Renowned Economics Prof On Climate Model-Based Policy: No “Need To Be A Denier To Qualify It As Methodological Nonsense”!

The online Swiss Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) has published a commentary by renowned economics professor Silvio Borner, University of Basel, where he sharply criticizes climate models and basing political decisions on them.

Borner UBas

 Photo of Prof. Silvio Borner: Credit: University Basel, by Peter Schnetz

He compares climate forecasts to economic forecasts, where in both fields one runs into a myriad of unpredictable variables and complex, poorly understood interactions that make reliable forecasts impossible – even more so in climate.

When it comes to climate, Borner writes that it is a fact the current warming started before industrialization and that CO2 is “partly responsible” for the current warming – as scientifically accepted temperature reconstructions of the past show.

In his commentary he looks at the parallels between global economy and global climate, reminding us that we already know that there are huge margins of errors for even short-term forecasts. “They often err even on the algebraic sign“.

Interestingly, Borner writes that forcasting the climate system is even more difficult because “we do not know the unknown exogenic causal factors in advance nor are we able to control them politically“. He explains that economists have had (bitter) experiences in trying to forecast economies and that the climate system is an even more unfamiliar system. This is evident, he says, even from weather forecasts which “differ from model to model and are often wrong“.

On the usefulness of models, Borner says they are of value, but never “true” due to the numerous assumptions that go into them. He writes:

For these reasons, all the ‘doom prognoses’ concerning the limits of growth have all failed grandly.”

Due to all the unknowns in the climate system, and the extreme lack of understanding with regards to their interaction, Borner says it is “scientifically irresponsible to fix a relationship between CO2 emissions and global warming, and then calculate from that how much Co2 needs to reduced by 2030 in order to avoid a 2°C temperature rise.” He adds:

To qualify that as methodological nonsense, one does not have to be a ‘climate denier’.”

Borner believes that it makes sense to reduce CO2, “but not on the backs of the poor countries“. He favors a CO2 emissions certificate trading scheme. He concludes:

 It is enough to set down the right general framework conditions. State planning or investments lead to chaos.”

Take this from a renowned expert in economic modeling – one who understands that the climate system is even more complex, unpredictable and far less controllable. In a nutshell Professor Borner is warning that controlling the climate is a futile endeavor and that basing policy on climate models borders on folly.

 

56 responses to “Renowned Economics Prof On Climate Model-Based Policy: No “Need To Be A Denier To Qualify It As Methodological Nonsense”!”

  1. sod

    Prof. Borner (emeritus) does not even know the difference between weather and climate.

    He makes a list of influences:

    “CO2 ist ein Faktor unter vielen – wie Vulkaneruptionen, Verschiebungen von Kontinentalplatten, Strömungsveränderungen in den Meeren, aber vor allem auch die Sonnenaktivität oder astronomische Konstellationen.”

    the problem is, that apart from the oceanic stream, all those factors are pretty well known for the past.

    In economics, the situation is completely different.

    I could have written this article for you, even including the only solution he would accept (CO2 trading, aka “do absolutely nothing”), without reading a single word of the article.

    1. DirkH

      “the problem is, that apart from the oceanic stream, all those factors are pretty well known for the past. ”

      No; the problem is that warmunists try to rewrite history to DESTROY knowledge of the past – famously, Micky Mann denies the MWP, the Roman warm time, the Minoan warm time and the Holocene optimum through his Hoyckeystick. All other Hockeystickers as well.

      Warmunist frauds are therefore not unscientific, but ANTIscientific – they are book burners.

      Same goes for the past-coolers of NASA, Gavin Schmidt and his underlings.

    2. AndyG55

      “does not even know the difference between weather and climate.”

      says sob, in his hall of mirrors.

      1. yonason
    3. Frederick Colbourne

      Translation, “CO2 is one factor among many – Such as volcanic eruptions, shifts of continental plates, flow changes in the oceans, but above all, solar activity or cosmic influences.”

      I don’t see any confounding of climate and weather.

      1. sod

        Did you look for it?

        “In beiden Bereichen weisen schon kurzfristige Voraussagen zur Konjunktur- bzw. Wetterentwicklung grosse Fehlermargen auf und irren sich häufig sogar im Vorzeichen. Dafür gibt es eine rein methodische Erklärung, die den Ökonomen vielleicht aufgrund längerer (bitterer) Erfahrung geläufiger ist als den Meteorologen.”

        “WETTER”. It is even written in the text.

        The comparison is total garbage.

        If we have 20°C today, we could easily have less than 10°C tomorrow. Basically no stock will drop in a similar way in a one day period. That would be a extreme event.

        At the same time, i will definetly not err on the sign of a 6 month forecast (sort of climate). Summer will be warmer than winter. always. This is totally different with economics (please write me an e-mail, if you can make similar projections for some stocks).

        He does not understand climate (he is confusing it with weather). and he knows that his own “science” has extreme difficulties in predicting the future, so he simply assumes that climate science has the same problem.

        the only solution he sees (by pure chance, of course) are market mechanisms (his subject, by chance) for CO2. Pretty predictable!

        But that is a contradiction in itself, of course! please tell me: If we think that climate change is a problem that is difficult to “evaluate”, why should we choose a solution, that by his own words has the same inaccuracy?

        1. K. van der Pool

          “Basically no stock will drop in a similar way in a one day period. That would be a extreme event”

          Sod, stay with the trolling. Believe me, this happens.

        2. David Johnson

          Sod, you seem to have great problems in determining what is real from what your own fevered imagination creates

        3. nightspore

          Only a sophist would make a hard distinction between climate and weather …

          1. Colorado Wellington

            To be fair, sodists do it all the time …

  2. Ron C.

    Borner says it is “scientifically irresponsible to fix a relationship between CO2 emissions and global warming, and then calculate from that how much Co2 needs to reduced by 2030 in order to avoid a 2°C temperature rise.”

    And yet that is exactly the basis of the “450 scenario”. In a classic bait and switch, activists are now claiming the keeping CO2 below 450 ppm makes it likely temperatures will not rise more than 2C. With El Nino fast fading toward La Nina, they want to focus everyone on CO2 emissions, nevermind what temperatures will do.

    https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2016/05/01/behind-the-alarmist-scene/

    1. AndyG55

      ““450 scenario”. ”

      Do you reckon weepy Bill McGibbon will change the name of his climate propaganda unit?

      I will now say…. “TOWARDS 900ppm.”

      You know… like they use in REAL greenhouses to grow high quality food.

      1. Graeme No.3

        Andy,
        they use a bit more. More like 12-1400ppm. 900ppm. is the point where response starts to taper off, and while the cheapest response it is easier to maintain a slightly higher level in case sod comes ‘visiting’ and opens the door to let ‘that evil gas out’.

      2. Analitik

        I thought the tipping point was 400ppm of atmospheric CO2 which we’re now at?
        Have the warmists shifted the goal posts again for catastrophy?

        I was hoping now that we had hit the 400ppm tipping point, the warmists would pronounce certain, unavoidable doom so the rest of us could go about things as before.

    2. David Appell

      Borner is wrong.

      Total warming is proportional to total carbon emissions. (This is well established by now.)

      “The proportionality of global warming to cumulative carbon emissions,” H. Damon Matthews et al, Nature v459, 11 June 2009, pp 829-832.
      doi:10.1038/nature08047

      You should at least learn the science before you try to dismiss it.

      1. AndyG55

        Appell is wrong… as usual

        There is absolutely NO CO2 warming signature in the satellite data..

        The only CO2 warming signature comes from a nearly 100%correlation between the GISS data ADJUSTMENTS and CO2 rise..

      2. yonason

        Total warming is proportional to total carbon emissions. – David Appell

        Total B.S.

        1. yonason

          “…the influence of temperature on the concentration of gases has been more important than any influence in the opposite direction.”
          http://motls.blogspot.com/2007/04/co2-lags-temperature-how-alarmists.html

          Your right, David. You do have some science to learn.

      3. yonason

        “You should at least learn the science before you try to dismiss it.” – David Appell

        LOL! Why don’t you go tell this guy he doesn’t understand “the science.”
        http://motls.blogspot.com/2014/05/global-warming-vs-climate-change.html

  3. Harry Dale Huffman

    “The Bottom Line About Climate Science”

    Accepting ANY part of the “consensus climate science” is folly. Even the basic, “global temperature” data (which Prof. Borner accepts, in the above) has been compromised by continuing, systematic (and hence utterly false) “adjustments” to the point of uselessness (as its comparison with the century-old and precisely confirmed Standard Atmosphere’s stable 288K surface temperature directly shows) and even outright fraud. Prof. Borner, like every other “lukewarmist” who believes CO2 is “partly responsible” for a supposed global warming, does not understand either the nature or the severity of the real problem: A general incompetence in the earth and life sciences today, an incompetence that has been growing for generations, until now it has become a cancer that has metastasized, in the hands of a radical political cadre in power now, into outright subornation of all of our most trusted institutions.

    Nothing of what either climate alarmists or lukewarmers are now saying will stand the test of time. It is all drivel, starting with the idea that the “climate system” is complex and uncontrollable. It is only the WEATHER that is so, and mankind has known that (“everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it”–it has always been known to be beyond man’s power to control) since time immemorial. But the GLOBAL climate is simple; it is stable against runaway warming OR cooling. That is all the people need to know, if they want to remain free from the political tyranny now being implemented in the name of an all-too-convenient hysteria over “climate change”.

    There IS NO valid climate science, and no competent climate scientists.

    1. stan stendera

      Bravo, bravo, bravo.

  4. DirkH

    “Borner believes that it makes sense to reduce CO2, “but not on the backs of the poor countries“. ”

    Color me unimpressed. Doubting the doom prognoses of the warmunists and STILL supporting their socialist schemes is even crazier than supporting warmunist socialism BECAUSE one believes them.

    What’s wrong with his brain?

    1. Henning Nielsen

      Probably just a bit of political correctness.

    2. AndyG55

      ““but not on the backs of the poor countries“. ””

      But CO2 emission reduction will always hurt the poor countries.

      Firstly , it is a huge WASTE of money in developed countries that could have been spent helping poorer countries.

      secondly, it means that CO2 levels for food production aren’t going to be as high.

      1. DirkH

        Don’t forget, a warmer world is a more fertile world. Earth knows two states – Icehouse Earth and Greenhouse Earth.
        It has been in the latter state for 80% of its existence. CO2 is abundant in the Greenhouse state.

        “The Earth is currently in an icehouse stage”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_and_icehouse_Earth
        (Some wikipedia Blockwart has forgotten to delete this knowledge.)

        SOD! WHAT INDUSTRIAL CIVILISATIONS HAVE WARMED EARTH IN THE PAST!

      2. yonason

        “But CO2 emission reduction will always hurt the poor countries.” – AndyG55

        What am I missing? Isn’t he not advocating reducing CO2, just taxing it?

        The reason he says not to tax poor countries seems to be because his message is “TAX THE RICH!” If I’m hearing him correctly, he’s a socialist. More CO2 = more tax revenue. Why reduce it? Reduction of CO2 is like killing the golden goose.

        And of course it will hurt the poor, because socialist policies always hurt the poor, despite all the disclaimers to the opposite.

    3. yonason

      “What’s wrong with his brain?” – DirkH

      Perhaps nothing. He doesn’t want a tax income scheme based on volatile nonsense, but rather on easily calculable parameters. It’s simple math to extrapolate from how big your “carbon footprint” is to how much loot they can pilfer from you, regardless of what effect (zero) it has on climate.

      Even pirates need a stable income these days.

      1. Mindert Eiting

        He does not want a tax based on volatile nonsense? The rational basis of tax is collecting money to be spend to collective targets. For the remainder it’s based on nothing. A carbon footprint tax is the same as a tax on being alife. So it is an extra tax for everybody but not yet progressive. So he wants an additional tax being less severe for the poor. Not very spectacular and easily to be realized as an additional income tax (in many countries progressive). The rational issue is of whether subsidizing windmills is a collective target, like health care, education, the army, etc. It’s about spending tax money to volatile nonsense.

        1. yonason

          “It’s about spending tax money to volatile nonsense.” – Mindert Eiting

          I didn’t see him saying anything about how to spend, only on how to optimize and stabilize collection. And collection can only be stable if you don’t interfere with the levels of what you are taxing. And it can only be optimized if what you’re taxing isn’t reduced.

          Sure, once the govt’s have the $$ they will waste it. That’s a given. But he doesn’t “go there” in what I read above, so I didn’t.

    4. Frederick Colbourne

      A way to reduce CO2 that would not be “on the backs of the poor” would be

      1.to use fracking more widely in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. Natural gas has 4 hydrogen atoms for every atom of carbon.

      2.to develop more nuclear power stations.

      3.to promote improved water management for paddy fields, which would reduce methane emissions. (Atmospheric methane is naturally oxidized to CO2.)

      4.to reduce the use of lower density fuels in inefficient combustion systems.

      5.withdraw subsidies from renewable energy beginning with those with the highest carbon footprint and the lowest ratio of energy output in relation to energy input.

      These measures all have positive economic returns.

      Rather than unfairly disparage Professor Borner, why not think to yourself “Maybe this guy knows something I don’t.”

      That is how to open your mind.

      1. yonason

        “A way to reduce CO2 that would not be “on the backs of the poor” would be” – Frederick Colbourne

        Not reducing it at all.

        1. It makes more crops grow, and

        2. since more people die from cold than from heat, a warmer world is better for all, assuming CO2 cotributes to that, which is still in no way clearly established.

        3. There can be no “run away” heating, because regardless of the [CO2] in the past, the maximum temperature the earth ever reached was 22DegC.. so there is nothing to fear on that count.

        Attempts to reduce CO2 can’t work and a waste of precious resources better allocated to real problems, like world hunger and disease abatement. As such it is a foolish policy.

        Need i say explicitly what that makes those who advocate it?

  5. John F. Hultquist

    He compares climate forecasts to economic forecasts,

    Good luck. In the economic system many of the players cheat, lie, and steal. “Economic-experts”, trying to understand what will happen, seem to ignore this notion.
    With climate, the system parts are more respectable – however, the “climate-experts” cheat, lie, and steal.

    1. Analitik

      He is correct to parallel the chaotic, unpredictable behaviors, though. The quants at LTCM all trusted the Black-Scholes modelling which all looked fine until correlations that could not be accurately modelled led to disaster and collapse. Sadly, this set a precedent for “too big to fail” financial bailouts.

    2. Frederick Colbourne

      “He compares climate forecasts to economic forecasts”

      Yes, and he is saying that his experience as an economist has shown him that economics forecasts are not worth much. For the same reasons, he does not believe that climate forecasts are worth much.

      Do you have a problem with that?

      1. John F. Hultquist

        I guess I wasn’t clear. My point was that the economic forecasters seem (my opinion) to be looking for answers. Many of the CAGW forecasts seemed to be in support of an answer agreed on but unsupported by observation.

        1. yonason

          You were perfectly clear. In fact, I thought it was a rather clever comparison of the two.

      2. yonason

        “Do you have a problem with that?” – Frederick Colbourne

        I thought it was your little buddy sod, who writes: “Prof. Borner (emeritus) does not even know the difference between weather and climate.” who has the problem.

        And you’re giving other people a hard time for not reading carefully?

  6. stan stendera

    Bravo, bravo, bravo.

  7. Analitik

    Just to bring up another scam again, here is an evaluation of Tesla Motors that concludes “it is an experimental financial services company and should be regulated as such.”

    http://www.valuewalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Devonshire-Research-Group-TSLA-Public-Release-Part-II.pdf

    Worth reading even if you already share my low regard for Tesla and its CEO Enron/L. Ron Musk

  8. Frederick Colbourne

    The intellectual level of the comments to this post is the lowest I have seen for Notrickszone.

    I wonder even about the ability of half the commentators to read and comprehend what the professor actually said.

    1. sod

      i agree.

    2. Analitik

      I agree that the professor’s comments about CO2 having a slight effect on climate and that reduction would be preferable are making people here ignore the main premise of his presentation. Whether he is correct about CO2 having a small effect on climate or not should not distract people from the important message that climate models are useless due to the complex chaotic relationships that are impossible to model.

      I thought sceptics would not be as strident and inflexible as climate alarmists are about CO2.

      If only our economist Ross Garnaut had such insight as Professor Borner when he assessed climate change for our government

      1. DirkH

        Well, again. This is not inflexibility, this is logic. If a guy tells you he knows the future and it’s bad and it’s due to CO2, and you find out that he actually DOESN’T know the future, then why would you support his proposed means of averting that future which won’t come to pass.

        Does Borner have any OTHER reason to lower the CO2 content of the atmosphere? I don’t see one. He says:
        “Es ist sinnvoll, den heutigen CO2-Ausstoss kostengünstig, aber nicht zulasten der armen Länder zu reduzieren, und zwar einzig und allein durch ein möglichst weltweites Handelssystem für CO2-Zertifikate; das CO2 erhält so ein Preisschild. ”

        Es ist sinnvoll – It makes sense – to reduce today’s CO2 emissions. He never says WHY.

        So I would call him a non-free-market economist; proposing price-fixing without any reason. Next he talks about how such price-fixing would induce innovation (IOW, the market forces would work their way around the artificial obstacle). But how is innovation meaningful if it only solves an artificial problem – the price fixing of CO2 emission by the politicians? Sure, you might get expensive electric cars this way and exterminate all cheap cars. Maybe that’s what he wants. Maybe he thinks that cheap cars clog the highways too much. I guess he’ll be able to afford the expensive car.

        We can’t know his motives. They’re in the dark. Can’t be warmunism, he denounced that.

        BTW we already HAVE expensive electric cars; the only problem is that the cheap cars have not yet been exterminated. You know, sometimes economists WANT cheap stuff to disappear and be replaced with expensive stuff that nobody can afford; because debt currency systems need constant inflation. They are also perverted systems.

        University of Basel – Basel is where the BIS is – the centre of all Western debt currency central banks. so he is likely a promoter of the debt currency system.

        1. yonason

          @DirkH

          OK, thanks for that info. It hardly allays my initial suspicions. (should have been here, and not below — sorry)

      2. yonason

        “…the professor’s comments about CO2 having a slight effect on climate and that reduction would be preferable are making people here ignore the main premise of his presentation.”

        What if he had said, “there are entirely too many Democrats in American politics” and also that “I think Americans should seriously consider giving Hillay Clinton their vote.”

        If someone very sensibly opposes a stupid policy, and supports a related and equally stupid policy, doesn’t that alert you to a potential problem with believing anything he says?

        I still have to learn more about him, but from what i’ve seen so far, I’m getting mixed signals, leaning toward negative. So, no, I don’t think it’s inappropriate to look at ALL the evidence, not just what I agree with.

        1. yonason

          OK, thanks for that info. It hardly allays my initial suspicions.

    3. AndyG55

      “Borner believes that it makes sense to reduce CO2,”

      OK, so he “believes”.

      How sciency is that, hey !!!

      I think he is totally wrong on that point, and I defy him to produce any REAL PROOF that raised CO2 levels are in any way a problem.

    4. DirkH

      Frederick Colbourne 25. May 2016 at 9:40 AM | Permalink | Reply
      “The intellectual level of the comments to this post is the lowest I have seen for Notrickszone.
      I wonder even about the ability of half the commentators to read and comprehend what the professor actually said.”

      I have not seen any explanation from you WHY we should lower CO2 emissions.
      You are calling us stupid but you do not say why.
      Say, Frederick. Why would we want to lower CO2 emissions if they’re not a problem. Just explain it. We can’t read your mind from here, you know. And why do you want to shield Prof. Borner from criticism of his unfounded position?

      “Rather than unfairly disparage Professor Borner, why not think to yourself “Maybe this guy knows something I don’t.””

      Well, I just stated that he might want to make cars more expensive to continue the lifetime of the dying debt currency regime. Which would also be a terrible measure, but not the first time that economists promote terrible ideas.

      So. I guess you know the secret. What *IS* his reason that he doesn’t want to tell us?

    5. David Johnson

      You are merely increasing the level of ignorance

  9. yonason

    OK, Pierre. I see you’re written about this guy in the past.
    http://kajm.deviantart.com/journal/Germany-proving-disaster-of-renewable-energy-496370760

    I guess I’ll have to do more research on him before I comment any more. My above remarks were based on what I read just in this article, so my opinion is subject to change.

    NOTE – I especially like this comment of Borner’s.

    “A complete replacement of the nuclear power plants by wind and solar cannot be achieved ‘without a problem’ due to physical and economic laws.”

    Yeah, I definitely have to get to know more about his views, especially since he’s got such clear thoughts on what’s wrong with “green” energy.

    (lots more good stuff at that link)

  10. David Appell

    Another economist who thinks he knows physics.

    Bah.

    1. AndyG55

      As opposed to a low-end sci-fi propagandist that makes up his as he goes along..

      lol !!!

  11. yonason

    And now for a responsible non-opposing opinion…

    “’It is clear to me that every further step along the current pathway of deploying first-generation renewable energy is locking in immature and uneconomic systems at net loss to the world standard of living’, Kelly wrote in a press statement. ‘Humanity is owed a serious investigation of how we have gone so far with the decarbonization project without a serious challenge in terms of engineering reality’.” (my emphasis)
    http://dailycaller.com/2016/05/23/professor-fighting-global-warming-will-impoverish-everyone/

    So, even if one does “believe” the world is warming, if he’s honest he has to admit that the “solution” to the “problem” is utter lunacy!

    Of course, taxing emissions will have a similar effect, but that’s another can of warms.