Free Markets, Free People

Paul Krugman–climate alarmist

Not content to be a political hack, Krugman expands his field of hackery into climate alarmism. 

Commenting on the hot summer, corn and the drought, Krugman says:

But that’s not all: really extreme high temperatures, the kind of thing that used to happen very rarely in the past, have now become fairly common. Think of it as rolling two sixes, which happens less than 3 percent of the time with fair dice, but more often when the dice are loaded. And this rising incidence of extreme events, reflecting the same variability of weather that can obscure the reality of climate change, means that the costs of climate change aren’t a distant prospect, decades in the future. On the contrary, they’re already here, even though so far global temperatures are only about 1 degree Fahrenheit above their historical norms, a small fraction of their eventual rise if we don’t act.

The great Midwestern drought is a case in point. This drought has already sent corn prices to their highest level ever. If it continues, it could cause a global food crisis, because the U.S. heartland is still the world’s breadbasket. And yes, the drought is linked to climate change: such events have happened before, but they’re much more likely now than they used to be.

Sigh.

Facts are indeed an “inconvenient truth” when considering these alarmist screeds.

First, droughts in general, these findings from actual scientists:

Here is Andreadis and Lettenmaier (2006) in GRL (PDF):

[D]roughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, less severe, and cover a smaller portion of the country over the last century.

Oh.

Well never mind. 

But those corn prices!  Highest level ever!  And, and … people are going to starve!  We just aren’t going to have enough!

Economist Mark Perry disposes of that nonsense:

First, yields:

corn1

 

Then prices (inflation adjusted):

 

cornprice

 

You’d think a Nobel laureate economist could at least manage that, right?  Research inflation adjusted pricing on a commodity?

No?

Well it depends, I guess, on which hat you’re wearing that day.  Hack or economist.  Krugman continues to wear the first much more often than the second these days.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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44 Responses to Paul Krugman–climate alarmist

  • Outside of the little islands of delusion on the coasts…and Maine…does anybody think Krugman is anything but a pathetic old crank?
    Serious question.

  • On one side, the variability of temperatures from day to day and year to year makes it easy to miss, ignore or obscure the longer-term upward trend.

    … and he knows of this “longer-term upward trend” just how ?  I’m sure he has spent the time to read the “peer-reviewed” studies personally.
    I wonder how he resolved in his mind papers like Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz: Climate in northern Europe reconstructed for the past 2,000 years: Cooling trend calculated precisely for the first time.

  • “I guess, on which hat you’re wearing that day.  Hack or economist. ”
    You left out Krugman’s favorite hat – his asshat.

  • It’s ironic that when some conservative pundit mentions how cold it is, they are immediately pounced on (and correctly so) for failing to understand that climate is not weather. Then the same people who pounced make the identical mistake of focusing on weather.

    AGW, pro or con, does not need to be a matter of faith, but with the massive amounts of misinformation on both sides, that is all that even most discerning observer could ultimately rely upon.

    I’ll stick to my original conditional support of addressing AGW, if something is a good idea regardless of whether AGW exists, and it also happens to potential mitigate AGW effects, I am fine with it. Alternative energy sources are a good idea, whether or not ADW is a real threat.

    • Alternative energy sources are a good idea, whether or not ADW is a real threat.

      That isn’t supported by the markets.  In fact, a lot of delusional energy sources are a downright CRAPPY idea.  I mean, in reality.

      • Alternate energy sources -
        If they were building with their own money, and failing with their own money (or being wildly successful…in which case we know they didn’t do it themselves…), that’s the market and that’s fine.
         
        That ain’t what’s happen.

      • “That isn’t supported by the markets.”

        What is ulimately supported by the markets may not readily apparent now.

        Once upon a time, steam seemed to be able to do everything that folks was necessary.

        We have a huge university system, the same system that helped develop either some of the most society changing inventions and innovations of our time, or provided the intellectual foundation for these technological advances.

        There is a MASSIVE market for clean cheap energy. We will get figure it out eventually, as long as folks like you are not in charge, in which case we wouldn’t bother looking into it.

        • “There is a MASSIVE market for clean cheap energy. We will get figure it out eventually, as long as folks like you are not in charge, in which case we wouldn’t bother looking into it.”
          You can do better than that sort of Erbian insinuation, Capn. The problem is that the proposed “clean” and “cheap” energy sources are neither clean nor cheap. Solar and wind require massive amounts of mining, transport, construction and land coverage to exploit the very low density energy they harvest. They are only “clean” if you are ready to ignore every other part of their operation, and ignore the land required to site them. They are never going to be cheap either, since cheapness is relative and they will never compete with high density energy sources that can be sited near their required usage points (unless of course one artificially handicaps these high density sources). The problem is energy density, and we know the limits of those for most proposed “alternative” sources, and it is f**k all and no amount of money thrown at the law of conservation of energy will change that. We might as well fund research into scaling up “hamsters on spinning wheels” as a clean and cheap source of energy, if only us mean old meanies would stop blocking it.
          Shit, even a proven true high density source of energy that does not involve oil, gas, coal or nuclear is not even considered “renewable” these days by much of the green crowd and quite a few governments. That is of course hydro power.
          If, on the other hand, you are talking about novel nuclear technologies then you are correct. But for some reason novel nuclear sources are not considered “alternative”.

        • Of course there’s a massive market for clean, cheap energy. There’s just no cheap clean energy … yet. Until there is, we should be exploiting the energy sources we have to the utmost. We’re not, and that’s been because folks like you are in charge.

        • there is only ever going to be one, and only one source of really clean, and really cheap energy and that is if we can ever harness nuclear fusion.
           
          On the other hand we are rapidly entering into a period in which applications for technology are increasingly more efficient, and therefore need far less energy.  the only exception is in transportation in which only marginal savings have been made.

        • There is a MASSIVE supply of pure bullshit coming from your Collective.
          MARKETS drive innovation.  MARKETS provide the greatest efficiencies.  MARKETS allow choices.
          We will get figure it out eventually, as long as MORONS like you are not in charge, in which case, we won’t be allowed the choice.

        • “There is a MASSIVE market for clean cheap energy.”
           
          Market?  did you say market?
           
          “As long as folks like you are in charge”
           
          What? you mean folks like us who believe that the market will select the power source rather than the (idiotic) Government deciding what it IS and dumping tax payer money on it willy nilly even if it’s not cheap, not clean (all costs considered) and not plentiful?  Government using it’s legislative powers to ensure that formerly cheap energy source prices now rise to make expensive energy a viable alternative?   Yeah, folks like us man, folks like us.
           
          Is THAT what you’re saying Cap?
           
          Might I remind, the government didn’t build the railroads, the government didn’t subsidize Westinghouse (or Edison for that matter) and yet we have this spiffy electric grid today that came out of the market based current war that occurred between Westinghouse and Edison.  MARKET determined which current won – AC over DC.   DC result would have been a lot like your favored solar, wind sources -  a dynamo house every couple of blocks and an entire one dedicated to lighting a single bulb on top of the Empire State building.
           
          Edison doesn’t seem to have been crafty enough to contribute to important politicians to wipe Westinghouse out legislatively.  Perhaps a subsidy for direct current and a triple tax on alternating current facilities would have done the trick.
           
           

        • “as long as folks like you are not in charge, in which case we wouldn’t bother looking into it.”
           
          Hog snot. As long as folks like us are in charge research will be done and solar, etc. will be phased in as it actually becomes clean and cheap. As has been done for at least half a century already. What will not happen if folks like us are in charge is wasting billions of dollars on scams like Solyndra, whose only accomplishment is to line the pockets of politically connected “entrepreneurs”.

          • There is also a massive market, by the way, for nickel beer and twenty-five cent shots.

        • There is a MASSIVE market for clean cheap energy. We will get figure it out eventually, as long as folks like you are not in charge, in which case we wouldn’t bother looking into it.

          This, in a nutshell, exemplifies most of what is wrong with the way you think, CS.  First, there’s the canard that Team Pepsi is the problem and if only Team Coke were in charge, all of the problems will be solved.  Except the problem is soda, not which brand.
          Secondly, you say, “…we wouldn’t bother looking into it.”  This “we” crap is the old Fallacy of the Collective.  If you want to make oodles of money and you know how to obtain cheap energy, then you go do it.  Convince investors, if you must.  Just don’t pull the “we” game of sticking a gun in the face of your neighbours and looting their paychecks via taxes to pay for what you decide is worthwhile.  Go do it with your own money.  Otherwise, if you don’t do it, then STFU and don’t complain if nobody else does either.

    • That conditional thinking is poorly reasoned and no more than a passive acceptance of Krugman’s position.
      First you assume that mitigating AGW is beneficial. There is no evidence of that and at least equal evidence that warmer climates and higher CO2 benefit most life on Earth.
      Second you assume that anything that mitigates AGW is worth doing. That is clearly not the default position in other cost/benefit analyses, so wjy consider it so here?

    • It’s ironic that when some conservative pundit mentions how cold it is, they are immediately pounced on (and correctly so) for failing to understand that climate is not weather. Then the same people who pounced make the identical mistake of focusing on weather.

      I notice that the ones who pounce on those who talk about cold weather say that a hot spell is proof of Global Warming of the Anthropogenic type.
      Which goes to show not only cluelessness, but hypocrisy as well.
      I also notice that many who spout AGW BS…
      1) Don’t know what a ridge of high pressure is, or a wold/hot front, or lapse rate, or relative humidity…
      2) Don’t know the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.
      3) Don’t know that CO2 is a weak “heat forcing” gas.
      4) Don’t know that CO2 increases, throughout historical records, FOLLOWED temp rises rather than PRECEDED them.
      5) That historically, we’re in a CO2 DROUGHT.
      6) That the best estimates show CO2 forcing plateaus at about 180-240ppm.
      7) That 380ppm equates to 0.038%. (No, not 3.8%)
       
       
       

      • Whenever the subject of ‘climate change’ rears it’s loony head, the sure way of shutting their collective pie hole is ask them what aspects of modernity they are willing to do without?
        If we were to believe man’s affect on weather happened in the 20th century, then extrapolate what we would need to do to abate it, you would be looking at a population 1/10th of what it is now, living an agrarian lifestyle.
        I just can’t picture Krugman behind a mule-drawn plow and being happy about it.

        • I just can’t picture Krugman behind a mule-drawn plow and being happy about it.

          Maybe not, but I take a certain delight in the idea.  The more I think about it, the more it appeals…

          • Of course, Krugman and the liberal limo elite will have their conveniences; it’s the rest of us shlubs that’ll be smelling the mules butt.

        • oh my, don’t be silly.  You know Paul and Al and Robert R (and so on and so on) will be up in ‘The mansion on the lawn’, sitting on the veranda drinking juleps while those of us who are left tend the fields to keep them fed and comfortable.
           
          It’s our lot, we are, after all, inbred, sterile, red neck, Bible clutching morons.  Oh, I forgot deniers.  It is our fate, and we must accept it to atone for our various greedy denier sins.

    • Alternative energy sources are a good idea

      They are decidedly not if they have to be crammed down or throats, shoved up our poopchutes, or propagandized via threats and intimidation to our kids.
      That’s thuggery.

    • ” Alternative energy sources are a good idea, whether or not ADW is a real threat”

      Amputation is also a good idea…..under a limited number of circumstances.

  • …global temperatures are only about 1 degree Fahrenheit above their historical norms, a small fraction of their eventual rise if we don’t act.

    This statement is beyond idiotic.  If skeptics are correct and the anthropogenic component to global warming is small, relative to natural forces, then whether we “act” or “don’t act” makes little difference.  If alarmists are correct and human industry is driving up the global temperature more than any natural forces may alter the climate, then if we “act” we must eliminate so much industrial production that there will be mass starvation and a plummeting standard of living for the majority of people (those who don’t starve due to poverty, freeze in the winter due to energy prices, or die of heat exhaustion when they can’t afford, or aren’t permitted, to use their air conditioner in the summer).  Otherwise, using canvas shopping bags and using energy star appliances won’t do Jack spit to change anything.
    It’s no wonder that a man who thinks the answer to economic calamity is to spend, spend, spend can’t figure out that there’s no way that human beings can “act” to reduce global temperatures, either way.

    • Canvas shopping bags CAN kill off a few boobs, however.  But they will die with a  warm glow of smug self-satisfaction, knowing…just knowing…they saved the Earth.

      • Canvas shopping bags CAN kill off a few boobs, however.

        You mean by collecting pathogens?

        • Yep.  Nice lil’ germ sponges.  LOVE  that Luddites are self-limiting!

          • We have some large ones from Sam’s Club, which carry about as much as 8 plastic bags would.  They are plastic, so they can be wiped out.  When I remember to use them, I often leave them in the car and use them to put the plastic bags in so I can carry more.
            The biggest problem for me is remembering the damned things.

          • Not that I bought them to “save the Earth”.  They’re just convenient for carrying more.

          • Utility.  Good notion.  I’ve actually…for the first time…begun taking a cooler to the store with me.  Seems like that should have occurred to me before, but we live and learn.  Until we don’t…

        • Canvas shopping bags kill people.

  • The last part of the statement by Andreadis and Lettenmaier (2006) says, “The main exception (to this high precipitation scenario) is the Southwest and parts of the interior of the West, where, notwithstanding increased precipitation (and in some cases increased soil moisture and runoff), increased temperature has led to trends in drought characteristics that are mostly opposite to those for the rest of the country especially in the case of drought duration and severity, which have increased.”
     
    Also it will be interesting to see these graphs for 2012, because I understand that many are expecting a reversal of both price and yield.

    • I understand that many are expecting a reversal of both price and yield.

      To which the markets will respond rationally.  What an idiot.

    • Kinda makes ya wonder what SUV’s the Anasazi were driving across the Southwest, and what sort of coal burning plants the Peruvians were using before they flooded the atmosphere with CO2 and destroyed their civilizations.

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