Links for Week Ending 9th March

  • Despite the title of this blog, I view myself as a psychological optimistic. For me, however, rational pessimism is the logical evaluation of life outcomes. Through allowing facts to shape one’s view of the future, you can exert some degree of control over it, or at least not suffer unpleasant surprises. A study in Germany puts some meat on the bones of my hypothesis.
  • A paper out in Science this week is likely to reignite the hockey stick controversy. While we have ice core temperature records going back around 800,000 years, they are relatively broad brush. More detailed temperature records can be constructed using a variety of scientific techniques. The new paper, the most comprehensive to date, takes the detailed record back 11,300 years. Mother Jones has a good synopsis here. It highlights the extraordinary compression of the current climate change time frame compared with the past.
  • I aim to post on this topic next week, but Texas University’s Bureau of Economic Geography has an important study out on the Texas Barnett shale. The Wall Street Journal has a hugely misleading interpretation of the study here. A lot more to say on this.
  • Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism has reposted a couple of very interesting posts that overlap with the themes of this blog. James Boyce at Triple Crisis argues that the current Obama administration has missed a huge opportunity to portray a carbon tax as a positive redistribution or tax cut for the general public—I agree.
  • More controversial (at least for me) is Yves’ contention when commenting on a post by Jonathan Harris that “the only way to get aggressive enough pro-environment measures implemented is to develop an environmental program that is pro growth or at least not inimical to growth”. Unfortunately, I don’t think we will be able to have our cake and eat it (that is effective environmental policies that are pro-growth). But remember that the alternative is to carry on with existing anti-environmental policies that are pro-collapse.

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