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« Debunk alarm - Josh 336 | Main | Gray lady »
Monday
Jul132015

Integrity and scholarship at the LSE

Bob Ward and the Grantham Institute are jumping up and down this morning about a new paper the Institute has published. It's fair to say the conclusions of author Fergus Green, as reported in the Grantham Institute press release are striking:

Countries will benefit economically from almost all of the actions needed to limit global warming to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, according to a paper published today (PDF) (13 July 2015) by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy at London School of Economics and Political Science.

The paper suggests that individual countries have large incentives to make ambitious reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and to agree to strong collective action at the United Nations climate change conference in Paris in December.

Remarkable stuff, I'm sure you will agree, overturning much of what we thought we knew about the economics of global warming mitigation. It's even more surprising when you learn that Mr Green is not an economist at all, but a post-graduate student who was until recently a lawyer at a firm in Australia.

But even that is as nothing when set against the revelation that he has reached these conclusions without actually crunching any numbers! Here's an extract from the abstract:

This paper [develops] a unified conceptual framework for advancing and evaluating claims about the extent of mitigation action that could be done in states’ self-interest, defined (for the sake of facilitating debate) in terms of economic efficiency. The paper concludes that there is a strong prima facie case that the majority of the emissions reductions needed to decarbonise the global economy can be achieved in ways that are nationally net-beneficial to countries, even leaving aside the climate benefits. Accordingly, the default assumption in social science scholarship should be that actions to reduce emissions are nationally net-beneficial. The barriers to mitigation action lie, primarily, not in the macro-incentive structures of states (i.e. climate action is, mostly, not a tragedy of the commons / prisoner’s dilemma) but rather within the domestic sphere, at the intersection of domestic interests, institutions and ideas formed in the fossil fuel age.

Yes folks, what Mr Green has done is to develop a conceptual framework, with which he overturns decades of scholarship. On examining the paper, he seems to have split the alleged benefits of mitigation actions into direct benefits and a series of indirect and co-benefits, which he discusses considerable length, describing examples of each in qualitative terms. Then he considers the costs of mitigation actions in similar qualitative fashion, but brushing them aside in a page's worth of poo-poohing. Finally, he concludes:

The potential for nationally net-beneficial mitigation action across the individual categories...looks, from the theory and partial evidence adduced there, very large indeed. But even this category-by-category, summative approach belies the true scale of the potential for net-beneficial mitigation action that comes from considering the categories of actions together — particularly when the static co-benefits of individual actions are considered alongside the dynamic and systemic potential for reductions in direct costs associated with those actions, and alongside the potential benefits from even modest levels of coordination among a few key states...

All things considered, I conclude that there is a very strong prima facie case that most of the mitigation action needed to stay within the internationally-agreed 2°C limit is likely to be nationally net-beneficial.

Since there is a strong prima facie case that most of the global mitigation task is likely to be nationally net beneficial, this should become the default assumption concerning the nationally-specific net present value of mitigation actions; those who claim otherwise should bear the burden of proving otherwise.

This apparently is what passes for scholarship at the London School of Economics and we can all have a good laugh about it. It wouldn't be the first time an academic paper has failed to rise above primary school level. But now consider this excerpt from the press release:

The paper states: “All things considered, I conclude that there is a very strong case that most of the mitigation action needed to stay within the internationally-agreed 2°C limit is likely to be nationally net-beneficial."

This of course is not true because, as we have seen, the paper actually says that there is a strong "prima facie" case, and while this is not actually true either (or at least the paper doesn't make a serious attempt to demonstrate it), the important thing is that "a strong prima facie case" is a very different beast to "a strong case".

But hey, let's be charitable. Perhaps it was an accident. Maybe it got lost in translation. So let's consider the next quote from the press release:

The paper states that “the majority of the global emissions reductions needed to decarbonise the global economy can be achieved in ways that are nationally net-beneficial to countries, even leaving aside the ‘climate benefits’.”

...and here's the relevant excerpt from the paper:

It is on the basis of this theory and partial evidence that the paper concludes that there is at least a prima facie case that the majority of the global climate mitigation task — decarbonising the global economy within the present century — can be done through actions that are nationally net-beneficial for states.

"At least a prima facie case" based on "theory and partial evidence" eh? Different again.

So as you can see, the Grantham Institute is doctoring quotes from its own papers so as to hype the findings. What a surprise. What sort of a charlatan do they have in charge?

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Reader Comments (73)

Does Fergus Green have a first class honours degree in gobbledygook, or perhaps in 'creative writing' from the UEA?

Can anybody tell me what 'social science scholarship' is?

Jul 13, 2015 at 10:40 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Jeremy Grantham


Jeremy Grantham is a British investor and co-founder and chief investment strategist of Grantham Mayo van Otterloo (GMO), a Boston-based asset management firm. GMO is one of the largest managers of such funds in the world, having more than US $118 billion in assets under management as of March 2015

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Grantham

Jeremy Grantham's 2Q 2010 letter


Global warming will be the most important investment issue for the foreseeable future. But how to make money
around this issue in the next few years is not yet clear to me. In a fast-moving field rife with treacherous politics, there
will be many failures. Marketing a “climate” fund would be much easier than outperforming with it.


http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/05/02/207994/grantham-must-read-time-to-wake-up-days-of-abundant-resources-and-falling-prices-are-over-forever/

Jul 13, 2015 at 10:40 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

If you tell a lie often enough

Jul 13, 2015 at 10:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

About the "normal" quantity of BS from one of the LSE's crook funded lean-tos associated august intellectual powerhouses.

It terms of BS I came across some recent research that's of interest - given the recent talk about how depressed some "climate scientists" are it seems relevant - although sourcing the sheer quantity required looks logistically challenging. Perhaps "Professor" Lewandowski might be up for the challenge of attitude adjustment by poo transplant?

Also in the Irish Times this

Jul 13, 2015 at 10:55 AM | Registered Commentertomo

They seem to live in a vivid virtual reality world, ostensibly driven by fear to escape from the real one. The purpose of so much of their writing seems to be to provide background for scriptwriters of their fantasy tales. The Stern Report was made-to-measure for this, and this new piece of 'economics' follows in its wake. A deliberate piece of clutter to add to the noisy confusions of the blobbers. How many articles, novels, plays, displays, and slogans for sundry 'environment' 'journalists' and other propagandists will it fuel?

Jul 13, 2015 at 10:57 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Can anybody tell me what 'social science scholarship' is?
Jul 13, 2015 at 10:40 AM Phillip Bratby

Sorry, can't help you there. Except to note that, if a subject has the word 'science' in its title, that's a pretty good indication that it is not science.

Jul 13, 2015 at 11:08 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin: Indeed; physics and chemistry speak for themselves, whereas social science, political science, environmental science and climate science have nothing to do with science.

Jul 13, 2015 at 11:13 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

It is even more remarkable when you consider that almost every country has benefitted from the small amount of global warming that we have had over the past 150 years, and look set to continue to benefit, with quieter weather, increasing arable area and increasing crop-yield. The only losers, to date, are those developing countries that are being actively discouraged from developing by the (Western) insistence that they only be allowed to develop “sustainably” – whatever that might mean!

“GHG emissions” are the modern equivalent to phlogiston; however, as so many have bought into the lie, it might take a long time for it to follow its predecessor into the dustbin of history. Esmiff has hit the nail on the head, with his revelation of Jeremy Grantham’s true motives behind perpetuating the myth. As usual, all you really need to do is follow the money.

Jul 13, 2015 at 11:23 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

This paper [develops] a unified conceptual framework for advancing and evaluating claims...
So what he's done is build a box to see if he can think outside of it. Well, that didn't work, did it?

As for the conclusion: I just ran my buzzword generator and came up with a better one:

Based on integral subsystem considerations, the characterisation of specific criteria adds overriding performance constraints to the subsystem compatibility testing. Thus, any associated supporting element adds explicit performance limits to the greater flight-worthiness concept. However, any associated supporting element necessitates that urgent consideration be applied to the preliminary qualification limit. On the other hand, the incorporation of additional mission constraints requires considerable systems analysis and trade off studies to arrive at the subsystem compatibility testing. In respect of specific goals, the fully integrated test program recognises the importance of other systems and the necessity for the sophisticated software. In this regard, the characterisation of specific criteria adds explicit performance limits to the subsystem compatibility testing.

Jul 13, 2015 at 11:26 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

Hold on there Philip

A perfectly good title for cookery in schools is Domestic Science.

They experiment with ingredients to produce 'food' which they then eat (perhaps) to test their conjecture.
Now true enough Climate Science as illustrated by article above does not need experimental data to restrain their imagination.

Jul 13, 2015 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterBryan

From the press release:

...even leaving aside the ‘climate benefits’.
- which advocacy we also see was not in the paper, Ward et al have the supreme arrogance to believe that they can engineer a cooler climate which will reap benefits. Who the hell made him God? (Or is he merely the prophet to Grantham's God-head?)

Jul 13, 2015 at 11:36 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

In some conventional subjects, exam questions might consist of a contentious sweeping statement, followed by the simple and open invitation to "Discuss".

In Social Sciences, exam questions consist of a series of "Conclusions"and "Recommendations", followed by the instruction to "Prove, by any means possible, extra marks will be awarded for meaningless twaddle. Factual accuracy not required". (nb imaginative ideas may be sold on by the Grantham Institute, under the heading Groundbreaking Research)

Jul 13, 2015 at 11:45 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

This is just politics, nothing more nothing less. I wish they would use science for their arguments.

Jul 13, 2015 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered Commenterferdinand

He seems to have produced merely a combination of the 'burden of proof' logical fallacy in assuming you can state something without proof and any dissenters must therefore disprove it, plus the 'black or white' fallacy or false dichotomy whereby the choice is artificially limited to mitigation or business-as-usual, despite the well-established finding that adaptation is the best course whether man-made warming actually exists or not.

Of course the premise of man-made warming is based on the 'false cause' fallacy where correlation assumes causation without any supporting evidence beyond demonstrably inadequate models plus the 'appeal to authority' fallacy whereby the folks who have been 100% wrong thus far (ie rather worse than random monkeys) can still be trusted to get it right in the end because they are of noble stock or highly qualified in a peripheral, irrelevant or yet-still-emerging field and to heck with what the data says.

Jul 13, 2015 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Bryan, if cooking was rebranded as Domestice Science, then Social Science must be linked to the ability to use a phone, to order large pizzas for delivery, AND subsequently divide them by the number of people still conscious when the food arrives. Complicated mathematical issues always arise, when trying to share the unwanted olives between those who actually like them.

Jul 13, 2015 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Climate 'benefit'. Check.
Sea level 'benefit'. Check.
Ocean acidification 'benefit'. Check.
Economic 'benefit'. Check.
Ethical 'benefit'. Check.

They attempt to tick every box in order to close off any opposition no matter where from or for what reason. Literally everyone can enjoy the wondrous 'benefits' of CO2 mitigation!

The only box missing is one marked 'Totally contrived, activist-driven BS'.

Jul 13, 2015 at 12:08 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

These are all little pieces of a large jig saw puzzle being assembled in plain sight, but the public have no idea what is happening. The MSM report what is fed to them and politicians in the main follow the sound bytes.

The Pope's encyclical was yet another piece, as is this intervention: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/business/nobel-laureate-economist-joseph-stiglitz-wants-to-set-highly-expensive-global-price-for-carbon-dioxide/articleshow/48025535.cms

"Nobel laureate economist, Joseph Stiglitz wants to set highly-expensive global price for carbon dioxide"

"Stiglitz's plan is to set a single, global price for carbon dioxide, the most important greenhouse gas. The idea is to make it so expensive to use carbon that consumers and businesses voluntarily use less of it. Countries could raise the price of carbon either with a tax or with a domestic cap-andtrade system, Stiglitz says.

In his vision, if a country didn't set its carbon price high enough, hoping to gain a pricing advantage, other countries would be allowed to charge tariffs on its exports. He would throw in a green fund to compensate hard-hit poor countries."

You can find out more about Stiglitz here: http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/un_progress_governance_via_climate_change.html

"Economist Joseph Stiglitz has been at Columbia University since 2001 and is a former chairman of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers.

As far back as October 2001, he was writing about “global collective action” on the issue of climate change and proposing either a global carbon tax or a global emission targets regime.

He is chairman of the Commission of Experts of the President of the UN General Assembly on “ Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System,” established in 2008.

Stiglitz is also chairman of the Socialist International Commission on Global Financial Issues. He was an adviser to Alex Salmond as Chief Minister and presumably is still advising the SNP.

Note that co-contributor with Schellnhuber and Edenhofer to the Pope's encyclical, Jeffrey Sachs, is the Director of the Earth Institute, also at Columbia. Billionaire financier George Soros is on the external advisory board, as is/was Rajendra Pachauri.

Soros appeared together with Joseph Stiglitz and Grantham's Lord Stern at the pre-Copenhagen 2009 gathering of the Global 100 Executive Roundtable Dinner, with the theme "The Next Motor That Will Power the Global Economy".

Shortly after the dinner, Lord Stern and Professor Stiglitz published an op-ed in the Financial Times reporting that cumulative global green stimulus announcements had reached $0.5 trillion as at July 2009.

Stern at that time warned the US and Australia that they could face trade barriers unless they signed up to a new emissions treaty. He also had many discussions at Lehman Brothers before their collapse and mentions their contribution to his “Key Elements of a Global Deal”, published by the Grantham Institute.

Joseph Stiglitz back in 2011, was again pushing the idea of trade sanctions for those who refuse to sign up to a global deal to reduce CO2 emissions, something which another of the Pope's new advisers, Ottmar Edenhofer of Potsdam, had done in 2009.

In 2009 the German Federal Foreign Office commissioned Stern and Edenhofer to develop strategies for a "Global Green Recovery" to be presented at the G20-meeting in London in April 2009 on how this could be achieved. Based on the report’s findings, G20 leaders in London agreed to:

• make the transition towards clean, innovative, resource efficient, low-carbon technologies and infrastructure;
• encourage the multilateral development banks to contribute fully to the achievement of this objective; and
• identify and work together on further measures to build sustainable economies.

The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round.......

Jul 13, 2015 at 12:09 PM | Registered Commenterdennisa

Problem solved then- all that needs to be done is present this paper to the Chinese and the Indians and they'll stop building coal fired power stations. Well, problem solved if they believe it that is.

Jul 13, 2015 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterPat

Since there is a prima facile case, therefore the defendant is guilty until proven innocent. Sounds about right.

Jul 13, 2015 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterDEEBEE

Waffle

Jul 13, 2015 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

Martin: Indeed; physics and chemistry speak for themselves, whereas social science, political science, environmental science and climate science have nothing to do with science.
Jul 13, 2015 at 11:13 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

All too sadly the brainwashing is complete. I recall sitting on several Student Competition judging panels, where a few would each year present their fourth year Structural Engineering projects for judging. Almost every student seemed obligated to mention the porjects "carbon footprint" value, or or its "embodied carbon" value as part of it. Once science & engineering is collared in that way, reason leaves by the back door!

Jul 13, 2015 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

My thoughts entirely, Pat.
Bob Ward and the GI tract may think they are the boss of Asia, but fortunately that doesn't make it true.

Jul 13, 2015 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Phillip Bratby on Jul 13, 2015 at 10:40 AM
"Can anybody tell me what 'social science scholarship' is?"

As Mike Haseler, a poster here, has said:

Social science has only two problems: it isn't science and it isn't social.

Indeed it combines the worst aspects of both areas. It takes as a dogma the dispassionate "uncaring" attitude that science needs to be impartial, and throws away the impartial bit and replaces it with a sloppy agenda driven attitude toward data and methodology which is common in society.

Jul 13, 2015 at 1:13 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

And another gem, from an Anon:

Sociology: The study of a group of people who do not need to be studied by a group of people who do.”

Jul 13, 2015 at 1:15 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Sounds like the incestuous royalty of 19th Century Europe.

Jul 13, 2015 at 1:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterDean from Ohio

These days, if you've got nothing to say gild it until it is indecipherable.


Alas, there's an awful lot of presupposition done up as evident truths.

After those who advocate the fallacies of some warming myth, cometh hence the 'interpreters' or, should I say the snake oil salesmen and Grantham is apothecary and quack remedy fomenter in chief.

Grantham is a very rich man, backroom manoeuvring expertise and he thus has little need of getting his hands dirty. Therefore, Grantham employs his underlings to promulgate the climate Armageddon scam. All in the rumour business of scare mongering and what if worst case disaster scenarios counselling hedging - to bang the drum in a cacophony of loud "maybe tomorrow the Sky is falling in"... confabulate fantastic notions and dress it up in syrupy meld of legalese and faux scientific argot.

Enter Fergus whatsisface (GREEN?) and cue the confused blether, the burbling of someone who is so far adrift, totally lost in a sea of half witted conjecture, so teechur's pet and to please his pay-master.

For the lowly prole, us mere mortals, we do not understand and obviously................. we are not worthy - 'our's is but to do or, die'.

How about a translation Fergus? Or, do you just write - unmitigated.

Jul 13, 2015 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

One sentence gives the game away

"the default assumption in social science scholarship should be that actions to reduce emissions are nationally net-beneficial"

"Social Science scholarship" is anything but a scientific field. there is no notion of the main requirements of a true science such as repeatability or proof. Social science scholarship brought us such masterpieces of work as Marxist economics and lysenkoism and we all know how well they worked out.

Peasant farmers made the Ukraine into the breadbasket of Russia, it took 'social scientific scholarship' to produce a famine there.

Jul 13, 2015 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith Willshaw

“All things considered, I conclude that there is a very strong case that most of the mitigation action needed to stay within the internationally-agreed 2°C limit is likely to be nationally net-beneficial."

Using "very" in a technical paper is like shouting in a talk or like using all capital letters in a comment on the Internet.
It means the author hasn't made his/her case and is using bluster to hide behind.

"most" and "likely" are just give-away, weasel words which confirm that he does not have the hard evidence.

Jul 13, 2015 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered Commenteralan bates

“All things considered, I conclude that there is a very strong case that most of the mitigation action needed to stay within the internationally-agreed 2°C limit is likely to be nationally net-beneficial."

Using "very" in a technical paper is like shouting in a talk or like using all capital letters in a comment on the Internet.
It means the author hasn't made his/her case and is using bluster to hide behind.

"most" and "likely" are just give-away, weasel words which confirm that he does not have the hard evidence.

Jul 13, 2015 at 2:07 PM | Unregistered Commenteralan bates

The purpose is just to keep the wall of propaganda coming for Paris.

Jul 13, 2015 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert of Ottawa

I must confess, I never as a kid envisioned research being like this in that far SyFi place called the 21st Century.

Pointman

Jul 13, 2015 at 2:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

Are they saying the industrial revoluion was catastrophe and had no benefits? Though it might have aided in some way actually writing this illegible nonsense and managing to get a press release out on the internet.

Jul 13, 2015 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

This apparently is what passes for scholarship at the London School of Economics , actually is not because Bob Ward and the Grantham Institute are 'based' at the LSE but do no work of any kind for LSE , then have no LSE Id cards and no right to be regarded as staff members at the LSE

Although the LSE is to blame for selling its ars* out to the Grantham Institute, and it not the first time a big bag of cash has 'encouraged' them to do this with others . If gives fast fingers Bob and is fellows at the Grantham Institute far to much credit to suggest they 'academics' in any sense . He is paid BS artists and the rest at Grantham Institute are charged with coming up with ideas that can to sold in the hope the make the already rich Grantham , even more money .

So it really is no surprise to find this latest claim is BS , becasue frankly that is what is being paid to produce .

Jul 13, 2015 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

The BBC will not doubt be making space on the airwaves for these wise
-guys.

Jul 13, 2015 at 2:48 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I didn't think much of Green's paper but admit to not reading much of it. The main weakness being he doesn't seem qualified to write about energy systems. Successful "climate change mitigation" is all about energy systems. This report is down on fossil fuel and nuclear power, but big on renewables. Down on dispatchable sources of energy. Yet, the words dispatchable and baseload occur nowhere in the report. It seems the best way to tackle ones critics is to pretend their argument doesn't exist. I imagine Fergus Green has many years of reports ahead of him in the green movement. He's started off on the time-honoured green path with perfect tunnel vision.

Jul 13, 2015 at 2:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Pawelek

Green: "...for most of the changes needed to mitigate climate change, especially in cities and energy end-use, the co-impacts of mitigation action are overwhelmingly positive (i.e. co-benefits) (Clarke et al. 2014, 469–472)."

The reference is to AR5 WG3 chapter 6 table 6.7, which lists all the co-impacts of mitigation measures. Many are indeed positive but it is interesting to note that in a lot of cases the "co-benefit" actually derives from development, not mitigation.

As a for instance from table 6.7: under "Fuel switching, incorporation of renewable energy, green roofs, and other measures reducing GHG emissions intensity", a co-benefit under Health is reduced air pollution in developing countries. One might as well put this as a co-benefit under "grid electrification using coal power."

On the other hand one of the co-benefits of recycling is employment in recycling. This seems to me to fall foul of the broken window fallacy...

Jul 13, 2015 at 3:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterJit

To save the planet from financial destruction, the London School of Economics should pay 97% tax on both income and expenditure, on political reports bearing its name.

A Social Scientist could prove this was good value for all concerned, including the planet.

Jul 13, 2015 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I will bet that he totally leaves out any benefits from warming such as reduced mortality and higher crop yields. There is also a usual sleight of hand whereby "green" energy costs subsidized by the taxpayers are not counted and windmill capacity factors are inflated. Oops, going all technical on a handwaving analysis. Guess that's not fair.

Jul 13, 2015 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterCraig Loehle

Craig Loehle, a "sleight of Green hand waivering" is I believe, the LSE term you are looking for, which permits anything to be included, or excluded, from either side of an equation, to weight it in the direction deemed necessary, by the Green Blob.

Jul 13, 2015 at 4:22 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Parseltongue.

Jul 13, 2015 at 4:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterBeth Cooper

" On the other hand one of the co-benefits of recycling is employment in
recycling. This seems to me to fall foul of the broken window fallacy..."

Well spotted, make sure the recycling centres have lots of windows in them and a ready supply of stones lying about to maximise the benefit.

Jul 13, 2015 at 5:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

"Fergus joined the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment in January 2014. He is primarily responsible for providing academic and policy-related research assistance and advice to Professor Stern. He is also a Policy Analyst within the Institute’s Policy Team, working on projects relating to international climate cooperation, climate policy in China, and various theoretical topics concerning the ethics and politics of climate change mitigation policy".

I don't think he has a driving licence yet.

Jul 13, 2015 at 6:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

The purpose is just to keep the wall of propaganda coming for Paris.

Jul 13, 2015 at 2:09 PM | Robert of Ottawa


This ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Jul 13, 2015 at 6:27 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

This study, if true, is wonderful news. It means there is no need for the conference in Paris. You don't need an international treaty to get countries to take actions that each one already wants to do in its own unilateral best interest. You only need treaties to get countries to agree to actions that are against their unilateral best interest.

Jul 13, 2015 at 6:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoss McKitrick

For example, the more people who drive combustion engine vehicles, the more petrol stations and roads there are likely to be, and the more that social and ideational phenomena such as social norms and social network effects are likely to increase demand for those vehicles.

Stone brought forth the Stone Age, bronze brought forth the Bronze Age, fossil fuels brought forth capitalism and carbon dioxide brings forth the dictatorship of the proletariat. Stop trying to make sense of it. You are not intended to make sense of it. You are intended to submit to the party line climate change governance. The endless stream of bilge like this exists to persuade you that it is inevitable.

Jul 13, 2015 at 6:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip Neal

What do you expect from the place that sold Saif Gaddafi a plagiarised PhD for 1.5m?

Jul 13, 2015 at 7:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

He did do a little number crunching for the graph on page 10. Maybe a day's spreadsheet work.
However, actually look at it. It's sorted by dollar benefit per CO2 equivalent. So heavy duty truck improvements is number 2 -- although truck emissions of CO2 are a tiny fraction of CO2 emissions. The graph is ordered in a way which is relevant to green-feeling, not to climate effect.

Jul 13, 2015 at 7:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnonyMoose

First time I have ever seen a cost/ benefit quantification paper without any quantified costs or benefits. Must be postnormal LSE economics. No numbers needed, only feelings and verbose gobblygook.

Jul 13, 2015 at 7:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterRud Istvan

Martyn says: "Fergus joined the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment in January 2014. He is [...] responsible for [...] topics concerning the ethics and politics of climate change mitigation policy

Maybe he needs to join the 'Gray Lady' in the cabinet Office. He probably shares her attitude to ethics.

Jul 13, 2015 at 7:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

"Stiglitz's plan is to set a single, global price for carbon dioxide, the most important greenhouse gas." Oh, no - not another Nobel laureate who hasn't a clue what he is talking about.

Jul 13, 2015 at 7:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Peacock

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