Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ted Trainer, in the Real World Economics Review has a critique of the Stern Review (pdf format), in which he points out that the Stern Review, now a policy guide for numerous governments around the world, is (unfortunately) painfully optimistic. The two primary problems: Sterns' carbon goal of 550 ppm is too high to provide stabilization and he doesn't account for a growing population, i.e. Sterns' prescriptions to reduce carbon by 2050 harbors the illusion that the population will be roughly the same then as it is now. Ultimately, Trainer concludes that we cannot fix the global warming problem with our current lifestyle the way it is. As he puts it,

If the question is “How can we provide the energy to run a society committed to affluent living standards and economic growth?” then the answer is that we cannot. A number of distinct lines of argument show clearly that the lifestyles and per capita resource and ecological impacts of the rich countries are far beyond sustainable limits.
The subsequent question becomes, "How do you get the world's major consumers to curb their habits?"

Friday, March 7, 2008

I found this in facebook and got a kick out of it:

"A brief guide to scientific literature:

It has long been known == I haven’t bothered to check the references.

It is known == I believe.

It is believed == I think.

It is generally believed == My colleagues and I think.

There has been some discussion == Nobody agrees with me.

It can be shown == Take my word for it.

It is proven == It agrees with something mathematical.

Of great theoretical importance == I find it interesting.

Of great practical importance == This justifies my employment.

Of great historical importance == This ought to make me famous.

Some samples were chosen for study == The others didn't make sense.

Typical results are shown == The best results are shown.

Correct within order of magnitude == Wrong.

The values were obtained empirically == The values were obtained by accident.

The results are inconclusive == The results seem to disprove my hypothesis.

Additional work is required == Someone else can work on the details.

It might be argued that == I have a good answer to this objection.

The investigations proved rewarding == My grant has been renewed.

Synthesized according to standard protocols == Purchased."