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« Gross loss | Main | Spiking the Marcott hockey stick »
Wednesday
Apr032013

Comedy climate 

The social science community has launched its latest comedy contribution to the climate debate in the shape of a paper by sociologists Dunlap and Jacques. The article seeks to link authors of sceptic books to conservative think tanks and takes a cursory glance at how many have been peer reviewed, although the authors don't seem to have actually done any actual work on this latter question.

Anyway, needless to say The Hockey Stick Illusion is included, and I am flagged as having no apparent links to conservative think tanks. My publisher, Stacey International, is however noted as being an "overtly conservative" publishing house, which I think might be news to them.

It's interesting to note how Dunlap and Jacques selected their papers:

Our data set consists of the population of English-language books assigned an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) that espouse various forms of climate change denial. These books reject evidence that global warming is occurring, that human actions are the predominant cause of global warming, and/or that global warming will have negative impacts on human and natural systems. hese arguments have been labeled trend, attribution, and impact denial (Rahmstorf, 2004). Books were included only if they take one or more of these positions challenging climate science, all of which are used to reject the necessity of carbon emission reductions.

The Hockey Stick Illusion presumably warrants inclusion under the first criterion since it rejects the hockey stick as being any sort of evidence that global warming has occurred. Of course, as readers here know, I do not dispute that the world got a little warmer at the end of the last century, and indeed I say so in the book, so I think nobody can accuse me of rejecting all evidence that global warming is occurring.

But of course that is not the criterion that the authors use. It seems that their somewhat more relaxed criterion is that if you reject any evidence of global warming you are an advocate of "climate change denial".

Which I think says more about the authors and their religious conviction than it does about me.

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Reader Comments (90)

Two things stick in my mind about sociologists. The first was during a discussion with a sociologists he announced grandly that: "There are no absolute truths", without the slightest consciousness of what he'd just said.

The second was during my studies for my masters our department was next to the Social Science Department and I passed a lecturer in the corridor who was telling a student to write a dissertation on "the rise of racism in Britain", apparently under the impression that racism was unique in the modern era.

I blame it on the comprehensives.

Apr 4, 2013 at 7:56 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

"Peter J. Jacques is associate professor of political science at the University of Central Florida and the managing executive editor of the Journal of Environmental Science and Studies".

How does a professor of polical science become the chief editor of a (putative) science journal (featuring in it's inaugural issue a tribute to Stephen Schneider and and article by Paul Ehrlich)? http://link.springer.com/journal/13412/1/1/page/1 Perhaps politics is more important in their worldview than science?

Apr 4, 2013 at 8:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff

Thank you HaroldW. I've now registered, but I don't see how I can edit my previous post. Perhaps there is no retrospective absolution.

While I agree with many of the criticisms here of Dunlap and Jacques (and Lewandowsky) please do not judge all social science by their standards. There are indeed many of us who feel bound by the principles of logic and the requirement for reason and evidence. Would you write off genetics because of Lysenko?

There are many good political scientists, economists, psychologists and sociologists. They should be judged on their rigour and their avoidance of rhetorical tricks like 'denier'. Many of them, however, lack any decent science. (I'm a lapsed med student, so have first year university physics, chemistry, zoology, plus some anatomy, physiology and biochemistry and have some bench laboratory experience - though I have now forgotten most of what I once knew about the post-natal histology of the ductus arterioles in rabbits). They are therefore prone to except the dominant meme, especially if it sits comfortably with their ideology.

Sure, many mistake pamphleteering for scholarship, but please don't tar us all with the same brush.

Apr 4, 2013 at 8:28 AM | Registered Commenteraynsleykellow

Thank you HaroldW. I've now registered, but I don't see how I can edit my previous post. Perhaps there is no retrospective absolution.

The ability to edit something you just posted lasts around ¼ hour for registered users.

The "preview post" button is useful. But it is utterly amazing how errors are invisible prior to hitting the "Create Post" button after which they stand out as if in flashing dayglo.

Apr 4, 2013 at 8:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterBig Oil

O/T but I found some more climate comedy - see Unthreaded.

Apr 4, 2013 at 8:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterSJF

Dear Prof. Kellow, we know not all polical scientists, sociologists and psychologists are leftist kooks, but there does seem to be a larger number than usual. Must be the millieu.

Loved your book (Science And Public Policy) but a bit expensive (I know it's not your fault).

I miss sociologist Steven Goldberg (When Wish Replaces Thought: Why So Much of What You Believe is False).

Apr 4, 2013 at 9:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff

Seems to be common. I am currently reading this book: You Are Not So Smart: Why Your Memory is Mostly Fiction, Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself.

Pop social science.

Whilst claiming to use science as a rational bedrock, it uses global warming "denial" as an example of denial. If you question CAGW you are deluded. Yet the book is useful in explaining some of the social elements to the CAGW promotion. The author cannot see that though, or the irony.

Apr 4, 2013 at 9:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

They say "These books reject evidence that global warming is occurring" and "espouse various forms of climate change denial"
As it is now accepted on all sides that temperature has not changed for about 17 years (depending on the data set) we are in what David Whitehouse called in his recent paper a Constant. Therefore there has been no climate change for 17 years either up or down, so the term denier is redundant in this context.

Apr 4, 2013 at 9:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterForester126

I think we should be grateful to them for providing a very useful reading list in the appendix.
Of course it's regrettable that they don't include HTD, presumably they wrote the paper before that came out.
A useful project might be to scan and digitise the list and keep it updated as new books come in.

Apr 4, 2013 at 9:26 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Sociology: the art of investigating the obvious at other people's expense

The art of writing books without the need of readers.

Apr 4, 2013 at 9:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Aynsley, can you confirm that the 78% figure quoted by Leslie Cannold comes from the 2008 paper you mentioned? Her being a PhD and all, she didn't find it necessary to cite a source.

I wish you could get an e-version of your book available at an affordable price.

As for the perversion of disciplines like psychology and economics, it has set in over the last few decades for several reasons IMO. One is that university education has been widened to include many people who would never have made the cut previously. For example, when I was a student at the ANU in the 1970s, the psychology and especially economics degrees had a strong mathematical and statistical compulsory component. These have been progressively watered down.

Further, psychology is seen as a soft option for people who want a degree, are "interested in what makes people tick" but are otherwise clueless. Too often, they are hoping to find out what makes them tick. Then, Lord help us, some of them become social welfare workers and start interfering in other people's lives. Others become academics who seek to explain why everyone doesn't agree with their worldview.

I am still intrigued by this percentage of books metric. Do books get weighted by ... err ... weight? Do sales and distribution count? Do accuracy or level of research make any difference, and if so, how, and who decides?

They might as well throw chicken bones.

Apr 4, 2013 at 10:00 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Forester126 says: "As it is now accepted on all sides that temperature has not changed for about 17 years".

But it isn't.

Have a look at SKS is you have a strong stomach. Or many other sites. The tactic has simply switched, and now it's all about ocean heat content and hidden warming and underlying trends and masking ENSO and a variety of other techniques that can "prove" that the "apparent" lack of temperature rise for 17 years is a denialist illusion.

Apr 4, 2013 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

Here is a video of a Matt Briggs lecture entitled "Statistical Follies and Epidemiology" - it's very good.

http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=6142

Apr 4, 2013 at 11:28 AM | Registered CommenterJosh

Johanna,
I've had a quick look at the 2008 version:

Peter J. Jacques, Riley E. Dunlap & Mark Freeman'The organisation of denial: Conservative think tanks and environmental scepticism'
Environmental Politics, Volume 17, Issue 3, 2008, pages 349-385.

DOI:10.1080/09644010802055576

A search for '78' yielded no results, so I'm not sure if Dr Cannold has used the data to do her own analysis or is drawing on some other 'research'.

Incidentally, one can obtain a PhD in ethics - there is a strong disciplinary basis for that activity, and I was fortunate (as I acknowledge in the Preface to Science and Public Policy) to do mine (at Hons level, not PhD) with James R Flynn - discoverer of the Flynn Effect. Flynn - not an educational psychologist - discovered something the entire discipline had overlooked (one reason why I value sceptical enquiry, and would never rule out the contributions of those 'not qualified').

My book is available as an e-book at Elgar Online, but I'm not sure of the price. The editor who worked on it wanted me to write a kind of 'condensed version' for the layman, but we only get professional credit for academic works. Elgar is as good a press as I have published with (and I have two with Cambridge - No. 1 in Political Science), but the economics of academic publishing are not favourable. I suspect the physical book will not be with us much longer, but in the meantime I'm glad anyone with good standards will publish my work.

Apr 4, 2013 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterAynsley Kellow

The books listed in the appendix.

At one time, a large religious organization maintained a list of naughty books. Has any reader ever seen the list, and if so, did he or she find it a source of worthwhile reading?

On social "sustainability"

A list of contemporary sub-department names might reveal a higher than chance frequency of words-du-jour. A group with an especially well-laden series of names could find itself funded by a government agency that thought it was supporting something with a bit of green tinge to it.

Some of the wits here might contribute some names which a group aspiring to the government dole might adopt. In fact, it might be fun to maintain such a list in the bishop's attic and occasionally test to detect whether any had found their way into actual use.

Some of the longer of tooth may recognize "The Grace L. Ferguson Sustainable Storm Door and Airline Company."

Apr 4, 2013 at 11:57 AM | Registered Commenterjferguson

The paper itself is a self-parody of silly superficial sociological groupthink, but as Paul Matthews notes

I think we should be grateful to them for providing a very useful reading list in the appendix.

When the sun rises in the dawn of the post-apocalyptical-CO2 era, we shall surely want to see a great many of those books on the shelves of schoolteachers, and others concerned with the spreading of knowledge and the exposure of shoddy thinking, political indoctrination, and destructive policy-making.

Apr 4, 2013 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

But your publisher published your skeptic book - so by lefty definition they must be 'overtly conservative' because they publish skeptic book(s). They only have to step out of line once to be labelled by alarmists.

Apr 4, 2013 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterWoodsy42

Aynsley - thanks for your response - so it is unclear what Leslie Cannold was referring to. I think it's rather funny in the context of her argument, though. Was there someone else out there putting books on the scales?

Re ethics training - I did my Master's thesis on public sector ethics, and deplore the level that discussion of these issues has fallen to. My thesis was devoid of partisanship. Mind you, that was relatively easy because it focused on the history of NSW, where honest governments have been the exception rather than the rule, no matter who was in charge. :)

There is a real problem with the infiltration of universities with people who conflate their personal - and usually leftist - views with ethics. "Ethics" is now presented as things like supporting anti-discrimination, human rights, even animal rights, legislation. This dumbing-down has resulted in pop celebrities like Cannold gaining traction.

They just don't get that having an ethical approach precludes taking sides in advance.

Apr 4, 2013 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohanna

Perhaps their mentor is Lewandowsky?

Apr 4, 2013 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterlurker, passing through laughing

I can imagine a Josh cartoon with two academic types admiring a door with the Unit name containing almost all of the current buzz words.

Apr 4, 2013 at 12:54 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

Johanna's quote near the top of the thread (April 3, 11.21pm) is quite interesting to consider: "Climate change deniers are largely funded by conservative think-tanks that are, in turn, backed by some of the biggest and wealthiest carbon-emitting corporates on the planet."

So which organisations correspond to "some of the biggest and wealthiest carbon-emitting corporates on the planet"? Is it to be inferred these are the evil fossil fuel companies? Because if so we should remind ourselves that fossil fuel companies sell the stuff, they don't burn it themselves. The "carbon-emitting" is done by their customers such as Joe Public heating their homes, driving their cars, travelling on buses, trains etc.

So who are the "biggest and wealthiest carbon-emitting corporates"? Can anyone name some examples?

Apr 4, 2013 at 1:03 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

I flicked through to the end of the appendix to see what books from France were referenced. I see that Christian Gerondeau is associated with that sinister conservative think tank the École nationale des ponts et chaussées. And there was me thinking it was a prestigious institution for training civil engineers.

Marcel Leroux is down as associated with something called 21st Century Associates. I tried Googling and found a firm of mechanical engineers in Belfast. (That's not it.) I tried looking up Source Watch and found a fundamentalist Christian organisation in Dallas. (Doubt it.) I tried Google again using 21st Century and Leroux and found Jacques's 2009 book. (I give up.)

Apr 4, 2013 at 1:13 PM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

jferguson @ 11.57 Opus Dei allegedly have a book list divided into 6 categories -

1. Books that can be read by all, even children; for example, Heidi, Marco, some stories of the Grimm Brothers, and all books written by members of Opus Dei.

2. Reading generally recommended, although it may require a little formation. In the libraries of the centers, the public, numeraries and associate members have access to books with the 1 and 2 ratings.

3. Books that can be read by those who have formation. The books may have inconvenient scenes or commentaries. Permission is needed by their spiritual director.

4. Books that can be read by those who have formation and have a necessity to read them. Permission is needed by their spiritual director.

5. Books that are not possible to be read, except with special permission from the advisory (in New York).

6. Prohibited reading. In order to read them permission is needed by the Prelate of Opus Dei (in Rome).

Available at 1. Books that can be read by all, even children; for example, Heidi, Marco, some stories of the Grimm Brothers, and all books written by members of Opus Dei.

2. Reading generally recommended, although it may require a little formation. In the libraries of the centers, the public, numeraries and associate members have access to books with the 1 and 2 ratings.

3. Books that can be read by those who have formation. The books may have inconvenient scenes or commentaries. Permission is needed by their spiritual director.

4. Books that can be read by those who have formation and have a necessity to read them. Permission is needed by their spiritual director.

5. Books that are not possible to be read, except with special permission from the advisory (in New York).

6. Prohibited reading. In order to read them permission is needed by the Prelate of Opus Dei (in Rome).

1. Books that can be read by all, even children; for example, Heidi, Marco, some stories of the Grimm Brothers, and all books written by members of Opus Dei.

2. Reading generally recommended, although it may require a little formation. In the libraries of the centers, the public, numeraries and associate members have access to books with the 1 and 2 ratings.

3. Books that can be read by those who have formation. The books may have inconvenient scenes or commentaries. Permission is needed by their spiritual director.

4. Books that can be read by those who have formation and have a necessity to read them. Permission is needed by their spiritual director.

5. Books that are not possible to be read, except with special permission from the advisory (in New York).

6. Prohibited reading. In order to read them permission is needed by the Prelate of Opus Dei (in Rome).

Available at http://www.odan.org/index_forbidden_books_new.htm Needless to say, I've read quite a few of the 5 & 6 category

Apr 4, 2013 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterpalantir

Karl Popper, a philosopher, pointed out - many years since - that scientific progress depends on occasionally backing-out of scientific regress via the refutation of some "established'' theory which happens not to be true. Any such process of refutation, removal and replacement requires a social process dependent upon free speech and the permitted association of sceptical academics and laity, both for and against.

That, and no post-modern model of the social production of ideology, is the correct approach - as is understood by not a few decent sociologists.

Apr 4, 2013 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterBob Layson

They are correct. You are very right wing and the GWPF is a pathetic collection of the geriatric, oil sponsored right. The American opposition is the same, the loony right. It is stigmatise the opposition to AGW as idiot, right wing scum.

Apr 4, 2013 at 2:40 PM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

esmiff: We don't use words like "scum" here, save it for the warmist blogs where the loonies hang out in droves. Furthermore, we are educated enough to understand that "oppostition to AGW" has no meaning. People can range from not believing it to believing it, but no one can oppose it.

It is no secret to me that people who believe that the world is warming and that humans are causing it and that there will be disasters fall into the "control" category. The "control" category range from politicians who want to control the people, not serve them, religious groups, environmentalists and other lobby groups who want to control the way every human being on the planet lives their lives. To them the CAGW scare is a god-send it allows them to gain control without having the irksome task of asking the people if that's what they want.

Now what I don't understand is that they are supported by thousands of Gollum type commentators, like yourself, who spit bile at anyone who doesn't believe that scientists can foretell the future. Do you know why you feel the need to hiss abuse at people who don't agree with your, less than scientific, knowledge on the topic of weather and climate? I suggest you take a moment to try to understand why you'd want to be so insolent to people you don't know.

Unless, of course, it's the time honoured coward's way of living out their heroism. Anonymous and from afar.

Apr 4, 2013 at 4:11 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

geronimo

I am a 99% denier. I believe that Lawson, Monckton, Heritage Foundation etc. have been paid by by the oil industry to make people like me look like right wing nutters. That is the Guardian's main argument. Deniers are right wing and stupid. Montford's article made in The Spectator filled me with contempt, I must admit. His work is excellent, his politics despicable.


This is the truth as I see it.

GREEN CAPITALISM: Manufacturing Scarcity in an Age of Abundance by James Heartfield -

http://www.heartfield.org/


Review -Putting the hippies on the payroll

http://www.culturewars.org.uk/2008-03/heartfield.htm

Apr 4, 2013 at 4:22 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

If I were a (young) social scientist, who realized or was shown that discrediting skeptics would be a worthwhile endeavor, I would try my very hardest to be clever, accurate and even a bit subtle in my work. I'd throw myself at it, going for A or A+ knowing full well it would be scrutinized by the world-wide skeptic community.

So it really makes me wonder about work like this (and Lewandowsky as well obviously). It's really quite sloppy, amateurish and unprofessional. Is there a required speed of publication that causes this? Is it incompetence? Is it that they are so smug and confident that they just don't care?

And the same thing seems to be happening in the hard science aspect as well, re: the Marcott paper. If they thought their movement was falling apart, wouldn't they try to sharpen up a bit?

Apr 4, 2013 at 5:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeC

That is curious, as you say, MikeC. I think part of the explanation is that they are part of an academic culture that is all but incapable of self-criticism. They can attack others readily, but their own core beliefs are special and are not to be critically examined. They may not even mix with people who have the competence to examine them critically and the courage to point out flaws.

This sort of culture is described in an essay here about a 'Bowdoin College' in the States: http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2013/04/what_happens_today_at_a_libera.html

Extract:

These are notions not meaningfully "open to debate" at Bowdoin; indeed, a commitment to global citizenship requires that they not be open to debate. Students are encouraged to "think critically" about anything that threatens the college's dogmas on diversity, multiculturalism, gender, and sustainability, etc., but, for the most part, not to think critically about those dogmas themselves. That is the problem: such contradictions go unnoticed. And they go unnoticed because at Bowdoin, and places like it, there are precious few people who can point them out.

Apr 4, 2013 at 5:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Well put, John Shade, as you often do.

Schoolkids today are allegedly being taught "critical thinking" instead of rote learning. But what they actually get is an exercise like "work out the best ways to save energy" or "how could our local community help to make the planet more sustainable" - I'm not making these up, they came from schools in my area.

It is a remarkable paradox that the hippie-inspired movement away from teaching children boring stuff which enables them to analyse data coincided with experiential and emotional teaching that was disguised as 'critical thinking.'

When I went to school, in Neolithic times, we got lots of propaganda in the mix. But, since we also learned boring stuff like arithmetic, maths and grammar, we left with some tools to sort the wheat from the chaff. Not least was the glimmering of knowledge that there was a difference between wheat and chaff.

As John Shade points out, unquestioned assumptions are deeply embedded in contemporary education. Those who scoff at former systems which promoted the white man's burden and the Empire should consider the restored oak beam in their own eye.

Apr 4, 2013 at 6:02 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

@mikec

'It's really quite sloppy, amateurish and unprofessional. Is there a required speed of publication that causes this? Is it incompetence? Is it that they are so smug and confident that they just don't care?

Don't discount the idea that they are just too stupid to notice. 'Sociology' has never been considered to be one of the more 'intellectually challenging' courses. To become a professor of such a subject doesn't seem too hard a task.......

Apr 4, 2013 at 7:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Oh come off it Bish, 97% of climate scientists know you're a potential manager for Sunderland! ;-)

Apr 4, 2013 at 7:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon

Re: Apr 4, 2013 at 6:02 PM | johanna

It's part of the UN Agenda 21 process where our kids are taught first and foremost to be 'good citizens' - it seems that these days the traditional education subjects are tacked around the political indoctrination.

"In 2002, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) produced curriculum
guidance for schools, identifying seven key concepts relating to ESD [Education for Sustainable Development], which provide
opportunities for pupils to learn and develop their understanding of ESD and apply it
to their lives both within the school and the wider community. These are:
• citizenship and stewardship
• sustainable change
• needs and rights of future generations
• interdependence
• diversity
• uncertainty and precaution
• quality of life, equity and justice.

http://www.eauc.org.uk/sorted/files/taking_the_first_step_forward_towards_an_education_for_sustainable_development.pdf

Apr 4, 2013 at 8:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

Complete link hopefully!!

http://www.eauc.org.uk/sorted/files/taking_the_first_step_forward_towards_an_education
_for_sustainable_development.pdf

Apr 4, 2013 at 9:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

@ Marion, this is exactly the curriculum we see developed in Canada in primary schools.

As for "deniers" we have learned they are conservatives, they are mentally ill, unstable, soon to be a danger, should be rounded up, in special places, reeducated and terminated if re-education is unsuccessful. This is a classical scheme of all openly "democratic" ideologies...

Apr 4, 2013 at 9:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterTomRude

Re: Apr 4, 2013 at 9:19 PM | TomRude

And the same inferences in Australian schools ....

This article is quite revealing as to how this sort of environmentalism is being pushed

"...This calculator helps children to determine how much of a "greenhouse pig" a person is by answering questions about how much the person spends and consumes. On the basis of these answers the calculator determines the person's CO2 consumption, which is depicted by making the cartoon "greenhouse pig" look bigger, fatter, dirtier and angrier. When the child has answered the questions they are instructed to click on a skull and cross-bones symbol to find out when the person should die, depicted by having the pig explode in a bloody cartoon mess leaving only a pool of blood and a curly tail...Aside from learning when they should die, children can also share in Greena's adventures as she battles against all sorts of politically incorrect villains. In Episode 10, which bears the subtitle "Meat Is Murder … But Who Is that Dodgy-Looking Sheep?" Greena sees a dim-witted skinhead eating lamb and drinking beer in a restaurant.[8] She consults her "Activist Tactical Field Guide," which tells her:

REMEMBER: Most meat eaters are total hypocrites. Try confronting them with a live version of their favourite meat. "

http://mises.org/daily/2997

and in the UK with that ghastly 10:10 video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-Mw5_EBk0g

Apr 4, 2013 at 10:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

I-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-e:

I love the fact in Dan Ariely's book that ethics books are among the most frequently stolen from libraries! Message: don't trust an ethicist

Apr 4, 2013 at 11:44 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

The discussion of 'environmental education' here is important - not just because of the correctness or otherwise of the values the educators seek to impart (and the ethics of them doing so), rather than developing the ability to think critically and sceptically.

But what I find particularly annoying is the fact that anyone would be stupid enough to think that the problems of environmental degradation are attributable to, and can be remedied by, the value systems of people. Its the institutions, stupid!

Markets and regulations - and other forms of institutions - cause even moral righteous people to behave in ways that give rise to externalities and common property resource problems. Meaning well is not enough. Such 'educationalists' betray most of what we social scientists know about social and environmental problems.

Similarly offensive is the claim that 'Big Oil' like Exxon Mobil have an interest in opposing action to decarbonise economies. After Gazprom, Exxon in #1 in natural gas, and these fools (Bob Ward and Lord May included) don't seem to have noticed that gas is doing rather well in attempts to decarbonise.

Apr 5, 2013 at 2:57 AM | Unregistered Commenteraynsleykellow

Markets and regulations - and other forms of institutions - cause even moral righteous people to behave in ways that give rise to externalities and common property resource problems.

Huh? I generally understand the English language fairly well, but don't have a clue what the above is trying to tell me.

Isn't it the job of the speaker to ensure that what he says is intelligible? Even an academic?

http://www.elsewhere.org/pomo/

Apr 5, 2013 at 8:28 AM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

Sorry Steveta - including for the delayed response (away with The Child rowing for the weekend).

Institutions consist of rules, norms regularised patterns of behaviour, etc that create the incentives for people to behave in particular ways. The Tragedy of the Commons, Prisoner's Dilemma, etc in game theory and rational choice theory are all examples of how rational conduct can lead to perverse outcomes.

Should have been 'morally righteous' - apologies for any confusion.

Apr 7, 2013 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterAynsley Kellow

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