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Freaking out on climate change

The Economist has a balanced word on the freakout kids:

With “Freakonomics”, the authors made pop economists of everyone, to the general good. To give the sequel’s readers this distorted lens through which to view climate change and its solution is to do readers a grave disservice.

Tim Lambert sees the Freakonomics crew digging themselves […]

Turning the page on the past

The Conference I attended this week in China had an opening address from Nobel Prize Laureate Amartya Sen. He is a remarkably edudite and interesting guy. He talked broadly about trade, the environment and urbanisation but I focused most of my attention on his remarks about the vexed issue of who is responsible for climate […]

Robert F. Kennedy on what GDP does/does not measure

RFK said this in 1968. In a speech I heard today it was quoted and it stirred me.

“We will find neither national purpose nor personal satisfaction in a mere continuation of economic progress, in an endless amassing of worldly goods. We cannot measure national spirit by the Dow Jones Average, nor national achievement by […]

Some economics of trade policy & the environment

I am visiting China over the next week to participate in the Trade, Urbanisation and the Environment Conference at Peking University, Beijing October 28-30, 2009. Feedback on the attached preparatory notes would be very appreciated. Second draft.


Australia’s carbon emissions targeting

I can’t see the logic in Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson putting such a huge weight on coal with carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a source of energy (AFR, 22 October, subscription only). He talks with pride about the government’s $2.8b investment in CCS and says that alternative investments must stand on their own […]

Walking the dog (& keeping fit by stair climbing)

Keeping your canine fit.

On stair climbing that is fun.

Thanks JS&CD

Climate change notes 2

I have become fascinated by the topic of climate change ‘denialism’ or, to use John Quiggin’s term, ‘delusionism’. It is an intrinsically interesting development and has deeply troubling implications. The climate change issue is probably the first time in history that people get to vote on a scientific issue where the science is well-understood and […]


I bought a Kindle for $279US from The complete (out-of-copyright) works of Charles Dickens (51 volumes) are available for $3US; Paul Krugman’s The Return of Depression Economics is $9-22US. If it turns out to be a feasible technology – in other words if I use it to read* – it will change my hefty […]

Silly migration policies

Chris Berg has some claims for being less tough on border control in yesterday’s The Age. These claims are backed up in a post by Joshua Gans.


Policy Responses to Global Warming under Uncertainty

This is a paper I prepared for my discussions with Des Moore at a meeting of the Economic Society of Australia, Victorian Branch.


Source Dining, Albury

I have been in Albury-Wodonga the last few days teaching, golfing and eating. Yes eating! For the 20 years or so I have been visiting A-W I have never found it difficult to discover a good restaurant and, with Rutherglen just down the road, there are plenty of good wines to stir the appetite in […]

Australia’s nuclear delusionism

Nuclear fuels provide about 15% of the world’s electricity. Nuclear power has economic advantages over coal, gas and wind technologies once environmental costs are accounted for. It is an extremely safe technology and will be safer still when 4th generation nuclear power becomes available. An excellent podcast discussion is provided by Barry Brooks.

In 2004 […]

Couldn’t find the book I was after…

…always ended up here.

Pop economic theory of climate change

The Freakonomics boys (Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner) have more nonsense coming out in a new book Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance. Silly material supporting global cooling, deriding climate change policy, criticising solar energy (some startling bloopers here!) and some nutty observations on aerosol-based geoengineering – a […]

Nobel gongs in economics

I was not surprised that Oliver Williamson won the Nobel Gong in economics though I had never heard about the other prize winner Elinor Ostrom.


Famous last words

Paul Krugman in 2002 after the moderately severe 2001 US contraction:

“To fight this recession the Fed needs more than a snapback; it needs soaring household spending to offset moribund business investment. And to do that, as Paul McCulley of Pimco put it, Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq […]

Climate change notes 1

For my own benefit as much as anyone else’s I thought I’d record some of the interesting climate change material I come across. It is an experiment and if I tire of it – or find it forced – I’ll give it up. Here goes #1.

I thought this brief history of climate change by […]

Comparison of Waxman-Markey & Kerry-Boxer Bills

The Waxman-Markey (WM) Bill has been passed by the US House of Representatives and the Kerry-Boxer (KB) Bill is now being discussed in the US Senate. Resources for the Future supply the following comparison of the two bills. Clicking on the download button at the base of the table provides a discussion […]

How to publish an economics article

I gave a presentation on this topic to the Economic Society of Australia, Victorian Branch last year. Here are the Powerpoints.

Coalition loses plot

That some Coalition members refuse to even negotiate on the Government’s ETS is stupidity bordering on the far side of idiocy. Coalition members seem to have foregotten that John Howard, as PM, supported a scheme that is close to the current proposed scheme. Moreover, opposition to even negotiating on the ETS gives the Goverrnment grounds […]