"System change is now inevitable. Either because we do something about it, or because we will be hit by climate change. '...

"We need to develop economic models that are fit for purpose. The current economic frameworks, the ones that dominate our governments, these frameworks... the current economic frameworks, the neoclassical, the market frameworks, can deal with small changes. It can tell you the difference, if a sock company puts up the price of socks, what the demand for socks will be. It cannot tell you about the sorts of system level changes we are talking about here. We would not use an understanding of laminar flow in fluid dynamics to understand turbulent flow. So why is it we are using marginal economics, small incremental change economics, to understand system level changes?"

Monday, April 23, 2007

Two bits of personal news

I have accepted an appointment with the semi-exalted title Research Scientist Associate at the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas.

Of course, opinions expressed by me other than those on official University of Texas communications are my own, and are not necessarily shared by the Institute, the University or the (yes, the great) State of Texas.

Also I have been accepted as a columnist at grist.org which will expand my audience. Opinions expressed by others on grist.org are not necessarily shared by me!

My first Grist contribution is visible here.

My own opinions probably fall into a crevasse, er sorry, a gulch between typical opinion at each of these two institutions. I am honored that each has enough trust in my judgment to accept me as a participant in their efforts.


Dano said...

Congratulations, sir. We need more voices like yours. Keep it up.



coby said...

Congratulations on both points, Michael.

But Eli Rabett will yell at you for joining with a Blorg...

Heiko said...

Congratulations also from me, on both your new assignments.

I think you've called me a Lomborgian, I certainly agree with him on many issues, though I've come to my own independent conclusions that just so happen to be pretty close to his. On my blog, I've used the expression "techno optimist" to describe my views.


Lomborg does identify the argument you make as the one he hears most frequently.

Yes, if climate change was so bad that it would be impossible to ensure food/water security or world peace without addressing climate change, it would have to be addressed and we'd be talking a false choice, when saying food security is more important.

But my techno optimist argument is that the impact of climate change is minor, ie we can have a world with climate change and great food security, and a world without climate change and terrible food security.

And where food security specifically is concerned, I personally think that CO2 will help. It is a fertiliser and will mean expanded growing seasons, and water can be dealt with through large water projects (dams/desalination).

My understanding is that the level of adaptation and the amount of warming are key to whether there'll be a benefit or reduced agricultural output.

(interestingly in that post I comment on a post on a study entitled "Warnings From a Warming World: Study Finds Global Warming Causing Decline in Global Crop Production", where it turns out that what the authors actually mean is that CO2 has increased production and that this increase has been offset to a point by higher temperatures, on the assumption that there has only been level 0 adaptation)

Fergus said...

Jolly good show, that chap! Give him a cup of tea and a cucumber sandwich.

That's supposed to be a nice thing to say, BTW.

Congratulations, Michael.

Michael Tobis said...

Thanks, all!

I've always been far too shy at self-promotion. Perhaps I am going to go a bit overboard and be a bit clumsy in the other direction, for which due apologies. I'll never be especially comfortable at it.

Regarding Coby's comment, I am not looking at Grist as a "blorg". I see it as an online magazine I may contribute to when my interests overlap with theirs. (I just submitted an article on computers in education to the Python Papers, and I am not going to blog on their site either.)

I am grateful for the early momentum of this blog as well as the couple of other bits of good luck that have come my way of late. I very much appreciate your attention to and your excellent conversation about these ideas.

So keep your "In It" feeds live, folks!

EliRabett said...

Didn't yell. De gustibus non est disputandum. OTOH, fng Walmart blorgs are killing the little sole proprietorships ;)