Links for the Week Ending 7th April

  • The Economist magazine last week carried a long article on climate sensitivity together with a leader article on the same theme here. Skeptical Science’s Dana Nuccitelli posted a rebuttal here, which captures some of my own concerns over The Economist‘s interpretation of the science. It is obvious, however, that Nuccitelli has never read The Economist, since he characterises the magazine as having strayed into the field of climate change commentary almost by accident. This is ridiculous: The Economist has been doing in-depth reporting on climate change issues for many years and has been far more consistent in its coverage than either The Wall Street Journal or The Financial Times. Moreover, The Economist does matter since it has become the house journal of the global corporate, financial and political elite.  Indeed, The Economist‘s coverage of climate change deserves a post all of its own (I am working on one).
  • If I was rather ambivalent on Skeptical Science’s treatment of The Economist, they quickly redeemed themselves with a wonderful post on the history of climate change science. The definitive book on this topic is Spencer Weart’s The Discovery of Global Warming, but John Mason has produced a great condensed version of the history including some wonderful timeline graphics.
  • Professor James Hamilton, one of the world’s top econometricians, is a rare example of an economist who understands the threat posed by oil depletion. In this post on his blog Econbrowser, he evaluates the oil supply and price prediction record (from 2005) of the cornucopians, as represented by Daniel Yergin, and the peak oilers, as represented by Boone Pickens. The conclusion? Pickens won hands down.
  • If you are curious about alternative views on economics, then I recommend having a look at such ecological economists as Herman Daly. Jushua Farley, the co-author with Daly of the iconic textbook Ecological Economics, explains the difference between ecological economics and traditional neoclassical economics here. Farley’s main complaints are with the obsessive quest for economic growth in traditional economics and the inability of neoclassical economics to accept the empirical evidence before their eyes; for example, markets are not taking us toward a stable equilibrium.
  • If you want to understand what could possibly be driving the weird weather in northern European and beyond then read this article by the leading climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf via Eli Rabett. You reap what you sow.

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