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Where Does Richard Tol's Claim That Tokyo Today Is 16 Feet Lower Relative To Sea Level Than It Was in 1900 Comes From?

Over on the Crooked Timber Comments, Richard Tol Nominates Himself for This Year's Stupidest Known Animal Award

Stupid revealed preference arguments … — Crooked Timber:

Richard Tol 11.26.11 at 9:11 pm: My original post was serious and not. I did not seriously think that a few descriptive statistics about migrants in Europe could tell us anything about the impacts of climate change. I do think that there is serious problem with the “2K warming is dangerous” theme. Otto Pohl demonstrates that humans can experience drastic climate change and live to blog the tale. It is odd that a species that lives on the equator and on the pole, in the desert and in the rainforest, is worried about climate change.

ddave heasman 11.26.11 at 9:14 pm: “It is odd that a species that lives on the equator and on the pole, in the desert and in the rainforest, is worried about climate change.” Species don’t worry; people do. All of us living in temperate climes that might be overrun by hundreds of millions of desperate refugees worry at least a little.

Richard Tol 11.26.11 at 9:18 pm: @dave: Why do you worry about that prospect? At the moment, there are hundreds of millions of desperate people would love to overrun Europe and North America. They do not. Immigration barriers are pretty effective. Why would that be any different in the future?

Barry Freed 11.26.11 at 9:24 pm: “It is odd that a species that lives on the equator and on the pole, in the desert and in the rainforest, is worried about climate change.” It’s odd that a professor of the economics of climate change could make such a statement seriously. What about all the other species that inhabit the planet that do not have the same adaptability as human beings? Many of which we depend on economically, I might add.

William Timberman 11.26.11 at 9:26 pm: Omigod.

Gareth Rees 11.26.11 at 9:42 pm: In a way this kind of thing is encouraging: it’s a sign that the “warming isn’t happening” line of denial is no longer convincing to anyone, so people are forced back to the next line of defence, which is “the effects of warming will not be all that bad [at least for people who don’t live near the coast, or depend on glacier-fed water supplies, or rely on crops grown in marginal areas, etc]”. (After that line is no longer convincing either, the line after that will be, “tough luck, there’s nothing we can do about it anyway.” Coming to a blog near you in a few years’ time.)

[…]

cian 11.26.11 at 9:56 pm: “It is odd that a species that lives on the equator and on the pole, in the desert and in the rainforest, is worried about climate change.” Yes why would anyone worry about rising sea levels, desertification, more extreme weather and the as yet known affects on the ecology of massive changes in the temperature. Not to mention the possibility at some point the methane stored in Siberia will be released causing even worse problems. Obviously this is exactly the same as a professor choosing to take a position at a university with a warmer climate. Or is that the joke?

Alan in SF 11.26.11 at 9:57 pm: Wouldn’t the additional body heat in the warmer economist-vectors accelerate climate change even more? This is worrisome! Although no doubt good news for Dublin.

Richard Tol 11.26.11 at 10:03 pm: @Cian: No joke. An invitation to think. Tokyo subsided by 5 metres in the 20th century. Projected sea level rise for the 21st century is in the order of 0.5 metre. Why would Tokyo worry about a problem one-tenth of the size it has successfully mastered? And if the Japanese could do it in the 20th century, could the Americans do the same in the 21st?

Omega Centauri 11.26.11 at 10:23 pm: This sort of stuff unfortunately has political relevance. Among the intended audience of mid and high latitude dwellers, warmer (weather) is usually thought of as better. So the argument -even if not intended to stand up to scientific relevance has a lot of political salience. A lot of people are closet fans of a warmer planet. Well, Richard it is very unlikely to be .5M, more likely 1-2M per century. And this rate of change will continue for several hundred years. Dealing with inconstant, and rising sealevels will be a serious tax/expense on coastal communities for hundreds of years to come. The benefits of a minor extension in the age of cheap energy will be dissipated within a couple of decades. Not to mention all sorts of other changes away from the conditions upon which the design of our infrastructure -especially stuff like farming practices was predicated upon. And the natural world which humans are as reliant upon as any other creatures, that doesn’t figure in economic analysis -so it doesn’t matter.

[…]

Sam Clark 11.26.11 at 10:36 pm: Richard Tol at 43, to dave heasman: ‘Why do you worry about that prospect [of desperate refugees fleeing the effects of climate change]? At the moment, there are hundreds of millions of desperate people would love to overrun Europe and North America. They do not. Immigration barriers are pretty effective. Why would that be any different in the future?’ I don’t want to speak for dave heasman, but I worry about this because I care about other human beings. I therefore think that your comment reveals a pretty repulsive unconcern: ‘why worry? It’ll only be some distant poor people who are hurt by all this climate-change stuff’.

Where does the claim that Tokyo today is 16 feet lower relative to sea level than it was in 1900 comes from?

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