Huff Post: Focus on Feelings, Before People Notice Climate Economics is a Mess

Climate Economist At Work

Climate Economist At Work

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The Huffington Post is worried that faltering faith in the field of Economics, whose experts spectacularly failed to predict the 2008 crash and the post Brexit economic boom, might spill over into skepticism about predictions of climate driven economic collapse.

With Economics In Disarray, It’s Time To Rethink Climate Change

We heard this week that the economics profession is in crisis. The inability to foresee the 2008 financial crisis and mis-judgments about the impact of the Brexit vote mean economics has lost the trust of politicians and the public.

If indeed economics as a science and way of seeing and understanding the world has had its day, then we quickly need to work out what that means for our ideas about dealing with climate change. Because make no mistake, economics has dominated and defined our understanding of climate change in exactly the same way economics has dominated and defined every other area of our lives.

That’s the reason why the Stern Review on Climate Change (written by Nicholas Stern, an economist) received such wide covered upon its publication in 2006, becoming ‘the reference work for politicians and green campaigners‘. Here at last was someone telling us what to do, and telling us in the only language that mattered – economics. None of that hippy ‘going to live in caves’ nonsense. No doom and gloom. Instead the Review ‘considers the economic costs of the impacts of climate change, and the costs and benefits of action to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) that cause it’. The ultimate objective of climate policy was to ensure climate change did not damage economic growth.

What is needed instead is a way of engaging with climate change which is built from the bottom-up and speaks to the values, experience, hopes and concerns of everyday life. It is about showing the connections between a future which benefits the many, not just the few, with the possibility of a good quality of life that can be shared by all without ruining the quality of life for subsequent generations.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/chris-shaw/climate-change-economics_b_13984596.html

When I worked with merchant bankers, the bankers never attempted to use their economic and trading models to predict the future, because they knew that didn’t work – bitter experience taught them that their painstakingly constructed economic models had no predictive skill. Instead, they used the models to try to understand the present, to try to detect weaknesses in the structure of their portfolios.

Only in academia and government, where nobody faces consequences for failure, do you find people who are stupid enough to believe they know what is going to happen.

259 thoughts on “Huff Post: Focus on Feelings, Before People Notice Climate Economics is a Mess

    • Economics *is* the primary lens of reality to an economist for whom such things are truly important. Things have no importance of themselves. As to reality; it is impossible to perceive it. It is infinitely recursive. The act of perceiving something has changed the perceiver; and if the perceiver is part of the set of things being perceived, then what is to be perceived has just changed by the act of perception.

      Economics is important to me. It is not magic; it is mostly structured observation and helps a person make better decisions. If your business happens to be in a commodity market then to have any profit you must make the thing at less cost to you than anyone else. IF it is not a commodity, and you are successful, then pretty soon it will be a commodity. This is not difficult to understand.

      DeBeers created demand for diamonds pretty much out of thin air, reversing the usual course of a thing becoming a commodity.

      • The demand for diamonds is high because the DeBeers managed to convince people diamonds are rare.

      • Diamonds are rare. Check the geology. And diamonds were highly prized long before DeBeers. Ever heard of Koh-i-noor?

      • The whole western chunk of Africa sits on what is what is in effect a gigantic diamond factory.

      • Ever heard of Koh-i-noor?

        Yes. It’s my favourite Indian Restaurant. Miles better than the Taj Mahal.

      • Ever heard of Koch-i-noor? Yes? Ever heard of “glass”? Far, far, far more valuable in those days than diamonds….

      • We should evaluate things in terms of economics, however, we should not pretend that one macroeconomic number defines the reality for everyone — GNP can rise, but if 200% of the GNP rise goes to a wealthy few, that is not a benefit.

        Nor should we should twist economics to fit a perspective.

        That is what the Stern Review is. He modified the model assumptions until he “proved” that we needed to act on on climate change. The very definition of poor economics.

      • Diamonds are not even the most beautiful precious gem, only the hardest. Speaking as a woman, I much prefer diamonds as accents to sapphires, rubies, and emeralds, they really liven up a colored stone.

        PMK

      • it is mostly structured observation and helps a person make better decisions.
        As Keynes pointed out in his General Theory (which about 62 people have actually read; Keynes is not taught in univ*), it depends on whether you’re in stable times or disruptive times.

        In stable times, you can determine risk, which Keynes described as like a deck of cards, variable, but measurable. You can determine probability (risk mmodels, etc) and can therefore estimate your chances.

        In disruptive times, you have irreducible uncertainty, and you can’t estimate. There is no calculable probability. You do not have any basis to know. (No one knows, for example, whether there will be war, or what the price of oil will be, in 10 years.)
        ______________________
        * Nobel Prize winner in Economics Paul Samuelson was considered the keeper of the Keynes flame, and it was his understanding of Keynes that everyone has…to this day. Samuelson wrote the seminal 1948 textbook Economics: An Introductory Analysis that is still assigned to Econ 101 students, the most successful econ book of all time; he is also Larry Summers uncle.

        Samuelson learned about Keynes’ theory at Harvard from the seminar notes that a visiting London School of Economics student took in Hayek’s classes at LSE about Keynes’ theory taught before the book was published in 1936. Samuelson later admitted in a 1989 interview that he never really understood Keynes and didn’t bother finishing the last half of the book (or after Chapter 16, can’t remember).

      • My comment was for Michael 2 @ January 6, 2017 at 10:00 pm.

        The first bold line is his. I mistakenly used bold instead of blockquote. Sorry about that.

      • You describe the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics. The act of observation disturbs the observed.

      • Observation collapses the wave function; a very different kettle of fish than disturbing the observed.

    • I suppose in this context I can mention that MS and AG created a market for carbon dioxide also out of thin air. Demand must be stimulated and the item desired must be scarce or regulated. Economics IS the lens to use when understanding the proposed response to global warming.

      • Mississippi and who would AG be?

        Or do you mean Microsoft and AG – still, who is AG? AG as in ‘agriculture’ (possibly “big ag” in your book?)

        AG may also refer to Attorney General or Attorneys General, but only you know for sure …

      • Economics is very much like…oh….Climate Change! Complex, multiple, almost endlessly variable inputs and feedbacks, poorly understood…and yet the basis of an industry that employs thousands of great minds and computer time to produce analyses and prognostications. It eats up a terrific amount of money to talk about money, just like AGW produces a lot of hot air talking about hot air. Very little value ( probably negative growth) is produced by either.

      • “How many “Schools of Physics” do we have?”

        1. Standard Model
        2. String Theory

        Maybe others.

      • As john harmsworth – above – indicates, we probably have a score of “Schools of Climate warming – no, Change- no, Disruption”
        And, as he also indicates, the net result is hot air.
        # Which, I suppose, will add, infinitesimally, to Gore-Bull Whatsit . . . .

        “Very little value ( probably negative growth) is produced by either.”

        Spot on, john.

        Auto.
        Climate is, accept it;and we can affect it only at the margins.
        Urban Heat Islands – yes. Of course, but do they affect 1% of the planet’s surface??
        I know, that they may affect 10 – or 20 – percent of our temperature readings . . . .
        Another story.

        trust the California ‘weather’ is not too bad.
        But absolute – absolute – proof of CAGW, of course.
        #Like the shower we had today in Croydon South. And the sunshine in the Orkneys.
        Etcetera, etcetera.

  1. How well does Keynesian economics deal with anything? Perhaps it would be good for analysing imaginary things other than “climate change”, such as the tooth fairy, or the flying spaghetti monster.

    • Dr. Robert G. Brown in a comment here a couple of years ago called Keynes “a statistical GOD. [Emphasis his.]

    • Consider the source. Salon, Vox, PuffHo, NYT, WaPo and The Guardian at this point have all the credibility of those loony vans that ride around Tokyo, spewing propaganda via bull-horn. BULL is all that it is. Wait another month or so, and the realization of their irrelevance is about to sink in. Meanwhile, We the Deplorables will rock on!

    • there is a school of economics that traditionally gets it right when the other schools are totally wrong.
      there forecast for the near future is a repeat of the end result of all financial bubbles. Hold on to your hats.

      • jvcstone
        Noted.
        I will ensure I have tin foil in mine – two layers!
        And a lucky thingy, whatchamacallit, hanging from the outside.

        Auto

    • Keynes is a lot like communism.
      No matter how many times it fails, it’s always because it wasn’t done right.
      Next time it’s going to work.

      • Keynes is a lot like communism.
        No matter how many times it fails, it’s always because it wasn’t done right.
        Next time it’s going to work.

        Keynes either said or wrote, Capitalism is necessary to bring us out of the tunnel of necessity into the sunlight of abundance. And he stated Utopia after capitalism, not outsidecapitalism.

        Most of what people believe or know about Keynes is like what the #NeverTrumpers believe about Trump. Off the effing wall.

      • Rob Bradley, remember that:

        The Reagan years brought annual real GDP growth of 3.5 percent — 4.9 percent after the recession.
        The 80’s were a happy time, too.
        The economy also grew over 5%/ year in real terms after the Kennedy tax cuts.
        Gee, trickle-down economics does work.

      • Rob, the big difference is that trickle down has always worked.
        It worked when Kennedy did.
        It worked when Reagan did it.

    • Keynesian economics is great for understanding the movements of economics. It’s only when you try to control the economy using Keynesian ideas that things actually fall flat, primarily due to the law of unintended consequences. Don’t disparage the idea because it is so often misapplied.

      • It’s only when you try to control the economy using Keynesian ideas that things actually fall flat

        Well, FDR created the middle class using Keynes’ ideas. Fixed the Great Depression, Reduced inflation to 1.5%, and gave everyone a job. [See Keep From All Thoughtful Men by military historian Jim Lacey.]

        Actually—and this is fascinating to me—Keynes was preceded by Marriner Eccles, a millionaire Republican Mormon banker from Utah who didn’t finish highschool and who used the same Keynes ideas with FDR. In fact, four years before Keynes’ book was published in 1936! he didn’t know about Keynes. Eccles was a plain-speaking person who experienced the manifestation of how destructive the gold standard was by ruiniing the lives of his customers. Eccles was invited to DC by FDR’s friend and advisor in 1932.

        Eccles wanted us to get off the gold standard pronto, and get the federal government to start deficit spending bigtime to get the unemployment down from 25% via provisioninng itself using massive jobs programs and big federal projects. In two years, It was down to 14%. The Republicans spooked FDR in 1937, who foolishly cut spending in response and against Eccles’ advice—Eccles was now FDR’s first chairman of the Federal Reserve—and unemployment shot back up to 19.4% within 8 months. FDR got the drift. WWII loomed and Britain and Canada needed planes and ships, materiel. The detail of how three government economists using Keynes/Eccles’ ideas created the incredible economic growth from 1939 on to the end of the war is in Keep From All Thoughtful Men.

        Eisenhower used “Keysian/Eccles” ideas when he built the interstate highway system in the 50s; taxpayers didn’t pay a cent; no debt to children and grandchildren. Ditto Kennedy’s Space Program. You can see the years with a massive increase in deficits in Table 1.1 on the White House Historical Tables: https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals. They match the years of tremendous economic growth.

      • As I recall, Utah banks did not close as they did in the rest of the U.S. at that time.

        Inter-states were built to evacuate urban areas when needed and for military use. This was based on the European WW 2 experience of trying to evacuate civilians and move the military at the same time.

        Interstates have saved countless lives during severe weather conditions.

      • MRW, wrong, FDR created the great depression using the ideas of Keynes.
        It was the elimination of the many regulations and government agencies so that industry could help fight WWII that got us out of the depression.

      • It was industry that created the middle class. Rising productivity created the wealth.
        Competition meant that the wealth was distributed based on relative contributions.

      • Barbara, cities and states were already building the roads that they needed.
        Eisenhower sped up this process and used military need as the excuse.

      • MARKW says: ” FDR created the great depression”
        .
        .
        MARKW fails to understand that FDR took the oath of office March 4, 1933, more than two years after the start of the Great Depression. The stock market crash which signaled the start of the depression was on October 29, 1929.

      • MarkW January 9, 2017 at 8:40 am
        MRW, wrong, FDR created the great depression using the ideas of Keynes.

        What orifice did you find that snippet in? You are 1000% wrong historically.

        It was the elimination of the many regulations and government agencies so that industry could help fight WWII that got us out of the depression.

        Ignorant comment. Completely irresponsible.

        It was the elimination of the many regulations and government agencies so that industry could help fight WWII that got us out of the depression.

        B.S. You know zip about American economic history. You’re a Canadian, aren’t you?

      • MRW wrote “What orifice did you find that snippet in? You are 1000% wrong historically.”

        It would be better to leave it at 100 percent. Even multiples of 100 percent wrongness cancel out; you have five cycles of wrong-right, assuming of course that !wrong==right and !right==wrong.

        The WPA was a pretty good investment and I’ve driven across many WPA constructed bridges, roads and used mountain trails. When viewed as an investment it is much less objectionable to libertarians. If the United States had been communistic, the WPA would have consisted largely of forced labor rather than employment.

      • MarkW January 9, 2017 at 8:44 am
        It was industry that created the middle class.

        Wrong. it was government.

        The consequence of what the government did then was more industry, and therefore more citizens employed in gainful, productive work.

        The government’s WPA and youth-employment programs created tens of millions of jobs, built tens of thousands of schools and hospitals, built the national parks so tourists could actually use them, did major public works like the Hoover Dam, created airports, improved telecommunication reception in rural areas, hired out-of-work artists, writers, and musicians to record the cultural history of the US and create public art works in key locations, and fed the hungry in soup kitchens all over the country, which made use of local farmers’ produce, improving the farmers’ lot as well.

        The notion that industry created this is ludicrous. Industry doesn’t invest in plant and new-hires (workers) and infrastructure unless there are sales to justify it. At least, that’s how a real businessman operates. There are no sales unless people have jobs that provide income. A businessman is not going to create a job unless his sales show it’s justified; he’s not in the business of saving the economy. He wants to make a profit.

        If you don’t have an income, you can’t spend. Only spending increases sales (aggregate demand). Unless people have jobs, they can’t spend, they don’t have the income.

        Industry is not going to create the necessary jobs as some altruistic act. Why? That is economic suicide for them. Only 14% of all spending in this country comes from business. 70% of all spending comes from households. From people who have jobs.

        The only entity in the United States that can create jobs in a downturn is the US federal government.

  2. As the author writes, economics is simply a word given to observations about trading behavior averaged over populations. Whether you or I will always choose the least expensive product is much less predictable.

    • I think people no longer buy on price and now include cost/benefit considerations. For example, you can spend less on clothing purchased from Walmart but you’ll end up buying more clothing in the long run because of inferior quality.

      Buying on price alone is a marketing ploy that has negative consequences for the consumer.

      • Gosh Rocky, I think that price is the real motivator in most if not all buying. I am loathe to put forward one example as doubtless there are others that contradict, but take air travel as just one example. The success of budget airlines is all about the fare.

      • Herbert Simon won a Nobel prize in economics for his theory of bounded rationality in which he shot down the old theory of the rational consumer. In it he said that most people were not rational consumers. They tended to seek a satisfactory solution rather than an optimal one, e.g. in certain situations a high price might be more satisfactory than a low price or a median price might outweigh both.

      • Value is not an intrinsic property, it is assigned to goods and services on an individual basis, by individuals. And this varies with time and circumstance, which a lot of economic theory fails to take into account. This means economics is intractably fuzzy. Whether I value water, tea, or a cola varies with not only how thirsty I am, but a lot of other imponderables. Thus the price I am willing to pay varies, and it takes into account the value I assign to my time (at that moment), how much money I have in hand, etc.

  3. Economics is really just random guesswork and if applied to climate change the more people that are removed from poverty now the better off will be the future generations. That is just common sense. To deliberately sabotage current economic growth rates for future generations is oxymoronic ( without much oxy).

      • Michael 2, climate was a science in the days of Koppen and others. But climate science was steamrolled by climate seance i.e., anthropological induced global warming, then climate disruptions, climate change, etc.. Climate can be a legitimate area of good science and scientific research as soon as the money tap is turned off and the profit for dissembling is turned into a penalty.

      • The basics perhaps, but trying to predict t hecombined and cumulative the actions of 7 billion people many years into the future is (I) impossible and (ii) obviously not sensible, common or otherwise.

      • Leonard Lane you have belled the cat. “Climate seance” That is just so beautifully accurate.

      • “climate science was steamrolled by climate seance”

        And it couldn’t have happened without massive government funding and a compliant media.

    • If, “Economics is really just random guesswork,” it would be impossible to deliberately sabotage anything. How would you know that what you did would have any effect let alone the desired effect?

    • So should we borrow heavily to get people out of poverty? Borrowing for growth now takes away growth from the future. That is the puzzle we need to figure out in the face of worsening demographics, off-shoring and automation and the African population growth expectations. Do we get value out of money borrowed by our governments to create growth when they only borrow to enhance their re-election prospects? Economystics seem to be rather oblique if not outright obtuse on these important questions, so we stumble on toward the future unprepared and obsessed with Global Warming that won’t happen and would be inconsequential if it did. Thank for nothing, economics!

      • Worst of all was passing round junk investments worth billions from institution to institution, country to country. Where were the economists then? Even an economics simpleton like me can see this as a bad idea, each movement of this junk devalues it further ie sucks progressively more and more liquidity out of the system. Eventual disaster was as plain as plain can be to predict – and yet not a whisper, carry on as normal, dont dare to interfere with the status quo, dont say anything to upset the paymasters – my job will be at stake. Sound familiar!!! Just the tiniest dose of pragmatism would have saved economics the embarrassment of 2008, the same amount of pragmatism would also save climate scientists. There are just far to many lackeys in the system for any pragmatism.

        They should all read HC Andersens ‘The Emerors New Clothes’ and then go and look in the mirror

      • Businesses borrow because they believe (and are usually correct) that the stuff they are buying or building with the borrowed money will create an income stream greater than the borrowing costs.
        Government on the other hand, borrows to finance current spending, which has no income stream.
        Beyond that, government borrowing crowds business borrowing out of the market, which results in less economic growth.

      • MarkW January 9, 2017 at 8:49 am
        Businesses borrow because they believe (and are usually correct) that the stuff they are buying or building with the borrowed money will create an income stream greater than the borrowing costs.

        Correct.

        Government on the other hand, borrows to finance current spending, which has no income stream.

        Bu****it. Utter rubbish. The USG creates the US dollar. Only–and I mean only–legal entity worldwide that is allowed to do so. The USG is the monopoly supplier of US dollars worldwide. Otherwise, someone is counterfeiting.

        In the USA, US money takes two forms: currency and treasury securities, usually called bonds, for short.

        Currency and bonds are the same thing. Currency and bonds are interchangeable. A currency—a physical dollar bill—is just a bond with zero maturity. Only 11-12% of all US money is currency. The rest are treasury securities (bills, notes, and bonds).

        To recap, US money:
        Physical currency has a zero maturity.
        Bills have a one-year maturity.
        Notes have a ten-year maturity.
        Bonds have a 30-year maturity. [ipeople usually buy bonds because the yield is higher, and since they are 100% tradable any day on the open market, highly liquid.

        Here’s how it works, operationally
        (1) The government spends first. Congress votes the new dollars into existence with legal “appropriations,” or spending bills. No one calls up the IRS to ask if there is enough money in the kitty for the new spending. No one. The IRS collects after the spending has occurred, not before.

        (2) The US Treasury authorizes its banker (the Federal Reserve) to mark up its General Account in the exact amount of congressional spending. Let’s say $400 billion to repair interstate highways in all 50 states.

        (3) The Federal Reserve marks up Treasury’s General Account with $400 billion using keystrokes and disperses this $400 billion to the approved vendors in all 50 states that it receives from Congress. (Yeah, it’s just this simple).

        (4) The money supply is now bursting with $400 billion in new money in the real economy, BUT the US Treasury’s General Account is empty. (You got that? VIP.)

        (5) A law from the gold standard days, around 1917, says that the US Treasury’s General Account cannot have an overdraft. This law was put in place at the time (along with the “Debt Ceiling”) to protect the nation’s gold supply: put a pair of suspenders on, and a belt around, it.

        So in those days—pre-gold standard—Congress went on the open market and sold treasury securities in the amount of the proposed spending. Treasury securities had a catch then. You could trade ‘em, you could sell ‘em, just like cash, but you could not exchange them for gold until they reached maturity, regardless of who owned them. Remember, the higher yield treasury bond has a 30-year maturity. The USD, on the other hand, could be exchanged for gold at any bank. Anytime. It was written on the back of every dollar bill. Twenty of them bought an ounce of gold then.

        The federal government needed its gold to pay for foreign wars, feeding the troops in Europe (WWI) and buying them fuel. Protecting that gold supply was paramount. The federal government wanted to prevent the people from cashing in their dollars for gold, and hiding the bars in their mattresses, so they offered a sweet deal: treasury securities. They paid interest unlike gold or currency! yubba-doo. And the federal government made them 100% safe. You could never lose your money, unlike a commercial bank that (today) only insures individual accounts to $250,000. You lose the rest if the bank goes belly-up, as happened to so many retirees in 2008.

        (6) OK, back to regular programming. The economy is now bursting with $400 billion in new congressionally-created dollars but the US Treasury’s General Account is empty.

        The US Treasury then issues $400 billion in new treasury securities and auctions them on the open market through 12 “primary dealers.” [man…to have that concession!] They usually sell in nanoseconds. People, businesses, banks, trusts, foreign govts, foreign banks and investors the world over clamor to exchange their cash for safe and secure treasury securities. China’s $1.4 trillion in treasury securities are its Walmart/Best Buy/etc profits.

        (7) Treasury always issues treasury securities in the amount of congressional spending about two weeks to two months after the Federal Reserve uses its keystrokes to pay the vendors in 50 states. The money from the sales of the US Treasury-issued treasury securities goes into Treasury’s General Account, and the money supply is beautifully restored to balance throughout the real economy.

        (8) The term “borrowing” to describe steps (5), (6), and (7) above is from pre-1933 days operations, when the federal government did borrow on the open market to protect the gold supply, as explained above. It’s a kind of shorthand that never went away. Congress didn’t change the law described in (5) because it was still on the gold standard internationally until 1971. So the law stands to this day as a self-imposed constraint, not a necessity!

        Beyond that, government borrowing crowds business borrowing out of the market, which results in less economic growth.

        This idiotic idea is repeated by people who have no idea what reserve accounting is, do not understand how the US Treasury and Federal Reserve work transactionally, and are devoid of any knowledge of financial operations at the federal government level.

        It is 100% wrong, a tired shibboleth lemmings utter as they goose-walk their ignorance.

      • “It is 100% wrong, a tired shibboleth lemmings utter as they goose-walk their ignorance.”

        Long on knowledge, short on humility. Its a good thing we have you to ‘splain things.

      • Michael 2 January 15, 2017 at 1:15 pm
        “It is 100% wrong, a tired shibboleth lemmings utter as they goose-walk their ignorance.”

        Long on knowledge, short on humility. Its a good thing we have you to ‘splain things.

        Maybe so, but those lemmings are on TV every night bamboozling people because they’re ignorant. Their greatest crime, imo, is what they have done to Millennials who are now stuck with university loans that they might not be able to pay off until they are about to retire. All completely unecessary. Reporters, had they known, could have called Biden and Cheney on their bulls**t bank loan plan in 2005, and saved an entire generation from misery.

        Or another: healthcare. There is no reason for high costs to the people. We have government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” A congressional vote could give all Americans the best healthcare on the planet for a near-honorarium–with no debt to children or grandchildren–if our congresspeople understood what they were in charge of financially at the federal level.

  4. As it’s been said here many times before: trying to predict chaotic systems like climate and economics with our traditional tools of statistics is futile.

      • In this context, “chaotic” has a mathematical definition which is much more precise than its traditional meaning. Look it up on the internet.

    • RE “the impossibility to predicting chaotic weather and climate systems””:

      Bill Illis developed a three-month predictor of Tropical Lower Tropospheric temperature that works quite well, based on Nino3.4 SST’s and other inputs. The Nino3.4 area is only about 1% of global land surface area. As I recall, Bill’s formula also included the impact of major volcanoes, the (lesser?) impact of the AMO, and the almost insignificant impact of CO2.

      I later independently developed a simpler four-month predictor of Global Lower Tropospheric temperature based only on Nino3.4 temperatures. The cooling impact of major volcanoes is clear in this simpler model.

      I also demonstrated in 2008 that dCO2/dt changes ~contemporaneously with temperature and therefore CO2 lags temperature by ~9 months in the modern data record.

      Others have developed longer-term models that correlate global temperature with solar activity. I have not personally verified them but they look credible.

      Others such as WeatherBell have a good track record of weather prediction, based on historic analog models of weather systems

      My general observation is that perhaps this “chaotic, unpredictable climate system” is not all that unpredictable after all.

      Maybe “climate science” has simply been steered into a deep ditch for the past several decades.

      Regards, Allan

      Background information:

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/01/03/2016-edges-1998-as-warmest-year-in-satellite-record-by-0-02c/comment-page-1/#comment-2388188

      Great work Bill.

      Here is my similar post from July 2016, with more recent comments.

      The cooling is right on schedule.

      Best, Allan

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/12/02/climate-advocate-outrage-over-global-cooling-congress-tweet/comment-page-1/#comment-2358088

      This drop in temperature was predicted four months ago in July in this post. The Nino3.4 area temperatures continue to fall, so the UAH Global LT temperatures should soon catch up with the LT land temperatures.

      Bill Illis did an earlier and more detailed analysis of this subject, with a three-month predictor of Tropical LT temperatures..

      Regards, Allan

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/07/01/spectacular-drop-in-global-average-satellite-temperatures/comment-page-1/#comment-2250667

      I plotted the same formula back to 1982, which is where I (I think arbitrarily) started my first analysis. Satellite temperature data began in 1979.

      That formula is: UAHLT Calc. = 0.20*Nino3.4SST +0.15

      It is apparent that UAHLT Calc. is substantially higher than UAH Actual for two periods, each of ~5 years,

      BUT that difference could be largely or entirely due to the two major volcanoes, El Chichon in 1982 and Mt. Pinatubo in 1991.

      This leads to a startling new hypothesis: First, look at the blue line, which shows NO significant global warming over the entire period from 1982 to 2016. Perhaps the “global warming” observed after the 1997-98 El Nino was not global warming at all; maybe it was just the natural recovery in global temperatures after two of the largest volcanoes in recent history.

      Comments?

      Regards, Allan

  5. Actually, Austrian School economists had been predicting the crash for quite some time. And — the important part — they even had the causes right. (Which are commonly acknowledged now, but only in hindsight).

    It’s the “mainstream”, and particularly Keynesian, economists that never seem to see it coming. Because it contradicts their pet theories having to do with interventionism keeping things under control.

    If you are disinclined to believe, you can see Austrian school Peter Schiff discussing it with investors and economists in the video below. He was literally laughed at… by, amongst others, Art Laffer himself. (Who, contrary to popular belief, is a staunch Keynesian. He claims to this day he learned his Laffer Curve from Keynes’ teachings.)

    Here’s the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgRGBNekFIw

    Early Austrians predicted the Great Depression. Later, Austrians predicted the post-WWII boom (mainstream economists predicted massive economic downturn and unemployment) and the Stagflation of the 70s-80s, which classical and Keynesian economists had declared literally impossible. They predicted the 2000 tech bubble, and the 2008 crash well in advance.

    Their record of prediction is actually not bad at all.

    But much government power is based on economic intervention. Don’t expect government bureaucrats and economists to let the failure of their economic predictions dissuade them from that approach.

    • The congressional committee’s Democratic chairman, Henry Waxman, pressed him: “You found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working?” Greenspan agreed: “That’s precisely the reason I was shocked because I’d been going for 40 years or so with considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.”

      • Greenspan was an idiot who presided over a Fed that was a one trick pony with “easy money” as the cure all for everything. Y2K? Low rates! Tech bubble burst? Low rates? 9-11? Low rates? Could anybody really be surprised that people turned easy money into a massive asset bubble? I’m a high school drop out and I saw it coming and sold my house in 2007 to position to buy after the reality check. I didn’t foresee that the whole stupid world was connected to the U.S. real estate craziness so my re-entry was somewhat delayed but now I own two successful businesses. The problem was so obvious that the idea that the Fed and world economic authorities couldn’t see it coming is flat out ridiculous. Once again, the experts knew NOTHING!

      • None of this contradicts what I wrote in any way.

        Keen, for just one example, is very definitely not a Keynesian or classicist.

        But even if they were, the question remains: why do classical, “mainstream”, and primarily Keynesian interventionist economists ignore the voices of these people, and the evidence that is right in front of them?

        Further, these others do not appear to be members of any particular “school”… but Austrians have been saying the same things they are for 100 years.

      • I would be interested to read this book. My understanding has always been that Keynes believed governments should attempt to “even out” the economic cycle by borrowing to invest in public works during recessions to limit damage to productive capacity and then run surpluses during expansions to limit excesses and prevent chronic deficit and debt. The problem came about in entrusting this task to democratic governments who like the borrowing and spending part but not so much the taxing and cutting back part. The fantastic growth of special interest groups and the ignorance of the general public adds the excuses that governments barely need to act as spendthrift fools on our behalf. We get the government we deserve.
        Witness Climate Change idiocy!

      • The biggest problem with Keynes was that the vast pool of unused resources that he envisioned the government tapping into never existed.
        Additionally, the only way government can take money out of the economy is by putting the money into a vault somewhere. The minute the government puts that money into a bank account, anywhere, that money is put back into the economy.

      • If a subject has the word “science” in its title, that’s a pretty good indication that it is not science.

    • People have lost the original definition of the word “science” which means simply “knowledge.”

      So you can have the “science” of theology, for example, and yes, “political science,” a structuring of knowledge about a subject and how to the parts interrelate.

      I roll my eyes when I hear or read something like “well, there’s science and then there’s religion…” No. There’s only truth, and mankind’s attempts to discover it.

      • Yes. The motto of my Alma Mater is Ex Scientia Tridens: From Knowledge, Sea Power.

      • Although I appreciate that is a motto and the trident represents Neptunes trident or Seapower in the case of the USN. Much better would be to replace ‘tridens’ with ‘potestatem’ meaning straightforwardly ‘power’- “from knowledge (comes) power”

    • I have learned something tonight. Thomas Carlyle, the person who coined the term “Dismal Science” was no one that I admire and was decidedly disapproving of the economic Laws of Supply and Demand. Carlyle was no supporter of Laisse-Faire. He much preferred the whip.

      Well, if not in relation to Malthus, when did Carlyle first use the phrase “dismal science”, and in what context? He first used the phrase in an article titled ‘Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question’ published in Fraser’s Magazine in December 1849… It deals with the labour situation in the West Indies where the white planters were complaining that following the emancipation of the slaves they were unable to obtain enough labour (at the prevailing wages and conditions of work) to carry on their business. Carlyle puts the view that ‘work’ is morally good and that if a “Black man” will not voluntarily work for the wages then prevailing he should be forced to work. He writes of those who argued that the
      forces of supply and demand rather than physical coercion should regulate the labour market that: “the Social Science … which finds the secret of this Universe in supply and demand and reduces the duty of human governors to that of letting men alone … is a dreary, desolate, and indeed quite abject and distressing one; what we might call … the dismal science” (Volume 11, p 177). He mentions the term “dismal science” in a derogatory way a number of times later in the work, where it is lumped together with other unwelcome (to Carlyle) features of the political scene as “ballot boxes”, “universal suffrages” and “Exeter-Hall Philanthropy”.15 At one point he tells us that it is unwise to have a situation where “supply and demand [is] the all-sufficient substitute for command and obedience among two-legged animals of the unfeathered class” (p 186).

      I have to confess that this pedigree of the term Dismal Science was unknown to me despite my Ph.D. in Mineral Economics. The more popular story, actually myth, was that “Dismal Science” was in relation to Malthus. But this historian seems to peg Carlyle’s coinage of the term to his animosity to those free market economists that objected to his totalitarian, slave master ideals.

      I think I shall wear that badge of “Dismal Science” with greater honor in the future. It is Dismal only to those who prefer force to freedom.

      • Keynesian economics is indeed the Dismal science. It’s crucial to remember who Dismas was: The thief on the left.

      • @billk. The role of Dismas seems to be literally a matter of perspective. You view him as the “Thief on the Left. But according to Wikipedia, Dismas was the name given to the “penitent thief” crucified on Christ’s right in the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus (4th Century AD).

        The word “Dismal” seems to come from Latin as “Evil Days” or “Bad Days”. But what is to be learned from the bit about Carlyle, what is bad or evil is most definitely a matter of perspective and foundational morals.

      • The invention of farm machinery would have done in slavery in the U.S. anyway? Farming became much less labor intensive.

    • When did economics become a “Science” ???

      Astute observation!

      It became a ‘science’ when Paul Samuelson, the first Nobel Prize winner in Economics, started convincing the world economics was a science, like physics. As I wrote above, he wrote an economics textbook (1948) that is still assigned today. He thought economics being a ‘science’ would make his ideas weightier, and his acceptance in the world would be heightened.

      A science is astronomy. You can calculate the position of the planets 4,000 years ago, and use the same calculation to determine the position of the planets 4,000 years from now.

      Economics is a social science, taught in that department. Some know maths; some don’t. None of them seem to know accounting.

      • Just to be clear, there is not a Nobel prize for economics. There is a Nobel-like like prize for the very narrow discipline of anecdotal observation of human behaviour that pertains to trade and which is called economics. Archaic definitions of science notwithstanding, the application of scientific method in economics is rudimentary at best. The “Austrian” school may be the exception but economics has about the same success with predicting and altering economic outcome as human sacrifice and it still persists as a discipline for much the same reason that human sacrifice remained popular for so long. Economics and human sacrifice are not really about making it rain but rather are all about controlling the message. The amount of media coverage that economic pronouncements get in relation to their utility is truly astonishing. The only way that economics could actually improve the economy would be if all economists went to work making widgets.

      • OK, BCBill, the full title is Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

        As MIT News reported in its obituary, The Swedish Royal Academies stated, when awarding the prize, that he “has done more than any other contemporary economist to raise the level of scientific analysis in economic theory”.[4]
        http://news.mit.edu/2009/obit-samuelson-1213

      • “Some critics argue that the prestige of the Prize in Economics derives in part from its association with the Nobel Prizes, an association that has often been a source of controversy. Among them is the Swedish human rights lawyer Peter Nobel, a great-grandson of Ludvig Nobel.[27] Nobel criticizes the awarding institution of misusing his family’s name, and states that no member of the Nobel family has ever had the intention of establishing a prize in economics.”
        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobel_Memorial_Prize_in_Economic_Sciences

      • You’re dead on, BCBill. I thought it was the Bank of Sweden that issued it, but the MIT obit says otherwise. They have a different awards night as well, so they dont get the big oom-pah-pah. But you’re right: they’re piggy-backing on ‘ole Alfred Nobel. Paul Samuelson worked hard to get that first one, damning economics by making it ‘a science’.

  6. It should also be noted, in relation to that video: the mainstream economists are always saying, as they did there, “Come on in! The market’s fine!” just before a recession.

    Proto-Keynsian Irving Fisher famously made the same pronouncement publicly , literally one day before the market crash of 1929. Exactly the same as in that 2007 video.

    They think a strong stock market equals a healthy economy. Despite well over 100 years of consistent evidence that directly contradicts.

    • Anne, The higher they fly the further they fall. Sadly in the case of the stock markets it is not the little guy that takes the fall. ( not in the stocks, can’t afford it) but inevitably the result is that the supply system breaks down and that system is completely inflated on the stock market.

    • Anne when a Keynsian invites you in, it’s only to share the impending pain or give up your seat (when the music stops)!

      • when a Keynsian invites you in
        ==========
        It is so they will have a naive investor on which to unload their stocks. Before that time they are silently buying, hoping you will stay out of the market so prices will remain low. Once they have bought they will promote the hell out of the stock, so you will want to buy.

        The more you hear a market is a great buy, the faster you should run for the exit.

  7. Worth a read:

    The Trouble With Macroeconomics, Paul Romer, Stern School of Business, New York University and entrepreneur, and Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of the World Bank.

    Delivered January 5, 2016 as the Commons Memorial Lecture of the Omicron Delta Epsilon Society. Forthcoming in The American Economist.

    Abstract
    For more than three decades, macroeconomics has gone backwards. The
    treatment of identification now is no more credible than in the early 1970s
    but escapes challenge because it is so much more opaque. Macroeconomic
    theorists dismiss mere facts by feigning an obtuse ignorance about such simple
    assertions as “tight monetary policy can cause a recession.” Their models
    attribute fluctuations in aggregate variables to imaginary causal forces that
    are not influenced by the action that any person takes. A parallel with string
    theory from physics hints at a general failure mode of science that is triggered
    when respect for highly regarded leaders evolves into a deference to authority
    that displaces objective fact from its position as the ultimate determinant of
    scientific truth

    Could have in fact also mentioned climate science.

  8. 20 years ago, I read Henry George’s books., then
    Prof Mason Gaffney’s “The Corruption of Economics”
    (with Fred Harrison).

    Why the crashes take the economists by surprise is
    quite simply they are miseducated. Economics is lilke
    Climate science: a pseudo science. Watch Dr.
    Michael Hudson’s blog
    if you want to see economic analysis of the economy how
    it really is.

    I’m thinking, from the present state of the economy, that
    we might just have a downturn in October this year, 2017,
    with recession within the next six months of that. It will be
    something like the 1999 downturn. It should pick up again
    in 2019 and boom all the way to 2026.

    Of course, I could be quite wrong. Forecasting the future
    is always a risky thing :-) But I’m prepared to say it and
    watch.

    • I know absolutely nothing about “economy” – but my layman’s guess is that there will be a post-Trump boost to the economy simply because of the immensely better economic conditions we will experience because of Trump’s policy of aiming for cheaper energy. The market will soon figure that out.

      • Already up. Ford were going to build a factory in Mexico. Now, Ford are going to EXPAND operations in the US.

      • The U.S. auto industry has been openly harassed by environmental groups since at least 2007 and probably covertly before that. So now maybe the U.S. auto industry has a chance to survive?

        This has been a subject of Congressional inquiry.

      • In the above U.S. House 2012 Report, scroll down to:

        P.6: ‘Aspen Discussion’, October 2008

        NRDC, Sierra Club and Union of Concerned Scientists participation.

      • Then vilify companies that move elsewhere. Get the companies both ways.

        But U.S. coal mines can’t be moved. So forced to shut down.

        Sierra Club involved in U.S. auto, coal mining, and electric utilities sectors.

    • @Sophocles

      I suspect you are likely close to correct. From Trump’s inauguration on, the clock is ticking. Any economic strength results in higher interest rates. Higher rates are a headwind to real growth. The economy has already had an extended, if weak expansion. All real growth takes place against the backdrop of declining demographics and productivity as well as a chronic balance of payments issue and massive debt. The markets are already at extreme multiples and will have a hard time pushing higher. Once the initial Trump Bump fades a little, people will realize that the initial conditions for growth do not exist. Then things start to get ugly. The “new economy” is excited about I-phones and virtual reality. These things don’t make productivity or really even improve lives. We are in decline.

  9. Hey, remember when “Futurism” (Alvin Toffler et al) was going to be a burgeoning new branch of science, allowing us to peer into an ACCURATE, computerized crystal ball and determine the probable course of macro-events for humanity?

    Gee, whatever happened to that “new science,” and could my kid get into “futurism” as a career?

    “Just machines that make big decisions
    Programmed by fellas with compassion and vision
    We’ll be clean when their work is done
    We’ll be eternally free, yes, and eternally young…”

    – Donald Fagan, “I.G.Y.” (1983)

  10. The article laments the inability of economists to see the 2008 financial crisis coming, and then goes on to recommend we pay attention to a report by an economist from 2006.

    Do these people not proof read their own drivel?

    • With Chris Shaw, it seems the disfunction goes deep. ” My work aims to develop a space in which global publics can share their perspectives on how much climate change is too much.”
      He says ” … Stern was able to admit in 2013 his calculations were wrong … ” “Admit” generally means to declare the reality or truth of something. Stern doubled down on the follies of his previous errors.

  11. What your economists discovered is that statistical trends on time series of independent variables where the economy is not a functions of time, has no meaning. Like the PIOMASS trend glibly predicting negative sea ice in 10 or so years. What then? This proves the trend has no meaning. Just as commodity price trends have no predictive meaning, neither does any climate variable graphed in relation to time. The trends have meaning only for dependent variables. X is independent, and Y depends on X. Y = f(X). Y is a function of X. Then least squares and correlation coefficients have meaning. Since PIOMASS scientists do not understand that time does not make ice, their trend has no meaning is lost on them. Since all climate graph trends are all based on time, this proves to me that climate science at this point has no competent clue for predictive purposes, any idea what drives climate statistically. They know colloquially about the sun, but not statistically. This is why we get overlays of sun spots and temperature but not one graph of sun spots versus temperature. The skeptics laugh at the doomsters, and rightfully so, but meanwhile the skeptics have no better idea of what drives climate at a statistically significant level. If you aren’t going to graph solar radiance versus temperature and just overlay two time series, this means that all your watts in and watts out have no statistically relevant meaning for predictive purposes. These are propositions of future study, but they are not answers as to what is driving climate. A lot of people seem to confuse propositions with answers. A proposition is the start of a scientific inquiry, not the end of it.

    • statistical trends on time series of independent variables where the economy is not a functions of time, has no meaning.
      =============
      Agreed. If you see “time” as the X or Y axis of a graph, the result are almost certainly wrong when applied to the future, except for the most trivial of examples.

      This applies to virtually all time series projections/predictions of real world situations. Rarely if ever are they a function of time, so why use time as your dimension of interest?

      The problem for most humans is that “time” is perhaps the most confusing dimension there is. We think because time is everywhere that we understand it, but in point of fact we don’t. And because time is everywhere, it affects and colors all our conclusions, typically without us even being aware.

  12. CO2 emissions are an input into the climate models. Indeed, the most alarming models take CO2 emissions as the most important input.
    CO2 emissions in the future are not observed – it’s the future.
    CO2 emissions in the future are the outputs of predicted economic activity. That is they are the outputs of economic models.

    If you doubt the economic models you must doubt the models that use them.

    • Is it CO2 emissions or CO2 levels which are the input to the climate models?

      Apart from fairly regular fluctuations each year CO2 levels have been increasing very predictably. That fact has caused the modelers no end of difficulty because temperatures have done anything but follow CO2 levels.

      • I would submit that the inherent mathematical instability of GCM models makes them worthless when predicting future temperatures (the earth is far more stable than the models, so why use them?)

        And since H2O is a more influential GHG than CO2, why use a politically-charged excuse rather than the real deal in modeling?

        $

      • It seems to me that climate scientists have a common bit of knowledge about what their goals are, linear straight lines that point up. Just like the carbon dioxide data from Mauna Loa. Seems simple when there is only one pattern to try to describe in all the papers.

        So when it doesn’t fit with the play book, they throw it out.

        Sensitivity has everything to do with the scale being used. Expand the scale and it becomes a lofty goal, decrease the scale and it becomes noise. Take out the straight ramp (should be a simple task for statistics) and then expand the scale to see the noise. Then compare the noise to other noise to see if the signals are related. Isn’t that the way science should be done?

  13. More generally there is much lamenting and pointing-and-shrieking about diminishing respect for “experts”, but this is due to more than just their insufficient knowledge of their limitations, both economics and environmentalism are lousy with hidden political agendas.

    • … their insufficient knowledge of their limitations …

      What we are seeing is expert overreach caused by a lack of accountability.

      Everyone should be familiar with the work of Philip Tetlock. He wrote “Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know?”. He uses decades of research to show that experts are no better at predicting the outcome of events than are dart-throwing monkeys.

      Tetlock points out that experts are never held responsible for their lousy predictions. That’s the problem. If experts were held to account for their failed predictions, they would be a lot more circumspect.

  14. Economics has long been labelled the “dismal science”. This is hardly surprising. What is surprising is that it gets awarded a Nobel prize each year.

    • In as much as Economics predicts both booms and busts for the economy and whereas Climate Science predicts doom for the entire planet unless mankind be culled to a seventh its current size, I move that Economics be stripped of its title the “Dismal Science” and that title be awarded to Climate Science. All in favor Harrumph . . . all opposed Neigh. The Harrumphs have it. Climate Science henceforth shall be addressed as the Dismal Science.

  15. The Leftist paradigm is collapsing.

    People are FINALLY realizing: Keynesian economics is a failed economic onstruct, you can’t spend yourself into prosperity, penalizing success ensures less success, government controlled economies fail, wealth redistribution through massive welfare Statism doesn’t work, $2 trillion/yr in regulation compliance costs stifles economic growth, war mongering is insane, Jihadism is a real thing, CO2 doesn’t warm the earth much, tribalism under identity politics is destructive, PC stifles free speech and new ideas, $20 trillion in national debt is bad, fiat currencies don’t work, zero-interest rate policies create economic bubbles, etc.

    People are now more open to conservatism: smaller governments, less spending, balanced budgets, slashing excessive regulations, individual rights supersede collectivism, lower taxes, non-interventionism, free-market capitalism, gold-backed currencies, etc.

    Rather than learning from their terrible mistakes, Leftists are doubling down on their failed ideas by increasing the scope of them: more spending, more regulations. higher taxes, open borders, expanding the welfare state, etc., which only makes matters worse..

    Just give Leftists more rope and they’ll hang themselves with it.

    • Talking leftists Tim Blair at the daily telegraph in oz has a statistic that 25% of leftists and greens are on medication for a mental disorder, his punch line “that means 75% of them are getting around untreated”

    • Is it? Berne Sanders’ existence and popularity among the under 30 crowd seems to be at odds with this claim.

      • Leftists have lost about 1,200 Federal & State Legislature seats, governorships and mayorships over the past 8 years, and are the weakest since the 1920’s.

        You’re sadly right about Millennials, however, few of them actually know what Socialism means ideologically.

      • Don’t forget, barely over 50% of Americans voted. About 50% of them voted Democrat. Bernie generously had the support of about half of Democrats. So 12.5% of Americans thought Bernie’s stupid 1930’s solutions to 1960’s problems were “cool”. And most of them don’t vote regularly. It’s just a function of generational stupidity. Keep an eye on them though! Free basket weaving degrees! Cool!

      • Leftism has always been popular with the young.
        It’s a function of the pre-frontal cortex not finishing it’s development until around age 25.
        Beyond that, everything sounds good when it’s being preached to you by a college prof.
        However once one enters the real world, reality quickly disproves the glorious theories.

      • SAMURAI, for most of them it means free stuff paid for by evil rich people.
        So of course it’s popular.
        Then they enter the work force and become one of those evil rich people.

  16. The quote from Ezra Solomon seems apposite, ““The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable”

    • “The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable”

      First chuckle of the day.

    • make astrology look respectable
      ============
      astrology is under-rated. not as practiced in horoscopes, but the underlying principle. where patterns in the heavens can be used to predict the future, even when cause and effect is not understood.

      thus, for example, the seasons. these were predicted reliably long before we understood the mechanism. something that modern science ignores, in its insistence on mechanism as a condition of prediction.

      • I’ve been checking star charts through a whiskey glass. Saturn says there is no global warming ahead. Spread it around to the flaky crowd where that kind of message carries great weight. That’s about 90% of the AGW crowd. Should shut them up for a while.

  17. ‘Blaming the failure of economic models to cope with “irrational behaviour” in the modern era, the economist said the profession needed to adapt to regain the trust of the public and politicians.’
    The easy answer, blame the subject of investigation, not yourself or your models.
    The Brexit vote for those who lived through the hope of a secure European Common Market is eminently rational.
    When young they supported the idea and praxis of free trade and mobile people with usable skills.
    After the crash of the European banks and bailout of weaker economies in the PIGS, they looked on askance as Germany loaned weak economies at interest rates up to 22%, then charged countries to put the same
    Euros into its banks.
    Despite this Deutsche bank crashed;
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/the-story-of-the-self-destruction-of-deutsche-bank-a-1118157.html
    A splendid endorsement of the wisdom of Brexit.
    The cohort of the young grew old and wise , saw the self destruction of the Eurozone,its manifest failure.
    While they still could, they voted for personal, economic and national identity and self assurance.
    The rest of the Anglophone supports them.
    How can they lose.
    How maturely rational.

    • blame the subject of investigation, not yourself or your models.
      ============
      the Russians caused Hillary to be defeated. It had nothing to do with the DNC dirty tricks revealed by the emails.

  18. Climate Change: The infallible ideology. If it warms, cools, rains, or in drought it’s climate Change. Sea change is covered, the tide rises and falls twice a day. I just wish it was a horse for Christ sake, you couldn’t lose.

  19. Over-reliance on computer models where not all the variables are fully understood or even known, and sample data is too small or incorrect. But don’t let that stop people treating the output as fact.

    • Lawrence, I could not agree more. And to think that these same people take the average of an ensemble of 95 model outputs and believe that it has some sort of meaning.

  20. The problem is ‘Experts’. That is experts who are nothing of the sort. We are plagued with them in the UK over Brexit. All these idiots pop up using their assumed prestige because they work at Cambridge University etc and therefore must know what they are talking about, to spout the most blatant ignorance all over the legacy media. The think-tanks, not to be outdone, wade in with their ignorance. And top of the heap as usual are the politicians.

    The previous head of the formerly respected Royal Society is Paul Nurse. He took part in a biased TV programme to attack James Delingpole’s quite sensible views on the global warming scam. He has prestige as head of the Royal Society. A knighthood too. Nobel prize winner. An expert! In anything related to climate, meteorology, glaciers, ice? No. Yeast! So in reality he has no better qualification to pronounce on global warming than James Delingpole, me, most of us on WUWT… Just because he is an acknowledged expert in a field doesn’t make him one in everything.

  21. During the cold war when it became clear that communism was a deadly mess I recall reading an article- I believe in the Rolling Stone- the way forward for lefties was to focus on how wonderful the sense of community and belonging was under communist rule vs the capitalist societies. I didn’t realize it at the time, but what the author was speaking to was just how great it is, from his perspective, to live with a controlled media supplying unending praise of the ruling class. Climate obsessed people seem to think the same way regarding how society should deal with analyzing the reality of their claims about climate and energy. In other words for the climate consensus, reality and objectivity are enemies.

    • Thomas Sowell wrote an article about how it is under capitalism that people have to learn how to cooperate with each other.
      Socialism on the other hand, people are forced to do whatever government tells them to do. Therefore those who succeed the best under socialism are those who are best at kissing up to their superiors.

  22. Warmer weather and increased CO2 are both great for the world’s economy. Unfortunately, increasing CO2 doesn’t seem to cause any warming. Either that, or fossil fuels just prevented another LIA and a severe economic downturn.

  23. I don’t agree with the author, because I’ve spent decades recommending or making investments, and these were supported by economic evaluations intended to give a sense as to whether the decision was appropriate. We also used these estimates to optimize project spending, decide on whether to take on partners, evaluate company and property purchases and sales.

    I think you do a disservice by simply tossing the concept in the trash. A better approach is to understand risk and uncertainty, and to be much more thorough than say Dr Stern, whose study was simplistic, primitive, and showed he had no education on how to carry out such evaluations.

    • But when the GCM model inherently (mathematically) has a plus/minus 15 degrees envelope at a confidence limit of 95% 100 years out, who in their right mind would give that an ounce of validity in predicting temperature?

      How much money would you invest knowing the models carried that level of uncertainty?

      I’d stay out of that market, personally.

    • If there is significant risk and uncertainty , then the science, by definition, is crappy. Perhaps not totally worthless, depending upon the extent to which the science can reduce the odds.But how can one know how well the science can reduce those odds? They differ from scenario to scenario.

    • I agre with you. The stock market is an unusual casino, rigged in favor of the investor. True, nobody can predict the future with accuracy, but
      by buying low Price to Earnings stocks,
      buying stocks selling below book value,
      buying stocks with plenty of insider trading,
      You’ll do substantially better than average.

      • In reply to ferdberple, go to
        sec.gov
        click “filings”
        click “Edgar search tools”
        click “most recent filings”
        put “4” in form type
        and you’ll get a list of all insider transaction
        I see Alfred Kingsley, a company director, sold 238,169 shares of Biotime Inc on 01/03/17., and currently owns 5,931,555(2) directly, 1,143,346 through Greenbelt Corporation.

        All corporate officers and outsiders owning 5% or more of a company’s stock are required to file their transactions with the SEC.

      • I should have added, as to insider trading, look for companies where plenty of insiders are buying plenty of shares with their OWN money, not stock awards or stock options.

      • I should add, that insiders who have access to information that is not publicly available are forbidden to trade until that information does become publicly available.
        That is what people refer to when talking about insider trading. What Alan here is refering to are officers of the company.
        Insiders are permitted to buy and sell their own companies stock.
        Presumably, even when limited to publicly available information, these insiders are in a better position to judge the importance of such information. They are in a position to better see the “big picture”.

  24. In response to the claim that “Only in academia and government, where nobody faces consequences for failure, do you find people who are stupid enough to believe they know what is going to happen.” My immediate response would be to mention the “Long Term Capital Management Fund” which collapsed and
    was bailed out by the US government. Plus the auto industries, not to mention the financial sector in 2007/8
    that started the whole great recession. The finance industry in particular created the huge housing bubble,
    got the government and tax payers to bail them out and then claimed that the government had too much debt and so needed to cut back on social services. And in the UK not only did they not face any consequences but they were rewarded with knighthoods and million pound pensions.

    • Germinio writes “The finance industry in particular created the huge housing bubble[…….].”
      Not so.
      The CRA on steroids.
      Barney Frank, Janet Reno, Maxine Waters, Chris Dodd, Andrew Cuomo, FannieMae, FreddieMac et al.
      Desk audits 0 down 100% home financing.
      Massive political and government corruption.
      That’s where you start.

      • siamiam
        Absolutely correct. The problem was caused by the government mandates to give mortgages to unqualified people with the promise the government would ultimately acquire and be the final holder. Sure the corrupt bankers decided it was easier to comply with the government mandates and make $$$ at least temporarily. .

    • Only in academia and government
      ================
      in academia and government you don’t need to be right, you only need to sound right. For example: Eating fat makes you fat. This sounds logical, so it would be the sort of thing “Experts” would promote. It doesn’t matter if it is actually right or wrong. What matters is that it sounds right.

      It is the old “heavier objects fall faster” argument brought forward 2000+ years.

    • So, a singular failure by the private sector is proof that the government should be running things?
      BTW, the fact that government bailed out companies is not proof that companies are bad. It’s just proof that government often does stuff it shouldn’t be doing.

  25. The author writes about Bankers as is his right. Bankers deal with a specific discipline within economics, finance. They are intensely concerned with the future as in the ability of the client to meet the terms of the loan. Bankers not only think in the present but in several futures. The worst case scenarios are used to determine the interest rate.

    Every person handling their own income is an economist. They use all the major concepts, but are just unaware they are doing so. Everyone knows about, “Too much month at the end of the money,” and most take steps to prevent that.

  26. The greenies are doubly ignorant – both about the extent of global warming and the methods to reduce same. Stupid here, stupid there, stupid everywhere.

    • They know how to pad their nests and pursue their stupid ideas with your money! Stupid like foxes!

  27. If you start with the idea that oil won’t last forever.
    Then realize that nobody will care about that, till it’s all gone.
    You are then left to find something that will motivate them to do it any way .. by appealing to the narcissistic notion that “man is the center of the universe” (what Lefty couldn’t latch on to that ?) and simple guilt.
    With the carrot of permanent government funding to convince enough climate scientists, you get the UN IPCC and Global Warming.
    Now, imagine opportunists, dictators and hundreds of NGOs looking for a permanent source of funding, you get Climate Change treaties.

    Now, simply ask the question … who will supply all that funding ? Now, look in the mirror.

    • When a resource starts to get scarce, it’s cost goes up.
      As the cost goes up three things happen.
      1) People find ways to use less of it.
      2) People look for new ways to create more of it.
      3) People look for substitutes for it.

      This always happens, no matter what the resource.
      There is no need for government intervention.

      • When it becomes obvious that a resource will soon be running low, even if prices haven’t started rising yet, enterprising individuals will start looking for the next big thing, so that they can be positioned to make a fortune when the prices do start to rise.

  28. Academics are often insulated from the consequences of their failures. In fact they may benefit from taking irresponsible positions by getting published.

    The 2008 crash was foreseen by many but thier warnings were simply ignored.

  29. Trickle-down economics was ridiculed when Reagan introduced it. It worked, at least in the US, and it created many more jobs in the US with the lowering of taxes than the last 8 pitiful years of US job growth. Most don’t even know the history of the Reagan years and the growth spurt that resulted from it, lasting into the Clinton years. Same in the UK under Thatcher. Trickle-down economics is still ridiculed, but it worked. Check out the GDP history…

  30. I once heard it said that Economics is the only field where a well respected expert can be wrong 100% of the time and remain a well respected expert.

    • wrong 100% of the time
      =========
      Being wrong more than 50% of the time takes true skill, thus the “expert” label. Most of us ordinary mortals only get things wrong 1/2 the time, demonstrating our reliance of chance rather than skill.

  31. When it is realized (consciously or sub-consciously) by the Left/Greenies that a given set of Leftists dogmatic “facts” are wrong, or are being seen as wrong, they always “turn” to feelings about the subject of those wrong facts. THAT is what the HuffPost article is calling for. Ultimately, it is not important to the LPSC community if somethings works or doesn’t, something is true or not, something is right or wrong, something makes you money or not. The only thing that matters is how it makes you feel.
    (LPSC- Liberal, Progressive, Socialist, Communist.)

  32. When I was at university, admittedly a while ago, I took a one year course on economics.
    During the first lecture some of the basic relationships were explained. The explanation included the statement that most of there were non linear, but economists treated them as if they were because it made things easier to understand.

    The next lecture spent ann hour explaining y=mx+c.

    After the third lecture, I stopped going. I just read the book and passes the exam at the end of the year.

    • I threw my economics text against the wall and smashed it’s spine. I couldn’t believe that such drivel could be allowed in University (how naive I was). Weak minded nonsense like economics paved the way for climate science (sorry Tim Ball, for what climate science has become)

      • I think one can benefit from reading Adam Smith! Genuine economic common sense and insight. After that it’s a waste of time. Noam Chomsky-blather, Milton Freidman-pompous blather. Here and there an interesting perspective. I think Keynes gets a bit of a bum rap for what politicians do with his ideas, but he still might be wrong-for reasons other than what he is blamed for.

      • john harnsworth
        “I think one can benefit from reading Adam Smith”
        I’d add W.S. Jevons to that list, also part of David Ricardo, who pointed out the somewhat counterintuitive comparative advantage among nations. Even if nation A is better at producing both products X1 and X2 than nation B, both nations can be richer if nation B specializes in the product it is RELATIVELY better at, and trades with nation /A.

        You can read the works of all three authors free by going into “project gutenberg”.

  33. “It is about showing the connections between a future which benefits the many, not just the few, with the possibility of a good quality of life that can be shared by all without ruining the quality of life for subsequent generations.”

    This is priceless! Interpretation:
    A future that benefits many = a future with fossil fuels.

    just the few = subsidized renewable energy interests or the just privileged western world that runs on fossil fuels (i.e. let everyone have access to fossil fuels & prosperity )

    good quality of life that can be shared by all = cheap energy for all = fossil fueled power for all

    without ruining the quality of life for subsequent generations = don’t use wealth-destroying , deficit increasing subsidized renewables.

    Their entire statement is an indictment of what they want and an endorsement for a fossil fuel powered future. And they are completely blind to this.

    • Do you mean the Paul Krugman who immediately after the Trump election penned a prediction that the stock market was going to fall and fall and fall and never recover?

  34. Huffington Post is one of the top mouth pieces for the idiotic Liberal elitists who are the new socialist wannabes. They live in and help sustain their own very, very, special fake news ‘informercial’ bubble.

    The truth matters, if you really want to help our country and other countries solve real problems.

    There is no CAGW problem to solve, the greenscams do not work, the developed countries have run out of money to spend on everything as we have lost more than half our manufacturing jobs to China (of course higher and higher energy costs will result in more job losses), and the developing countries’ number one issue is a lack of access to low cost reliable electrical power.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/obamas-renewable-energy-fantasy-1436104555

    Recently Bill Gates explained in an interview with the Financial Times why current renewables are dead-end technologies. They are unreliable. Battery storage is inadequate. Wind and solar output depends on the weather. The cost of decarbonization using today’s technology (William: Solar and wind power rather than nuclear) is “beyond astronomical,” Mr. Gates concluded.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/22/shocker-top-google-engineers-say-renewable-energy-simply-wont-work/

    The key problem appears to be that the cost of manufacturing the components of the renewable power facilities is far too close to the total recoverable energy – the facilities never, or just barely, produce enough energy to balance the budget of what was consumed in their construction. This leads to a runaway cycle of constructing more and more renewable plants simply to produce the energy required to manufacture and maintain renewable energy plants – an obvious practical absurdity.

    A research effort by Google corporation to make renewable energy viable has been a complete failure, according to the scientists who led the programme. After 4 years of effort, their conclusion is that renewable energy “simply won’t work”.

    http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/resources/energydevelopment/

    It is an alarming fact that today billions of people lack access to the most basic energy services: as World Energy Outlook 2014 shows nearly 1.3 billion people are without access to electricity and 2.7 billion people rely on the traditional use of biomass for cooking, which causes harmful indoor air pollution

    http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21637396-rolling-power-cuts-are-fraying-tempers-unplugged

    South Africa’s electricity crisis
    Rolling power cuts are fraying tempers
    The people of South Africa are learning to live in the dark. Their beleaguered power utility, Eskom, is unable to meet electricity demand and in November reintroduced a tortuous schedule of rolling blackouts known as “load shedding”. South Africans now check electricity reports that read like weather forecasts: “There is a medium probability of load shedding today and tomorrow, with a higher probability on Thursday and Friday,” said a recent Eskom tweet. Newspapers print survival tips and “load shedder recipes” for food you can prepare without electricity. And there are bleak jokes aplenty. “Q: What did South Africa use before candles? A: Electricity.”

    South Africa has been here before. In 2008 it suffered a rash of blackouts that cost the country billions of rand. Little has changed. …

    http://skimon.com/load-shedding-pakistan
    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/34bcbe66-3821-11e4-b69d-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3V6bHUuQl

    • I had been looking for the graph with the 95% certainty rate… thanks for posting it. And 97% of scientists believe in AGW . Are they scientists or religious? What scientist could look at that and say, ” that’s right ” ? Further, how could anybody in government possibly agree with that ? I don’t know what the real temperatures are, but they are probably less than the blue squares and round dots at the bottom. If AGW has had to adjust the numbers in the last few years, which they’ve done, then the collection and dissemination of temperature is wrong to start. The same with co2 levels, they’ve adjusted those in the last year…. the models simply can not be wrong seems to be their thinking.

  35. The Hill news

    Story of Trump’s transition team getting the House and Senate to allow Pres to reduce some federal employees pay to $1.00 per year.

    It is aimed at EPA and Dept of Energy who promote the Climate Change lie.!

  36. I would just like to say this about feelings: 40 years ago, as an engineering student, I took economics courses as electives. I now realize I should have been more sensitive to the feelings of the economics majors in the Microeconomics course who were struggling with the concept of calculating the area under the curve.

  37. “which benefits the many, not just the few,”
    A sentence, as deplaved as it is possible with regard to the green business with climate change. Go and learn your lessons of the past in both capitalism and socialism. The human brain is designed in such a way that it first wants benefits for itself and then come with distance the others. Everything else is empty talk. It is only possible to set up the social order in such a way that the waste product of the benefits for few is formed into jobs and salary for many and therefore a certain standard of living is achieved. And this succeeds in capitalism in the long run better than in socialism and green planning. These are simple teachings, ranging from 10,000 years bc to 2017 years after Christ.
    Perhaps one does not believe that the human brain is so shaped, but it is so. That is why the Indian sayings about the allegedly healing world are in harmony with nature, and that gold can not be eaten, are nothing but empty talk and envy of the inferior to the victors in a cultural struggle. When many people live together closely in this world, the environment is polluted irrespective of culture. In the so-called third world, and in the case of primitive peoples who have only recently outgrown this status, even to a greater extent. The only limitation here are the possibilities but not the will that first I come and then the rest or the nature. Therefore, the guess that one can transform a man into a better man is nothing but senseless talk and will not prevent green gold diggers from their goldgrass at the expense of others.

  38. Ersic ==> Oddly enough, they come the the right conclusion for the wrong reasons. It is perfectly correct and proper to say:

    “What is needed instead is a way of engaging with climate change which is built from the bottom-up and speaks to the values, experience, hopes and concerns of everyday life. It is about showing the connections between a future which benefits the many, not just the few, with the possibility of a good quality of life that can be shared by all without ruining the quality of life for subsequent generations.”

    The only disconnect is that the author(s) thinks that that means implementing the whole CAGW crowd’s single idea solution : Stop Burning Fossil Fuels. Missing that doing so damages future generations, imposes hardship on the many, lowers quality of life for everyone, etc.

    The concept is good though — its what I and many others believe — however I think that a pragmatic approach to whatever changes are happening is quite different from the CAGW crowds foolish and destructive solution.

  39. More nonsense from the ill-educated and easily confused mob of chicken littles, waiting in line to agree with whatever excuse some 97% of alleged scientists cook up to rob the taxpayers of their rights, their liberties and their money, IMO, (but not necessarily in that order ;-) This whole house of fantasy baseball cards is about to collapse. Speaking of baseball (and politics), I offer this paraphrase: “…For there is no joy is SWAMPVILLE. Mighty Clinton has struck out!”

  40. If economics is applied correctly as a science then it works fine at highlighting areas of risk and likely impact of changing variables.
    Where all science including economic and climate science falls to the ground is when the drivers are back-grounded with hazards. Such hazards are ideology (left inclined academics) financially driven confirmational bias plus many others.
    This failure of science is not limited to these two streams witness the food industry, even hard areas like particular physics have been hobbled by big personalities with fixed ideologies.

  41. When I worked with merchant bankers, the bankers never attempted to use their economic and trading models to predict the future, because they knew that didn’t work – bitter experience taught them that their painstakingly constructed economic models had no predictive skill. Instead, they used the models to try to understand the present, to try to detect weaknesses in the structure of their portfolios.

    Economics models to try to understand the present.
    To better understand politics and history would that be, “Follow the money.”? 8-)

  42. Anybody here remember LTCM – stock symbol for a hedge fund management firm named Long Term Capital Management?

    AND do you recall their primary, driving modus operandi in performing trades and doing business?

    Whom did they employ – do you recall that too?

      • Quoting Investopedia: long-term capital management (LTCM) was a large hedge fund led by Nobel Prize-winning economists and renowned Wall Street traders

      • Oh, yeah, I did know that, or at least I remember it now!

        The 1997 Nobel Laureates Myron Scholes and Robert Merton with the Black-Sholes model, a model to determine the value of derivatives and options. So a year or two after they won, LTCM crashed and burned using their model. 16 banks and the Federal Reserve had to step in to save them because of the derivative exposure. I think Sholes slunk back to the Univ of Chicago but dont hold me to it.

  43. “What is needed instead is a way of engaging with climate change which is built from the bottom-up and speaks to the values, experience, hopes and concerns of everyday life. It is about showing the connections between a future which benefits the many, not just the few, with the possibility of a good quality of life that can be shared by all without ruining the quality of life for subsequent generations.”
    Climate double-speak par excellence. They are still on “climate communication” for the masses. They still think if they can only dumb things down enough, and put just enough lipstick and just the right shade on the climate pig, that they can sell it. Because people are dumb, right? It’s just about finding the right sales pitch to get people to buy their “climate” product. Hope springs eternal with them, even as the SS Warmatanic pitches its bow into the air before its final descent into oblivion.

  44. Perhaps Mr. Shaw is related to George Bernard Shaw, who quipped, “If all the economists were laid end to end, they’d never reach a conclusion.”

  45. The Economics of Climate Science will be understood in more detail by Climate Scientists, when Trump cuts their funding. Some of them will have to do something useful to get paid.

  46. The climate change hoax served a purpose. It defined who the bed wetter’s are ,who like bigger government , and those with massive egos who actually believe that by tweaking a trace gas beneficial to life on earth humans are going to control the climate to some little cliques liking . (UN Serial Conference Goers ) .
    It also proved governments would not only facilitate the massive rip off of tax payers they would condone the outright lying to children in order to indoctrinate them into supporting a fraud .
    It was always about the money that served as the lubricant to remove cash from peoples wallets in the form of taxes or debt as well as separate some scientists from applying the scientific method to their work .
    Apparently climate changes … who knew ? It’s warming thankfully . Enjoy the ride while it lasts .

  47. Krugman – Keynes
    You need not know any two other words to understand the concept of failed economic policies……

  48. This is another attempt to install a command economy. There is nothing wrong with a market economy that has some safeguards against people like Bernie, which wouldn’t have happened if the SEC was doing its job. The problem is government squeezing the life out out of people. That’s what the EU was doing. The crash in 2008 had everything to do with housing. It was a gold mine for managers firing people who would loose their homes. Here we will help you, we will buy your house for the mortgage left, and flip it ! We will pick up the increased value and the 20% you put down plus whatever you paid into it. They can’t do that? Yes they can. It’s private money. The government sold people a pair of rose colored glasses. Health care in name only. They couldn’t have designed a worse health care system. Who did that ? The government. We’ll pass the law first, then see what it’s about.
    Command economies don’t work.

  49. Just as we have witnessed the theory of dark matter and dark energy, it is time we recognize that we are in the midst of Dark Warming caused by Dark Climate Change. This unobservable but highly theorized force of nature has been shown to be the cause of 98% of all climate we observe. Scientists are unanimous in this force to explain so many strange phenomena that leaves them in awe such as rain, melting ice, and dying old polar bears.

  50. As for Keynesian economics (with its “sticky prices”) …

    VISCOUS THINKING
    by Max Photon

    Big fools have little fools
    Who feed on their “lucidity”
    And little fools have lesser fools
    And so on to stupidity.

  51. In spite of so many scientific works-made on the basis of models, assumptions, measurement, and who knows what else, to date there is no real evidence of who caused climate change on our planet. Each of these articles carries little hint of the real causes, but it is only one dot in relation to the overall picture of these causes.
    Once again I have to, again, draw the attention of everyone involved in this research, that almost all new way to deceive “knowing” the truth, using models and mathematics. Almost no one uses logic and consciousness, which are associated with the “warehouse” of all causes and knowledge of the true causes of any phenomenon.
    If using logic and natural law, then it must reject the assertion that climate change and global warming resulting from human factors.
    Climate changes are the consequences of interaction between the planet and the sun. But how ? That you should explore !!
    Here, my help: change the magnetic fields of the planets and their variations caused by changes in temperature and planets themselves and their wrappers. Again, I should know how and why. If anyone is interested, we can bring about discussion.
    If this does not happen, it means that everyone staying in positions for which no truth can get more money than the truth. Why? Therefore, the truth is one and few believed in it. There is much more money on combinatorics unknown quantities, as used by “experts” who have given today and wrote several million “evidence, valued at approximately $ 45 billion in the last 20 years (around 2 billion). Only set, and I submit that millions of not stating the truth, because you will lose profits if the truth wins

  52. It’s all about “feelings” anyway and not about science. Therefore surrender your standard of living and your car out of the abundance of caution. Also surrender your march to energy independence in order to maintain an emergency status at all times or when the next significant growth occurs to produce any trace of shortage.

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