Oxford Economics 2: Chasing productivity | Brussels Blog

Oxford Economics 2: Chasing productivity

posted by on 14th Jul 2019
More productivity needed?

In How robots change the world, Oxford Economics ignored climate change. Their report contains some interesting conclusions about how robots will destroy jobs by replacing workers while creating other jobs by generating economic growth.

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Models of reducing carbon emissions – and negative emissions?

posted by on 11th Jul 2019

Models of reducing carbon emissions

My previous post discussed a recent report from Oxford Economics,which discussed the replacement of workers by robots. It predicted that on average 1.6 workers will lose their jobs for every industrial robot installed.
However, the introduction of robots will generate economic growth and create jobs:

Our study shows that the current wave of robotization tends to boost productivity and economic growth, generating new employment opportunities at a rate comparable to the pace of job destruction.

My post criticised Oxford Economics because their report ignored climate change: To keep to climate targets steep falls in carbon emissions are necessary. This is very unlikely to be possible with continued economic growth.


Recently a graph in a tweet by Greta Thunberg caught my attention

Figure 1

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Oxford Economics 1: Robots and climate

posted by on 26th Jun 2019

I heard the news today on BBC, ITV [1] and followed up online [2].

One interesting story concerned a report by Oxford Economics [3] about how every new industrial robot would destroy 2.2 jobs in poor areas and 1.3 jobs in wealthier areas. Apparently, this will be countered by the increased economic growth that these robots will bring.

However reports in the media did not mention the effects of economic growth on climate change so perhaps Oxford Economics should do some more research.

A start would be to look at the global yearly emissions of CO2 and also at the Keeling Curve showing increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere:

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Topics for enhanced town planning: #6 to #10

posted by on 24th Jun 2019

We must find new ways of living: New pleasant ways of living that do not destroy our planet..

#6 Car-free cities are cheaper

n 1992, Carlo Ripa di Meana was the European Commission Environment Commissioner. He called for cities to be free of cars he said he was ready to become car-less, and so should other city dwellers, to prevent Europe’s cities being choked by the internal combustion engine.

He publicised a study he had commissioned showing that it would cost between 2 and 5 times less to live and work in car-free cities because of the savings people could make in not having cars to buy, park, insure and maintain.

A press release from the European Commission in 1992 said:

Based on these observations, Carlo RIPA di MEANA, the European Environment Commissioner, has had a study carried out on car-free cities in an attempt to find the answer to the following question: Is it possible, and if so to what extent, to conceive of a city which will operate more efficiently than the type of cities we have at present, using alternative means of transport to the private car?

The answer provided by the study is positive, even in purely financial terms: the car-free city costs between two and five times less (the costs varying depending on the population density of the city).

That study may have hastened his exit from the European Commission

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Housing – work in progress

posted by on 14th Jun 2019


This is a summary of a series of posts on housing from my site dontlooknow.org . When I have the energy and time I will rework these posts.

Personal remaining carbon budget: 64 tonnes CO2e

There is an important consideration that should be a precursor to this series: A representative remaining carbon budget. My judgement is that if humans emit more than 64 tonnes of greenhouse gasses each – measured as carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), horrid things will happen.

This is a moral judgement informed by science as explained here. and estimated in #1 of Topics for Enhanced Town Planning.

This post is as an index to previous work and may be of more interest to me than others. The heading of each “Part” is a link to the original article.

Part 1: embodied carbon and climate

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A moral judgement informed by science.

posted by on 14th Jun 2019

A representative personal remaining carbon budget

How much greenhouse gas can you reasonably emit? This is a personal judgement. Your judgement will depend on:

  1.  Your judgment of the consequences of climate change
  2. Whether you believe climate models are accurate
  3.  How you think Earth saving technology will develop
  4.  How much you care about the future
  5.  Whether you think mitigation is a lost cause.

Notes …

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What would the Bank of England do if new housing were cheap?

posted by on 11th Jun 2019

A few years ago I asked Andy Haldane, the Chief Economist at the Bank of England what would happen if there were to be an increased supply of cheap housing. He kindly replied

If additional housing supply was to cause sharp declines in house prices, this might raise concerns about the adequacy of mortgage lenders’ capital positions and hence raise financial stability concerns. Some insurance against this risk is provided by banks’ own credit risk model calibrations and regulatory stress which consider severe levels of stress in the housing market, both of which are used to set banks’ level of capital.

We intend to conduct a further, housing market related stress test of UK banks later this year.

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Topics for enhanced town planning: #1 to #5

posted by on 27th May 2019

We must find new ways of living: New pleasant ways of living that do not destroy Planet A.

This requires a new form of town planning. Today’s town planning may be a starting point but a new, wider discipline is needed to make radical changes to the way we live. The idea was outlined in an earlier post, Enhanced Town Planning

Here are the first five topics for the new discipline. More to follow.

#1 A reference target for personal remaining carbon budget: 64 tonnes CO2e

A remaining carbon budget is the quantity of greenhouse gases that can be emitted before a global climate disaster occurs. This note estimates a reference budget: a quantity of emissions to be used as an indicator of the success or failure of the global climate policies.

If we keep within this budget, we are doing well: Exceed it and we are doing badly.

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Open letter to the Committee on Climate Change

posted by on 29th Apr 2019

Dear Committee Member,

I believe that the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is beginning to take climate change more seriously than hitherto. I look forward to your upcoming report.

I have welcomed the work of the committee in commissioning estimates of the UK’s carbon emissions on a consumption basis. This is the correct measure for evaluating climate policy.

Estimating carbon emissions on a territorial or production basis is misleading. This measure ignores emissions from shipping, aviation and imports. The claim that the UK is a ‘climate leader’ cannot honestly be made on the basis of production emissions: Shut a steel works and replace the steel with imports makes territorial emissions lower but will likely increases global emissions.

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Free the Committee on Climate Change

posted by on 28th Apr 2019

A note for the Committee on Climate Change

I intended to respond to the Zero carbon economy: Call for Evidence from the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) but after a few weeks of being bedridden (nothing life-threatening), I missed the 7th December deadline. Having worked on preparation that I did not want to waste I have written this note.


  • The Climate Change Act (2008) measures greenhouse gas emissions incorrectly.
  • This shows UK emissions falling sharply but ignores aviation, shipping and imports.
  • UK emissions, measured properly, are falling far too slowly.
  • Per person UK greenhouse gas emissions are nearly twice the global average.

  • To keep the global temperature rise to less than 1.5°C, there is a limit to global emissions – the remaining carbon budget.
  • At the current rate, global emissions will exhaust this budget in 12.7 years.
  • Unless emissions from production can be reduced quickly, consumption must be reduced.
  • That means #degrowth.

  • Most greenhouse gas emissions are caused by the affluent.
  • To save the climate, the affluent must consume less.
  • We need to find pleasant lifestyles that are climate friendly, which can attract world wide support.
  • A new disciplineis necessary … enhanced town planning.

  • The UK government’s climate brief has passed from an environmental department, DEFRA, to a business department, the Department of Business, Energy and Information Services BEIS.
  • BEIS is not serious about climate, promoting economic growth and fracking.
  • BEIS is the sponsoring department of the CCC.
  • The CCC must be freed from its sponsoring department, BEIS.

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