More Stern

It looks now rather unlikely that I’ll bother read much more Stern, and will instead lazily rely on others. Tim Worstall seems to be doing some reading, and (surprise!) doesn’t believe Sterns economic numbers.

SR is getting lots of good press at the moment. I do rather wonder if it will survive in the long term, though.

Comments

  1. #1 Tim Worstall
    2006/10/31

    The more I read through it the happier I am with his economic suggestions.

    The ‘this is what we should do if we have an imminent problem’ and ‘this is what we should do if I have already proven that mitigation is cheaper than business as usual and adaptation’ all seem fine to me.

    I’m just not happy with whether he actually has proven that latter point. Further, I’m deeply annoyed by the way that he’s used A2 as his starting point.

    Let me put it this way. He is arguing that we should consider the future wealth of our descendents. Perfectly sensible thing to do BTW. He then goes on to say that mitigation now will make our descendents richer than they would be without mitigation. But look at his starting point: A2.

    That assumes regional economies, 15 billion in population in 2100, slow diffusion of technology amongst those regional economies etc etc.

    Look instead at almost any of the other scenarions (A1 F1 showing the greatest difference of course) and we can see that our descendents will be two to four times richer, without any mitigation at all, then they would be in the A2 with mitigation.

    So, by the very metric that he uses, our consideration for the wealth of our descendents, it is vastly more important that we make sure we move to other tracks of development: or at least don’t go down the A2 one.

    A1 F1 (not actually the very best example as that’s a high emission one) depends upon market solutions, free movement of people, goods and technology….and provides four times per capita GDP in 2100 than A 2 with mitigation.

    Who would have thought it? Our descendents will be richer if we let globalization rip?

    BTW, as William knows, I’m not a CC denialist: I take roughly the Lomborg view, that it’s happening, that we’re causing at least some if not most of it. But I want to see the economics of what anyone is proposing we should do about it.

    This Stern Review just doesn’t even seem to understand its own reasoning.

  2. #2 Lubos Motl
    2006/11/02

    You shouldn’t be ashamed of this report because you have nothing to do with it.

    Prof Paul Reiter from Paris wrote in the Telegraph today:

    Scientific concerns over Stern report

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?menuId=1588&menuItemId=1&view=DISPLAYCONTENT&grid=A1&targetRule=0#head6

    Daily Telegraph, 2nd November

    Sir ~V I have seen Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth, read the book, and read the Stern report. As a scientist, I am appalled. Both authors present myriad dangers as truth ~V no doubts, a 100 per cent consensus. Yet a glance at the
    professional literature on glaciers, hurricanes etc. confirm that this consensus is a myth. Besides, consensus is the stuff
    of politics, not of science.

    I am reminded of Trophim Lysenko, who used pseudoscience and myth-making to establish “scientific proof” of Marxist
    genetics. Lysenko dominated Soviet science for more than two decades by propaganda and ruthless liquidation of his
    opponents. When he was finally discredited, the Soviet Nobel Laureate Nicolai Semyonov wrote: “There is nothing more
    dangerous than blind passion in science. Given support from someone in power, it can lead to suppression of true science,
    and~E to inflicting great injury on the country”.

    Popular knowledge of scientific issues is again awash with misinformation. Alarmists use the language of science to
    manipulate public perceptions by judgmental warnings. Scientists who challenge them are branded as a tiny minority of
    “sceptics”. One of the few geneticists who survived the Stalin era wrote: “Lysenko showed how a forcibly instilled
    illusion, repeated over and over at meetings and in the media, takes on an existence of its own in people’s minds, despite
    all realities.” To me, we have fallen into this trap. A genuine concern for mankind demands the inquiry, accuracy and
    scepticism that are intrinsic to science. A public that is unaware of this is vulnerable to abuse.

    Prof Paul Reiter, Institut Pasteur, Paris

  3. #3 Carl Christensen
    2006/11/02

    >Both authors present myriad dangers as truth ~V no doubts,
    >a 100 per cent consensus

    Err no, this is a pathetic strawman argument.

  4. #4 Stephen Berg
    2006/11/02

    Re: “Yet a glance at the professional literature on glaciers, hurricanes etc. confirm that this consensus is a myth. Besides, consensus is the stuff of politics, not of science.”

    Complete nonsense! It is well known and well reported that the glaciers are shrinking as a result of anthropogenic global warming. It is also fairly well known (despite the fairly uneventful 2006 Atlantic hurricane season, but one season only concerns variability and not change) that hurricanes will likely increase in frequency or intensity or both as a result of anthropogenic global warming.

    As for your “consensus” babble, is there not the consensus that gravity is in fact a force exhibited upon all matter on Earth (as well as on every other planet, though at differing rates)? Is there not the consensus that matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed, only altered? Is there not the consensus that the Newtonian Laws of Motion are a reality?

    Consensus occurs perhaps more often in science than in politics, especially in the spicy political climate these days. It seems as if, today, nobody can completely agree with each other politically. There is so much bickering going on in political circles that it seems scientists agree with each other far more.

  5. #5 Lubos Motl
    2006/11/02

    William, let me also mention that you don’t have to be ashamed of Carl and Stephen either because you’re also not necessarily identical with them although you have written many similar “rational answers” in your life, too. ;-)

  6. #6 Eli Rabett
    2006/11/02

    Hi Lubos, that was as nice a piece of meaningless babble as I have seen in many a moon. Fact free, opinion rich. Reiter knows bug all.