Links to start your week 2

I collect interesting posts and links during the week and save them to Evernote. Every now and then there are a few worth sharing:

  • If you have been reading the climate change posts, you will be interested in this blog post at The Economist: A cooling consensus, looking at explanations of the recent slowdown in global warming.
  • Last week’s Fed announcement caused a sell-off in US markets and put significant pressure on emerging market currencies, including the ZAR. Justin Wolfers tweeted:

@morningmoneyben What Bernanke said: “blah blah blah” What markets heard: “SELL EVERYTHING!” Longer version: http://t.co/lXEuwf2Ohe

A quick follow-up on carbon tax Reply

While on the topic of the environment, climate change and carbon taxes, I want to link to this story at Polity.org.za: Carbon tax will not be implemented if not ready. It touches on a number of the issues raised in the previous post. There is the classic prisoners’ dilemma:

Questions are also being asked about whether there is any real advantage in being an early mover when so few other countries are planning to adopt carbon-tax regimes or implement emission-trading schemes.

There are some serious questions about the details of the proposed tax, but also a feeling that maybe the carbon tax is just another way for government to increase its revenue.

I’m wondering whether the opposition that we are seeing to urban tolling and carbon taxes is basically a tax revolt. Maybe it is not the case that most people do not care about congestion or climate change, it is that they do not want to pay more taxes of any kind. This is the price of inefficient spending and corruption – it leaves government with even less tax payer goodwill when they do try new and generally sensible policies.

If you are interested in this sort of thing, have a look at this interesting article: The World Bank estimates that the carbon footprint of a first-class airplane seat may be as much as nine times larger than an economy-class berth!

Opinion: The future and the environment Reply

As we celebrate Youth Day, you are likely to hear someone say that the youth is South Africa’s future. There are many blog posts to write about this, for example, the importance of education or the problems of youth unemployment. I felt that we should think long-term future and the environment.

Now I realise that climate change and global warming is a vast topic and an emotive one. Not everyone believes that human (economic) activity is causing climate change and even fewer people believe that we should pay to mitigate climate change. For those who are interested I have a few links to share to recent posts:

  • In May the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere reached 400ppm. At The Ecologist Andrew Simms writes: “when a number came along that represented a genuine threat to civilisation it caused barely a ripple”.
  • Scientific American has a podcast explaining that climate change is getting worse: “We are on track for 3 degrees C of warming or more, this century”.
  • In a Project Syndicate post Bob Ward writes: “The scientific literature indicates that the level of atmospheric CO2 today is about 40% higher than the pre-industrial level. It is at its highest since the Pliocene Epoch about three million years ago, when the planet was 2-3 degrees centigrade warmer, the polar ice caps were much smaller, and the global sea level was about 20 meters higher”.
  • And if you are wondering: but what does it mean?, have a look at this infographic from Information is beautiful, explaining the implications of different degrees of global warming. 3-4 degrees centigrade warmer will have some scary results.

So how do economists think about this problem? More…

Nuus uit die Skool 1

Vasbyt!

Vasbyt!

Gereëlde lesers van die blog sou agtergekom het dat dit die laaste tyd maar stil is. Junie-maand is eksamen op kampus en die uitwerk van deelnamepunte, vraestelle, memo’s en nasienwerk het sy tol geëis. Tussendeur was Proff Krugell en Kleynhans en Dr Grater met tye siek en afgeboek (Prof Kleynhans sterk nog aan by die huis). Dr Steenkamp en Mev Havenga se mans was met tye platgetrek en alles te saam het ons maar met ‘n “sceleton staff” gewerk. Prof Saayman was op haar beurt weer oorsee by konferensies in Italië en Portugal. Dr Bezuidenhout reis in Afrika saam met ‘n GIBS program en was al in Kenia en is op die oomblik in Nigerië.

Ons hoop om binnekort terug te keer na die gewone programskedule. Prof Krugell wil uitvaar oor koolstofbelasting en het ook iets op die hart oor armoede in Suid-Afrika. In die tweede semester gaan ons ook meer van die personeel se navorsing hier deel. Die Ekonomiese Vereniging van Suid-Afrika (EVSA) se tweejaarlikse konferensie is in Bloemfontein in September en SAIBW is hier op kampus en daar word ‘n hele paar referate gelewer. Bly dus ingeskakel.

Laaste het ons die bladsy vir die ATKV debat nou ontkoppel. Daar is ‘n nuwe onderwerp vir die finale rondtes van die kompetisie en ons wens die deelnemers alle sterkte toe. Dit was lekker om hulpbronne en raad te kon deel en ons hoop dat baie van die debatteerders nou sommer baie meer belangstel in ekonomiese aangeleenthede.