Category Archives: Economics

Judith Curry

She is a heretic, who has been cast out of the tribe:

In the run-up to the Paris conference, said Curry, much ink has been spilled over whether the individual emissions pledges made so far by more than 150 countries — their ‘intentional nationally determined contributions’, to borrow the jargon — will be enough to stop the planet from crossing the ‘dangerous’ threshold of becoming 2°C hotter than in pre-industrial times. Much of the conference will consist of attempts to make these targets legally binding. This debate will be conducted on the basis that there is a known, mechanistic relationship between the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and how world average temperatures will rise.

Unfortunately, as Curry has shown, there isn’t. Any such projection is meaningless, unless it accounts for natural variability and gives a value for ‘climate sensitivity’ —i.e., how much hotter the world will get if the level of CO2 doubles. Until 2007, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gave a ‘best estimate’ of 3°C. But in its latest, 2013 report, the IPCC abandoned this, because the uncertainties are so great. Its ‘likely’ range is now vast — 1.5°C to 4.5°C.

This isn’t all. According to Curry, the claims being made by policymakers suggest they are still making new policy from the old, now discarded assumptions. Recent research suggests the climate sensitivity is significantly less than 3˚C. ‘There’s growing evidence that climate sensitivity is at the lower end of the spectrum, yet this has been totally ignored in the policy debate,’ Curry told me. ‘Even if the sensitivity is 2.5˚C, not 3˚C, that makes a substantial difference as to how fast we might get to a world that’s 2˚C warmer. A sensitivity of 2.5˚C makes it much less likely we will see 2˚C warming during the 21st century. There are so many uncertainties, but the policy people say the target is fixed. And if you question this, you will be slagged off as a denier.’

This is religion, not science.


…will be Barack Obama’s Iraq:

The best medicine for the exchanges? It might involve letting the insurance industry offer pared back, cheap coverage at prices that reflect the risk profile of patients. This would bring back the young invincibles, but jack up prices for sicker patients. That problem could be solved by targeting subsidies on these patients on a strict means-tested basis rather than showering them on everyone up to 400 percent of the poverty level. The crucial upside to this approach is that it would allow the insurance marketplace to function again. However, market pricing based on health is against the religion of liberals. Clinton won’t go there. She could twist the screws on opt-outs by raising their penalty to something close to the price of the coverage they are refusing. But that would require Congress to override the statutory limits on these penalties in ObamaCare. And so long as the House remains in Republican hands, that ain’t going to happen.

Not really fair to compare it to Iraq. Iraq was a bi-partisan project. This disaster is all on the Democrats.

The Future Of Turbochargers

This is interesting. I can see a lot of benefits to rocket-engine design from these kinds of improvements as well, particularly for staged combustion. I wonder if Blue Origin is aware of this kind of thing? Also, it doesn’t say anything about improved performance and reduced cost and parts count from 3-D printing, but I think that will be significant as well.

The Collapse Of ObamaCare

The money-losing insurance companies pulling out of the market next year could be a huge election gift to Republicans. Not just for Congressional races, if the message is “we’re going to repeal it, and a Republican in the White House will sign that bill.”

[Update a while later]

ObamaCare insurers are suffering. That won’t end well.