November 2009

Bjorn Lomborg is a polarizing figure: a statistician who claims that most environmental problems are less severe than people believe, and who argues that spending money on climate change is wasteful. His objective claims about the state of the environment have been challenged in other places, and I won’t consider them now. Rather, I will […]


In an era where it is increasingly sensible to think about the climatic impact of personal choices, I wonder what the implications are for investing. The whole basis for investment is the idea that someone else can put wealth to more productive immediate use than you can: so much so that you hope they will […]


The Economist is running an interesting debate on the topic: “This house believes that China is showing more leadership than America in the fight against climate change.” It’s a discussion I look forward to, primarily because of how it will highlight actions that China is taking. Too many people believe that China has shown no […]


Responding to an unusually poor article, written by Lorrie Goldstein and printed in the Toronto Sun, I wrote that: “If you want high human welfare and prosperity for decades and generations ahead, dealing with climate change is not optional. The longer Canada waits to begin the process of going carbon-neutral, the more costly and painful […]


Over at FiveThirtyEight – a website that leapt to fame on the basis of statistical analysis of the 2008 US election – there is a discussion of futures markets for climate change. The idea is to let people place bets on what will happen, and the hope is that the sum of opinions backed up […]


More than three years have passed since the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Given that the AR5 isn’t due until 2014, it is perhaps appropriate that a group of scientists have released a more current summary of peer-reviewed scientific work on climate change, in the lead-up to the […]

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Over at Boing Boing, there is an interesting article about wind power and the Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) syndrome. The article suggests that the general understanding of the NIMBY syndrome is wrong, and the problem is not that people locally oppose what they support in a general sense. Rather, people who oppose wind farm […]


James Hoggan’s Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming neatly expresses a key assymmetry that arises in debates between those supporting and those questioning the consensus view that climate change is primarily being cause by human greenhouse gas emissions: When it comes to staking out positions and shifting the middle ground, industry-funded strategists seem […]


On November 28th, British journalist George Monbiot will be giving a talk in Toronto: “Countdown to Copenhagen: Who in Canada is Killing the International Climate Treaty?” The event is partially sponsored by DeSmogBlog. Monbiot is a good writer and strong climate change campaigner. I suggest those in Toronto consider attending. I once saw him speak […]


In 2008, three academics published the paper “The Organization of Denial: Conservative Think Tanks and Environmental Scepticism” in the journal Environmental Politics. The researchers analyzed 141 books published between 1972 and 2005, all of which expressed skepticism about the seriousness of environmental problems, including climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, biodiversity loss, resource shortages, air pollution, […]