Children’s Climate Case: Top Economist Urges Painful Switch to Energy Technology Which Does Not Exist

Joseph E. Stiglitz
Joseph E. Stiglitz. By © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons), CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Don’t mention the “N” word – top economist Joseph Stiglitz has urged the US government to impose economically painful taxes to penalise fossil fuels, to facilitate a switch to renewables and energy efficiency technologies which have not yet been developed.

Nobel-Winning Economist to Testify in Children’s Climate Lawsuit

Joseph Stiglitz writes in a court brief that fossil fuel-based economies impose ‘incalculable’ costs on society and shifting to clean energy will pay off.

JUL 11, 2018

One of the world’s top economists has written an expert court report that forcefully supports a group of children and young adults who have sued the federal government for failing to act on climate change.

Joseph Stiglitz, who was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize for economics in 2001 and has written extensively about environmental economics and climate change, makes an economic case that the costs of maintaining a fossil fuel-based economy are “incalculable,” while transitioning to a lower-carbon system will cost far less.

The government, he writes, should move “with all deliberate speed” toward alternative energy sources.

Stiglitz has submitted briefs for Supreme Court cases—and normally charges $2,000 an hour for legal advice, the report says—but he wrote this 50-page report pro bono at the request of the attorneys representing the children. It was filed in federal district court in Oregon on June 28.

Read more:

Although the report repeatedly mentions and references former NASA GISS director James Hansen, who is a fan of nuclear power, Stiglitz himself does not directly mention the nuclear option, instead urging carbon taxes and “support” for the development of renewable alternatives to fossil fuels.

Moving the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels is both feasible and beneficial, especially over the next 30 years (as technological and scientific evidence discussed below makes clear). Defendants could facilitate this transition with standard economic tools for dealing with externalities, for example a tax or levy on carbon (a price on the externality) and the elimination of subsidies on fossil-fuel production. Relatedly, decisions concerning the transition off of fossil fuels can be reached more systematically and efficiently by revising current government discounting practices, the methodology by which future costs are compared to present costs. Current and historical government decision making practices based on incorrect discount rates lead to inefficient and inequitable outcomes that impose undue burdens on Youth Plaintiffs and future generations.

There are many reasons to be optimistic that emissions could be curtailed further than previously thought. These benefits are a result of continued technological development in the renewables sector. Because of technological improvements, the costs of renewables and storage are decreasing. The price of solar panels has dropped by more than half in recent years (80 percent reduction from 2008 to 2016). In 2016 alone, the average dollar capital expenditure per megawatt for solar photovoltaics and wind dropped by over 10 percent. As these technologies continue to improve and the efficiency increases, while manufacturing costs drop, these technologies will more easily substitute for existing fossil fuel infrastructure.

With the oil crises of the 1970s, recognition of the risks of dependence on oil was developed (though these risks were markedly different from those with which we are concerned today). Even then, it was clear that there were viable alternatives, and with the appropriate allocation of further resources to R&D, it is likely that these alternatives would have been even more competitive.

Read more:

In my opinion there is a lot wrong with Stiglitz’s effort – surprising given his reputation.

Stiglitz seems to be committing the economic sin of treating future projections of technological advances and climate impacts as if they were high confidence.

Extrapolating renewable costs into the future is risky. Renewables may never achieve anything resembling cost parity with existing technology, or even large scale viability. In 2014, Google researchers discovered to their horror there was no viable path to a 100% renewable future using anything remotely resembling current technology. Betting the future economic wellbeing of the nation on solving serious problems which may not be solvable is a wild gamble.

Stiglitz claims substantial fossil fuel “subsidies” are arising due to inadequate treatment of externalities. Externalities are costs which don’t show up on your balance sheet. For example if your business keeps costs down by dumping trash on your neighbour’s property, you aren’t paying the true cost of dealing with with the trash – the cost of dealing with the trash is an externality, because it doesn’t show up on your balance sheet, at least until your neighbour figures out who has been dumping trash on their property.

But the claimed externality costs of CO2 only apply if CO2 emissions cause future harm. We’re not talking about trash which causes an immediate smelly mess, we’re talking about an invisible trace gas which may or may not cause a future problem.

As climate scientists themselves occasionally admit, the climate models which predict future harm are not scientifically falsifiable – they cannot be adequately tested except by waiting to see if they do a good job of predicting the future. Older models are not doing a good job of predicting future climate – as the controversy over the failings of James Hansen’s models demonstrates, relying on expert opinion in place of scientific falsifiability simply isn’t good enough.

Stiglitz solutions, even if they were viable, would be economically painful. Carbon taxes hurt poor people worst of all – a fact Stiglitz admits, though he qualifies his admission with claims that short term harm is worth the future benefit.

Nevertheless short term harm is no laughing matter, particularly when the harm is visited on society’s most vulnerable. You would want to be absolutely certain of the desperate need to impose increased hardship on people who are already struggling, you would want to thoroughly explore possible alternatives to hurting poor people, before concluding hurting the poor was the only available option.

Which is why Stiglitz’s omission of direct mentions of nuclear power is puzzling.

France converted 75% of their electricity to nuclear power in the 1970s. They kept costs down by standardising and mass producing nuclear plant components, and reprocessing nuclear fuel. French electricity is affordable, dispatchable and produces very low CO2 emissions. The cost of low emission French power doesn’t hurt poor people.

According to the EIA, US power plants emitted 1744 million tons of CO2 in 2017. Nuclear power currently produces just under 20% of US electricity. Copying the 1970s French nuclear programme, raising nuclear power to 75% of US electricity production, would reduce power plant CO2 emissions to 1744 / 80% x (100% – 75%) = 545 million tons per annum, saving over a billion tons per annum of CO2 emissions.

For shame Joseph Stiglitz. If CO2 is the serious issue Stiglitz claims, ignoring the possibility of avoiding harm to poor people by converting US electricity production to affordable nuclear power seems a very curious oversight.

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July 11, 2018 7:04 am

anyone else notice that not only are the predictions of doom 20-30 years out…..the technology to fix it is also
….it’s like chasing a running rabbit

colin smith
Reply to  Latitude
July 11, 2018 7:37 am

Clive James calls the time unit the Hermie. From 1974!

And again in 2009 specifically on climate.

Even on the BBC!

Phil R
Reply to  colin smith
July 11, 2018 7:56 am

Whoops, above comment out of place. Meant for colin smith.

Phil R
Reply to  Latitude
July 11, 2018 7:55 am

I like this quote about nuclear war, which, with one minor revision, is directly applicable to climate change:

…thinking the unthinkable was is an indispensable preliminary requirement to financing it.

Curious George
Reply to  Latitude
July 11, 2018 8:43 am

Remember the unsolvable New York horse manure problem in 1890s?

Bryan A
Reply to  Latitude
July 11, 2018 12:12 pm

Much like the ever promised and never realized Cold Fusion

Reply to  Latitude
July 11, 2018 1:19 pm

“fossil fuel-based economies impose ‘incalculable’ costs on society and shifting to clean energy will pay off.”

If the costs of FF are ‘incalculable’ , how can you draw any conclusion about the relative merits of other possibilities ?

The main incalculable costs seems to be those of modifying the power grid to copy with a much larger fraction of variable “enewables” and the final price of an EDF fourth generation PWR.

Reply to  Greg
July 11, 2018 3:11 pm

For an economist to say something is incalculable would be like the Pope saying, “There is no God.” Although with Francis, you never know …

Reply to  Greg
July 12, 2018 12:16 pm

The Economist, Dec 19, 2015

Letters to the editor.

On cap-and-trade and carbon pricing.

Included a letter from Dirk Forrister.

Reply to  Greg
July 12, 2018 12:38 pm

Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), NYC, U.S.

Short biography: Joe Stiglitz.

Has UN connection?

Reply to  Barbara
July 12, 2018 1:58 pm

UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP -FI)

Issue 69
December 2008-January 2009
UNEP FI January Thoughts

Re: Joseph Stiglitz, Davos

Reply to  Barbara
July 12, 2018 4:39 pm

United Nations

Search results: Joseph Stiglitz, 504 results.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Greg
July 14, 2018 4:51 am

“If the costs of FF are ‘incalculable’ , how can you draw any conclusion about the relative merits of other possibilities ?”

By using an incalculable discount rate. Economists do it all the time. It is the financial equivalent of the cartographer’s “Here there be giants.”

July 11, 2018 7:13 am

“if you don’t have to do it,
…. it must be easy”
Just ask this guy.
Moore’s “law” is easy, except when not, when the key result is about done.

Duncan Smith
July 11, 2018 7:17 am

And here is the get out of jail free card, from the Summary of Conclusions in the link. Possibly why it was done Pro Bono, cannot be Liable for Malpractice if it is an unpaid “opinion” and not said under oath.

“The opinions expressed in this report are my own. All opinions expressed herein are to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, unless otherwise specifically stated.”

Reply to  Duncan Smith
July 11, 2018 10:43 am

“Defendants must act with all deliberate speed and immediately cease the subsidization of fossil fuels and any new fossil fuel projects, and implement policies to rapidly transition the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels,” Stiglitz writes.

This immediately establishes Stiglitz as an advocate, as a consultant worth $0.00/hr not–“…. normally charges $2,000 an hour for legal advice, the report says.” I know the type, they don’t do their homework, resume length aside.

Al Montgomery
July 11, 2018 7:22 am

Further proof that you don’t have to be very smart to be a “top economist, PhD, etc.” Whether he’s sold out to the cabal, or just not that bright is irrelevant I suppose- denial of the one workable non-CO2 option is proof it’s about politics and power not for the good of mankind.

Reply to  Al Montgomery
July 13, 2018 6:00 pm

Oh, he’s smart. Look at who pays him. There’s a heck of a lot more and surer money in campaigning for more graft than there is in arguing for less of it.

July 11, 2018 7:22 am

Joseph Stiglitz
Party affiliation: Democratic Party (United States)

Let’s not confuse the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences as being one of the prizes (Don’t confuse it as being the ‘real thing’) that were established by Alfred Nobel and whose recipients are selected by the Nobel Committee. (See the attached.) It appears to me that the primary qualification for being “awarded” the prize is to be a politically active in a party that at minimum lists to port.
“The prize was established in 1968 by a donation from Sweden’s central bank, the Swedish National Bank, on the bank’s 300th anniversary.[3][4][5][6] Although it is not one of the prizes that Alfred Nobel established in his will in 1895, it is referred to along with the other Nobel Prizes by the Nobel Foundation.[7] Laureates are announced with the other Nobel Prize laureates, and receive the award at the same ceremony.[3]”

“Laureates in the Memorial Prize in Economics are selected by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.[8][9] It was first awarded in 1969 to the Dutch and Norwegian economists Jan Tinbergen and Ragnar Frisch, “for having developed and applied dynamic models for the analysis of economic processes”.[6][10][11]”

Reply to  ThomasJK
July 11, 2018 1:34 pm

Thanks for the info. I did not know that.

Sounds like a very similar description to that of the “Nobel Peace Prize”. Was that created at the same time?

July 11, 2018 7:25 am

For a variety of reasons, economists are always wrong. example

The goodgreat thing about this lawsuit is that they are suing the federal government. That means, with President Trump in office, that it will be properly defended. If Hillary had won, they would have done sue and settle. That means they would effectively have circumvented congress, and thereby, democracy itself.

I trust that the government lawyers will eviscerate Stiglitz’ arguments as well as raising the well known unreliability of economists’ projections. Economists should not be accepted as expert witnesses in such matters.

It’s foolish to guess the outcome of court cases but right now this one looks like a walk in the park for the feds.

Reply to  commieBob
July 11, 2018 7:43 am

From your mouth to God’s ears.

Reply to  hunter
July 11, 2018 8:58 am


Reply to  commieBob
July 11, 2018 9:16 am

My absolute favorite example of an economist getting it wrong was Krugman about the American economy following the election of Trump. Of course, this was the same economist who thought the way to fix the economy during the Obama years was to…wait for it…hire even MORE federal employees. Literally. That was his “plan”.

You can’t make this stuff up…

And if Trump did nothing else, ending sue and settle would (almost) be enough to earn my vote next time!


Reply to  ripshin
July 11, 2018 10:09 am

Krugman is another winner of the not-a-Nobel Sveriges riksbanks Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.

Paul. Linsay
July 11, 2018 7:31 am

Economist: seldom correct, never in doubt. Stiglitz was sure that Hugo Chavez was going to bring prosperity to Venezuela. It didn’t quite work out, did it? Now he’s pontificating about climate and what to do about solutions to “global warming”, a subject where he has absolutely no understanding, though I have my doubts about his understanding of economics.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Paul. Linsay
July 11, 2018 10:00 am

Stiglitz, like others, makes statements that turn out wrong, and gets praise for doing so.
Paul Ehrlich is another of these types.
Sen. Chris Dodd (D.-Conn.) supported Chavez.
Being well educated does not equal being smart.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  John F. Hultquist
July 14, 2018 4:58 am

I think you may be confusing education (learning something) with schooling (attending school).

Reply to  Paul. Linsay
July 11, 2018 10:53 am

I don’t have any doubt – whatsoever – that he can’t grasp even basic economic concepts. From the linked article:

In terms of economic development Stiglitz argued it was not good for the Central Bank to have “excessive” autonomy. Chavez’s proposed constitutional reforms, if approved in December, will remove the autonomy of the country’s Central Bank.

Giving a dictator complete control of the currency in a single product socialist economy? Who could possibly be seeing that go wrong?

Wow – just all kinds a friggin’ wow.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  TomB
July 11, 2018 12:09 pm

With debt levels where they are now, it is critical that central banks NOT have autonomy. Eventually and probably soon we will have to undertake serious inflation across the Western world to monetize our ridiculous debts. The ensuing recession will be better than the alternative debt defaults. The possibility of actually paying down these debts is a dead dream!
The fruits of democratic economic management are poison X trillions.

Reply to  John Harmsworth
July 11, 2018 3:33 pm

The difference between inflating your way out of debt and just defaulting is merely timing.

Reply to  MarkW
July 11, 2018 4:05 pm


When the global financial collapse inevitably occurs (as posited by the greens) I’m not sure every countries debt won’t be cancelled out by all others.

So back to square one, do not pass GO, do not collect £200.

Reply to  HotScot
July 11, 2018 5:40 pm

Much of that debt is not owned by governments.
If there ever is a widespread defaulting of government debt, every pension fund in the world will go belly up.

Reply to  TomB
July 11, 2018 1:19 pm

Whenever you have a dictatorship nobody else has autonomy. But then in the US the existence of a FED is unconstitutional because only congress had the power to create money. It is now the Federal Reserve who dictates and not We The People.

Bruce Cobb
July 11, 2018 7:36 am

“fossil fuel-based economies impose incalculable costs on society…”
translation: I’m making this up as I go, and the costs can’t be calculated because they are a complete fairy tale.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
July 11, 2018 8:11 am

So a top economist can’t calculate costs, so does that mean they could be low?

Also we can’t calculate these economic costs, but we can predict climate …

Leo Smith
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
July 11, 2018 8:28 am

Incalculable could mean ‘no one knows how to calculate’ more than ‘ginourmnously expensive’

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
July 11, 2018 8:44 am

Rather like: ‘Climate change is the reason we must accept gazillions of ‘migrants’ because their lands are being destroyed’ …. yet curiously, our lands are not being destroyed.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
July 11, 2018 9:10 am

… fossil fuel-based economies impose incalculable costs on society …

How about:

Fossil fuel-based economies bestow incalculable benefits to society.

Although it wasn’t needed to render his decision Judge Alsup explicitly mentioned that benefits would have been considered if he hadn’t been able to rule on strictly legal grounds.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
July 11, 2018 12:10 pm

That’s even more uncertainty than the IPCC! Could be zero but we should commit economic Hari Kari. Just in case!

Clay Sanborn
July 11, 2018 7:36 am

Hello. Did mankind cause the Laurentide Ice Sheet to melt? You know, when 90+% of what is now Canada and much of what is now the USA was covered in ice and it all melted without any influence whatsoever from mankind, it demonstrates that Mother Nature (God’s Domain) does what it will do.
Imagine you (man/woman) are in middle of an ocean swimming. Along comes a nuclear aircraft carrier (Mother Nature) right at you at cruise speed (~30 knots) . So you think you can stop the carrier. Mankind gets run over by Mother Nature every time.

July 11, 2018 7:38 am

Most anyone that worked around Stiglitz know he is an ars and therefore well suited for this work.

July 11, 2018 7:42 am

Fun facts:

1) Stiglitz belongs to and was a former member in the Clinton admin.

2) he was one of the ’17 or so experts’ who talked to the pope on climate change.

honest liberty
Reply to  Kramer
July 11, 2018 8:20 am

I’m sure he really loves Pizza, hotdogs, and ping-pong.
I’d wager a month’s salary.

Reply to  Kramer
July 11, 2018 8:58 am

Hasn’t history proven over and over again that socialism and a healthy economy DON’T go hand in hand.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Robertvd
July 11, 2018 12:12 pm

It is proving it as we speak! And at an economy near you!

Reply to  John Harmsworth
July 11, 2018 3:35 pm

The group that backed Cortez in her recent win in NYC openly advocates for the nationalization of all private businesses.

July 11, 2018 7:42 am

It really makes me wonder what critical facilities are available to this Nobel prize winner. It genuinely disturbs me that he can write 50 pages on the subject and not once satisfy himself that the basis of the situation is beyond reasonable doubt. It is so far from what I consider to be a rational approach that it leads me to thoughts of conspiracies. Often when something is presented, which is clearly so illogical, a conspiracy seems to hold a more rational explanation. The trouble is, that it is just such a stupid idea (that human produced CO2 alone controls the entire climate of the Earth) that any rational person would have rejected that as a foundation for a conspiracy and either thought of a more reasonable or at least more complicated counterfactual idea. Any would be conspiracy would surely at least found some way of fabricating evidence which is a little more convincing than a falsification of the temperature record – which is not only demonstrably fake – because of history – but which is also merely correlation, which does not imply causation. So although there clearly are a few charlatans on the bandwagon, urging it on, and a few bankers and their politicans that would support any reality that was profitable, the idea of a proper conspiracy seems less likely to be true than just plain stupidity. It really disturbs me to accept that intellectual giants of our society are so uniquisitive, irrational and willing to be led by unverified expert opinion. Anyhow apologies for the rant, and Eric, Andrew el al., keep up the good work patiently exposing this.

Another Paul
Reply to  Jay
July 11, 2018 9:06 am

Look they’re doing their level best to save the planet from total destruction, and there you go trying to inject logic into their plan(s).

I often wonder about “smart” people that this. Maybe they suffer from delusional confidence in their knowledge? Are their circle of friends are so polite they never call him out or question assumptions?

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Another Paul
July 11, 2018 12:52 pm

He’s an “expert”. Very uncomfortable to question the consensus of other “experts”. Especially if they are of the same goofus politic stripe. Without a common acceptance of expertise, his has no value.
He is that special kind of idiot. His pronouncements have been accepted by others of like mind without question so now he assumes he’s right and has no need to really think about what he says. The Left is full of these. That’s why it survives as the dominant political-economic paradigm while it takes Western society down the hill to total ruin.
Infinite rights without any obligations.

July 11, 2018 7:42 am

Even less credible than Stern’s pathetic work of fiction.

David Chappell
July 11, 2018 7:43 am

Given thatthe supposed plaintiffs are minors with no standing to sue and therefore must act through a next friend, it would be an interestings exercise to put the next friends on the witness stand and explain how they know their charges understand what is being done in their name.

As for Steiglitz, tax every breath he takes…

Reply to  David Chappell
July 11, 2018 9:02 am

I hope that, unlike Jimmy Savile, he lives long enough for the kids he uses to sue him for the brain damage caused.

Reply to  David Chappell
July 11, 2018 9:09 am

Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I’ll be taxing you.

(apologies to The Police)

July 11, 2018 7:49 am

Apparently Stiglitz has not talked to the MIT team that reported that wind ans solar power are still about 400 years out. Dr. Stiglitz, if you are not talking nuclear you are not serious about what you are saying.

Leo Smith
Reply to  JON R SALMI
July 11, 2018 8:36 am

Wind and solar 400 years out?

Well its right for wind. give or take. It was supplanted 200 years ago by coal.

A friends ex-wife asked me ‘well where do you think we should put windmills then?’

“In a museum” I retorted snappily.

As for solar. well someone projected that ‘business as normal’ and population rise as normal and the human race’s energy needs would exceed the total solar insolation in less than 400 years.

That WOULD be man made climate change if the populations got so large that the actual burnup of artificial energy added more heat than the sun…UHI gone batshit crazy…

And it is a poke in the eye of any Cornucopians who don’t believe there are ANY limits to growth

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 11, 2018 10:10 am

@Leo Smith;
As for solar, I can’t fathom how your source got to his/her conclusion. Total human energy consumption is one (1) hour’s worth of planetary insolation. For everyone on the planet to have access to the same energy wealth as Americans would require quadrupling world energy production. Now you’re up to 4 hours of sunlight. World population is due to peak around 9 billion and remain steady or decline by about 2050, up from 7.5 billion, so just under 5 hours of sunlight. We’ll round up. So, assuming population remains about level out to 400 years, everyone on earth would have to consume 1,000 times more energy than Americans do today to come close (but still not equal) to annual Terran insolation.

Reply to  Leo Smith
July 11, 2018 10:23 am

Your first mistake was assuming that both population and energy usage would continue on a linear slope for 400 years.

The big rise in energy usage is in the third world where people are going from next to none to 1st world levels. The increase in energy usage for the 1st world has slowed dramatically.

The second is the fact that population growth has also slowed dramatically, even the overly pessimistic UN thinks the world’s population will peak by 2050 and then start falling rapidly.

Beyond that, why do you assume that the people of 400 years from now will be limited to just the Earth’s resources.

There are no limits to growth. Just limits to some people’s imagination.

Roger Graves
Reply to  MarkW
July 11, 2018 12:05 pm

I’m not sure where the myth that the UN predicts that population will peak by 2050 then decline thereafter comes from, but it isn’t altogether borne out by the facts. If you download the relevant data from the UN Population division ( you will find there are three separate estimates in the form of low, medium and high variants. Yes, the low variant does peak shortly after 2050, but the medium variant keeps on growing, reaching 11.2 billion by 2100, while the high variant reaches 16.5 billion by 2100. Even the low variant doesn’t fall all that rapidly after 2050. It reaches a peak of 8.76 billion by 2053 and falls to 7.27 by 2100.

Predicting an unequivocally falling population after 2050 strikes me as wishful thinking.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Roger Graves
July 17, 2018 2:09 pm

Considering that the world’s fertility index is showing a constant decline since 1965, it’s more realistic than wishful. World fertility rate as of 2016 is 2.439. When it hits about 2.1, you are in negative growth territory. The trend appears linear back to about 2002, with an annual decrease of 0.013. Understanding the risks involved in extrapolating any trend very far into the future, at that rate negative population growth will kick in about 26 years from now, or 2044.

July 11, 2018 7:53 am

breaking iceberg

Reply to  vukcevic
July 11, 2018 8:57 am

Cool, but nothing new….

Reply to  vukcevic
July 11, 2018 10:13 am

We indeed still live in an Ice Age. It’s a pity the video maker missed the best parts.

July 11, 2018 7:55 am

Pretty much, the only supply for non-carbon dioxide producing electric energy is nuclear, as hydro is mostly built out. As Steglitz ignores nuclear, he has either not really considered the situation, or has, and has other motives for demanding renewables.
What no one has solved with wind and solar is the intermittency issue, and storage with the characteristics of Heinlein’s Shipstones would be required.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 11, 2018 8:37 am

The bandar log never demand intellectual rigour. Only on message virtue signalling…
…It doesn’t have to work, just look like it might.

kent beuchert
July 11, 2018 8:01 am

It is a well known fallacy to present an opinion by an expert whose expertise (economics) has no relationship with the area of interest : climatology or technology or science. This energy-ignorant soul didn’t even mention small modular molten salt nuclear reactors – Gee, they are only being developed in a dozen different forms by two nations (China, India) and over a half dozen private companies. There is NO doubt about either their practicality or their inherent safety or the speed at which they can be manufactured in factories. They are all fully designed and some have already had approvals from nuclear regulatory agencies for those preliminary designs. Some are about to build prototypes or even regular units for testing. The basic technology they use has been around for half a century and there have even been operable molten salt reactors. But they were not practical because there wasn’t enough space for enough low level uranium to produce sufficient power, due to the use of carbon moderators. But now there exists a moderator that is much more compact and that obstacle no longer exists. The other problem were the extrme corrosive effects of molten salt on a reactor core. That is being solved in two ways – using new alloys that can withstand corrosion for decades, or the cheaper method – simply encase the molten salts in typical fuel rods made of stainless steel, which can withstand the corrosive forces for 5 years, and swap out the fuel rods after 4 and half years and replace with a new one (Moltex Energy). IN other words, use a sacrificial metal (stainless steel, which is cheap). Molten salt reactors are the future because of 1) their low costs (producing power for lesss than 4 cents per KWhr) and 2) their inherent safety – nobody gonna die or even get hurt from anything that can occur in a molten salt reactor.

Leo Smith
Reply to  kent beuchert
July 11, 2018 8:38 am

No molten salt reactor has ever produced power at 4c a kWh, ever.

Reply to  Leo Smith
July 11, 2018 8:52 am


Do you think it’s a fair comparison to rate test reactors against modern economics? Or, do you believe the technology is inherently un-economical?


Reply to  kent beuchert
July 14, 2018 11:21 am

If there are “NO doubts”, why bother with prototypes and testing?
Best to just start mass producing them and turning them on en masse in every population center.
After all…there is “NO doubt”.

Scott Manhart
July 11, 2018 8:05 am

Typical baby boomer…”I want it and I want it now!”

Richard M
Reply to  Scott Manhart
July 11, 2018 8:44 am

Baby boomers were just the start. It has only gotten worse with subsequent generations.

Rob Dawg
July 11, 2018 8:07 am

> Stiglitz seems to be committing the economic sin of treating future projections of technological advances and climate impacts as if they were high confidence.

Fusion is 20 years away. Has been for 40 years.
Affordable battery storage is a mere ten years away. has been for nearly a century.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Rob Dawg
July 11, 2018 8:40 am

Actually affordable battery storage is either < 15 years away, or it will never happen.

My money would be on the latter (if I had any).

Matthew Bergin
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 11, 2018 10:04 am

I second that latter decision.

Roger Graves
Reply to  Rob Dawg
July 11, 2018 6:06 pm

Fusion appears to obey relativity laws. To any observer, at any time, it’s always 20 years in the future.

Walt D.
July 11, 2018 8:11 am

Top Economist Urges Painful Switch to Energy Technology Which Does Not Exist.
Not a problem for an economist.
Just assume you have a can opener.
(Economics joke -How does an economist, shipwrecked on a desert island, open a can of beans?)

Reply to  Walt D.
July 11, 2018 9:00 am

I didn’t know that deserts have islands ??

Steve Reddish
Reply to  Marcus
July 11, 2018 10:03 am

I like taking common statements the wrong way on purpose, but that one is too lame, even for me.

(Example of my style: when someone speaks of their baby being delivered I say something like ” Wouldn’t you want your baby to have a liver?”)


[The mods have always maintained that it would be far cheaper, faster, and less painful to deliver babies (pre-assembled of curse) by FedEx, UPS, or Amazon Prime shipping. US Postal Service would only ensure that the package would be late, crumpled up, and over-priced. .mod]

Reply to  Marcus
July 11, 2018 10:26 am

Why would you want to open a can of beans if you are surrounded by desert?

Reply to  MarkW
July 11, 2018 11:55 am

We must desert the desert before our dessert melts!

Reply to  Walt D.
July 11, 2018 10:36 am

Chief Economist of the World Bank. February 13, 1997 – February 2000
Chief Economist of a criminal organisation .

Reply to  Robertvd
July 11, 2018 11:19 am

You want to meet more dangerous people?

Inequality and Climate Change: Joseph Stiglitz and Nicholas Stern in Conversation

Reply to  Walt D.
July 11, 2018 10:38 am

“Stiglitz has submitted briefs for Supreme Court cases—and normally charges $2,000 an hour for legal advice, the report says”

The Costs of Inequality: Joseph Stiglitz at TEDxColumbiaSIPA

Reply to  Robertvd
July 11, 2018 10:59 am

He says Government is the problem (regulations) so what is his solution MORE (Big Brother) Government. How can such a dangerous man have received more than 40 honorary degrees.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Walt D.
July 11, 2018 1:11 pm

I like it. My favorite is, “If you laid 1000 economists end to end they wouldn’t reach a conclusion”.
Lawyers and economists are fodder for a lot of good jokes and they’re funny because they are mostly true.
I read once many years ago that the average lawyer costs the U.S. economy $1 M a year. Probably 20 years ago. Chump change for an economist.

Steve O
July 11, 2018 8:11 am

“The price of solar panels has dropped by more than half in recent years (80 percent reduction from 2008 to 2016)…”
— All those early subsidies when solar panels were expensive look a terrible investment, no? Now, I don’t have a Nobel prize, but if the cost is dropping by half every five years, then we can wait five years and buy twice as much capacity.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Steve O
July 11, 2018 1:13 pm

Save an infinite amount and don’t buy any.

Reply to  Steve O
July 11, 2018 2:43 pm

I am waiting for them to be cheaper than cardboard or newsprint. Then they will be used to make packing boxes and store flyers. They will be worth installing when the price of wire drops by half every five years. I suppose they still won’t produce power at night or in the winter.
Of course, lithium batteries will be cheaper than building blocks in a few years, thanks to Elon and his megafactory.

July 11, 2018 8:12 am

A “top economist” is not an engineer and has no business telling anyone how to produce energy.

Stick to your own field, buddy-boy.

Joe - the non climate scientists
July 11, 2018 8:14 am

Daubert – hard to disqualify the expert with a nobel in economics – even if the expert has no expertise in science, technology or renewables – why not have Jacobson provide expert testimony – he is the expert on converting the USA to 100% renewables by 2040. –

Though you gotta wonder why jacobson with such expertise cant get hired by a utility company, since he is an expert on renewables.

July 11, 2018 8:16 am

Major flaw in his argument, Germany! Germany has committed $B’s to renewables (wind, solar, etc) and now has the highest electricity costs in the developed world! Merkel was also stupid (or duplicitous) enough to shut down their nuclear power plants without analysis or rational justification! Renewables are decades, possibly a century away from being sufficiently economical, reliable and robust to replace fossil fuels! Defense needs to find and present engineers and scientists that can demolish this “economist” bogus rants!

Leo Smith
Reply to  Bill
July 11, 2018 8:42 am

Germany also has the highest CO2 emissions in Europe per capita.

Windmills and solar panels win the elections.
Coal and nuclear power the country.

A triumph of doublethink.

Reply to  Bill
July 11, 2018 9:21 am

Spain will catch up to germany soon. Their PS10 plant has a guaranteed price of 271 eur/mwh. Eye watering.

David Thompson
July 11, 2018 8:25 am

As soon as we find a good source of unobtainium all our energy problems will be solved. Or then maybe that perpetual motion machine being built in Cadarache France will come online and save us.

Reply to  David Thompson
July 11, 2018 12:08 pm

Or some super genius/complete whacko breaks the unified field theory and turns our modern concepts of matter and energy into quaint notions of yesteryear. 😉

Reply to  drednicolson
July 11, 2018 1:35 pm

Nikola Tesla

(but it is much harder to control We The People if he can dispose of free energy)

July 11, 2018 8:28 am

Of course Stiglitz doesn’t imagine for a second that the poor and vulnerable will be hurt due to increased cost of electricity and energy. Nope, “the rich” will pick up the tab. It sort of already happens with mobile phones in the USA. Thereby “the rich” will be doubly taxed first for their own use and then pay not just the additional tax but actual total supply coast for the use of some ill defined economically disadvantage group.

Appreciate who the Left considers rich. As a world standard it is everyone in the EU, Canada and the USA. Within the USA it is any family making more than $100K. That came down from $200K a decade or so back when the Left figured out that that increasing taxes on just those making over $200K would not pay for all their “neat” projects to save the world.

Reply to  Edwin
July 11, 2018 10:29 am

In my experience, the left defines “rich” as anyone who has more than I do.
Coincidentally, that’s the same definition that they use for “greedy”.

Steve Keppel-Jones
Reply to  MarkW
July 23, 2018 10:08 am

And anyone who has less money than I do is poor? 🙂 Kind of like when you’re driving a car… anyone driving faster than you is a maniac, and anyone slower is an idiot 🙂

Reply to  Edwin
July 11, 2018 8:54 pm

National Public Radio, Feb.16, 2005

Interview: Dirk Forrister in the U.K. on emissions trading.

It’s all about the money.

Joe - the non climate scientists
July 11, 2018 8:34 am

Stiglitz claims substantial fossil fuel “subsidies” are arising due to inadequate treatment of externalities. Externalities are costs which don’t show up on your balance sheet.

This is complete nuts brought to you by pseudo economists.

The fossil fuel companies are not paying the “cost of their product puts on the enviroment” and therefore should pay a tax for those costs.

This the same concept that farmers should pay a tax to cover the cost of disposing of the bowel movement caused by eating food.

Steve Lohr
July 11, 2018 8:34 am

There seems to be a full court press for 100% “renewables” and this law suit isn’t the only action. Colorado Democrats are trying to elect their version of Jerry Brown for governor of Colorado . Congressman Jared Polis has proposed a 100% renewable , by bla, bla, bla. Here is my response to his pitch: The difficulty I have with your statements, Congressman, starts with my uncertainty that you have a clue how this can happen when in fact the energy requirements are large, must be reliable, and have to be inexpensive. We are faced with over seas competition that has already committed to both fossil fuels and nuclear, none of which meets your definition of renewable. You can’t run trains, ships, or aircraft, smelt iron or produce steel and aluminum, heat and operate factories and hospitals and schools, or provide reliable on demand emergency services with 100% “renewable” energy sources. The requirements for wind turbine space or ground covered with photo-voltaic panels will overwhelm the land space we have. Furthermore, both require serious source site location strategies and transmission problems to be solved. Your idea, such as it is, is a fiction. Can you imagine having to evacuate a city like Houston with all electric cars? Or Boulder, in the middle of the night when all the cars are being recharged but a flood coming down the canyon requires everyone to run! No, obviously you haven’t even thought that far out of your fantasy. What you are proposing is nothing more than a 100% renewable BLACKOUT for everything we need.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Steve Lohr
July 11, 2018 1:21 pm

I think the problem is that there are a great many people who make their living in non-manufacturing and non-energy industries. These people do quite well and can afford higher energy prices. They feel no obligation to the millions who make their livings ( or try to ) in other ways.
The fact that these self centered individuals brand themselves as “friends” of the disadvantaged is ignorant and disgusting. They are in fact elitists! They are the enemies of equal opportunity.

Reply to  John Harmsworth
July 11, 2018 5:43 pm

On what basis do you declare that other people have some kind of obligation to take care of you?

On what basis do you claim that those who have more than you do don’t care about others?
Anyone who has more than you is evil and an elitist.

You really do sound a lot like the communists.

R. Shearer
Reply to  Steve Lohr
July 11, 2018 3:15 pm

I wish Polis would withdraw from politics, just stay home and rear his two little boys along with his husband.

Dave Miller
July 11, 2018 8:37 am

I read his drivel as “my expertise in Economics (called the dismal science for good reason, excuse being off topic) allows me to ignore the laws of thermodynamics, which I am sure can be repealed if we just confiscate enough resources from productive society.”.

The ignorance is strong.

Richard M
July 11, 2018 8:56 am

The true trend (noise removed) in global temperatures says doing anything for climate would be a waste of money. We really only have high quality data from satellites starting in 1979. To get a good picture it is best to start after the 1979-80 El Nino.

The average global temperature for April-August 1980+1981 was -.06 C in UAH and +.03 C in RSS. So far in 2018 the it is .20 in UAH and .27 in RSS.

Both of these periods are reasonable absent of climate noise (ENSO and volcanoes). They are comparable in non climate forcings. Hence, we get a total warming of .24 C (RSS) and .26 C (UAH).

That’s it folks. I know this is a simplistic view but it only shows a warming of .25 C in 38 years. That is only .067 C / decade.

Why would any society waste trillions of dollars to reduce warming by about half a degree in 2100? This guy is nuts.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Richard M
July 11, 2018 2:06 pm

And the AGW fools /liars would have us believe that even this paltry warming couldn’t possibly be due to natural causes.
An amount that is superseded everywhere on Earth in about 5 minutes every day. Eco-Socialist fantasy/frenzy.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
July 11, 2018 9:12 am

Stiglitz has submitted briefs for Supreme Court cases—and normally charges $2,000 an hour for legal advice, the report says—but he wrote this 50-page report pro bono at the request of the attorneys representing the children. It was filed in federal district court in Oregon on June 28.

Regardless of his credentials, he’s addressing the wrong audience. If he wants to argue that the US government should impose massive new costs in the form of taxes to avoid climate change, he should be addressing the US Congress, not the courts.

Imposing a new tax on “carbon” is not within the authority of any government agency; new taxes must be authorized by Congress in legislation and approved by the President. With recent changes in the Supreme Court, there is actually a decent chance that process will be respected.

Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
July 11, 2018 5:44 pm

Most alarmists have given up trying to win over the people. The new strategy is to use the courts to impose their plans on the rest of us.

July 11, 2018 9:13 am

“Nobel-Winning Economist to Testify in Children’s Climate Lawsuit”

I’ve read about such efforts… much like the priest who organized a ‘children’s crusade’ to the holy land. Nothing like leading a bunch of brainwashed minds that that think they know something that the rest of us don’t. The only people I see leading this are people past prime.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  rishrac
July 11, 2018 10:20 am

Except for the “crusade” being neither of children nor lead by priests, you’ve got it pretty well covered.

Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
July 12, 2018 8:00 pm

It’s the same. Then or now, slavery is still slavery, pied piper, age of faith revisited, regardless. ( Since you read the article) And that’s what they’re doing. Maybe you got the irony, or maybe you didn’t. The high priests in the Holy Religion of AGW are well known. Self appointed spokesmen for the “children ” to save the world.

Bruce Cobb
July 11, 2018 9:24 am

Most Americans would rather fight than switch.

Jim Whelan
July 11, 2018 9:43 am

“Nobel winning economist” There’s a meaningless credential. Firstly Nobel prizes are given for specific contributions, not for overall ability. Secondly, the prize in economics is one of those that is given for contributions that advance leftist causes, not for actual truth or accuracy.

J Mac
July 11, 2018 9:53 am

HA! After reading this article I was sure Stiglitz was a socialist and not a fan of the Chicago school of economics. Reading his wiki bio, I found this: “Once incomplete and imperfect information are introduced, Chicago-school defenders of the market system cannot sustain descriptive claims of the Pareto efficiency of the real world. Thus, Stiglitz’s use of rational-expectations equilibrium assumptions to achieve a more realistic understanding of capitalism than is usual among rational-expectations theorists leads, paradoxically, to the conclusion that capitalism deviates from the model in a way that justifies state action – socialism – as a remedy…… And the Sappington-Stiglitz theorem “establishes that an ideal government could do better running an enterprise itself than it could through privatization.”

‘Paradoxically’ my rump! He created an economic ‘theory’ to support his own socialist beliefs!

Hoyt Clagwell
Reply to  J Mac
July 11, 2018 10:25 am

Any theorem that relies on “an ideal government” is relying on pixie dust and pocket sized fusion reactors. Capitalism thrives because it works even when there is no government at all. It works despite government.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  Hoyt Clagwell
July 11, 2018 11:15 am

Right up until the most successful capitalists realize they can enlist the power of government to shield them from the risks of the market, in exchange for their helping shield government heads from the risks of an election.

Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
July 11, 2018 11:26 am

Agreed wholeheatedly. Few things are as distasteful to me as rent-seeking businesses using the public’s largess to line their pockets. Private/Public collusion should be prosecuted vigorously and (somewhat) unmercifully. Those perpetrating these crimes against our society do so willingly and with cold calculated intent.

Unfortunately, it’s a difficult thing to ferret out and even more difficult to prevent. Combine that with the rather huge personal incentives and it’s easy to see the structural weaknesses within our “system”. (Which is not to say we should abandon it…how does the quote go, “Democracy is a horrible form of government, but it’s the best one we’ve got.”) It’s merely to point out that we have to maintain constant vigilance to prevent those seeking to abuse their positions of authority and spheres of influence to benefit at the expense the general good-faith generosity of the American citizen.


Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
July 11, 2018 1:54 pm

In a free market system (capitalism) products will become cheaper and better (competition) except if government intervenes. If government intervenes we no longer live in a free market system but in a socialist system like the U.S. and most Western World countries. It is always the poor who suffer most when government intervenes.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
July 11, 2018 2:19 pm

Big everything is bad for us as individuals.
Big government- bad!
Big labour-bad!
Big business-bad!
Big Green-bad!
Big science-bad!
Big religion-bad!
Big just enables blind dominance.

Reply to  John Harmsworth
July 11, 2018 3:38 pm

Big business contains the seeds of it’s own destruction.
The only way big business can survive is by politicians in order to hamstring all competitors.

Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
July 11, 2018 5:46 pm

In which case, the problem is that government is too powerful, not that capitalism is flawed.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  J Mac
July 11, 2018 2:16 pm

And how’s that working for us so far?
The Western world is awash in debt to feed a throwaway consumer economy that ships boatloads of money to China to make our crack/consumer goods while millions are underemployed here.
Where do we get the idea that these idiots have any intellectual currency whatsoever.

Reply to  John Harmsworth
July 11, 2018 3:41 pm

It’s always interesting how the new Puritans know what everyone else needs and is willing to condemn anyone who buys stuff the Puritan doesn’t believe they should want.

Those who are unemployed here fall into two categories.
Those who don’t have and don’t want the skills needed to keep a job.
Those who have been made unemployable via actions of government.

Reply to  MarkW
July 11, 2018 4:48 pm

Like the minimum wage.

J Mac
Reply to  J Mac
July 11, 2018 5:45 pm

Ahhhh, the Joys of Socialism!
comment image

Reply to  J Mac
July 11, 2018 5:46 pm

That businesses have to deal with imperfect information is a given.
The idiocy is the assumption that government will have better information.

David S
July 11, 2018 11:11 am

Nuclear power is unlikely too because the same people who hate fossil fuels also hate nuclear power.

July 11, 2018 11:29 am

Thing is.. if WE want to mandate-government-edict a change in the fuel-consumption patterns of Americans (first) and the rest of the world too (problem: how to prevent simple cheaters?), then using exhorbitant taxation, tariffing if you will, if a product that won’t be outright banned, but will have a seriously imposing socio-economic deterrant added, well … taxes and tariffs are the way to go.

I always use the example of the 1973 Oil Embargo.

It wasn’t OUR governments doing per se, but rather that of the Mideast War and Saudi/coalition embargoing of crude oil exports from the major OPEC countries. I watched overnight as gasoline-at-the-pump skyrocketed from under 50¢/gallon to numbers above 100¢/gallon … so quickly that tens-of-thousands of gas stations didn’t have vending pumps that could handle more than 99.9¢/gallon, so charged “half-at-pump, double-at-register”. Lots of printing houses got sign-making business from that.

Gasoline rose rather quickly to well over 150¢/gallon. Less than 4 months.

There were long-lines at the stations (out of fuel, waiting for tanker trucks). There was talk of government imposed quotas and ration cards. Instead — at least in the US — we let macroeconomic and microeconomic principles work out the “fairness” of the reduced-supply.

That too turned out to be a bit of a disaster; the news was full of stories of “gougers” (just executing their Constitution-given right to exact whatever price the market would bear in difficult times…). There were endless sob-stories of poor people not being able to afford the fuel to get to work, making them poorer. There were endless pölïtical calls to “do something” for the poor, the single parents, the product delivery working stiffs, the vendors of emergency vehicle services and so on.

But in the end, it was equivalently an exhorbitant tax added to the price of gasoline, but an external foreign sovereign compact. Economic war, as it were.

THE AFTERMATH of the 1973 Oil Crisis was that with no exaggeration, millions of Americans (and i cannot speak for Europe or others around the world) clamored rather precipitously to get rid of their Big American Cars, and replace them as quickly as possible with tiny Japanese “tin can” vehicles. 3 and 4 cylinder jobs that’d be laughed off the road today. But cars that were getting well over 30 MPG and moreover — at least initially — had sticker prices that were attractively low.

CVCC (“Civic”) was born in this era. Transverse engine, 1,169 cc (70 in³), $2,200 out the door at the dealerships. In a matter of weeks, they were sold out. Nationwide. Japan simply couldn’t make them fast enough to get over here and satisfy demand. A HUGE success.

That — to me — is the “moral of the story”. The moral that artificial product taxation can significantly change broader consumer buying patterns, almost overnight.

People with cars new enough to not warrant replacement (but otherwise “gas guzzlers”) very often had their huge trunks retrofitted with 20 gallon compressed propane liquid fuel and their carbeurators modified to suit. By comparison to roadway motor fuel, mile-for-mile, propane was ⅓ the price.

Know what?

In the context of today’s prices of fuel, imposing a $5/gallon-and-increasing–50¢/quarter gasoline and diesel fuel consumption tax would just as rapidly redirect consumers to non-petroleum fueled vehicle purchases.

It’d be a boon (and boom!) for the electric-car lines.
And it’d be a boon for lithium miners and refiners.
And the propane retrofits would again soar.
Or compressed natural gas mods.
Even ethanol alcohol (or methanol-ethanol blends) would take off.
Renewable. Exempt.

Because the government REALLY CAN moderate and redirect the flow of consumer capital demand through egregious — but politically expedient — tariffing and taxation.

Just saying

John Harmsworth
Reply to  GoatGuy
July 11, 2018 2:25 pm

So you advocate putting the development roadmap in the hands of government ( the most incompetent wayfinder there is), when the market is the only successful one we have ever seen.
You lost me there, man. God help on that path. The politicians only care about getting through the next election. If we can fix democracy, then maybe.

Reply to  GoatGuy
July 11, 2018 3:46 pm

You forgot to mention how government took a short term crisis and turned it into a long term crisis through the use of regulations that sought to protect consumers from the true cost of the shortage.
It takes money to build more drilling rigs. It takes money to send out train, equip and support geologists who hunt for more places to drill. It takes money to hire and train people to operate all those new drilling rigs. However government, restricted how much companies could profit from all the new oil they found and they capped the price of all existing fields at pre-shortage levels.

There was no money and no incentive to go out on a limb and search for more new oil.

Joe - the non climate scientists
July 11, 2018 12:05 pm

His expert report is a serious joke

Constantly references ” subsidies ” that the fossil fuel companies receive – toture of the term subsidy – a tax deduction for out of pocket cash expenses – seriously.

References to subsidy calculations is to advocacy studies – all with numerous errors –

Very little of his own work in expert report – reads like an advocacy paper, not an expert report.

competent lawyer will rip him a new one – except the court is in eugene oregon – so jury will disregard logic.

July 11, 2018 1:20 pm

I’m surprised at your surprise at the weakness of Stiglitz’s arguments. It appears to me there is an inverse correlation between academic intelligence and belief in climate change. Steve Hawking regarded as a genius makes some insane comments on climate change. An inability to fully understand climate change is even more likely for economists who practice in a discipline which seems to specialise in an I exact science and who when predicting future trends are unlikely to be correct no more than 50% of the time . Ask 10 economists the level of the Dow or the currency in 12 months invariably they don’t even get it in the range. Ironically it is the less educated and hard working Joe averages of the world who seem to understand the lack of credibility that the global warming story really has. In 20 years time when the Global warming / climate change mania has been fully exposed as the scam it is people will be flabagatered that a generation of intelligent beings could be so stupid in inflicting such major self harm which has been occurring.

July 11, 2018 4:15 pm

Someone recommending a government of a country resort to regulations that will basically destroy one class, the middle, and further increase another class, the poor, all in the name of global warming, is not an economist. He is a dyed in the wool socialist.

July 11, 2018 4:41 pm

‘sued the federal government for failing to act on climate change.’

The government has no duty to act on anything. When you call the cops, they can choose not to come.

And the judicial certainly can’t compel the legislative nor the executive to do anything.

Any court should reject the suit instantly.

Reply to  Gamecock
July 11, 2018 5:49 pm

A few decades ago, the judge in charge of the “desegregation” plan in (I believe) Kansas City, ordered the city council to raise taxes so that he could have more money with which to “improve” the schools.

July 11, 2018 4:54 pm

An educational note for Dr. Joseph E. Stiglitz and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences:

Dear Dr. Stiglitz and Members of the Royal Swedish Academy,

How do I put this politely? Energy is my expertise, and it is clearly NOT yours.

Your comments on energy, Sir, remind me of this scene from the film “Billy Madison”:

“Mr. Madison, what you just said is the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone is this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

Here are the two key points of our predictive track record, from the Rebuttal that Dr. Sallie Baliunas, Dr. Tim Patterson and I published in 2002 in our debate with the Pembina Institute on the now-defunct Kyoto Accord.

“Climate science does not support the theory of catastrophic human-made global warming – the alleged warming crisis does not exist.”

“The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.”

The above two conclusions, published 16 years ago, still stand strong today, and refute the two most important falsehoods of the fractious global warming/green energy debacle.

In summary, any warming that might result from increasing atmospheric CO2 will be minor and beneficial, and intermittent grid-connected green energy schemes have proven to be a costly failure. The only measurable impact of increasing atmospheric CO2 is greatly increased crop and plant yields, which are highly beneficial to humanity and the environment.

In comparison, not one of the very-scary predictions of the IPCC and its minions have materialized – the IPCC and its minions have a perfectly negative predictive track record.


Other than that, Sir, I found your paper quite interesting.

Your humble servant, Allan MacRae, P.Eng.

Ron Abate
July 11, 2018 5:55 pm

Nothing about the benefits of fossil fuels. I guess there aren’t any. What an A..H…. This country is in a heap of trouble if people like Stiglitz are representative of the caliber of people teaching future generations. Having been awarded a Nobel prize has become meaningless in my eyes after our former dear leaders was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Roger Knights
July 11, 2018 6:39 pm

If the U.S. adopts a crash program of green-ification, it won’t save the planet as Stieglitz imagines. It’s a non sequitur. The rest of the world will go its merry way. The U.S.’s emissions reductions will merely delay the trump of doom by a year or two (or a month or two, as some have calculated). So why bankrupt ourselves trying? Were not going to inspire the ROW by our example. Thinking that we will is foolish—it’s a case of trying to hustle the East.

July 11, 2018 8:25 pm

Economic whiz, maybe. I’ll assume that. Knows Shist about technology. Idiot.

Joel O'Bryan
July 11, 2018 8:31 pm

Stiglitz’s 15 minutes of fame has come and long gone. Just trying to regain some former glory in the spotlight. Sadly, it demonstrates his ignorance that 17 years on, the observations on climate have moved beyond alarmism.

Johann Wundersamer
July 11, 2018 10:05 pm

Even then, it was clear that there were viable alternatives, and with the appropriate allocation of further resources to R&D, it is likely that these alternatives would have been even more competitive.

This “appropriate allocation of further resources to R&D, ” for decades where sunk in never existing climate change concerns.

What a Stiglitz.

And what clients to pay him $2.000,- per hour for “legal advice”.

July 11, 2018 10:12 pm

When Bjorn Lomborg said the same thing : “invest into R&D“, they said he was a traitor, denier, liar, … I can’t see Stiglitz getting the same treatment as Lomborg, because he’s sympathetic to anti-Capitalism, and a climate campaigner now.

July 11, 2018 11:14 pm

Why is it that the alarmists who so regularly prophesise the End of Times unless we do as they instruct us , always seem to be completely immune to the disastrous outcomes that arise out of their very own own predictions.
They shake the climate bones, read the omens as predicted in their climate modelling, prophesise in large print the end times unless we do as they say and then climb into their SUV’s or what ever they drive and head off to the airport for another conference in Vanuatu or Bali or where ever so long as it is exotic [ I almost posted erotic ! ?? ] and exclusive and expensive as the proletariat are the ones being forced to pay for such leisurely experiences.

They as the climate shamans are obviously completely protected from the catastrophic outcomes and disaster scenarios they weave for us, the common man, by the Gods of what ever Hades type climate they are promoting today.

July 12, 2018 2:00 am

Has he factored in the ~25% increase in plant growth (including crops) since 1980? (NASA LAI)

Ah, hmm, perhaps he got it completely wrong then and CO2 is actually a net benefit to the planet.

Ewin Barnett
July 12, 2018 3:27 am

When almost all solutions to a “climate change” converge far more on socialism than on any real way to arrest the change being worried about, then we don’t have science, we have ideology.

“Climate change” is just a rubric by which socialistic utopian solutions are imposed upon (and paid for) by the rest of us. The ultimate irony for me is that much is proposed because it is “sustainable”, yet long ago the economist Ludwig von Mises [1] proved that a fully socialist economy literally was unsustainable. Well, he actually used the word “impossible”. That was because socialists must destroy the free market. And in the end, the free market is a “truth finding” mechanism. An economy cannot function on lies.

The complaint among Progressives is about “the full price” of something while proposing taxes and restrictions on fossil fuels that will certainly work to obscure the full price even more. I am all in favor of helping consumers make the best choices by making sure they know the full price of every energy source. I am in favor of, for example, fully revealing the imputed premium of the US government policy of limiting corporate liability for the nuclear power industry. I also think that the cost of deploying our armed forces to protect the free flow of oil must be made visible by paying for it via a tax on fuel products, preferably at the gas pump. This is preferable than hiding either deep in the bowels of the federal budget.

[1] see for example:
Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth
Postscript: Why a Socialist Economy is “Impossible” by Joseph T. Salerno

Dr. Strangelove
July 12, 2018 4:01 am

Jadyn Rylee and friends have better things to do than the children’s climate lawsuit

July 12, 2018 4:22 am

These people are insane.

July 12, 2018 10:20 am

When I was in the oil business, oil company economists were renowned for oil price predictions. They were always wrong. Now, Stiglitz is ratcheting up the wager on “clean” energy and will be yet another economist who is going to lose big on a bad bet. Economists do not understand the energy business, and do not appear to know much about science. The crime is not the federal government failing to act on climate change. The real crime is the government allowing the mass media to spew out misinformation on global warming, unchallenged. day after day and year after year.

In the graph above, the rate of increase (first derivative) of the global mean temperature trend-line equation has been constant or steadily decreasing since October 2000. The HadCRUT4 temperature anomaly has decreased by nearly 40 percent from March 2016, the El Nino peak, to July 2017. The rate of change of the trend-line will likely become negative within the next 20 years, reaching the lowest global mean trend-line temperature in almost 40 years. (draft ref: An-Analysis-of-the-Mean-Global-Temperature-in-2031 at Lower temperatures could persist for decades.

The adverse consequences of a warming earth are no greater than the adverse consequences of a cooling earth. Policies appropriate for the warming case would be diametrically opposite to those appropriate for the cooling case, e.g., in the high case, CO2 might be reduced in the atmosphere to lower temperatures; in the low case, ice sheets might be covered with carbon black to accelerate melting and increase temperatures. Under these realities, promulgating environmental regulations with too little information and no analyses of uncertainties could exacerbate a threat instead of reducing it. The likely damage from acting on the wrong premise, a warming or a cooling planet, nullifies arguments for either action until the science is right.

The costs of Stiglitz’s preferred policy to prematurely convert to a lower-carbon energy mix now would be incalculable. The technology has not yet been developed and may not be developed for decades to come. I see version 1.2 of the Stiglitz Freeze-in-the Dark energy policy on the horizon with advice like this.

old construction worker
July 12, 2018 6:23 pm

“but he wrote this” The judge should throw this paper out. It is a opinion and solution. It has nothing to do with facts or the law.

Crispin in Waterloo
July 14, 2018 4:46 am

For every economist there is an equal and opposite economist.

The fundamental argument is that we should invest public funds in basic research. The fundamental problem with renewables is not generation, it is storage. I like the idea of the public supporting new technologies for storage. There is no need to support generation.

For new nuclear, that is also reasonable. Mini-Manhattans. There are multiple options. Heavy water technologies are much safer and don’t need much investment compared with high temperature fusion.

It is surprising that economists are so bent on making what is cheap, expensive in order to save money. Obviously it is because of climate models that they believe in thermageddons of various types. Climate models are not more accurate than economic models, and we know how that worked out so far.

Fifty pages of projections? Projections are two dimensional representations of three dimensional reality. They have no depth.

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