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« DECC's oil price forecast updated | Main | Just in from the Nats »
Thursday
Aug272015

The ever-changing story of Stern

Lord Stern ponders what positions he might adopt after lunchLord Stern has mounted his high horse, ready to slay the dragon of opposition to anything he deems a good idea at the time.

The problem is that Lord Stern's views seem fluid to say the least. Back in 2009 he was telling the world that rich nations would have to forgo growth in order to stop climate change.

Now he is telling us that portraying economic growth and climate change action as being in conflict is "diversionary" and a "misunderstanding of economic development".

The question readers want answered is "Does Lord Stern ever actually mean anything he says?".

(H/T Richard Tol)

 

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Reader Comments (59)

I wouldn't trust that bloke [Stern] to buy a loaf of bread, he certainly couldn't run a whelk stall on Margate quayside and he was Prudence Macmental's adviser, at last - he is some sort of economist.

nuff said.

Aug 27, 2015 at 9:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Stern began turning a while back. http://www.climate-resistance.org/2014/09/sterns-turn.html

Climate change means anything you want it to mean -- as long as you believe in it hard enough.

Aug 27, 2015 at 9:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

He needs a Stern Rebuke for being a disorientated prat.

Aug 27, 2015 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Baron Stern of Brentford (not the nylons I presume) has spent his whole life with his snout firmly in the public trough. He is a fellow of the RS, which just goes to show how low the RS has sunk.

Aug 27, 2015 at 9:37 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The question readers want answered is "Does Lord Stern ever actually mean anything he says?". to which I would add @Does he have a clue about anything he talks about?'. From his ramblings it appears that he is a good front man for those pulling his strings which make him a puppet to be ignored.

Aug 27, 2015 at 9:51 AM | Unregistered Commenterivan

Au Contraire, Philip Bratby, the RS may sink even lower. When I worked in Russia with my non-Akademician equivalents, they wore that title as a Badge of Pride because to join the Akademy meant sacrificing all personal and scientific honour.

Aug 27, 2015 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Publications
2015

Dietz, Simon and Stern, Nicholas (2015) Endogenous growth, convexity of damage and climate risk: how Nordhaus’ framework supports deep cuts in carbon emissions The Economic Journal, 125 (583). 547-620. ISSN 1468-0297

Fancy words like Endogenous and convexity cannot convert the dismal "science" of economics into a proper science, so why did the RS destroy its once good name by admitting economists?

Aug 27, 2015 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

Mikky:

Fancy words like Endogenous and convexity cannot convert the dismal "science" of economics into a proper science

Well, we can all use fancy words – Stern would appear to be the archetypal ultracrepidarian.

Aug 27, 2015 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Dawkins

I see climate policy as a great big ship that can be turned only slowly. And the stern is the @rse-end

Aug 27, 2015 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterEternalOptimist

Not only do I wonder why anyone takes climate 'scientists' seriously, I wonder too why anyone takes econommic scientists (economists) seriously too. I remember the 364 signatories saying Mrs T's chancellor was totally wrong and his policies would lead to doom and destruction: they were wrong; many saying joining the ERM then the Euro was the way forward - wrong again; and, on a less parochial note, how many of these specialists/experts foresaw the great banking crash, eh? And economics is a fairly established discipline, unlike cli sci which has been around for barely 50 years...So an economist going on about climate looks odds-on for being totally totally wrong.

Aug 27, 2015 at 10:47 AM | Unregistered Commenterbill

Mikky: "why did the RS destroy its once good name by admitting economists?"

It also admitted -- and flattered -- Paul Ehrlich, and gave Lewandowsky a gong and a bung.

The RS is seeking a political role for itself. The new political currency is 'risk' which is Stern's stock-in-trade.

Aug 27, 2015 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Bill: "Not only do I wonder why anyone takes climate 'scientists' seriously, I wonder too why anyone takes econommic scientists (economists) seriously too."

At the risk of banging on the same drum...

The failure of economics (or economists) of red and blue hues might explain their greening. I.e. by seeking a foundation for economics in (seemingly) natural science, economists were able to rescue the authority (or faith) their discipline lost.

The back-scratching is mutual. The economist can turn science into political language (i.e. 'risk'). Moreover, during the time you mentioned, the academy -- including the sciences -- was being asked to explain what its value to society was. I.e. researchers were asked to demonstrate their 'relevance' -- which is the subtext of Thatcher's speech to the Royal Society.

Aug 27, 2015 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Stern like Gummer is just another grubby opportunist who will change his view or lie if he believes that it will keep him on the warmist gravy train.

Aug 27, 2015 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterStu

No. This is what it's all about. The wonderful day when Stern's sugar daddy,Jeremy Grantham paid for him to join the big boy's club.


Stern launches carbon credit ratings agency


Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the UK’s Stern report on climate change, will launch a new carbon credit ratings agency on Wednesday, the first to score carbon credits on a similar basis to that used to rate debt.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/897fc1b4-4219-11dd-a5e8-0000779fd2ac.html


I bet he has his own, little account at Harvey Nicks too.

Aug 27, 2015 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Now he is telling us that portraying economic growth and climate change action as being in conflict is "diversionary" and a "misunderstanding of economic development".

This is essentially true, so long as you redefine 'growth' and what the economy is first...

It is also a straw man argument from Stern. Opposition to (necessarily?) ruinous plans to undertake a wholesale rearrangement of the global economy and naked redistribution of wealth is not the same as opposition to climate change action. We can readily have climate change action without it being damaging. Clean air acts, efficiency regulations on appliances, emissions targets for vehicles, etc. Changing gradually is a cost effective way of doing things rather than making an early and expensive change of direction, which may well be ineffectual and impoverish many, based on uncertain science.

Aug 27, 2015 at 11:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

I am so pleased that Lord Stern has finally proved that taking action on climate change is beneficial for any country that decides to do so.

That means we can cancel all these gabfests such as COP with their mandatory pledges, and EU taxpayer-funded aktions on climate, and just let every country get on with their own unilateral actions on climate change knowing that it will be beneficial to them.

Aug 27, 2015 at 11:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

#sternado

Aug 27, 2015 at 12:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

As a great author would have put it, Stern meddles in Echo-Gnomics.

Aug 27, 2015 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

I'm confused. What is the supposed contradiction in Stern's positions? Half a decade ago, he said:

"Will other restraints kick in? Probably, they will," said the former World Bank chief economist and author of the 2006 Stern review on the economic costs of climate change. "At some point we would have to think about whether we want future growth. We don't have to do that now." The priority, he told the Guardian, was to break the link between carbon emissions and economic output.

Now he says:

“To portray them as in conflict is to misunderstand economic development and the opportunities that we now have to move to the low-carbon economy,” he said. “To pretend otherwise is diversionary and indeed creates an ‘artificial horse race’ which can cause real damage to the prospects for agreement.”

Green parties in Europe have often argued that decarbonisation requires an end to the model of economic growth “at all costs”. But Stern said that there was now “much greater understanding of how economic growth and climate responsibility can come together and, indeed, how their complementarity can help drive both forward”.

Those don't seem very contradictory. Yes, he said "we would have to think about whether we want future growth," but that doesn't rule out the possibility of having future growth. Thinking about how to have future economic growth in a way you believe is responsible would be thinking about whether or not you want to have it.

Similarly, finding a way make "economic growth and climate responsibility... come together" so "their complementarity can help drive both forward" would certainly "break the link between carbon emissions and economic output" which currently has economic output dependent upon increased emissions.

I get if you only look at headlines, it appears Stern's position has changed, but if you actually look at the text of the articles being linked to, I don't see what's supposedly changed. Could anyone clarify this for me?

Aug 27, 2015 at 12:45 PM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

As global warmings leading economist, Sterns contribution to world poverty will be forever remembered, by the poor, as long as they live.

Stern proves you can grow fat, living off other peoples hunger.

Aug 27, 2015 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

This Lord looks very stern.

Aug 27, 2015 at 12:57 PM | Unregistered Commentertoorightmate

Brandon

Is it unfair of me to assume that Lord Stern thinks we should "think about whether we want future growth" because he thinks we might want to eschew growth in order to address AGW? But if the cost of addressing AGW is low, why would growth be affected in a significant way?

Aug 27, 2015 at 1:13 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

I was set on becoming an Economist. Then I came to grips with Arrow's Impossibility Theorem and decided that there was little point to it!
http://www.amazon.com/Social-Choice-Individual-Values-Foundation/dp/0300179316/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1440678110&sr=1-3&keywords=kenneth+arrow

Aug 27, 2015 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterbernie1815

BS: "Those don't seem very contradictory. "

Apples don't contradict oranges. But when we compare apples and oranges, we get into all sorts of problems. Your quotes may not seem to be in contradiction, but they don't seem to converge on much, either.

The article you have quoted from concludes:

----
Stern added that the global situation is now worse than he set out in the Stern review in 2006. The pace of climate change has outstripped predictions, prompting the economist to revise his estimate of the amount of money governments should spend on countermeasures from 1% to 2% of GDP.

"Emissions were higher than forecast. Also the ability of the planet, particularly the ocean, to absorb carbon was less than we assumed. The effects of climate change were also coming faster ... so I argued more should be done," he said. "But even at 2% of GDP, it would still be way way below the cost of inaction."
----

You should have quoted that passage.

The government explained the implications of the Stern report at the time:

----
Using the results from formal economic models, the Review estimates that if we don’t act, the overall costs and risks of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global GDP each year, now and forever. If a wider range of risks and impacts is taken into account, the estimates of damage could rise to 20% of GDP or more.

In contrast, the costs of action – reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change – can be limited to around 1% of global GDP each year.
----

Stern has upped the ante, but lowered the cost, for political expediency: the tension created between definitely being poorer (2% of GDP is the difference between modest growth and economic depression) and maybe, possibly being safe from unquantified risks of climate change did not making for a compelling case for action. And nobody believed the 20% of GDP figure, which in any case relates to the economy so far into the future it qualifies as science fiction, not at all unlike people in the C15th making policy based on their estimates of the structure of the economy today.

Stern 2009 contradicts Stern 2006, because Stern 2009 believes that climate action is more expensive than Stern 2006 believes -- because climate change was 'worse than we thought'. By 2014, Stern changes his mind, again, and says that now climate action is compatible with growth (because windfarms & solar panels).

It's okay to change your mind. We all do it. But there's changing your mind, and there's having your cake and eating it.

Aug 27, 2015 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Back in 2009 Stern says

Stern added that the global situation is now worse than he set out in the Stern review in 2006. The pace of climate change has outstripped predictions, prompting the economist to revise his estimate of the amount of money governments should spend on countermeasures from 1% to 2% of GDP.

What possible climate horrors had this great economist then seen in the intervening 3 years of climate literature that could justify a change in his expenditure estimate by 100%!?

It seems climate change must be the holy grail of economists if they can arbitrarily handwave changes this huge based on another discipline in such a short time.

It's this kind of stuff that makes it hard for me to care about climate economics.

Aug 27, 2015 at 1:41 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Bishop Hill:

Is it unfair of me to assume that Lord Stern thinks we should "think about whether we want future growth" because he thinks we might want to eschew growth in order to address AGW? But if the cost of addressing AGW is low, why would growth be affected in a significant way?

You're creating a false dichotomy. Stern's recent article talks about making economic growth and climate responsibility go hand in hand. That is, he's looking at finding ways to make reducing emissions (or doing other things related to addressing global warming) work with growing the economy.

That doesn't contradict his previous view which said we'd eventually need to reconsider the path we're on. It just finds a third path. Instead of saying "Accept harm" or "Reduce economic growth" it says, "Find a way to have economic growth without that harm." Of course, none of those paths are absolutes, so it's more likely there'd be a mix of each option, but it still seems evident he had this idea in mind even before as he had said:

The priority, he told the Guardian, was to break the link between carbon emissions and economic output.

Which shows he wanted humans to stop having economic growth be tied to carbon emissions. That he now says we are finding ways to have economic growth which come without increasing carbon emissions isn't a contradiction; it's exactly what you'd expect him to want to have happen.

The more I look at it, the more it seems Stern's remarks are simply the natural progression you'd expect if things developed the way he hoped they would.

Aug 27, 2015 at 1:41 PM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

Ben Pile, you say:

The article you have quoted from concludes:

Well first, I quoted two articles, not one, so that's a rather strange remark. Leaving that aside, you go on to say of the part you quote:

You should have quoted that passage.

But you don't explain why I should have quoted it. You don't explain how it supports anything this post says or how it contradicts anything I said. I don't appreciate being told I should do or should have done things without any explanation.

What you say may be true, but as far as I can see, it has nothing to do with what I said, so... no, I shouldn't have "quoted that passage." I'm not obliged to quote some passage just because some random person might come along and feel like discussing it. Leaving aside the obvious, I'm not obliged to discuss random topics just because other people want to discuss them, I have no way of knowing what random things people may want to talk about. So really, all your comment says that has any bearing on anything I said is:

BS: "Those don't seem very contradictory. "

Apples don't contradict oranges. But when we compare apples and oranges, we get into all sorts of problems. Your quotes may not seem to be in contradiction, but they don't seem to converge on much, either.

I quoted the two passages I could find in the articles linked to in this post that were relevant to the claims the post made. If they don't contradict one another, than it seems this post is wrong. If there are other relevant quotes to the topic of this post which I missed, I'd obviously be happy to consider them, but otherwise, there's just nothing else to this. I'm not interested in discussing topics other than those brought up in this post.

(And as I request of all people, please don't refer to me as "BS." I find the connotation unpleasant.)

Aug 27, 2015 at 1:51 PM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

Brandon

Fine. Before he said we needed to rethink growth to save us from AGW. Now his views have had what you call a "natural progression" and he says we can find a way to growth without impacting the climate. I think what you call "a natural progression", I call a flip-flop.

Arguing against economic growth was briefly fashionable before the economic crisis. If Lord Stern can get himself into the papers by regurgitating metro-liberal dinner-party smalltalk then good luck to him. But you can hardly expect me not to laugh when his foolishness catches up with him.

Aug 27, 2015 at 2:07 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

BH

"I call a flip-flop"

Exactly, there is no coherence because he is simply lying to promote a cause.

Aug 27, 2015 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

On a related topic, George Monbiot of The Guardian eats road kill.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/aug/27/why-i-ate-a-roadkill-squirrel

Aug 27, 2015 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon B

Brandon Shollenberger, the Stern report, and Mann's Hockey Stick, are regarded as the Gold Standard, by which all else must be judged.

If Stern is now changing his mind about what he originally said, and/or how it is/was interpreted, he really ought to make it much more clear.

In the run up to Paris, us poor mortals who don't get a vote, really would like to know that our elected and unelected leaders, are being briefed by people who know what they are talking about, and that their confidence levels in their previous statements remains high, or maybe not quite so high, and whether evidence has changed, or just the interpretation.

I am not questioning your attempts to be an honest broker, or your credentials!

Aug 27, 2015 at 3:31 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Bishop Hill:

Fine. Before he said we needed to rethink growth to save us from AGW. Now his views have had what you call a "natural progression" and he says we can find a way to growth without impacting the climate. I think what you call "a natural progression", I call a flip-flop.

Except he didn't say that, and he isn't currently saying that, but sure, you can pretend he did and is. And yeah, you can call it a flip-flop. Why not? It's not like accurately portraying people's words or views is a things we should do or anything.

I mean, I didn't even say what you claim I said, but why bother worrying about that? If it lets you score cheap points, go for it. There's clearly no point in me even explaining what people actually said since you're just going to respond by saying people did and did not say things, making no effort to actually show what you say is true.

I'll just remember to hesitate before commenting here again. Who knows how my words will be twisted the next time I drop by.

Aug 27, 2015 at 3:39 PM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

Brandon: "what you say may be true, but as far as I can see, it has nothing to do with what I said".

This is a contradiction:

A: "Bob is happy".
B: "Bob is sad".

This is not a contradiction:

A: "It will rain on Thursday".
B. "I like the cut of your jib".

As far as I could tell, you chose quotes that didn't directly (or simply) contradict, though there were other direct statements that did. Perhaps you didn't read that far. Or perhaps it's a language issue. For instance... "we would have to think about whether we want future growth" is British for "we probably don't want any future growth" in the same way as "that's very interesting" is British for "that's not very interesting and you're completely stupid". If I said "we need to think about whether we want to continue breathing or not", the implication is that we have no choice, and there is no good news; in all other circumstances, breathing (or economic growth) do not need to be qualified.

"no, I shouldn't have "quoted that passage."

Well, you should, because that is where the contradiction lay. QED.

Aug 27, 2015 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Brandon

???

Aug 27, 2015 at 3:51 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

I wonder if Shollenberger would bother to comment if Richard Tol wasn't mentioned?

Aug 27, 2015 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterHoi Polloi

Bishop Hill:

???

That was my reaction to your comment too, because what you said had no connection to what Stern or I had said. But since you just stated your interpretations as fact, making no effort to explain how you came to them, I decided I would also not bother to try to explain how I came to my conclusions. It seemed reasonable anyway since I had already tried explaining my reasoning in my previous comment, and it didn't do me any good since you just ignored my explanations while contradicting them by stating your contrary opinions as fact.

So... yeah. If you want to actually address what I said, we can have a discussion. Or you can just ignore what I said, continue to misrepresent Stern and myself, and I'll just mock you because, well, what else can I do?

The simple reality is Stern did not say we need "to rethink growth to save us from AGW" like you claim. You've made that up. It was obvious from his first article that's not what he said. I pointed out in my first comment he didn't say it/ I pointed out in my second comment he didn't say it. As long as you keep saying things that are that obviously untrue, there's just no point in even pretending to have a discussion, because it's pointless to point out you're wrong on other things if you're just going to completely fabricate claims.

Aug 27, 2015 at 4:56 PM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

Ben Pile:

Well, you should, because that is where the contradiction lay. QED.

You didn't do anything to show there was a contradiction in articles linked to in this post. What you did was cite other sources, not linked to in this post (or by you), and claimed they showed a contradiction in positions by Stern. You might be right about that. I don't know. I'm not particularly interested, and I'm certainly not interested enough to look for the sources you didn't provide links to.

So you can talk all you want about contradictions. Maybe you have some point. I don't know. What I do know is there were two articles linked to in this post. I didn't see any contradiction in those two articles. If you think you see one, I'm happy to look at it. Just quote whatever passages from the two articles you think show a contradiction. It's not hard.

But you can't do it by quoting entirely different sources. You won't convince me there is a contradiction between these two articles by quoting one article and some entirely different source. The most you'll manage to do with that is convince me this post should have linked to different sources to make its argument.

Hoi Polloi:

I wonder if Shollenberger would bother to comment if Richard Tol wasn't mentioned?

I honestly didn't even notice he was mentioned. But sure, pretend I'm only here because of some unreasonable bias against a person who is does terrible work and uses dishonest tactics to promote it. I wouldn't have said a word about him, but since you did, I'll take the opportunity to point out it was only two weeks ago Richard Tol deleted one version of a paper and replaced it with another to cover up a mistake he made, leaving no trace of the change. That's right, Tol secretly changed a paper of his to cover up a mistake so people wouldn't know about it.

Aug 27, 2015 at 5:07 PM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

Brendan. Stern's contradiction is in saying in the 2000s that action costs GDP, and now that there is "much greater understanding of how economic growth and climate responsibility can come together and, indeed, how their complementarity can help drive both forward”. IE, climate action doesn't cost growth.

At the time of Stern's earlier comment quoted, the UK's growth rate had only slightly recovered from contraction of around 1.8% in Q1. It is inconceivable that Stern -- an economist -- didn't know that were the UK to follow policies that cost between 1 & 2% of GDP, the UK had virtually no possibility of economic growth.

Aug 27, 2015 at 5:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Just when I thought I had a clue about Stern's cluelessness, he has flipped his previous flops. Unfortunately an upside down flop, viewed from a different angle, is still a flop.

Aug 27, 2015 at 6:14 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Brandon
For someone who's "not particularly interested" you aren't half giving us a lot of verbiage.

Aug 27, 2015 at 6:37 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Ben Pile:

Brendan. Stern's contradiction is in saying in the 2000s that action costs GDP, and now that there is "much greater understanding of how economic growth and climate responsibility can come together and, indeed, how their complementarity can help drive both forward”. IE, climate action doesn't cost growth.

Seriously? What is with you guys? What Stern said isn't that complicated. Yes, he says:

economic growth and climate responsibility can come together and, indeed, how their complementarity can help drive both forward

But this does not mean "climate action doesn't cost growth" like you claim Ben Pile. It means there are types of climate action which don't cost growth. It means you can find ways to address global warming which also lead to economic growth. This is exactly what Stern was calling for in the 2000s when he said:

The priority, he told the Guardian, was to break the link between carbon emissions and economic output.

By finding ways to to address global warming which lead to economic growth instead of costing economic growth, you break the previous link between carbon emissions and economic output. That is, in 2009, Stern said the priority is to do exactly what he now says we are doing.

And you guys are calling it a contradiction! You guys are claiming Stern is contradicting himself by saying we are doing exactly what he said we needed to do!

Aug 27, 2015 at 6:42 PM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

Dear lord, do you people even read anything before deciding to make derisive remarks? Seriously, Mike Jackson says:

Brandon
For someone who's "not particularly interested" you aren't half giving us a lot of verbiage.

He quotes me from this paragraph of mine:

You didn't do anything to show there was a contradiction in articles linked to in this post. What you did was cite other sources, not linked to in this post (or by you), and claimed they showed a contradiction in positions by Stern. You might be right about that. I don't know. I'm not particularly interested, and I'm certainly not interested enough to look for the sources you didn't provide links to.

Where I say I'm "not particularly interested" about a couple sourced Ben Pile quoted, sources I didn't discuss at all, save to explain why I wouldn't be discussing them.

I swear, it's like every single comment of mine could just be summed up, "No, that's not what was said."

Aug 27, 2015 at 6:50 PM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

Ok Brendan. Economic growth is possible after Stern.

You will eventually be allowed two turnips a week, rather than just one.

Aug 27, 2015 at 8:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Well, sure, we can pretend that both Stern and Shollenberger actually said something of substance

It's not like we can't be kind, or something

Stern, in the passages quoted, actually said nothing that a much shorter motherhood statement couldn't have covered, as pointless as either may be

Shollenberger has every right to defend this pointlessness in as many words as he knows and repetitive paragraphs as he can write - and I have every right to avoid reading anything from either of them in the future

Aug 28, 2015 at 12:23 AM | Unregistered Commenterianl8888

Ben Pile:

Ok Brendan. Economic growth is possible after Stern.

You will eventually be allowed two turnips a week, rather than just one.

Is this seriously the level of discourse here? Somebody offers a substantive response to you, showing you are wrong, and your only response is to make a stupid and unfunny joke?

ianl8888:

Well, sure, we can pretend that both Stern and Shollenberger actually said something of substance
...
Shollenberger has every right to defend this pointlessness in as many words as he knows and repetitive paragraphs as he can write - and I have every right to avoid reading anything from either of them in the future

It's remarkable how when I say things people like, nobody ever criticizes me or my writing style. Then when I say things people dislike, suddenly the very same people criticize me and my writing style. It's like the substance of my remarks have nothing to do with the response I get.

You're obviously free not to read my comments, but it seems pretty weird nobody here makes any effort to show how I am wrong despite everybody here constantly saying I'm wrong and mocking me.

I mean, except when I am criticizing Michael Mann. Then everybody here is praising me and saying I'm awesome.

Aug 28, 2015 at 1:43 AM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

"Forget about growth".

Understatement of the century ?

Aug 28, 2015 at 7:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterPunksta

You ask rhetorically whether Lord Stern ever believes anything he says. It is a moot question whether anything he ever says is believable.

Aug 28, 2015 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterDoubting Thomas

Sterno Gnomics Incorporated

We are ashamed to announce the formation of a new consultancy group. Our service is to take your objectives, and work back from them to provide the evidence you need in case your views are challenged.

We shall provide you with a glossy report, six months of access to our press release service, PLUS ad hoc coaching for your spokespeople and leaders to make the most of media interviews.

So whether your goal is to make 2 + 2 = 3, or turn coal dust to gold, or merely to encourage the general public or particular political groups to support your favourite cause, then call us.

We'll make you look good, regardless of the quality of your people, of your arguments, and of your cause. We call it Policy Led Evidence Making (PLEM, all rights reserved).

Aug 28, 2015 at 10:44 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

I get the impression someone with too much time on his hand is BullShitting here a lot.

Stern is just a lefty gasbag who hasnt grasped the first thing on economics or thinking in general. He only knows how to fit in lefty context, he is a copy of Paul Nurse and a million others in institutes and "education".

We do not need so called elitarist to think how to use our resources.
The Soviets vs the west proved it: while lefties (stern and Nurse were young at tthe time and carving out a career being "progressive" at the campus) while lefties were crying about the West's waste on plastics for example, it turned out plastics was the single one ecological boon compared to the Soviets whose "elite thinkers" stuck by making pots for the kitchen all out of steel.

What counts in an economy,is the input of many many people and not the select farts who think themselves on top of the others. We should make sure there are NO long termers whether that is your local council "person" , your BBC "climate correspondent" or a "lord" Stern and Nurse farting away somewhere at too high expense , telling nothing of value.

Aug 28, 2015 at 11:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterVenusNotWarmerDueToCO2

Brendan:
An error was corrected. You uncovered the big secret within days, suggesting that it perhaps was not a secret after all. And indeed, it is marked as "revised" on our website: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/economics/research/workingpapers

Aug 28, 2015 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

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