"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?"

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Fresh Air

Jim Hansen was on “Fresh Air” today and Terry Gross asked him what the one most important thing we could do about the climate problem would be. Hansen answered correctly that we need to stop building new coal plants unless they have CCS.

Well, you know, I haven’t built one of those lately, at least not personally.

As Gore points out in 18 point text as my current blog slogan, the only way out of this mess is through cooperation at all levels, including national and global. Only governments capable of competent, careful, serious and quantitative thinking can save us, and if we don't have them, we need to create some.

Ms Gross had an interesting follow-up, which was whether Hansen was going beyond his charter as a scientist in recommending policy. His answer was a very polished and polite dance around the fact that if the scientists don’t come out and say this blazingly obvious fact in the clearest possible terms, the politicians won’t manage to figure it out.

Click the link and give a listen. Thanks Howie, for the tip, and thanks again to Terry Gross for yet another remarkably insightful interview.

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