* Schumpeterian Profits in the American Economy: Theory and Measurement by William D. Nordhaus; NBER Working Paper No. 10433
* The marten menace: What’s cute, furry and can disable a particle accelerator?
Corruption is still rife around the world - Economist
Analysis: Why the UK’s CO2 emissions have fallen 38% since 1990 - Zeke Hausfather

2019-02-01

L'affaire Christy

50837219_2006761279392719_3327335112948842496_n John Christy has been appointed to an EPA panel, and people are sad. For an example of a plausible response1, I offer you John Christy Was Just Named An EPA Science Adviser. His Climate Studies Have Been Repeatedly Corrected, from BuzzFeed. For an implausible example, you can have Scientist Who Rejects Warming Is Named to EPA Advisory Board from NotReallyVerySciAm. They kinda give the game away in their subheader: John Christy has advocated for the repeal of regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. This is a crime in NRVSciAm world.

But what are JC's actual crimes? He was one of the first to push the federal government to conduct a “red team, blue team” debate on climate science. That was a decade ago. Now he wants to use his new perch on the agency’s Science Advisory Board to challenge climate science consensus. I noticed him arguing for a Red Team in 2017, along side the other JC, and I'm afraid his arguments didn't impress. But, meh. The Red Teamers are a bunch of clowns who have  hidden behind no-one actually bothering to run a Red Team; if Christy wants to stand up and present his errors to the panel, they'll get rebutted.

There’s a benefit, not a cost, to producing energy from carbon, NRVSciAm report JC as saying, and so contemptible is this statement that they don't even bother to attempt to refute it. But, it is true: burning FFs has benefits and costs; if you want to reduce it to one number of (benefit - cost) then it is a net benefit2.

But wait: NRVSciAm has When asked what his first priority would be as a member of the SAB, Christy said he would try to convince his colleagues that nature is responsible for rising temperatures, not people. If those were JC's actual words, then they would have him bang to rights. But of course they aren't JCs words. Instead, we have “I think it would be to demonstrate to the board what we know about climate and its variability and what’s really going on,” Christy said. “And secondly is our inability to characterize it well with our models.” Notice that NRVSciAm cant let you read JC's words without pre-interpreting for you, just in case you might make up your own mind. I'm not convinced that our inability to characterize it well with our models is particularly accurate but it's within the bounds of reasonable debate.

In contrast to the apparent panic at NRVSciAm at one not-one-of-us getting onto the EPA panel, Gavin rather wisely appears unperturbed: If they want to waste their time going after the endangerment finding, they’re just wasting their time, and better that they waste their time than they do something actually destructive.

Notes


1. In the headline, and much of the article. I think their starting a history of botched research is unjust. They made mistakes, and we're exactly that forthcoming when others found their mistakes, but meh; that's not unusual. For something I wrote in 2010, try here; but there's loads more history on this one.

2. We've done this before. Remember?

Refs


* Twatter reminds me of John Christy, Richard McNider and Roy Spencer trying to overturn mainstream science by rewriting history and re-baselining graphs by Bart Verheggen from 2014. Which won't improve your view of JC.
* Symposium: Government agencies shouldn’t get to put a thumb on the scales by Jonathan H. Adler: on Auer deference, as compared to Chevron deference.
* [[UAH satellite temperature dataset]]