“The Nobel Prize for Climate Catastrophe”… Seriously?

Guest ridiculing by David Middleton

Just when I think I’ve read the dumbest thing I’ve ever read about climate change…

The Nobel Prize for Climate Catastrophe

The economist William Nordhaus will receive his profession’s highest honor for research on global warming that’s been hugely influential—and entirely misguided.

BY JASON HICKEL
DECEMBER 6, 2018

Many people were thrilled when they heard that the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics this year went to William Nordhaus of Yale University, a man known for his work on climate change. Finally, the economics profession is giving climate the attention it deserves, just as the world is waking up to the severity of our ecological emergency. Media outlets have taken this positive narrative and run with it.

But while Nordhaus may be revered among economists, climate scientists and ecologists have a very different opinion of his legacy. In fact, many believe that the failure of the world’s governments to pursue aggressive climate action over the past few decades is in large part due to arguments that Nordhaus has advanced.

[…]

So, Nordhaus’ career has been devoted to finding what he calls a “balance” between climate mitigation and GDP growth. In a famous 1991 paper titled “To slow or not to slow,” he argued firmly for the latter option: Let’s not be too eager to slow down global warming, because we don’t want to jeopardize growth.

To justify this conclusion, Nordhaus manipulates what is known as the “discount rate,” which is how economists value the costs of climate breakdown in the present as compared to the future. It might sound arcane, but it’s really quite straightforward. A discount rate of zero means that future generations are valued equally to the present; a high discount rate means that future generations are valued less, or “discounted,” compared with nearer generations.

Nordhaus prefers a high discount rate—very high. Discounting the future allows him to argue that we shouldn’t reduce emissions too quickly, because the economic cost to people today will be higher than the benefit of protecting people in the future. Instead, we should do the opposite: Focus on GDP growth now even if it means locking in future climate catastrophe. This is justifiable, he says, because future generations will then be much richer than we are and therefore better able to manage the problem.

[…]

Remarkably, Nordhaus—like most orthodox economists—has never bothered to consider this question. The growth-is-good mantra is so baked into our consciousness that to question it seems almost crazy. Indeed, growthism is hegemonic to the point of transcending ideology. Politicians on the left and right alike hold it up as the single most important policy objective; they may quarrel about how to make growth happen, and how to distribute its yields, but on the question of growth itself there’s no daylight between them.

This is starting to change. In recent years, ecological economists have been staking out an alternative vision. We will have a much better chance of accomplishing our climate goals, they say, if rich countries abandon their pursuit of GDP growth.

[…]

It’s a staggering idea—and could be a complete game-changer. But what would a post-growth economy look like?

[…]

We are at a crossroads. Nordhaus, and many world leaders, remain wedded to the obsolete dogmas of the last century. But scientists are clear that this is no longer good enough – and the rest of the world is ready for something better.

Jason Hickel is an anthropologist, author, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. @jasonhickel

Foreign Policy

Is this a good spot for Tim Allen?

When I saw the headline, I would never have guessed that the “Climate Catastrophe” was the economic ignorance of an anthropologist.  This now stands as the stupidest, dumbest, most moronic, most idiotic sentence ever written by a primate…

A discount rate of zero means that future generations are valued equally to the present; a high discount rate means that future generations are valued less, or “discounted,” compared with nearer generations.

A discount rate has nothing to do with the value of “future generations” versus “nearer generations.”

Discount Rate

REVIEWED BY WILL KENTON Updated Dec 10, 2018

What is the Discount Rate?

Depending upon the context, discount rate has two different definitions and usages.

[…]

Discounted Cash Flow Analysis

The second use of discount rate is in the discounted cash flow analysis. DCF is a commonly followed valuation method used to estimate the value of an investment based on its expected future cash flows. Based on the concept of time value of money, the DCF analysis helps assess the viability of a project or an investment by calculating the present value of expected future cash flows using a discount rate. In simple terms, if a project needs a certain investment now (as well as in future months) and predictions are available about the future returns it will generate, then using the discount rate it is possible to calculate the current value of all such cash flows. If the net present value is positive, the project is considered viable, else financially unfeasible.

In this context of DCF analysis, the discount rate refers to the interest rate used to determine the present value. For example, $100 invested today in a savings scheme that offers 10 percent interest rate will grow to $110. Put another way, $110 (future value) when discounted by the rate of 10 percent is worth $100 (present value) as of today. If one knows (or can reasonably predict) all such future cash flows (like future value of $110), then using a particular discount rate the future value of such an investment can be obtained.

What is the appropriate discount rate to use for an investment or a business project? While investing in standard assets, like treasury bonds, the risk-free rateof return is often used as the discount rate. On the other hand, if a business is assessing the viability of a potential project, they may use the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) as a discount rate, which is the average cost the company pays for capital from borrowing or selling equity. In either case, the net present value of all cash flows should be positive to proceed with the investment or the project.

[…]

Investopedia

No sane person would invest $100 today to get $100 back in the future.  The future return has to be worth more than the present investment in order to be an investment.  The minimum discount rate is currently usually 3%, about what you can get in US 30-yr Treasuries.  The Office of Management and Budget guideline is for a 7% discount rate “as a base-case for regulatory analysis”…

As a default position, OMB Circular A-94 states that a real discount rate of 7 percent should be used as a base-case for regulatory analysis. The 7 percent rate is an estimate of the average before-tax rate of return to private capital in the U.S. economy…

OMB

In the oil & gas industry, we use a 10% discount rate when valuing proved reserves…

PV10

REVIEWED BY WILL KENTON Updated Jul 19, 2018

What is PV10

PV10 is the present value of estimated future oil and gas revenues net of estimated direct expenses and discounted at an annual discount rate of 10%. Used primarily in the energy industry, PV10 is helpful in estimating the present value of a corporation’s proven oil and gas reserves.

To calculate PV10, reservoir engineers create a reserve report for existing wells and proven undeveloped well locations, taking into account every well’s present production rate, individual production costs, expenses for reserve development, and the forecast decline rate.

[…]

Investopedia

The value of proved reserves lies entirely in the cash flow that can be generated from their production and sale.  Cash flow in the future is worth less than cash in the bank today.  Hence the future cash flow is discounted.

Dr. Nordhaus’ model suggests a ridiculously low discount rate of about 2.5%…

Abstract

The social cost of carbon (SCC) is a central concept for understanding and implementing climate change policies. This term represents the economic cost caused by an additional ton of carbon dioxide emissions or its equivalent. The present study presents updated estimates based on a revised DICE model (Dynamic Integrated model of Climate and the Economy). The study estimates that the SCC is $31 per ton of CO2 in 2010 US$ for the current period (2015). For the central case, the real SCC grows at 3% per year over the period to 2050. The paper also compares the estimates with those from other sources.

Figure 3 from Nordhaus 2017. Social cost of carbon and growth-corrected discount rate in DICE model. The growth-corrected discount rate equals the discount rate on goods minus the growth rate of consumption. The solid line shows the central role of the growth-corrected discount rate on goods in determining the SCC in the DICE model. The square is the SCC from the full DICE model, and the triangle uses the assumptions of The Stern Review (10). A further discussion and derivation of the growth-corrected discount rate is given in Supporting Information.

Perhaps this is where the anthropologist got the notion that a discount rate devalues future generations…

The model optimizes a social welfare function, W, which is the discounted sum of the population-weighted utility of per capita consumption. The notation here is that V is the instantaneous social welfare function, U is the utility function, c(t) is per capita consumption, and L(t) is population. The discount factor on welfare is R(t) = (1)t, where ρ is the pure rate of social time preference or generational discount rate on welfare.

W=t=1TmaxV[c(t),L(t)]R(t)=t=1TmaxU[c(t)]L(t)R(t).W=∑t=1TmaxV[c(t), L(t)]R(t)=∑t=1TmaxU[c(t)]L(t)R(t).

[1]

The utility function has a constant elasticity with respect to per capita consumption of the form U(c)=c1α/(1α)U(c)=c1−α/(1−α). The parameter α is interpreted as generational inequality aversion.

Net output is gross output reduced by damages and mitigation costs,

Q(t)=Ω(t)[1Λ(t)]Y(t).Q(t)=Ω(t)[1−Λ(t)]Y(t).

[2]

In this specification, Q(t) is output net of damages and abatement, and Y(t) is gross output, which is a Cobb−Douglas function of capital, labor, and technology. Total output is divided between total consumption and total gross investment. Labor is proportional to population, whereas capital accumulates according to an optimized savings rate.

[…]

Nordhaus, 2017

The only thing that is discounted is the value of future generations’ consumption.  This is simply a function of the time-value of money.

What happens if the OMB guideline is followed?

Figure 3 from Nordhaus (2017), modified by author. A linear extrapolation of Nordhaus’ discount rate plot implies that a 7% discount rated would zero-out the social cost of carbon. Discounting Away the Social Cost of Carbon: The Fast Lane to Undoing Obama’s Climate Regulations

At a 7% discount rate, the Social Cost of Carbon becomes…

It’s a staggering idea—and could be a complete game-changer. But what would a post-growth economy look like?

It would probably look a lot like RCP8.5.  With the anthropologist’s stunning economic ignorance, it’s not surprising that he would embrace the notion of Malthusian zero-sum economics.

Reference

Nordhaus, William D. Social cost of carbon in DICE model.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Feb 2017, 114 (7) 1518-1523; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1609244114

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64 thoughts on ““The Nobel Prize for Climate Catastrophe”… Seriously?

    • vukcevic – From your linked article about Mars discussing an ice filled crater:

      “The crater’s floor is deep, lying some two kilometres vertically beneath its rim.

      The very deepest parts of Korolev crater, those containing ice, act as a natural cold trap: the air moving over the deposit of ice cools down and sinks, creating a layer of cold air that sits directly above the ice itself.

      Behaving as a shield, this layer helps the ice remain stable and stops it from heating up and disappearing. Air is a poor conductor of heat, exacerbating this effect and keeping Korolev crater permanently icy. ”

      Oddly, there’s no mention of the back-radiation from the Mars’ atmosphere that is 95% CO2. Surely that ice must be warmer than it would be without that back-radiation. But the article is saying that the 95% CO2 layer of air is keeping that ice colder than it would be otherwise. Maybe back-radiation can’t penetrate an open air crater?

  1. Genuine question here, David — does the social cost of carbon include any consideration of its benefits (and if so, how are benefits determined and netted), or is it solely the supposed ill effects of carbon emissions?

        • Fictional or not, all of the “benefits” of carbon regulations are speculative, occur in the future and are heavily back-loaded; while all of the costs are real, start now and are heavily front-loaded.

    • It totally ignores the economic benefits of fossil fuels. It does incorporate some benefits of warming. However, these are dwarfed by the speculative costs of warming and Chicken Little of the Sea.

    • The benefit to world agriculture is over at least $30 a tonne ( US CO2 benefits the US $9 a tonne, but this CO2 spreads around the world, so factor that $9 up by global agri output/US agri output.

      CO2 is an immense benefit to the planet. Huge.

      • It’s a great post… Unfortunately, the purveyors of the Social Cost of Carbon don’t consult with Willis.

        • The purveyors of the Social Cost of Carbon don’t consult with anyone who doesn’t already agree with them.

    • David, as you say, a normal cost/benefit analysis would only project damages net of the expected benefits, which is clearly not the case here. Three categories of Social Benefits of Carbon should properly must be included, rather than ignored.

      Social Benefits from the Energy

      Climate advocates assume that burning fossil fuels provide immediate benefits, such as electrical power or horsepower, which are paid for in the purchase of the fuels and realized by the consumers. Thus the social costs pertain only to future damages not covered by the fuel market prices. This view is achieved by wearing blinders to many obvious future social benefits attributable to the reliable and affordable energy from fossil fuels.

      The contrast is remarkable between societies who use carbon fuels extensively and those who do not. Societies with fossil fuels have citizens who are healthier, live longer, have higher standards of living, and enjoy cleaner air and drinking water, to boot. Not only do healthier, more mobile people create social wealth and prosperity, carbon-based energy is heavily taxed by every society that uses it. Those added government revenues go (at least some of it) into the social welfare of the citizenry. By almost any measure, carbon-based energy makes the difference between developed and underdeveloped populations.

      Social Benefits from CO2 Fertilization

      SCC excludes any consideration of the positive effects upon the biosphere from higher concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere. It has been proven by numerous studies that plants thrive when more than 400ppm of CO2 are in the air, and greenhouse operators routinely add CO2 to double or triple the amount inside their facilities.

      Social Benefits from Global Warming

      Here we face the full force of billions of dollars of research studies on the damaging impacts from a few degrees of temperature increase. Over the years, everything has been shown to suffer from global warming, from A to Z. From Acne to Zika virus, and every letter in between: Bees, Civil wars, Diseases, Extinctions, Fish, etc.

      Here’s the thing: Social Cost of Carbon is actually an attempt to estimate the benefits of preventing all those A to Z damages. But where are the estimates of benefits by preventing damages from global cooling?

    • Extremists, and the climate consensus is extremist, seldom if ever consider a balanced rational approach like cost-benefit analysis.

      • They actually do like cost-benefit analyses; as long as they get to decide costs, benefits and the discount rate!

  2. At IER Robert Murphy wrote The IPCC Should Heed the Work of Nobel Laureate William Nordhaus. Excerpts:

    “One of the recurring themes of my work on the economics of climate change is that the very people who lecture the world on the dangers of “science denial” don’t actually follow their own advice. The recent announcement of the Nobel Prize in Economics, along with the release of the UN’s latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report, illustrates my claim perfectly. Specifically, William Nordhaus just won the Nobel for his work on basically inventing the economics of climate change. But while Nordhaus’ model shows that even a ceiling of 2° Celsius is too aggressive—with the costs outweighing the benefits—the media breathlessly tells the world that the latest “science” from the IPCC shows humanity that we have about a decade to implement draconian measures if we are going to achieve the goal of limiting warming to 1.5°Celsius.”

    “Now to be clear, I am a critic of Nordhaus’ work on climate change economics. Back in 2009 I wrote a peer-reviewed article criticizing his “DICE” model, and here at IER I’ve written articles (such as this one) arguing that Nordhaus misled the public in one of his popular articles on climate “skeptics.”

    “However, what I want to do in the current post is simply show that the guy who just won the Nobel Prize for his work on climate change economics does NOT support anything close to the IPCC’s latest announcement. This should show that, far from being “settled science,” the ever-increasing stridency of the calls for global action to combat climate change are more and more based on ideology and/or arbitrary decisions not tied to reasoned analysis.”

    Murphy’s article is here: https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/climate-change/the-ipcc-should-heed-the-work-of-nobel-laureate-william-nordhaus/

    My synopsis: https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2018/10/21/ipcc-freakonomics/

    • I knew the Nobel Prizes had jumped the shark when they gave the prize for “Literature” to Bob Dylan for his rambling, gravelly-voiced “protest song” rants.

      Now I think they mean about as much as the Oscars . . . mutual preening society for lefties.

      • The Nobel committee are a bunch of fools who made themselves and their awards irrelevant when they gave the peace prize to a terrorist.

        Peace for us means the destruction of Israel. We are preparing for an all-out war, a war which will last for generations. – Yasser Arafat

      • Actually, the economics award isn’t even a “real” Nobel, that’s why its a “Memorial”

        Basically, its the equivalent of a People’s Choice Award for Best Guest Actor in a Cartoon.

      • ‘protest songs’, when did you stop listening to Bob Dylan, after Woodstock?

        Idiot wind, blowing through the dust upon our shelves
        We’re idiots, babe
        It’s a wonder we can even feed ourselves

  3. David –

    MIT economist Robert Pindyck has several articles on the models used to estimate the social cost of carbon and why those models are nonsensical. (And he favors a carbon tax.) Answer to David Yaussy: Yes, the models also include benefits, which is why some of the models show negative SCC values up to a 3 degree celsius increase in temperature over the supposedly “ideal” pre-industrial temperature.

    I wrote a report for the Manhattan Institute several years ago on the EPA Clean Power Plan. In it, I discuss discounting and the SCC. The link is: https://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/missing-benefits-hidden-costs-epa-clean-power-plan-8988.html

  4. Well, the Nobel in economics also went to Paul Krugman, so being politically agreeable to the awarding agency appears more of a criteria than excellence in actual economics.

  5. Didn’t trump change the EPA rules to effectively redefine social cost of carbon down to a minimum number like $5-$7 or something?

    In Australia will be interesting to see if labour gets in they try to revisit Australia having a social cost of carbon as they got hurt by it so much under Gillard.

  6. Why not? Barack Obama got one simply because he was clean, articulate and had a nice crease in his slacks. Clearly all the people involved in the Nobel process need to be heavily medicated and have sharp and pointed objects removed from their cubicles.

  7. ‘the dumbest thing I’ve ever read about climate change’

    I don’t think dumb-EST can any longer be attributed to any one thing.

    It’s even getting harder to separate dumb from dumb-ER.

      • From Canada,allow me to offer”The Justine”
        On a scale from merely clueless to that of country shattering stupid, I believe the Justine will serve your needs just fine.

        • Actually that might just work! Though we may have to let it run, free reign, for a bit to see just how accurate it is.

  8. The OMB circular is a good default guide, but who is to say that the appropriate discount rate, when assessing the complete overhaul of the modern world, is 7%? Perhaps it should be higher. At a higher rate, the social cost becomes negative, and we are better off using coal, oil, and gas as fuels; rather than leaving them in the ground* as geological oddities. I know this is radical thinking, but , hey, I think out of the box.

    *-take a drive from Santa Paula, California to Ojai and note the interesting tar seeps running in the barrow ditch. No longer in the earth, but atop it.

  9. If you look at the people who win Nobel Prizes in economics, they are all (or almost all) academics who have never done anything in the real world. They get the prize for economic models and other forms of, well, to avoid poor taste, self-pleasuring in a circle of like minded individuals.
    My candidates for the Nobel prize in economics would include people like Bezos, who completely redefined the economics of retail business, starting with nothing but a mail order book store in Seattle. Or Steve Jobs, who redefined how we buy and experience music. Or, that Chinese guy who founded Alibaba. Or the founder of Walmart, who redefined big box retailing. These men had a real impact on economics and, very importantly, on the lives of ordinary people. These man really understood economics.

    • You are leaving out my all time favorite: Rigoberta Menchú, who was given a peace prize for her “autobiography ghost written by a French communist woman. The bio was a garbage can of politicized fiction.

  10. The Nobel Committee sold their last dime’s worth of credibility with the Al Gore thing.

    Can’t wait to see who wins this new award after .25C of cooling (likely to occur according to time based climate oscillation patterns…having nearly reached historical highs).

  11. That’s a very nice, clear explanation of the issues around discount rate, David. Much appreciated.
    Unfortunately most people who are getting the story from the mainstream media will never even have heard of the discount rate, let alone the way it has been dramatically misused to justify aggressive CO2 mitigation strategies, and very few indeed will be capable of a critical analysis of the question. That includes the politicians who are in charge.
    In UK we have one Nicholas Stern, ex World Bank, and now of the Grantham Institute, and our government’s favourite economist, who produced a 700-page report on the cataclysmic economic dangers of global warming about a decade ago, using an absurb discount rate calculation to produce the figures he wanted. As far as I know this is the document that still officially informs our leaders, although it was commissioned by the previous socialist government. Stern has since doubled down on his review with an update which claims ‘it’s even worse than I thought before’.
    By comparison with Stern, Nordhaus is a welcome exponent of common sense.

  12. The illiterate ignorance of the climate extremist author criticizing the economist is fairly typical for a climate consensus true believer.

  13. A niggle with Kenton’s DCF: PV of $110 discounted at 10% is $99! There must be a way to make money on this /sarc.

    Nobel must be in rehab after the band of terroists, climate card sharks, s*xual harrassers, presiders over genocide… they came close to appointing Robert Mugabe as a UN ambassador of some sort. They must have dug the progressive mole out of the Committee or it died.

    • @Gary Pearse, “A niggle with Kenton’s DCF: PV of $110 discounted at 10% is $99! There must be a way to make money on this”. Sorry Gary, since it seems your “sarc” doesn’t apply to your math, Kenton is correct because discounting is the inverse of compounding:

      Compounding: Future Value = Present Value * (1 + interest rate)^number of years. So
      F.V. = $100 * (1 + 0.10)^1 = $110

      Therefore, as Kenton states:

      Discounting: P.V. = F.V./(1+i)^n = $110/(1+0.10) = $100. Q.E.D.

  14. Krugman doesn’t have a Nobel. Nordhaus doesn’t have a Nobel. Nobel did not establish a prize in economics. There is no Nobel in economics.

    There is The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel (Swedish: Sveriges riksbanks pris i ekonomisk vetenskap till Alfred Nobels minne) which is not a Nobel. You can call a pig a racehorse but that doesn’t mean it will win the Kentucky Derby.

  15. “Growthism?” This guy actually got someone to put this up on the Net, amazing. So sorry poor people, you have to stay poor so that sea level rise stops accelerating.

    Growthism, say it three times, gets more idiotic each time…

  16. A post-growth future would look a lot like the Soviet Union in the 1930’s. It always amazes me how these people never think about human suffering and yet insist they are the good guys.

  17. I think we can all agree that getting an anthropologist to comment on the work done by an economist is pretty dumb. Publishing his ignorance on the subject shows an even greater lack of cognitive ability. Dumb and dumber, and someone actually paid these guys. Dumb and dumber and dumbest.
    There are plenty of places to see what zero growth looks like. Cuba comes to mind, but there are plenty of other examples. Usually caused by bad government that suppresses growth, which goes through zero on its way into negative growth. Eventually the negative growth stops, when hope is gone, and survival is all that is left. People trying to get basics for survival is the only stable zero growth.
    Growth is a statistical value, which ATTEMPTS to measure changes in the perceived value of goods and services produced over time. In general it measures how much negative impacts prevent the private sector from increasing the value of its output. Natural disasters, economic instability, and government policies, all can decrease growth. That is what this guy is advocating. Disastrous government policy to increase poverty. Nice guy. His job should be first on the chopping block.

  18. In place of modeling, let’s test the growth rates of the UK after Brexit, France after social dislocation, and Germany after its industrial model of development and electrification of vehicles fail.

  19. David M,

    I know that you like to write painstakingly detailed, long articles, but your article here was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many words for “just plain stupid”. (^_^)

    A simple head-shaking gif would have sufficed:

    https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=ViHEg22t&id=6BF119C92E4BF0A28CFCC47A72DA6B2A39BEE479&thid=OIP.ViHEg22t4fpybRw2rUFgAgHaFS&mediaurl=https%3a%2f%2fmedia.giphy.com%2fmedia%2fCi3nCVx952lfG%2fgiphy.gif&exph=470&expw=658&q=head+shaking+in+disgust+gif&simid=608014930661215260&selectedIndex=9&ajaxhist=0

  20. Polish up that rebuttal, David.
    Then submit the story and rebuttal for some Lords a Leaping Scotch, or something like that.

  21. Nordhaus’s work merely places a solid academic framework under an obvious historical fact, that the human race has always made more societal progress during periods of economic growth and retreated during periods of economic hardship (dark ages). Man’s ability to solve societal challenges and improve living conditions really accelerated since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and clearly our ability to continue that trend is directly proportional to (GNP) growth. To think we won’t be able to solve our energy issues in the future is to ignore history.
    Unfortunately, that the adverse effects of using fossil fuels have been grossly exaggerated by consensus science is a much more crucial fact to be acknowledged, and when it is, Nordhaus’s work will be recognized as being of academic interest only.

    • The more I read of Nordhaus’ work, and that of his nephew, the more I think there might just be a pathway toward a reasonable dialogue.

  22. David,

    I appreciate your recent search for “…the stupidest, dumbest, most moronic, most idiotic sentence ever written by a primate…”in the climate-change literature, but I believe it is akin to trying to find the lowest point in a black hole.

    On the other hand…It is always great fun to read your posts, so keep up the good work!

  23. “No sane person would invest $100 today to get $100 back in the future”

    No less a person than Jesus Christ had a parable in which the servant who was given money to care for by his master buried the money and was berated and thrown out into the cold by the master when he returned no more than he started with.

  24. As for the Nobel Prize, it has degraded to the point of being equivalent to a Cracker Jacks toy, except for the monetary award part (around $1 million).

    The decline in the prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize awards began with the co-award to Henry Kissinger in 1973, continued with the co-award to Yasser Arafat in 1994, and accelerated downward with awards to Al Gore in 2007 and Barack Obama in 2009. I remember quite well that Obama received the Nobel award for . . . wait a minute, it’s coming to me . . . for, uhm . . . for . . . for . . . well, I’m sure it was for something of international importance that he must have done prior to receiving the award.

    The Nobel prize money I could use; the trophy and publicity could go into the circular file for all I care.

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