Lord Stern's Mathematical Malapropisms

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I see the good Lord Stern is back in the news. Lord Stern famously produced an eponymous report a few years ago about how much it would cost to cut down carbon dioxide to try to cool down the planetary temperature. He said it would be dirt cheap, a percent or two of GDP would do it quite nicely … riiiight …

The amazing part of the Stern Report was his choice for the future value of money. Here’s the deal with the future value of money, which you already know, perhaps even without knowing you know it. If I said to you, “Which would you prefer, a thousand dollars now, or a thousand dollars next year”, I doubt you’d have much trouble noticing that money next year is not worth the same as money today. How about a thousand dollars either next year or in ten years? You’d greatly prefer next year. That is the future value of money. It is always worth less than money today. It gets discounted a bit, a few percent, for each year into the future. An iron-clad guarantee of a thousand dollars in a hundred years is worth almost nothing today.

Lord Stern’s brilliant contribution to the rapidly emerging field of Paleocarbophobic Economics was to do his entire study of CO2 reduction as if the presumed benefits of reduced temperatures in fifty years have the same value as if we got the putative future benefits today. His discount rate for the future monies was zero, which is the same as saying that future money paid to you fifty years from now is worth exactly the same as money paid to you today … you don’t have to be an accountant to know that’s bogus, you know a thousand bucks in fifty years is worth a whole lot less than a thousand bucks today, but that was Stern’s claim. Mindboggling.

cumulative carbon budget 1959 2011Figure 1. Total cumulative carbon emissions (blue), cumulative carbon sequestered (absorbed) by the planet (green), and cumulative carbon remaining in the atmosphere (red). The purple line shows the “airborne fraction”, which is the amount of carbon remaining in the atmosphere as a percentage of the amount emitted. Note the underlying relationship, that the total emitted is the sum of the amount sequestered plus the amount remaining in the atmosphere, or Emitted = Airborne + Sequestered. Data Sources: Fossil fuel CO2 emissions – Land use CO2 emissions –  Airborne CO2 levels The conversion factor of 2.13 gigatonnes of carbon equal 1 ppmv of atmospheric CO2 was used to convert between units.

Of course, Lord Stern had to make the ridiculous claim that the future benefits had huge value today in order to make the CO2 reduction scam appear to make any economic sense. As an accountant, I would have recommended un-Lording his noble keister for that particularly egregious economics transgression, but unfortunately the Queen of England doesn’t pay much attention to me. I know because I wrote to her Majesty once. Her private secretary replied.

He sent a lovely letter on a piece of paper that was so thick it looked like it would crack if it were folded, a gorgeous cream-colored slab of royal stationery, posted to me in an envelope the size of a small valise … unfortunately, if her Majesty’s secretary’s answer were translated into the dialect of the native tribes of the island of New Amsterdam, it could be best rendered as “Her Majesty has ordered me to tell you to fuggeddaboutit” … but I digress.

So what is Lord Stern’s latest claim? I’m sure you will be shocked and surprised to find out that he now says It’s Worse Than We Thought!™

The UK’s Guardian newspaper, that most British bastion of blatant bloviation, has the story here. I was most interested in the reasons why Lord Stern thinks that It’s Worse Than We Thought!™ This turns out to be the following, in Lord Stern’s own words:

“Looking back, I underestimated the risks. The planet and the atmosphere seem to be absorbing less carbon than we expected, and emissions are rising pretty strongly. Some of the effects are coming through more quickly than we thought then.”

You can tell he’s a pro because of the number of errors he has managed to shoehorn into three short sentences. It takes true nobility to do that, a common man like myself couldn’t stand the pressure. Let me start with his most ridiculous statement, that “the atmosphere seem to be absorbing less carbon than we expected”. Really? How much CO2 were we expecting the atmosphere to “absorb”? And what does it mean for the atmosphere to “absorb” CO2? There’s no meaning in that statement.

But let’s assume that “the atmosphere absorbs” means the atmosphere has taken up less carbon than we expected. I’m not sure how much he expected it to take up, so there’s no way to judge that … but it doesn’t matter because there’s another, larger problem. Since Emitted = Airborne + Sequestered, the only way for the airborne amount to be less than expected (as he claims) is for the sequestered amount to be greater than expected. The problem with that is that he has said that the planet is sequestering less CO2, not more.

But those are just the inherent internal contradictions in Lord Stern’s strange statement. More important are the actual mis-statements of fact. He claims that a reason that he underestimated the risks is that “emissions are rising pretty strongly”. But in fact there is little change from the emissions trend in 2006 when he wrote his infamous report.

And his claim that less and less is being sequestered by the planet? Absolute fantasy. The airborne fraction is the amount of CO2 remaining in the atmosphere.  As shown by Figure 1, it has not changed significantly in the last fifty years, nor has the sequestration rate. What is he imagining is new since 2006? Lest you think I am making up my claim about the carbon sinks not changing, here’s a report of NOAA’s take on the question:

Natural sinks still sopping up carbon

Ecosystems haven’t maxed out ability to absorb fossil fuel emissions

May 15, 2012

BOULDER, Colo. — Earth’s ecosystems keep soaking up more carbon as greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere, new measurements find.

The research contradicts several recent studies suggesting that “carbon sinks” have reached or passed their capacity. By looking at global measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the new work calculates instead that total sinks have increased roughly in line with rising emissions.

“The sinks have been more than able to keep up with emissions,” said Pieter Tans, an atmospheric scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo. Tans presented the findings May 15 at an annual conference on global monitoring hosted by the lab.

(In passing, I just noticed that NOAA appears to have used the same method I used to determine the airborne fraction, by looking at global measurements of atmospheric CO2. Curious if true, but again I digress. Onwards to the finale …)

SUMMARY OF STERN’S STATEMENTS:

Every single claim that Lord Stern made about how things are getting worse is untrue.

•  There have been no surprises on the emissions front. The average annual increases in the CO2 emissions are basically unchanged since he wrote his report in 2006. In fact, despite his claim of rising emissions, the increases are somewhat smaller than expected in 2006, due to the drop in emissions from the global financial crisis.

• The amount of CO2 sequestered by the planet has stayed quite constant at about 55% of the total emissions. There has been no decrease in sequestration as he claims, and there is no evidence that the carbon sinks are losing their ability to sequester CO2.

• Finally, although he says “the effects are coming through more quickly than we thought”, the earth placidly continues along with no statistically significant warming or cooling over the last 15 years, and there is no sign of any increase in extreme events … so exactly which effects of CO2 are “coming through”, quickly or not?

Not one true statement in the bunch … oh, my good Lord!

Three seventeen am, I guess that’s bedtime for me. Starlight and high night cirrus to y’all, with the full moon steaming majestically through the clouds in the middle of a ring of light, remember that the loup garou needs your prayers, I’m off to sleep …

w.

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The warmists continue to make it up as they go along!
The atmosphere absorb CO2! My mind is boggling at the concept, presumably it would disappear by some sort of quantum jump.
Alice in Wonderland concepts for Alice in Wonderland “science”

Most of the global warming is in the higher latitudes of the N. Hemisphere, the Arctic ice reduction is hailed as a primary example. Comparing the CO2 emissions and the Arctic temperature since 1800 to the present time tells different story to the one told by lord Stern :
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CO2-Arc.htm

Richard M

Lord Stern is just another high priest preaching to the flock. He will never debate his claims with anyone. I suspect he is doing what Obama just did … trying to keep the flock in line while the scammers cash out. They will then claim it is all the fault of the scientists (with a few of those scientists getting canned) and then move on to the next scam.

Bill H

ITS WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT……
LOL…
But the admission that airborne CO2 change being insignificant is great…

Gail Combs

Starlight and high night cirrus to y’all, with the full moon steaming majestically through the clouds in the middle of a ring of light, remember that the loup garou needs your prayers…
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Just as long as it is not my blood… Or were you talking about Stern and his buddies? They are definitely interested in bleeding us dry.

The mass balance approach upon which Figure 1 is based; is based on some bad assumptions like natural emission and sink rates have remained constant.

I used a different approach to mass balance that indicates the natural change rates are more significant. Click on my name.

john robertson

Lord Iraq Oil to cash in pocket, sorry Stern is an old time Canadian liberal, whatever lies are necessary to further the party line, while profiting from the taxpayers trust.
Notice his new home, same as his old master’s.
This guy and Soros, we need a new punishment for people who desire to destroy civilization while making a profit from the misery of others.
Madoff is a patriot in comparison.
Air dropped into remote uninhabited arctic islands, works for me.
There are far too many hungry bears and wolves in the arctic, let us make PETA proud.

When I pointed out to Sir Nick (as he was then) that the “optimum” in the Stern Review violated its first-order conditions, he replied that Leibnitz was overrated.

Not addressed by Lore Stern was the “What can we do about it?” question.
DOE and IPCC agree that the human contribution to CO2 is 2.9% of the total, with oceanic outgassing (as the oceans slowly warm) being the major contributor. Repeat: 2.9% of the total!!!
The most ambitious sequestration project was the extraction of CO2 from the air and sequestration “under ground” somewhere, at a cost of 3 Billion dollars – funding going to the University of Chicago for this project. Thats $10.00 from every American (yes, kids too)!
Impact? 0.000001% CO2 reduction of the 2.9% that is traceable to humankind.
Good grief!!!

jorgekafkazar

Lord Stern and his ilk obviously dance to the beat of a different kazoo player.

DirkH

About the old Stern report,
Roger Pielke:
The online edition of the Stern report was a little error corrected (fixing a factor of 10 error – but not the follow up computations…)
http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/01/what-tangled-web-we-weave.html

Very well put. Thanks, Willis, that was an enjoyable read.

William H

Stern’s “true nobility”? Nope. He was knighted in 2004, and received a life peerage in 2007. No true blue-blood there. Unlike Chris Monckton.
Nick Stern does have some highly-placed family members, though. Perhaps that is the answer to **how do I get them to listen to me, and pay me vast amounts of cash?**

jorgekafkazar

vukcevic says: “…Comparing the CO2 emissions and the Arctic temperature since 1800 to the present time tells different story to the one told by lord Stern :
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CO2-Arc.htm
True, Vuk, the T vs CO2 curve falsifies Stern’s position, though there are wind and current and other influences on ice melt, The magnetic part is wiggle matching, Still, it’s fun to consider, like most of your comments. Keep ’em coming. They drive Leif nuts.

Great as always Willis!! I remember years ago if I bought an item
that cost 50 cents,I would pay with a piece of paper. But in return I got
Plata [;{)
Alfred

His discount rate for the future monies was zero, which is the same as saying that future money paid to you fifty years from now is worth exactly the same as money paid to you today … you don’t have to be an accountant to know that’s bogus

This is a bit confusing. It suggests that you are talking about inflation. And then if we presume ‘discounting’ with the broadest meaning, my understanding is that Stern’s overall discount rate was low but not zero (1.4%). I presume you are meaning that his pure rate of time-preference discounting is negligible. And, indeed, that is…bizarre.
The reason money now is worth more than (the promise) of money later, especially much much later, involves many things, but overwhelming are the uncertainties. Uncertainties about the benefits to future generations of us attempting now to avert their climate damage include uncertainty about the monetary value of these damages, but also about whether they will happen, uncertainties about whether they will get the benefit (uncertainties about knowledge) and whether they will want it (as we decline into an ice age) and more…
The hubris of inter-generational discounting is that we know the far distant future and that we have the power to influence it. What is particularly distasteful for critics of this fantastic accounting is the way supporters of low discounting take the high moral ground. Cline and Stern are in a loop with Hansen etc. in saying that it is all about them (and not us greedy short term thinkers) caring for our (great, great, great) grand children.

cui bono

To be ennobled in Medieval times, you had to be a liar and a rogue, but useful to the Monarch.
Nowadays it’s completely different. Oh wait….

Oscar Bajner

Li’l Lord Nicci is a joy, the root of my skepticism of “anthropogenic global warming”.
Li’l Nik, you adorable likkle GOSPLANNER you, you’re so cute you even believe
central planning can be done optimally (location, location, location).
Finally reaching his ultimate level of incompetence, El Prezidente del British Academy.
Sweet irony, Li’l apparatch Nik sez, Climate change is the greatest market failure evah, and
he may just be right, the market failed to notice a problem with the climate, until it was told.

John

I concur with another commenter. I love the way you un shuffle then reshuffle the deck to expose their obfuscation. It always seems they really have said nothing. Sarc/on
Do they get paid for quantity rather than quality? Sarc/off

Mike McMillan

If the atmosphere and the planet are absorbing less CO2 than we thought, that means CO2 pressure is building up. Indeed, that pressure might be what’s been holding down the temperature.for a decade and a half.
We must invoke the precautionary principle.

The atmosphere has to absorb CO2 in order to form the blanket which insulates the planet, allowing it to warm. At least that’s what it sounds like. (synical view)

Snotrocket

Oh…so good to have you back Willis! Such a a joy to read – and “Paleocarbophobic”: Inspired!!! Loved it.
Stern is a gold-digger, in it for his own benefit.

Gunga Din

Two thoughts.
The cost of reducing CO2 is measured in more than dollars and cents. (Or whatever currency your nation uses.)
Why bother reducing CO2 at all? What harm has it been proven to cause? (A computer model is not proof.)

Scute

Stern was relying on the counterveiling effect of future growth productivity and technical innovation. Whether this growth would outstrip inflation is open to debate but that is what he was banking on. It is a common theme in more libertarian economic thinking, as discussed here:
http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/climate-consensus-do-little-for-now#axzz2JCx6Mhn5

Bob Scott

Why is it that everyone (in the warmist camp) will hang upon every word that his lordship comes out with, despite the fact that he’s not a “real scientist”, yet debunk every contribution made by a sceptic because he or she isn’t, guess what, a “real scientist”?

Stephen Richards

the loup garou. Is this the french canadian singer. My wife adores him.

Figure 1 shows the cumulative Airborne Fraction, rather than the annual or running average airborne fraction, so it is difficult to see how this is changing with time. The link to “Land use CO2 emissions” doesn’t work, so I don’t know how significant that is.
Using the global emission of fossil fuels and cement for total global emissions, I graphed the 5-year running average CO2 Sink Efficiency, defined as the fraction of emissions that are sequestered.
http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FOS%20Essay/CO2_Sink_eff.jpg
The graph below shows that the fraction of emissions that is sequestered in sinks has increased at 0.94%/decade.
Most of the climate models forecast the sink efficiency will decline so that the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere will rise by an additional 50 to 100 ppm by 2100 compared to a constant sink efficiency. But the actual sink efficiency change is in the opposite direction of the climate models so it is likely the CO2 content will rise slower that climate model predictions.
See http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FOS%20Essay/Climate_Change_Science.html#Models_fail
(bottom of essay section) for further info.

Austin

I seem to remember another Lord, Lord Cardigan, who also epitomized the arrogant, incompentent English Aristocracy, who led his men into death and ruin. I think we should dub Lord Stern, First Lord Paleocarbophobic, the Cardigan of our Age.

Chris

Someone should comment on the catastrophic man-made global warming hit piece in the SF Chronicle by Carolyn Lochhead. Oh my, it’s as if the non-warming of the past 16 years didn’t exist. Filled with artic and methane tipping points, etc. Lots of other alarmism as well. Seems like a recycled article from 10 years ago that was dusted off with the hot 2012 year thrown in (US only even though it is less than 2% of the globe). Best part was the contention that the Vikings wouldn’t recognize Greenland in 100 years, which in fact, would look look pretty familiar to the early Viking settlers if CAGW was true (hence, the name Greenland and the farming settlements there of the Viking days). She is now worse than the worst (Seth Borenstein). Seth, you better watch your back, someone is coming after you for the title as the worst offender of climate truth.
[Reply: Got a link? — mod.]

Simon

The statement “The sinks have been more than able to keep up with emissions,” suggests that a principal sink, vegetation, has significantly more potential that we give it credit for, which is not surprising as CO2 is plant food. Give it more, and it’ll grow more. It even suggests that CO2 levels are too LOW for healthy vegetation, so as scary as it might be to the alarmist bunch, burning more fuels to emit more CO2 is the KINDEST and MOST BENEFICIAL thing we can do for the planet. Just don’t tell Bill McKibben though, he’ll have a fit 🙂

john robertson

@Austin, I can’t see any light coming from the catastrophist, so comparing them to the brigade isn’t fair.
Cardigan was a patriot and genius in comparison.

Jimbo

Nicholas Stern: ‘I got it wrong on climate change – it’s far, far worse’
Author of 2006 review speaks out on danger to economies as planet absorbs less carbon and is ‘on track’ for 4C rise
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jan/27/nicholas-stern-climate-change-davos/print

Mmmmmmm! How can it be “far, far worse” when we have had a temperature standstill of 16 years? Sometimes I just wonder whether he hasn’t put heavy investments in carbon schemes and is very worried. Just like the parts of BBC Pension scheme.

BBC News – Climate model forecast is revised
The UK Met Office has revised one of its forecasts for how much the world may warm in the next few years.
It says the average temperature is likely to be 0.43 C above the long-term average by 2017, as opposed to an earlier forecast suggesting a difference of 0.54C.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20947224

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/14/the-real-ipcc-ar5-draft-bombshell-plus-a-poll/

wsbriggs

OMG, I’m being forced to nit-pick.
Willis you stated in your summary, “In fact, despite his claim of rising emissions, the increases are somewhat smaller than expected in 2006, due to the drop in emissions from the global financial crisis.”
I believe you should have written, “due to the drop in CO2 emissions which resulted from the global financial crisis and it’s resulting production curtailment.”
I believe there was a drop in CO2, however I’m not sure there was a drop in emissions, there was certainly a run on underwear in better mens clothing stores in London, New York, and Washington D.C.

In the old days Lord Stern may have ended in the tower. First duty of any Englishman is to be of a beneficial service to his country, not to its determent.
For 350 years the average Central England summer temperatures were showing no increase whatsoever oscillating between 14 and 16.5 degrees C, with a zero trend.
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MidSummer-MidWinter.htm
Why would he want to make the English farmers suffer even more then they already do?
During the same 350 year period the winters have warmed up by a meagre 1 degree C. It is beyond me why he would suggest that colder winters would bring any advantage to the country.

Steve Oregon

If Stern, et al, were to be more transparent wouldn’t they be saying,
“It’s Worse Than We Had Hoped”
Or
“We Hope It’s Worse Than We Claim”
I’m still stuck on what all these bureaucrat and academia clowns mean by “preparing” for the coming changes they imagine are inevitable.
All they seem to offer is their perpetual call for endless and broadening planning to prepare. Not actually doing anything to truly prepare. .
So they’ll watch the coast line, measure the snow packs, imagine scenarios, provide reactions, rinse and repeat while insisting more stuff must be done to avert disaster.
The big problem is nothing they provide can ever be used to apply to anything happening because whatever is happening is occurring too slow to either recognize it or treat it.
So what use are all the brochures, papers, plans and advise they produce? When and how does all that stuff become something usable like a “tool” or instructions for something?
Never IMO.

Robert in Calgary

It’s been hard to find but I think this link might fit the Lochhead article referenced earlier.
http://m.newsminer.com/weather/article_580bca80-6747-11e2-9f5a-0019bb30f31a.html?mode=jqm

DirkH

Scute says:
January 27, 2013 at 12:12 pm
“Stern was relying on the counterveiling effect of future growth productivity and technical innovation. Whether this growth would outstrip inflation is open to debate but that is what he was banking on. ”
You mean because it would be far easier and cheaper (measured in a non inflating base like Gold; or “in real terms”(which is, well, undefined, as the CPI has been meddled with, and has therefore no meaning anymore)) to do something in the future than now he decided that we need to do something now?
At least that’s how I understand growth of productivity…

Robin Guenier

I see that Stern is reported as saying that “some countries, including China, had now started to grasp the seriousness of the risks” of a four or five degree temperature rise as a result of “carbon” emissions. I wonder if that’s the same China as the one that’s expected to add another 700 million tons to its demand for coal over the next four years – adding the equivalent of 160 new coal-fired power plants to the 620 it operates now:
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/business/energy-environment/coal/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier

Ian W

Richard M says:
January 27, 2013 at 10:01 am
Lord Stern is just another high priest preaching to the flock. He will never debate his claims with anyone. I suspect he is doing what Obama just did … trying to keep the flock in line while the scammers cash out. They will then claim it is all the fault of the scientists (with a few of those scientists getting canned) and then move on to the next scam.

If only they were ‘cashing out’. The second wave is now starting where the various UN treaties and mandates and regulations on industry are coming into force. AGW was just a suitable pretext for what is now happening. FOIA throwing grit in the gears with the climategate emails may be the only thing that has saved the world from some kind of hegemony as countries started backing out as the science was shown to be not-valid and apparently fraudulent. But the scam is not over – even if Al Gore appears to be cashing out.

Bart

fhhaynie says:
January 27, 2013 at 10:16 am
“I used a different approach to mass balance that indicates the natural change rates are more significant.”
This is correct. It is readily apparent that temperature is the overriding driver in CO2 concentration. The rate of change of CO2 has leveled off at precisely the time temperatures have done so. This is a smoking gun.
Amazing that so many people ignore it. It must be akin to all the time wasted while experimenters came to grips with the fact that Millikan’s value for the charge of an electron was wrong.

John Hewitt

Berniel is right, the discount rate assumed by Stern [and presumably his team] was according to one economist 1.4%. Lawson is his book “An Appeal to Reason” says that in the whole 692 page report there is no clear statement about what discount rate was used. He thinks it may have been 2.1% for the first hundred years. [I cannot claim to have read the whole Stern report myself]
Whatever the real figure is, it’s much too low – Lawson says that during his time at the UK Treasury the minimum figure used was 6%. My own experience in industry was that 10% was the standard used.
The difference is huge. After 10 years the 2% gives 82% value and the 10% gives 38%. If you were to invest in a project with some risk but projected even annual cash returns what sounds more plausible 10 years on 82% of todays value or 38%? Not too difficult is it?
As Lawson says no economist would support a rate as low as 2% for any evaluation. But Stern needed to, because otherwise he got the “wrong” answer and the discount rate was chosen to provide the “right” answer.

MattS

“You can tell he’s a pro because of the number of errors he has managed to shoehorn into three short sentences. ”
He’s a rank amateur. The average US politician can manage as many errors in a single sentence.

james griffin

It’s quite simple really Stern old chap….when your mates at the IPCC gave you the alarmist report they had made a glaring error.
You were told that the relationship between CO2 and it’s ability to create heat was linear…in other words if you double the CO2 you get double the heat. Unfortunately this was not correct….scientists’ from the real world have now kindly informed us that the relationship is in fact LOGARITHMIC…Which means as you stack it up CO2 produces heat in diminishing amounts.
And I am reliably informed that we have had 75% of all the heat we will ever get from Carbon Dioxide and a doubling will only yield around 1C…a further doubling will create even less.
So now that I have cleared up what must be a huge embarrassment to you please arranage to pay back the climate taxes taken from us due to this administrative error.
You will also be pleased to know that satellite photos show the planet is greening up but you will need to mow your lawn more often.

MinB

NOAA: ” The research contradicts several recent studies suggesting that “carbon sinks” have reached or passed their capacity.”
How does a carbon sink “pass” its capacity? To reach or be at capacity, yes. To underestimate capacity, yes. But pass?

DirkH says:
January 27, 2013 at 10:32 am
About the old Stern report,
Roger Pielke:
The online edition of the Stern report was a little error corrected (fixing a factor of 10 error – but not the follow up computations…)
http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/01/what-tangled-web-we-weave.html
=====
the above post by Roger Pielke is well worth a read: quote:
The issue is much deeper than a typo — you can seen in my excerpt from my paper above that I had already assumed that it was a typo. The problem is that once the typo is corrected it then reveals that the numbers presented by Stern just do not add up.
Posted by Roger Pielke, Jr. at 1/24/2010 11:28:00 AM

David Jones

William H says:
January 27, 2013 at 10:36 am
Stern’s “true nobility”? Nope. He was knighted in 2004, and received a life peerage in 2007. No true blue-blood there. Unlike Chris Monckton.
Nick Stern does have some highly-placed family members, though. Perhaps that is the answer to **how do I get them to listen to me, and pay me vast amounts of cash?**
No, IMHO, he’s an LSE socialist, promised a Lordship if he wrote a report which said what Blair, Brown, Balls and Miiliband wanted. They were than able to refer to his report whilst writing the Climate Change Act of 2008 (whilst it was snowing heavily on Parliament Square in October). That is, IMHO, nothing less than a poisoned pill for the incoming government in 2010.
Time to repeal that Act, do away with the so-called “renewables obligations” and all the “green energy” subsidies.
Oh, and also cancel the Lordship!!

Crispin in Waterloo

Willis, i think you are relying on the continuation of inflation without giving much credence to the notion that the ‘managed inflation’ of the past 70 years might be coming to an end. There are some really interesting books by Harry S Dent on the subject, an older one being “The death of inflation” which predicted accurately the Malaysian collapes and the ‘Asian Contagion’ in 1995.
The current generation of economists, he Harry says, has no experience of inflation save the Japanese (since 1990). At the moment it appears the USG is printing enough money to off-set what would otherwise be a severe contraction (deflation). It is an interesting act of economic management.
However it may be that Harry D is correct – he often is – and that the printing of money is just kicking the can down the road because the underlying problem is a change in demographics, not something ‘inflationary’.
The discount rate might be negative, not positive relative to the present. We cannot rely on a projection of what has happened before to ‘know’ the future – that is the Big Mistake the CO2 alarmists like Lord Stern made.

Lance Wallace

Robert in Calgary–thanks for the link.
At least the Lochhead story includes the following:
“McKibbon and Hansen propose a tax on fossil fuels at their source, to be reimbursed to all U.S. residents. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., plans to propose that in a “fee and dividend” scheme modeled on Alaska’s oil royalty rebates to state residents.
Asked about the Sanders bill Wednesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said, “We have not proposed and have no intention of proposing a carbon tax.””

RoyFOMR

Stern got one thing right.
He used to be a Mister but now he;s a Lord.
Someone liked what he said!