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Health improves during recessions & depressions

I’ve heard of this argument before but the evidence here is strong. Across all age groups, for men and women, for both white and black people and for all causes of death (except suicide) life expectancy in the US rose from 1920-1940 during every strong recession including the great depression. It rose from 57.1 to […]

Adelaide ACE09

I am attending the Australian Conference of Economists in Adelaide. These days ACE is a much smaller conference than it has been in the past though I still think it does have an attractiveness. Excellent speakers and a great location at the University of Adelaide. Main observation – the striking though predictable role of the […]

Climate change policy options for Vietnam

Vietnam is one of the two countries of Asia that will be most severely impacted on by climate change. The other is Bangladesh. Furthermore, the impacts across the two countries have many similarities– some of the most severe stem from possible sea level change. Both countries are very poor with low per capita energy use […]

Nic* Stern lays down global carbon targets

Nic* Stern sets out what is needed in Copenhagen and why the prospects for a cooperative agreement that works are not insurmountable.


India & China to get tough on emissions?

India and China need desparately to secure a decent climate change agreement in Copenhagen. Yet they have – up to now – stated firmly that they will not agree to restrictions on their emissions. They are poor and all that. Now this Guardian report says that they will take the lead! It seems they are […]

On carbon taxes vs. an ETS

John Quiggin recently (i) attacked consumption-based bases for levying carbon charges and (ii) defended cap-and-trade schemes against ‘equivalent’ carbon tax schemes. On (ii) I don’t substantively disagree but on (i) I do. I responded on his blog. Here is an improved statement of my position.


Climate change policy – where we are

An excellent summing up – written and via podcast – is provided by Professor Ross Garnaut at the East Asia Forum. The full speech podcast is here. Well worth a read and a listen.

Coffee in Melbourne

I agree with critics (e.g. Robert Doyle) who argue that Melbourne’s famed coffee culture has one weak spot – the coffee isn’t always what it is cracked up to be. It often lacks bouquet and complexity – the backbone to a lot of the coffees seems to be an unattractive bitterness amid a dishwatery anonymity. […]

An efficient market for Elders?

I have a few equity holdings – most of my wealth has been transferred through private school fees into the human capital of my children. Enjoy that kids, I will (vicariously) share in your future successes.


Climate delusionism 101

I got angry about some particular climate delusionist claims that continued to be advanced in the face of persistent rebuttals. The deceit continued without reference to the literature that sought to demolish the claims. Criticisms can be rejected with reason but criticisms that go to heart of scientific claims cannot simply be ignored. I prepared […]

Tiger Woods in Chicago

A course record of 62 in the third round of the BMW Championship and a move from 1 down after 9 holes to being 7 up after 18 in a tournament that included the best golfers on the planet.


John Howard & the Labor brat

“No side of Australian politics has a monopoly of either virtue or merit. Each according to its own value system has attempted to improve the lot of Australians. In failing to acknowledge this last Monday, my successor diminished himself, and not the Liberal and National Parties”. (John Howard)


Carbon taxes or cap-&-trade?

I have not regarded the issue of choosing between a ‘cap-and-trade’ scheme and a ‘carbon tax’ for managing carbon emissions as one of first-order importance. Under certain conditions setting carbon quotas and auctioning them off at some equilibrium price has exactly the same effect as setting a tax on carbon equal to the equilibrium price. […]

Enchanting discoveries

It is about the size of an adult’s thumb (about 8.4 cm) and weighs 10-15 grams* – the Buff-faced pygmy parrots (Micropsitta pusio) . The world’s smallest parrot was found in that exotic volcano crater in New Guinea – Mount Bosavi. It isn’t a new species – it is indeed widely distributed along the northern […]

Nuclear technology 1

It is a while since I have looked at the nuclear power option (for a contribution to the specific Australian debate see here) but my recent post on the apparent difficulties of commercialising CCS technologies, as well as a current excellent post at Deltoid by Tim Lambert, have led me to start rethinking the issue. […]

CCS technology

The Four Corner’s show ‘The Coal Nightmare” screened last night. Most future GGEs come from burning coal and coal production will rise by at least 40% by 2030. It would be desirable from Australia’s viewpoint to find an economically feasible technology to effect carbon capture and storage (CCS) in order to secure longer-term markets for […]

Targeting GGE levels – the next 90 years

This paper by James Hansen and a cast of thousands (HT John Quiggin) takes a longer-term view of climate change targeting than is conventional – targets are set for 2100* – with arguments for a 350 ppm GGE target rather than the supposedly ambitious 450 ppm target favoured by many in the Green movement and […]

Krugman on failures of modern economics

I am sure that Paul Krugman’s ‘How did economists get it so wrong?’ will get much attention in the blogosphere. Worth a read although I don’t believe that policy-makers were as naive as he suggests. They lacked knowledge and always will. A good read for economic students along with the earlier counter-counter-revolutionary work of Robert […]

China’s high price for emissions reductions

Hille and Harvey in the Financial Times quote a recent Chinese climate economics report as claiming reducing China’s total GGEs will cost $438bn a year within 20 years – about 7.5% of China’s forecast GDP. Developed economies will have to bear much of that.

It is difficult to know what exactly this figure means – […]

John Della Bosca

I have zero affection (or respect) for the Labor Party in NSW but, for the life of me, I cannot understand the hysterical puritanism that has driven the resignation of John Della Bosca from its state government ministry. Nor do I understand the more recent sentiments suggesting he might be ‘rehabilitated’ and reinstated into the […]