Saturday, February 24, 2007


When an economist is asked about a policy such as increasing the minimum wage, he is able to abstract from mathematical models and explain to the laymen the potential effects. In addition, in explaining these effects, he will often introduce contradictory models and discuss their strengths and weaknesses. In many cases he has empirical evidence to offer to support his theoretical analysis. While an economist may make what appears to be a one sided argument, he is often able to offer reasons why competing theories are off base.

It does not appear to me that climatologists are able to do this. At least not as presented in the media. Climate models are no more complex than an economists comparative statics, differential equations, or econometrics. The media certainly expounds on the facts that global temperatures have risen by about 1 degree since the early 19th century, and that CO2 emissions have at the same time increased 30%. Immediately man's connection to global warming is made, and with a few quotes from the IPCC, the prestige of science is granted to movies such as "An Inconvenient Truth" and "The Day After Tomorrow." You seldom hear about competing ideas. When you hear about a skeptic, they are immediately discredited and lumped in with Holocaust deniers ( which is the same as resorting to personal attacks vs. arguing facts).

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