2012-03-11 07:02:00Roy Spencer's Bad Economics
Dana Nuccitelli

Post looking at Spencer's bogus economics arguments regarding pollution and climate.

Roy Spencer's Bad Economics

Note that there is a little politics in there because Spencer's arguments are politically-based (essnetially that all government and environmental regulations hurt the economy).  However, I tried to keep it as fact-based and minimize politics as much as possible.  If you think it's still too politically-tinged, let me know.

2012-03-11 08:07:29
Rob Painting

Looks good, but what is OMB? (near the end of the post) 

2012-03-11 08:16:14
Alex C


Office of Management and Budget (it should be written out, it's not that clear).

2012-03-11 09:26:46
Dana Nuccitelli

It's defined toward the top, in the Particulate Pollution section.

2012-03-11 10:15:25


"William Nordhaus, who is quite conservative in his estimates regarding future climate change costs"

A judgment of this nature is not convincing. You should present some explanation for why someone neutral on this topic should believe this to be true.

Think of how you would react if the sentence said, "Viscount Monckton, who is quite conservative in his estimates regarding future climate change costs"

2012-03-11 10:24:39
Dana Nuccitelli

That's what the link is for.  But I also added a second link where Romm does a good job explaining it.

2012-03-11 14:21:32
Andy S


Looks good.

A couple of things

1) Tragedy of the commons". I don't like the definition you give here: the argument that by themselves, our emissions reductions will be too small to make a difference The definition given in this post of yours is much better: 

described by Hardin (1968).  It's "a dilemma arising from the situation in which multiple individuals, acting independently and rationally consulting their own self-interest, will ultimately deplete a shared limited resource even when it is clear that it is not in anyone's long-term interest for this to happen."

2) Malthusianism. Malthusianism is the idea that we will run out of resources due to geometric growth in population. I think (Hansen thinks, we all here  think) that's true when it comes to the use of the atmosphere as a dumping ground for CO2 but Spencer claims that Hansen's policies are Malthusian with respect to energy resources ("NASA’s James Hansen to actively campaign for Malthusian energy policy changes"), suggesting that Hansen wants to limit population or ration consumption for the sake of sustaining energy supplies . That's all wrong. On the contrary, Hansen thinks we have more fossil fuel resources, especially coal, than we can safely afford to dig up at put in the air. See here.

Nit: in developing countries like Africa is a Palinism (wink)

2012-03-11 16:47:17
Dana Nuccitelli

Thanks Andy, good comments.  I really did mean to say 'developing countries like in Africa' :-)

2012-03-11 17:45:13
Brian Purdue


Dana – I can’t see link to this SkS article – should be a good one to have in?

Also link to OMB report is showing “404 page not found”.

2012-03-13 01:51:09



I don't know if you have the room to expand a bit on the idea that claims of environmental regulation costs are almost always vastly inflated by opponensts relative to what they are in practice, but there is an article dealing with this from some years back at The American Prospect magazine (a liberal political mag).

Also, you mention it, but I would make it bold or underlined or in some other way highlighted that choosing to continue to increase greenhouse pollution is an increased expenditure relative to reigning in emissions. That point cannot be emphasized enough. It's not a matter of pricing GHGs vs. no consequece, it's a question of huge costs associated with later/no stabilization vs. modest cost to stabilization earlier.