The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
The Forum - On Line Opinion's article discussion area



Syndicate
RSS/XML


RSS 2.0

Main Articles General

Sign In      Register

The Forum > Article Comments > Challenging Time for Ag Economists > Comments

Challenging Time for Ag Economists : Comments

By John Quiggin, published 8/2/2011

There is not a single economist in Australia with any professional credibility who denies the reality of global warming or the need for a global policy response.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All
Not the cute little few words "there is not a single economist in Australia with any professional credibility". In other words if you disagree with the alarmists like the author or Ross Garnaut you have no professional credibility. What absolute rubbish.
Posted by Sniggid, Tuesday, 8 February 2011 10:14:09 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
More religious liturgy from the high priests of Pharaoh. Government is like a God; our overlords are ideally suited to make up for the imperfections of mundanes and serfs; violence is the means to knowledge; by taxation we become richer; our problems are caused by our sin in not admitting the state-God into our lives; blah blah blah
Posted by Peter Hume, Tuesday, 8 February 2011 10:14:14 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Has John been walking around with your eyes closed?

An academic of his reputation could do better than this piece of agit-prop. The reality is that economists came to a conclusion long ago that, as a strictly economic question, there was no point in taking action against climate change. To make the figures add up to any action you have to make extreme assumptions, which is what the famous 2006 report by Nicholas Stern did. It assumed an extraordinary low rediscount rate. Garnaut made another assumption, but I'll let John explain that one.

If John wants to be taken seriously perhaps he could take us through his defence of the rediscount rate and Garnaut's report, and explain why all the others who have looked at this issue, such as William Nordhaus, the sterling professor of economics at Yale, have been unable to make the numbers add up to any action. In fact, action against climate change - if it exists - is a moral issue. It has nothing to do with economics. This point is acknowledged by all but a handful of senior economists, including a few in Australia, who have adopted their own, peculiar views on the issue.

Also, if he wants to be taken seriously, he should look at recent research into climate cycles - as distinct from climate change - and how those cycles affected rainfall in the Murray Darling Basin of which he is so fond. In particular, he should look at the research on the link between the Pacfic Decadal Oscillation and rainfall in Eastern Australia.

The result would be a much more considered article.
Posted by Curmudgeon, Tuesday, 8 February 2011 10:27:59 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Quote, "There is not a single economist in Australia, with any credibility who denies the reality of global warming--". Just goes to show the gullibility of economists. Might also give some insight into who provides the employment for most of them also.

Another quote, "If all the economists in the world were laid end to end", & stepped on by a giant bug crusher, the world would be a better place.

I as so sick of economists, with absolutely no record of success, pontificating on what will, or should happen.

We need protection from these clowns.
Posted by Hasbeen, Tuesday, 8 February 2011 11:27:37 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Who cares whether economists as a group accept global warming? It's hardly their field of expertise. I imagine they all agree that breathing oxygen is a good idea as well.
Posted by Nick Ferrett, Tuesday, 8 February 2011 4:53:30 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Nick is right, economists are not climate scientists.

However, I agree with Johnís main points.

While economists are not climate scientists, most are good at statistics, and can spot the more egregious misrepresentations of data used at the shallow ends of both sides of the debate.

And, while climate scientists are best equipped to decide whether global warming is due to human actions, economists are better equipped to advise on what policies to adopt if we decide to do something about emissions.

So John Quiggin may not be qualified to say that the science in support of AGW is conclusive, but nor is James Hansen qualified to say we should not use emissions trading to achieve abatement. If AGW is true, and if we choose to do something about it, a carbon price and adaption will deliver abatement at a lower cost than cash-for-clunker programmes or subsidised solar panels.

Most complex public policy issues are worked through with co-operation from many disciplines, each trusting (though seldom completely!) that the othersí inputs are be best information and analysis available. Complex policy issues also have to be pursued without perfect knowledge and perfect consensus. Most well-informed non-scientists must surely conclude that the weight of theory, evidence and exert opinion rests strongly with the AGW hypothesis. The possible risks of not acting on that evidence are large and could greatly outweigh the costs of action. It therefore makes sense to act on this evidence, even if some of us continue to hope the sceptics are right.

This may explain economists' widespread acceptance of AGW.

One point John did not mention, but which is another important contribution from economics to this debate, is how little it will cost in the long run to implement mitigation policies. Shaving a few percentage points (at most) off economic growth over a period of decades is a small price to pay for abatement. Indeed, I suspect one of the reasons some deep greens resent economistsí contribution to the debate is because economists argue we can mitigate and adapt without giving up a prosperous lifestyle
Posted by Rhian, Tuesday, 8 February 2011 8:20:16 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

About Us :: Search :: Discuss :: Feedback :: Legals :: Privacy