We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Climate change policy: what do the models tell us?

Very little. A plethora of integrated assessment models (IAMs) have been constructed and used to estimate the social cost of carbon (SCC) and evaluate alternative abatement policies. These models have crucial flaws that make them close to useless as tools for policy analysis: certain inputs (e.g. the discount rate) are arbitrary, but have huge effects on the SCC estimates the models produce; the models’ descriptions of the impact of climate change are completely ad hoc, with no theoretical or empirical foundation; and the models can tell us nothing about the most important driver of the SCC, the possibility of a catastrophic climate outcome.  IAM-based analyses of climate policy create a perception of knowledge and precision, but that perception is illusory and misleading.

- Robert S Pindyck in a new paper. And this comes from someone who supports taxing carbon emissions.

Quoted by Robert Murphy, who’s very good on the sandy foundations of the climate economics holding sway in the IPCC and the US government – see also here and here.

15 comments to Climate change policy: what do the models tell us?

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    Just to be contrary, Antarctic sea ice appears to have grown since last year! A report in today’s paper (The Australian), based on NASA satellite pictures, shows the ice as covering 19.47 million square kilometers, but last year it was only 19.43 million square kilometers.

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    I think the correct exclamation should be ‘Great Scott!’, since this is the Antarctic.

  • Regional

    Nick,
    touché but it’s still a load of wank

  • Laird

    Why is it “a load of wank”? Arctic sea ice was also larger this year than last.

  • 16 years and counting...

    Antarctic sea ice is not only greater than last year – it is at its highest level ever recorded

  • Regional

    Laird the message is complicated and requires several careful reads by dullards like me.

  • And right on cue, Radio Australia and the BBC report with proof by assertion that those wildfires in NSW are the result of global warming.

  • CaptDMO

    The Social Cost of Carbon?
    Really?

  • Sigivald

    Any time I hear talk of “social cost”, I start looking for the scam.

    And there’s pretty much always a scam.

    (I suppose, alternatively, I could release the safety on my Browning, but I don’t have a Browning and I’m not a Fascist, as much as I sympathize with that specific sentiment.)

  • veryretired

    What the models, that much of the hype about AGW is based on, tell us is clearly in error, as none of the models can account for significant elements of the climate as directly observed over the past decade plus.

    But, and this is a very telling aspect of the entire situation, none of these discrepancies seem to disturb the committed AGW believer, nor does it bring any pause in the relentless drive for massively statist AGW policies in response.

    The lower schools still teach the pre-packaged alarmist courses they get from the myriad of concerned groups whose funding is ever more tied to concerns about the warming threat. The kids still get assigned to make collages to defeat climate change, or sent home to tell mommy and daddy about the evils of just about everything they do for work or enjoyment in life.

    In the higher levels, the high schoolers write essays, or go to marches, or perform some god-awful class written play about the dangers awaiting them in the dark, dystopian future that the climate has in store for them.

    A long time ago, I noticed that every time some concerned types starting critiquing western society, tucked down in the fine print was some language about how we would have to “restructure our economic institutions” or some other vague phrasing that, when pursued a little further, always meant that the state needed to have more controls over our activities, if not out-right ownership.

    So, what do the models mean? They mean the collective has found one more stalking horse to use to justify the thing they love, and pursue, above all else—power, power, and more power.

    The words may change, but the song remains the same.

  • FrankS

    Very retired is spot-on. There is an almighty mess in our schools and universities thanks to leftwing exploitation of decades of fatuous eco-alarms. Cagw is the biggest and baddest of them, but they all have a lot in common, including the ease with which they can be shown to be worthless.

  • Dom

    The situation with our schools is now so bad that I have to wonder, seriously, if the population is being kept stupid on purpose.

  • veryretired

    No, Dom, I must protest your use of the term “stupid” to describe our fellow citizens. Stupid people could not construct the technological civilization we enjoy, nor do they manage and enlarge it with frequent innovations.

    The problem is not, as so many of the sneering elite, and far too many on this side of the argument as well, that the common citizen is stupid or uncaring, but that he has been systematically misinformed.

    One of the points I took from Rand’s various ideas was that humans have struggled for uncounted generations with a hand me down moral code which is inverted in many critical areas.

    While I can understand the need for some of it in primitive societies at certain times, the general rule of sacrificing the individual for the common good has been transformed from something that might be needed in a dire emergency into a rule of common practice, a step to be taken not just in wartime, but whenever there appears some social need.

    The progressive ideology demands the endless waging of war on an endless series of crises for just this reason, and then trivializes the nature of the crisis at every step, until the trading of jeers on a playground is now the subject of an anti-bullying war that justifies the abrogation of free speech and private conscience in our schools in new ways.

    People generally believe what they are told is the common wisdom of their culture, and very few have the time or energy to start critically examining the lessons learned on their mother’s knee. This is the simple truism that explains the endless number of creation myths and beliefs in spirits and demons that seem to haunt our history, and, indeed, echoes into the present day.

    The 19th century infatuation with science was quickly turned to the service of an older desire, the drive for power that comes from our primate brain’s social circuitry, and the myth was born that a progressive elite could manage all our lives better than we could ourselves, just as, in an earlier, religious era, the priests and shamans taught that they could influence the spirits for our benefit.

    And, just as in that earlier era, if things didn’t work out, it was never the shamans’ fault, but the unbeliever’s, that the spirits could not be mollified, so too in the modern permutation of that myth, it is never the progs’ or their ideology that is at fault, but only the failings and sabotage of the unbelievers.

    We are seeing this right now, as the advocates of the current regime’s medical insurance scheme try desperately to fix the blame on obstruction from those who opposed it, instead of ever admitting its flawed and corrosive internal defects.

    As I have stated many times, it is the task of those who value liberty to make the case justifying individual freedom and rights, and make that case so consistently and so well that the scapegoating and name calling and all the other tactics of the collective cannot overcome the truth of that message.

    If we do this task well, and can educate our children and grandchildren to understand their own dignity and value as individual, rational, creative entities who must never submit to the dictates of an irrational and destructive ideology, then our culture, and the technological society it supports, may prosper into the future of many more free generations of truly human beings.

    It is not stupidity that holds us back, in ourselves or others, but temerity, and a lack of the determined, disciplined effort that does not admit the possibility of defeat.

    Our parents and grandparents fought many battles in many places to create the most powerful civilization the world has ever seen, and bequeath that marvelous entity to our care.

    We must become, regardless of age, the greatest generation all over again, and fight our share of the battles, from school room to board room to legislative chamber to Oval office.

    Nothing less will suffice. Nothing else is more worthy of our total effort. Nothing but victory is acceptable.