We cheated the young. Is it because they are too limp? | Brussels Blog

We cheated the young. Is it because they are too limp?

posted by on 26th Jul 2014

Our shame

I started a piece for YorkMix, York’s great £1 billion giveaway, like this:

My family say I’ve more money than sense and they know I’m not wealthy. Once, after a meal in one of those nice restaurants in Fossgate, I left a tip of £45 and left feeling guilty. Why?

I had been discussing the rise in house prices with the waiter, a man in his mid twenties. He wasn’t a property owner and I was. As a result, I promised to leave him a tip of one day’s rise in the value of my house. Yes, I was being patronising. Years later, I still feel shame for that.

The second shame is that I cheated. At the time my house was increasing in value by £90 each day so I only left half the promised sum.

I still feel a sense of shame on how my generation has cheated the the young – and the poor, who haven’t had house price windfalls.

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IPCC carbon budget: Missing feedbacks ignored.

posted by on 7th Dec 2013

Missing and underestimated feedbacks in the CMIP5 climate models used for the IPCC carbon budget (25th November 2013)

This is a note for the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology listing papers on missing or underestimated feedbacks in the CMIP5 climate models used to calculate the carbon budget in the recent IPCC report (AR5).

Papers on missing/underestimated feedbacks.

December 2011

High risk of permafrost thaw: Climate change: High risk of permafrost thaw

September 2012

Permafrost feedback: Significant contribution to climate warming from the permafrost carbon feedback

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Missing post on the sea ice blog

posted by on 12th Jan 2013

The following got lost when posted on Neven’s Sea Ice Blog.    It took too much effort to scrap.

Alex, Neven

it is not at all clear, how high carbon price can global economy endure – actually, the financial crash of 2008 was helped by high oil prices,

What do you mean by “global economy”? It’s perfectly possible to have full employment and a high carbon price. Job creation doesn’t need economic growth but carbon intensive goods and services must be made more expensive and labour intensive goods cheaper.

May I reiterate what I said earlier:

One big problem is that economic models do not disaggregate their labour sectors sensibly. They could then show that a carbon tax recycled into creating employment for the low paid (who are the ones out of work) could create full employment without economic growth.

Since 1968 I have been making similar points and eventually got funding from the European Commission to get a very good economist, Kim Swales, to show that subsidising the labour of the lower paid would create jobs. This was published in 1995 – I had a simpler version published in 1987.

In my proposals the subsidies were matched taxing capital and high paid labour. The modelling showed that the high paid didn’t lose out much because full employment raises GDP.

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Can you believe the European Commission – or the IPCC?

posted by on 16th Dec 2012

When I heard that a draft report of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report had been leaked by a climate skeptic, I had a look at Chapter 9 (Evaluation of Climate Models) to see if the latest versions of their computer models were up to speed on the decline of Arctic sea ice. I wanted to see if the experimental climate scientist was correct when he told me

The trouble with climate modellers is that when there is conflict between their models and the real world, they believe their models.

At the beginning of the leaked draft, it says

There is very high confidence that CMIP5 models realistically simulate the annual cycle of Arctic sea-ice extent, and there is high confidence that they realistically simulate the trend in Arctic sea-ice extent over the past decades.

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It’s the poor that starve

posted by on 8th Jan 2012

It’s the poor that starve.

This is not a new idea. The Wikipedia entry on Amartya Sen says:

In 1981, Sen published Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation (1981), a book in which he demonstrated that famine occurs not only from a lack of food, but from inequalities built into mechanisms for distributing food. Sen also demonstrated that the Bengal famine was caused by an urban economic boom that raised food prices, thereby causing millions of rural workers to starve to death when their wages did not keep up.

If there is a real shortage of food, the rich will be fed before the affluent: The poor will starve.

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Committee on Climate Change discounts important science

posted by on 29th Jun 2011


  • We are heading for 4.0°C increase in global temperature this century.
  • Missing feedbacks in climate models mean this is an underestimate.
  • The Committee on Climate Change aims to limit the likelihood of a 4°C increase to very low levels (e.g. less than 1%)
  • The Committee on Climate Change recognises some of the missing feedbacks but does not include them in its assessment of the probability of dangerous climate change.
  • They underestimate the probability of dangerous climate change by discounting important science.

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