Friday, June 06, 2014

Eli Outsources


As somebunnies may have noticed, Paul Krugman had a comment yesterday on Ethon's foodgroup.  Roger Dear published a letter in the Financial Times that Paul thought a bit, well a bit like Roger's last comment on Science at 538, basically pushing the idea that there is a rigid proportionality between carbon intensity and GDP, so if the former goes down so does the latter.  This is called the Kaya Identity, well not really.  Pielke's version as Krugman pointed out

 This is actually kind of wonderful, in a bang-your-head-on-the-table sort of way. Pielke isn’t claiming that it’s hard in practice to limit emissions without halting economic growth, he’s arguing that it’s logically impossible. So let’s talk about why this is stupid.
Since Ethon is busy dining, Eli will simply reprint a comment at the Times from one Sahuaro in Arizona

Buggy whips are the product of growth in the transportation sector of gross domestic  product and of buggy utilization. More precisely, this relationship is called the Kaos Identity – after Horace Kaos, the Welsh stablemaster who first proposed it in the 1890s.

Thus, by definition, a “buggy whip cap” necessarily means that a government is committing to either a cessation of transportation growth or to the systematic advancement of technological innovation in equine substitutes on a predictable schedule, such that economic growth is not constrained. Because halting economic growth is not an option, in Cambridge or anywhere else, and because horses don't move via fiat, there is in practice no such thing as a buggy whip cap.
If Bunnies need that translated, Susan Anderson at the same place can help you
The brawny promotion of we can't do anything, so we must do nothing, seems to be Roger Pielke Jr.'s stock in trade. He does a lot of harm, being so plausible and all.
Some time ago Eli pointed out that Roger was of the Breakthrough institute lie back and enjoy it school of dealing with climate change.  Roger did not take that well.

38 comments:

And Then There's Physics said...

I know I've commented on this before, but it still amazes me that both Pielke Jr and Sr seem to only ever direct people to read papers on which they're authors (and they normally do this when the question they've been asked seems somewhat inconvenient). Certainly, in my field anyone who's work was only supported by papers on which they were authors would not be regarded as particularly credible. You need others to take your ideas seriously if you want it to have any traction.

Of course, there may be others doing work that's consistent with what Pielke Jr suggests, but you'd never really know that if all you had to go one was the papers to which Pielke Jr refers.

metzomagic said...

@And Then There's Physics:

Presumably, you've already read this, having been hanging around in the climate change blogosphere long enough:

Pielkes all the Way Down

But if not, it buttresses what you said in a slam dunk kinda way.

And Then There's Physics said...

Thanks, I have seen that before. I still find it hard not to express my incredulity though.

Dano said...

Susan also illuminates asocietal flaw in her observation of the tactic The brawny promotion of we can't do anything, so we must do nothing.

That is: we are too stupid to figure it out.

Best,

D

Susan Anderson said...

I'm not so hot on complaining about Pielke Sr. who seems to me not such a bad guy, despite his family loyalty.

Thanks for the mention, I was rephrasing something Tobis said, which I can't find at the moment.

John Mashey said...

Just out of curiosity, of those truly active with BTI, what's the ratio of:

a) Policy wonks who are sure technology innovation is the answer
to
b) People who have actually done real technology innovation and/or managed it for economic, commercial wide deployment?

See RD-D2 as context for why I ask.

Dano said...

Susan, I distinctly remember when Sr still blogged that he tried to tell people glaciers weren't really retreating. When I asked him for evidence, he evaded, when I pressed he ignored. He's done more useful work than his son, but still a disinformer.

Best,

D

Mitch Golden said...

I had a bit of a back and forth with Prof. Pielke on his blog on which I pointed out that it isn't about math, it's about the words he said being wrong. Today I posted the below, which he has yet to put up. (Perhaps he closed the comments.)

---

I find it rather frustrating to see the goalposts move all the time in this discussion. It appears you are now admitting that "technological innovation" (as you've defined it) *can* come about by government fiat. So we've gotten somewhere.

Now let's review the sentence you actually wrote:

"Because halting economic growth is not an option, in China or anywhere else, and because technological innovation does not occur via fiat, there is in practice no such thing as a carbon cap."

So if the government can, by fiat, raise GDP/CO2, say 3%/year, it can impose a carbon cap if it is willing to have GDP growth of 3%/year. This is *not* "halting economic growth". As you point out, depending on the numbers, it might involve *reducing* economic growth.

So, your statement is correct as written so long as we (a) read the words "technological innovation" to mean anything that changes GDP/CO2 whether or not it is actually new, (b) ignore the part about whether it can come about by government fiat and (c) understand that the word "halting" is supposed to mean "slowing down but not stopping".

Are we now agreed?

EliRabett said...

You forgot the Thank you.

--Eli

Salamano said...

"The brawny promotion of we can't do anything, so we must do nothing, seems to be Roger Pielke Jr.'s stock in trade. He does a lot of harm, being so plausible and all."

I do not see anywhere where RPjr has ever espoused this view. Even if he is interpreted to think this, or perhaps readers seize upon his statements to help buttress a 'do nothing' argument, it's still not his view.

Somewhere, deep in your heart of hearts, you need to allow for the possibility that he's mere talking a policy feasibility stance related NOT to miniscule advancements in carbon reduction coupled with mitigated GDP losses (or even small gains), which has been shown, but actually (and more directly than y'all) to the goal of keeping temps < +2°C or else! You shouldn't 'deny' such math, or worse, deny it a visible place in the world. Some may turn it into an excuse to do nothing, but that's not even what RPJr. is saying. Understanding the true complexities of 'reality' shouldn't be a crime.

At some point, someone has to look at the easy button and compare it to the actual goal, and then remember that citizens on Earth (in the US anyway) have due process rights and can still reject things that economically/societally benefit a community. The kind of 'fiat' necessary to actually pull of what's needed doesn't exist. It doesn't mean we do nothing, but if you're going to be a policy wonk, why not acknowledge reality? To not do so, is to be a denier, right?

Anonymous said...

And, as far as Krugman is concerned, how easy it is for him to look at the "simple math" of rising debt, soaring aging population, and ballooning social program costs, and declare that (1) it's not certain that we need to do anything now about it; (2) the consequences in the future may not be that dire; (3) the cost in the present is more certain and unsavory compared to the uncertain benefit in the future; (4) those who wish to do any of these things now are "only" wanting to do it because they hate 'those people' and want to dismantle social programs.

And yet, when it comes to combating climate change, he espouses the exact opposite perpective than the fiscal policy wonks do in the arena of future debt issues.

The continuity? A liberal policy preference. Waiting on a future issue now that 'simple math' declares an impending catastrophe in one case, but demanding immediate large-scale action on the dire concerns of the other. And yet, he bedgrudges other partisans the ability to claim the same sort of ground. Someone should eventually call him on it.

Kevin O'Neill said...

Anonymous at 6/6/14 2:34 PM

1) Please take a #, give us a pseudonymn, or something else so that we can tell one anonymice from another. It is rude to ignore the request printed right above the comment box.

2) Brad DeLong as two simple rules:
A) Paul Krugman is always right,
B) See rule #1

It's not 100% foolproog, but it will get you far in any discussion to remember DeLong's two simple rules.

3) Krugman shows the data and the math behind the two differing situations. In each case he follows the data. There is no inconsistency or hypocrisy.

4) you forget that Krugman is well aware of Keynes' remark that, "In the long run, we're all dead." This is why Krugman was so insistent that the stimulus be structured large enough to remedy the fiscal collapse of 2008. He has often said that we *will* return to 'normal growth' - but that we could see a lost decade of earnings and social destruction if the proper policies are not implemented. In the meantime, those of other economic persuasions were foretelling massive inflation, soaring interest rates, and increased unemployment. Some of those people have *never* marked their beliefs to market a full 5 years later. We don't often get such clear economic experiments; Krugman was clearly correct. But being correct is never enough to satisfy deniers (whether climate or economics).

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

If climate scientists overstated the problem of anthropogenic warming and botched their math nearly as often or to the degree that Pete Peterson and "Fix the Debt," Bowles-Simpson, Rogoff-Reinhart, and the Heritage Foundation fudged theirs for their own narrow political purposes or to suit their own biased agendas, or if climate scientists were responsible for anywhere near the economic damage that has resulted from the misguided policies of the aforementioned list since the last recession, perhaps you'd have an argument worth debating. However, it just so happens that reality has a pronounced liberal bias.

Taylor B

Susan Anderson said...

If that's to my address, thank you indeed, for all of it, not just todays. And thanks to Dano; I'm an amateur and spend most of my time gasping for air as I'm in over my head. Calling all this stuff out needs doing. Unfortunately, it's easier to tear down than to build, and making stuff up takes almost no work at all. What irks me most particularly is the way legitimate work is just mildly twisted to mean its opposite, and most people can't tell the difference. So realists do all the work, and all the illusionists have to do is put a little scrim in front of it and state that black is white, ignoring all the shades of grey in between as well.

Anonymous said...

Dano said: I distinctly remember when Sr still blogged that he tried to tell people glaciers weren't really retreating."

My favorite was when Pielke Sr claimed that NOAA were hiding the station data. He actually had a whole post on that topic, which has since disappeared (surprise), quite unlike the actual weather station data (which NOAAwas not hiding after all

My second favorite was when Pielke sr claimed Tony Watts was publishing a "game changing" paper. Haven't heard a peep about that since it was quickly pointed out to Watts that he goofed, rendering his paper game-losing rather than game changing.

IMHO, Pielke Sr is actually worse than Jr because the former actually understands the science and still pushes the BS.

I don't think Jr has any idea what he is talking about most of the time.

Anonymous said...

"I find it rather frustrating to see the goalposts move all the time in this discussion" [on Pielke Jrs blog]

With Jr, it is ALL about winning the debate, no matter how inconsequential.

He will never admit he is wrong even about the tiniest detail, but instead either claim you merely misunderstood what he said or, when it is clear to even the fish in the tank that he is wrong, say "I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree".

Thanks!

Pinko Punko said...

No, Eli, it's

Thanks!

Albatross said...

Thanks (!) Krugman for showing Roger the door :)

It has been a very bad few months for poor Pielke Jnr., no wonder Roger is imploding and has now resorting to saying things like this in public (from his Twitter account):

"...Otherwise, plz go wag your c*cks elsewhere..." Pielke Jnr. 2014

[H/T to Andy for the quote]

Odd thing for him to say to say given that Roger is always doing the same on the intertubes and before Congress.

Best part is that the above quote is clear evidence that Roger has really lost the "debate", amongst other things :)

Steve Bloom said...

Getting on Silver's team was a huge career move for RP Jr., so the latter's response to Krugman is no surprise given the subtext that Silver should fire RP Jr.'s sorry ass. That RP Jr. has no effective way of responding given Krugman's stratospheric status causes a deep, warm feeling of schadenfreude to well up inside me.

This particular brilliancy of mine hasn't caught on when I've mentioned it before, but for the record here's the First Law of Pielkes: Only a Pielke can misinterpret a Pielke.

Salamano said...

Kevin @ 6/6 3:23pm

Krugman has been right for the most part in describing a consistent view of the current economic scenario, however, a few things...

1. He readily admits that his 'science' fails when it comes to policy (or perhaps rather the policy fails the science) because of how politically impossible it is to implement effectively. RPJr is essentially saying the same exact thing when it come to achieving (1)a 'cap' on carbon; (2) modest economic growth; (3)saving the planet in time (+2 C or else). If the discussion is in the policy arena, then it's sensible or even required that someone be allowed to speak reality even if it's a "in the long run we're all dead" type cold water. Even if others take that reality as an excuse to do nothing, that's still not RPJr's position.

2. The recent divergence between models and observations when it comes to temperature has caused scientists to re-evaluate their understanding (ie, highlight the heat stored in the deep ocean, etc.) though not change the model (yet). Krugman would have seized on this type of behavior if he didn't already agree with the movement in the first place (meaning, he's satisfied with green energy regardless of its benefit in economic terms). As Krugman has always said... If your model is not performing, you need to rethink your model (not an around-the-edges explanation as to how we can declare the model 'right' anyway or about how despite the model being off we're still right). You know Krugman would throw a flag on that if an economist he disagreed with attempted such things.

3. I still maintain there is a disconnect between Krugman's accusations that those who make economic arguments that he doesn't agree with do so "only" because they want to dismantle social programs regardless of cost/benefit measures, and his failure to permit the same space in the climate world. Just because a policy expert points out a certain policy/goal combo is unachievable in the real world, and that merely attempting it would have serious consequences in getting anything done-- that doesn't mean that he wants nothing to be done (and it shouldn't be implied of him either).

Kevin O'Neill said...

Salamano - I think 'concern troll' is the operative phrase. Krugman uses the "VSPs" - Very Serious Persons - to the same effect in his economic columns. Reasonable people, voices of moderation, etc, etc. Except these people (like Pielke Jr) are always pushing policy in the wrong direction. And as Krugman points out, there is nothing moderate or reasonable about being flat-out wrong!



Salamano said...

Kevin,

In a policy world, you have to recognize the reasonability of people to exist in the opposite side of the table. You also have to be unblinded to the possibility that your goals can suffer critical flaws when they are put up against reality.

This whole 'concern trolling' is a meme to dismiss people who have a legitimate point that you don't like. Yes, in part because it can prevent the pushing of policy in the right direction -- but a non-zero element of that is 'politics' and 'ideology'.

When someone raised a motion of discontent that "privatizing" 2% of social security was tantamount to 'gambling on the stock market' that should then also be 'concern trolling' because it pushes policy in the wrong direction according to the politics in play at the time.

When someone raised a hand questioning whether we should wait till we had 100% evidence regarding Iraq before invading, that too should be labeled 'concern trolling' because it pushed policy in the wrong direction according to the politics in play.

John Kerry is already on-record as saying if we end up wrong on the climate change it doesn't matter because of the intrinsic good that green energy provides by itself. Much like, when GWB's supporters declared that it didn't matter if they were wrong on Iraq because it's a 'good thing' that an oppressive dictator is gone, etc. etc.

RPJr doesn't even disagree with the elements that comprise the policy-- which by itself makes the moniker of concern trolling inappropriate. You have to have evidence that the person voicing the concern has zero (0) interest in seeing the policies in place regardless of efficacy. Otherwise, as in this case, you are merely resorting to a meme to attempt to dismiss valid claims entirely.

Yes, we've got a climate issue. Yes, we've got to move to green energy. Yes, this policy does that.

But, if instead you're describing the problem as. We can't get above +2C, disaster awaits. Then you must allow valid feasibility analysis into whether or not whatever approach is (a) going to actually make that happen, and (b) be politically feasible.

The "Very Serious People" that Krugman talks about are ones who are against direct great actions in the present because of what their knock-on effects may create beyond the time-frame of their initial effects. He is right about them in regards to the present, but he has more than acknowledged the possibility of them being right 'in the long-run' after the pain.

This is completely different... because it's about the "pain" in the present to offset the long-run calamity. The only reason why he allows that unbalanced juxtaposition is because he ideologically agrees with the policy outcomes.

afeman said...

Quoth RPJr: "For years, Krugman has called me names and hid his critique behind vague allusions to my moral turpitude."

Is that remotely true, even in a Pielkean sense? I was slightly surprised that Krugman was aware enough of his existence to write "of all people".

Kevin O'Neill said...

Salamano: "You have to have evidence that the person voicing the concern has zero (0) interest in seeing the policies in place regardless of efficacy. Otherwise, as in this case, you are merely resorting to a meme to attempt to dismiss valid claims entirely."

Are you unaware of Pielke's affiliation with The Breakthrough Institute? I will refer you to ThinkProgress on The Breakthrough Institute

I don't want to derail this into a discussion of Iraq, but I simply don't understand your analogies. There was no reason to invade Iraq after 9/11. The evidence for Iraq being involved was nonsense. Those opposed were proved correct. I, for one, had no ideological reason to oppose retribution on those responsible, but it was obvious Iraq wasn't responsible. It was just as obvious that those pushing for war against Iraq had ulterior motives and were willing to obfuscate, mislead, and lie to achieve their goals. Roger Pielke to my mind in this analogy comes off no better than Colin Powell.

Anonymous said...

Shorter Salamano: Krugman can't argue in favor of good policies, e.g., economic stimulus and policy actions to reduce the impacts of CO2 on global climate, unless he also argued in favor of terrible policies, e.g., invading Iraq and privatizing social security, unless he can prove that those knowingly advocating those terrible policies had 100 percent bad intentions. RP Jr. might not have 100 percent bad intentions, therefore Krugman is a hypocrite. Sorry, but I just don't agree.

Thanks! (h/t to ER)

Taylor B

Salamano said...

Kevin,

I don't "like" ThinkProgress' investigations into the funding/practices of different organizations they target, because they devolve into incredible bouts of "conspiracy ideation" (to borrow a term). Much like TP's breakdown of the "Kochtopus", it is not the same to equate indirect third-hand funding sources with lock-step agreement on both politics and policy.

I prefer to simply take RPJr at his word for what he says when he comments on policy as it relates to climate. I do the exact same as it relates to Krugman on economics. I follow both regularly, and am often in agreement with both.

It is completely possible to be a member of a group and at the same time not share all goals and thoughts of the others in the group, to not allow that means you force a warped requirement for groupthink on all fronts, including your own. I don't believe you would do such a thing, so we can leave this thought aside as self-evident.

I only brought up Iraq in the context that the main defense against 'being wrong' about Iraq was that supporters pointed to the 'good things' that came about because of it. This is completely analogous in that narrowly-defined window to John Kerry's recent statement about how this anti-global-warming policy will still be worthwhile even if completely wrong about climate change (which is currently presented as the raison-d'etre). It appears you may be unwilling to see the possibility of analogousness because you already know presently that Iraq had no WMDs (though could not possibly have been 100% certain prior to the invasion).

I too don't want to relitigate all that jazz either. I'm just pointing out you have to allow public/mental space for reality-based policy analysis to be publicized without trying to dismiss it solely because so-and-so is affiliated with this group that received this grant from that organization that is funded in part by this guy who happens to run these industries that might be negatively impacted by proper climate change policy.

RPJr has laid out a rational/relevant case that the current policy proposals are not enough to reach the goal, and that there are serious obstacles to getting any particular goal-achieving policy proposal to be viable politically. Krugman has acknowledged (lamented) the same exact thing when it came to how much stimulus was required to get the job done the way he saw it.

I don't see how this is controversial. Is it because Pielke needs to be even more evocative about how "very serious" he is about being pro-green energy before you accept the basic reality of his policy analysis? I hope not.

Salamano said...

Taylor B

Well done at abbreviating my turgid wall of text...almost there. :)

Krugman doesn't have to argue in favor of all policies, even ones he doesn't agree with. He simply has to allow the advocation of those policies to exist without devolving them into "they only want to X because they're evil". And, dismissing arguments on the grounds that someone is evil or ulterior should require a high threshold (even if not 100%) of certainty. Especially on policy matters in which there is uncertainty or long time-horizons. It appears your threshold on this when it comes to people whom you disagree with on policy is different than mine. Fair enough.

Steve Bloom said...

"Thus, by definition, a “carbon cap” necessarily means that a government is committing to either a cessation of economic growth or to the systematic advancement of technological innovation in energy systems on a predictable schedule, such that economic growth is not constrained."

This is the economic guts of what RP Jr. actually said in his FT letter. For me, it evokes the opening passage of Hammett's "The Golden Horseshoe," beloved of our host. Are you seriously defending it, Salamano?

I'll start:

So if the advancement isn't systematic, or if it isn't on a predictable schedule, or if it relies on available technology, or some combination of those, there's an a priori commitment to cessation of economic growth?

Taking the example of the current U.S. shift away from coal and toward natural gas, in what way has that harmed economic growth? What if it had been renewables instead of gas?

That said, I do think there's a more limited economic harm argument to be made, but that's about stranded assets and it's not the one RP Jr. has been making.

Kevin O'Neill said...

Salamano- I'm not sure how John Kerry's statements affect a position on Pielke or Krugman. Krugman does *not* always assign motives as you seem to think. He assigns motives when someone continually takes a position in contradiction to the evidence - why else would someone hold a position if not for ideological reasons when the evidence is against them.

Krugman pushed for a much larger stimulus than was enacted. He explicitly took politics into account, but *also* warned they would only get one bite at the apple. There is no analogy to Pielke's position.

100% certainty is a red herring. If the preponderance of the evidence and logic are on your side you can make reasonable deductions. I deal in measurement uncertainty everyday. If we needed 100% certainty none of us would ever get out of bed, leave the house, drive a car, or do anything - because every action carries some risk.

Pielke has consistently pushed for inaction - or downplayed/criticized the evidence that supports action. At some point when it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck you just have to make the leap and assume it *is* a duck. RP Jr is a duck. Krugman ain't.

Salamano said...

@ Steve...

We'll start with:

"Thus, by definition, a “carbon cap” necessarily means that a government is committing to either a cessation of economic growth or to the systematic advancement of technological innovation in energy systems on a predictable schedule, such that economic growth is not constrained."

Are you seriously defending it, Salamano?

I think it's accurate with the caveat of political viability.

If the advancement isn't systematic, or if it isn't on a predictable schedule, or if it relies on available technology, or some combination of those, there's an a priori commitment to cessation of economic growth?

Not necessarily, only because of the opportunities that being in the zero-lower bound presents in the fiscal world. Essentially we can print trillion-dollar coins and put all this debt into play and have all sorts of current-technology deployment. This demand-side debt part of the equation can evoke self-caused economic growth without being problematic in the near term. However, there are two issues (1) the "in the long run problem" that everyone likes to ignore, ironically not when it comes to climate change; (2) the tendency for such stimulation to become more than just a one-off bit (note the farm-subsidy-like pleas for green-energy tariffs, etc.)

So, within the 'never let a good crisis go to waste' financial opportunity brought on by an aging population and serious debt bubbles, Pielke is probably not quite right in terms of what level of change can be brought about in the current world that also doesn't jeopardize GDP. But, that's only using economics.

Unfortunately, Pielke is right-er than you give him credit for when taking into account the whole picture. The whole picture involves the current framing of what the goal needs to be, and the current time frame on which it needs to occur, and how politics and due process works. Therein lies the critical differences between actual policy, and the whole "if only we had the political will" calculations.

Obama has done a lot when it comes to sidestepping all sorts of the normal political process to enact his green legislation-- So much so that I bet certain people would be in a tizzy if a Conservative tried to do the same thing with policy aims they didn't support (but that's a different hypocritical matter).

I think you will come to realize the 'limited economic harm' method will not be quick/large enough to actually get us to where we need to be. Or further, that actual 'what needs to be done' plan fails politically (and threatens everything else) because neither you nor anyone else wants to live next to your nuclear/biomass/windfarm/etc. installation. And no, that doesn't mean we should do nothing. RPJr doesn't advocate that either.

Salamano said...

@ Kevin,

Krugman pushed for a much larger stimulus than was enacted. He explicitly took politics into account, but *also* warned they would only get one bite at the apple. There is no analogy to Pielke's position.

In my opinion, this is precisely incorrect. Krugman has the advantage of simply discussing economics as a clearly-stated partisan. Therefore he can support half-measures that clearly won't achieve the goal, while admitting it won't, and while stating what will. If your wheel-house is specifically "policy", then you are much more married to what can achieve the goal itself, rather than what half-measures can fail be do a lot of good in the process. RPJr has specifically indicated that things like "a new nuclear installation every week for the next few decades" is the "more larger stimulus" necessary compared to what's on the table. He's also clearly warned that, in your terms, they "would only get one bite at the apple". It comes across to me as precisely analogous with the exception that Pielke is more concerned about generating a policy that will actually work (which means correctly quantifying the situation), rather than using it as an excuse to be satisfied with half-measures, while onward we go past 400ppm.

Pielke has not downplayed or criticized the "evidence that supports (the need for) action", he has criticized the inefficacy of specific actions -- there is a clear difference, and I'd prefer to be talking about the correct characterization. If you think Pielke has only criticizes everything without putting forth his own ideas, then you are mistaken. I believe he wrote a few books on the subject.

Anonymous said...

If Pielke's proposed solution is "a new nuclear installation every week for the next few decades," he's not really being serious about a politically feasible alternative to what's on the table, carbon caps, he's just expressing his personal bias, but I doubt he'd ever admit that.

Thanks!

Taylor B

Anonymous said...

Krugman can't resist a chance to get in a dig at the left:

"Let me add, by the way, that Pielke’s fallacy here — the notion that there’s a rigid link between growth and pollution — is shared by some people on the left, who believe that saving the planet means that economic growth must end. What we actually need is a change in the form of growth — and that’s exactly the kind of thing markets are good at, if you get the prices right"

Krugman has create a strawman rigid link between growth and pollution to argue against those who claim nothing more than that endless economic growth is simply not sustainable.

Sure, if one redefines economic growth to mean sitting around twiddling one's thumbs and not consuming any resources and producing any pollution, then Krugman is right, but that is not even close to the way mainstream economists think of "growth".

Krugman is a smart guy but he is "stuck" in the mainstream mold and will never admit that many of the assumptions behind mainstream econ are simply nonsense from a physical standpoint.

There is no way the planet can sustain even a perpetual 0.1% economic growth rate.

Salamano said...

@ Taylor ...

...I like the poke at the end with "Thanks!" it's cute. Somewhere RPJr is smiling ;)

But, if you think his comments about new nuclear installations per week represents his policy position, you're mistaken. He (and I just then) use it to merely indicate reality when it comes to the actual scope of the problem.

When you posit the Carbon Caps as the reasonable solution with political viability, I merely repeat what's been said (1) It's not good enough when the actual goal is in view; (2) It's only 'politically viable' because it has mustered every possible 'fiat' move a single president could do, ignoring any future undoing that could come with future elections and/or lawsuits. (3) No, this is not a rejection of the actual moves (though I think it ignores the 'climate refugees' in the US, namely the 'coal miner'), and not an excuse to do nothing. Reality deserves to be made public too.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Salamano, I never said that carbon caps were the reasonable solution with political viability, only that they are what's currently on the table. I'm no expert in carbon economics nor politics, but I think I've got a nose for BS when it's being peddled. I think RP Jr. is primarily a peddler of BS, and I don't need to read his books to say so. I've seen enough of his Rodger-the-Dodger behavior from his blog and I don't think Krugman is a comparable counter-example of a left-leaning commentator being equally evasive and disingenuous. You asserted that "Pielke has not downplayed or criticized the 'evidence that supports (the need for) action,'" but he's often called out for doing just that, and for misusing and distorting others' work. I think Roger is a frustrated wanna-be "honest broker" who is losing his credibility if not his audience, a situation that I think is well deserved.

Thanks!

Taylor B

afeman said...

This is turning into a thank-fest.

Kevin O'Neill said...

Salamano writes:"Krugman has the advantage of simply discussing economics as a clearly-stated partisan. Therefore he can support half-measures that clearly won't achieve the goal, while admitting it won't, and while stating what will.
...
Pielke is more concerned about generating a policy that will actually work (which means correctly quantifying the situation), rather than using it as an excuse to be satisfied with half-measures, while onward we go past 400ppm."


Huh? I'm sorry, but this is becoming nonsense. Krugman does not view economics as a 'partisan' - except (as he often states) for the fact that reality has a clear liberal bias. Your characterization is the exact opposite of reality. Krugman is constantly sniping at other economists because many of them have allowed ideological alliance to make a hash of their economic analysis.

Krugman stated the size of a stimulus package that would be necessary. He pushed for a stimulus package that would be that large - or at least the largest that was politically possible. This is realistic. It's the world we live in.

What would RPJr have done? Noted that the required stimulus was very large. Noted that the size of the stimulus required was politically impossible. Hence, since any stimulus passed would be insufficient to the size of the problem we should abandon the stimulus package.

RPJr has a history - and it's not a pretty one. Pielke took Hansen's El Nino prediction out of context and without the caveats (Hansen said it would require many rolls of the dice) and spread it into the denialsphere.

Have you forgotten this NY Times arfticle? "When I look at Dr. Pachauri’s case I see obvious and egregious problems,” said Dr. Roger A. Pielke Jr., a political scientist and professor of environmental science at the University of Colorado. He said that serving as an adviser to financial companies was inappropriate for the chairman of the United Nations’ panel, whether Dr. Pachauri received payment directly or not."

Has he ever apologized? Not to my knowledge. Do we really need to go on? We can fill this topic thread with nothing but Pielke casting aspersions at climate scientists. Is there anything remotely similar from Krugman? No.

You are claiming that black is white and that white is black. That's not the world I live in.

Gator said...

Pielke Jr's "honest broker" idea was a fake from the beginning. It was simply a way to try to keep science input away from policy.

Policy is politics like it or not. I'd rather have scientists give their two cents than not. They may have biases, but it is certain that there are plenty other people and corporations with biases giving their input with no regard to science or reality. Pielke Jr's recipe would take out the science and just leave the corporations to make policy.