McKinsey: fundamental transformation of global economy needed for net zero

Is a report from McKinsey, according to the Graun. Normally I think McK would be evil multi-national consultants, but here they're saying what the Graun wants to print, so they're fine. Reaching net zero climate emissions by 2050 will require a “fundamental transformation of the global economy”... estimates that $9.2tn will need to be invested every year for decades to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5C and end the climate emergency. The sum is a 60% increase on current investment levels and equivalent to half of global corporate profits. And, says McK itself, and one-quarter of total tax revenue in 2020, 15 percent of gross fixed capital formation, and 7 percent of household spending.

McK provide a large number of words and lots of numbers that I have no intention of reading unless someone forces me; I'm more interested in the broad-brush question of whether this is all plausible. Current world GDP is about $81T, so on their numbers they are asking for more than 10% of GDP investing in green transition (there may be some GDP-keeps-growing stuff in there, though, because their own calculation is more like 7.5%)1.

Anyway, I don't want to pretend to analyse this stuff in detail, just draw attention to it; because these numbers seem a little on the high side to be practical, to me.

On a more cheerful note, Auke Hoekstra has revised his PV-actually-built-vs-projections graph, and once again the actually-built way exceeds projections. This is my hope.


1. If you think their numbers are larger than some others, you are probably right. They explain: Other research to date has largely focused on estimating required energy investment. Here we expand this to include additional spending categories such as assets that use energy (for example, the full cost of passenger cars and heat pumps), capital expenditures in agriculture and forestry, and some continued spend in high-emissions physical assets like fossil fuel–based vehicles and power assets. As a result, our estimates exceed to a meaningful degree the $3 trillion to $4.5 trillion of annual spending for the net-zero transition that others have estimated.


What is Market Urbanism?

Nuclear power and renewable energy are both associated with national decarbonization - bit weird this needs saying, but you know some people. This is a response to Sovacool, who appears to have form.

* Hanania Highlights by Bryan Caplan: Public Choice Theory and the Illusion of Grand Strategy and Sanctions and Asylum.

If writing down your ideas always makes them more precise and more complete, then no one who hasn't written about a topic has fully formed ideas about it. And someone who never writes has no fully formed ideas about anything nontrivial - Paul Graham.

* Ford and GM: Bearers of Socialist Culture? by Pierre Lemieux.

Marmalade Training Camp - JEB

Overestimating the Human Influence on the Economic Costs of Extreme Weather Events - Patrick T. Brown critiquing the "Fraction of Attributable Risk" of Myles Allen (2003) used in Frame (2020) for Harvey; via Twatter.

* R E S T A R T I N G UK SHALE GAS by Tim Worstall via the Evil NetZeroWatch people.

Link blog: docker, container - Paul Wright

Should We Expect More from Our Elected Officials? - Volokh, 2018.

Legal Systems Very Different from Ours

Australia's biggest coal-fired power plant to shut in 2025


Climate blogging in a post-truth era: Opportunities for action and interaction

PXL_20220114_114839830 A thesis, by Georgios Zoukas. Even though it has my name in it, I didn't read it all I'm afraid. Still, it is close to The dim and distant history of climate blogging.

As it says, The analysis shows that the main purpose that the mainstream scientist produced climate blogs appear to have in common consists in filling  the information gap existing in the communication of climate change and addressing the mis/disinformation disseminated through the mainstream media and the internet. Which is fair, and probably shows you why such blogs are declining: pretty well everyone now accepts the physical science as expounded by the IPCC, except the outright nutters, and most sane people have stopped caring about them.


* Inflation Is Still Too Low by Bryan Caplan


Mind-gargling ignorance just doesn't aid in saving the planet

PXL_20220108_151520207 It's a Timmy-vs-Georgie fight; I know who my money is on. Monbiot's starter is here (or was; the clowns have moved it to here5) and Timmy's reply is here. Let's hope he has cleaned up his HTML by the time you come to look. If, that is, you can bear to pollute your browsing history. Perhaps you prefer a safe archive?

Anyway, exactly what GM's brilliant idea to save the planet is I don't know, because I didn't bother to watch to the end; what I'm interested in is shamelessly repeating Timmy's argument, because GM's idea / analogy is all too common. It is, stripped down: during the 2008 banking crisis we urgently threw money at the problem; if we were to take Global Warming seriously we would urgently throw money at... something. This is an argument designed to appeal to greed and envy, and to trigger our sense of fairness3.

But as Timmy points out, the banking crisis was, errm, a banking crisis. The problem was money, and so the solution was money2. That isn't true of GW. You can, if you like, say that the problem is Capitalism1; but even so, the problem still isn't money. Indeed, as Timmy points out, one way to interpret GM's stuff is that his solution is less economy: we should all consume less. So the solution is... less money; well, no. The solution is directing our economy towards lower CO2 emissions, and doing so in an efficient fashion, because more efficiency means less CO24. Also known as carbon taxes.


* Ain't no use in prayin' That's the way it's stayin', baby / Johnny ain't so crazy He's always got a line for the ladies.

* Priests and cannibals, prehistoric animals / Everybody happy as the dead come home.

The Myth of the Myth of the Lone Genius.

* Two types of environmentalism by Scott Sumner.

Stalin Allowed The Proles To See The Grapes Of Wrath.

Do Climate Models predict Extreme Weather? - Sabine Hossenfelder.

In Praise of Jurisdictional Competition - DB.


Tema Okun's "White Supremacy Culture" work is bad.

* The Best Argument Against School Closures by Bryan Caplan.

* Catering to People's Needs by Pierre Lemieux.


1. FWIW, I don't think that is a good diagnosis, except to the extent that C has enabled us to grow so much richer that we're capable of causing problems like this.

2. Of course, that doesn't imply that what was done was optimal, or even correct; but that's another matter.

3. GM gets rather loathesome about this around 5:26. Why, he wonders, do pols not do what he wants? His speculation as to why is all you'd expect from him and his ilk: that the pols are corrupt and moneyed interests want otherwise. But whilst money is important, so are votes: if voters wanted their money spent by govts fixing GW, it would be done. But they don't. And they are aided and abetted in this by pols and the likes of GM.

4. Alas, the squareheads are having a hard time with this idea.

5. Amusingly the URL has changed from h"how-the-number-25-can-save-the-world" to "the-tipping-point-that-will-destroy-the-world". I should probably also add that GM is rabbiting on about science that he doesn't understand and that is pretty dubious.


Climate change: Small army of volunteers keeping deniers off Wikipedia?

IMG_20220108_144354_010 So says Aunty. Or Wikipedia has for so long been plagued by climate change denial. But a group of dedicated volunteers around the world is working tirelessly to keep the deniers at bay. Or They [Denialist's]'ve been waging an editing war to get their views across. But it isn't true.

It was true years ago. See The dim and distant history of Global Warming on Wiki: the GW wars. But that was more than a decade ago. Since then the denialists on wiki are a spent force; indeed, there aren't really any denialists; we have more trouble with enthusiastic but not quite competent people trying to improve things like the Greenhouse effect. Or, jut, articles that no-one gets round to fixing. For myself, I haven't touched the Global Warming article since the clowns decided to rename it Climate Change. Instead, what seems to have happened is that the true nutters - the WUWT type folk - have instead in their own minds innoculated themselves (how ironic) against wiki, and decided that they don't care what it says.

Nowadays we get nutters one at a time, who make a few perfunctory edits, get reverted, and are never heard from again.

I probably sound bitter and twisted, because they didn't interview me. Well I am bitter and twisted, of course, but not because of that. I corresponded with the nice MS, but preferred not to be interviewed; although that may have been a different project.


* The Good Group by Bryan Caplan


Two views of democracy

PXL_20220102_140852070 Taken from Joseph "Creative Destruction" Schumpeter's classic "Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy", about which I shall have more to say later. But this is just about one aspect, largely ignored in the wiki article to which I lunk: the definition of democracy1. Should you be unfamiliar with this work it is available here; the relevant chapters are XXI and XXII, in which he provides firstly the "classical" definition and then his alternative.

He offers two definitions of the democratic method, which is that institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions... in the "classical" case
...which realizes the common good by making the people itself decide issues through the election of individuals who are to assemble in order to carry out its will
and his alternate is:
...in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for the people’s vote.
The classical definition is of course the one that people feel allegiance to, will go to the barricades for, and so on. The alternate, we immeadiately see, is more realistic. If I now go and look at the wiki article I get Democracy... is a form of government in which the people ... to choose governing officials to [deliberate and decide legislation]... Cornerstones of democracy include freedom of assembly, association and speech, inclusiveness and equality, citizenship, consent of the governed, voting rights, freedom from unwarranted governmental deprivation of the right to life and liberty, and minority rights. Later, in the "theory" section, there is a somewhat confused discussion. Although wiki lists some "cornerstones" we should note that although these are largely preconditions for democracy, they have no unique connection to it: it is easy to imagine an autocracy that offered most of them.

That's mostly it for this post; I could analyse further but you take the point, I'm sure; and if you want further analysis, I've pointed you to the text. This is a good point to note that I don't believe in the Will of the People; per for example this. I will confess that you an re-write the "classical" defn above to get rid of some but not all of the WOTP bits2.

Update: and Brexit

I don't want to derail this with Brexit ranting, but I think it is interesting to consider Brexit in this context. The point being that "compete for votes" very often turns into the major political parties taking opposite stances upon issues-de-jour. Which, in turn, generally means that you-the-voter have a way of choosing between those issues. Admittedly, it is crude: you get one choice to represent all the choices; but when one issue is overwhelmingly important, it works. Which is why Brexit is anomalous: both Labour and The Tories are currently in favour of make-Brexit-work; the Lib Dems offer (archWe’re consulting on our next steps laying out our approach to the UK’s relationship with the EU.



1. We are all aware that definitions, per Popper, need to be considered in practical rather than Platonic terms to have any use.
2. I can manage by making the people itself decide issues through the election of individuals who are to assemble in order to carry out (their) will(s), which erases "the common good" at the expense of losing any purpose; but can't quite erase the ghost of the WOTP. I ought to confess that when young and foolish I have used the phrase myself; if you care enough to press me I will bring the two into conformance.