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New Economics Foundation

A new page on the New Economics Foundation or nef, which is attempting to develop a new approach to economic modelling:

Standard models take no account of resource use and environmental constraints, and are blind to social outcomes in terms of equity and, of course, human well being. They are open-ended by nature, with growth being the primary output of interest. Inputs feed in, interact with each other, achieve balance (or equilibrium) and outcomes result.

Our approach turns this on its head. We will start with the hard outcomes we need - environmental sustainability; equitable economic justice; and high levels of human well-being - link these to relevant economic determinants within the model (aggregate output, income distribution and working hours, respectively, for example) and to ‘reverse engineer’ what this would imply for the levels and types of differing inputs.

From the latter:

A team of researchers published two papers in the journal Nature in early 2009 arguing that to reduce the chance of global temperatures exceeding a 2 °C temperature threshold, specific caps on carbon emissions need to be set. For example Malte Meinshausen from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and his colleagues found that to reduce the probability of exceeding 2 °C to 25 per cent, cumulative CO2 emissions between 2000 and 2050 need to be capped at 1000 billion tonnes (Gt) of CO2 (1,500 Gt CO2e). To reduce this risk by a further 5 per cent, emissions need to be capped at 890 Gt CO2 (1,356 Gt CO2e) or less. Given that between 2000 and 2006, 264 Gt CO2 were emitted, this means if rates of CO2 are kept at their current rate of 36.3 Gt per year, the total carbon budget would be exhausted by 2024 or 2027 depending on the accepted probability of exceeding 2 °C (20 per cent and 25 per cent respectively). However, the authors also warn that if global greenhouse gas emissions are still more than 25 per cent above 2000 levels in 2020, the probability of exceeding 2°C rises 53–87 per cent. Given that 80 per cent of greenhouse gases are due to the combustion of CO2, this means limiting use to less than one half of the proven economically recoverable oil, gas and coal reserves.

Using a different methodology, the second paper led by Myles Allen, Head of the Climate Dynamics group at University of Oxford’s Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics Department yields results that are broadly consistent with Meinshausen. More recent work still from the Met Office Hadley Centre warns of a scenario in which a 4 °C rise in temperature by 2060 is possible.

In 2008, cautious calculations by nef’s climate change and energy programme suggest that there may be as little as 100 months, starting from August 2008, to stabilise concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere – before the risk of uncontrollable global warming occurring increases significantly. This has also been supported by the recent research by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

Comments

  • 1.

    As a general point, we should link only to the original sources(s). The Allen paper is linked not to Nature (because it's subscription only), but to a private source (most likely outside the terms of the institutional or personal subscription). Such links can disappear without warning - the researcher moves on. For stability link to the original, and leave it to individuals to search for other sources if they are outside the academy.

    I'm all for open scholarship and open bibliography but we're not there yet.

    Comment Source:As a general point, we should link only to the original sources(s). The Allen paper is linked not to Nature (because it's subscription only), but to a private source (most likely outside the terms of the institutional or personal subscription). Such links can disappear without warning - the researcher moves on. For stability link to the [original](http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v458/n7242/full/nature08019.html), and leave it to individuals to search for other sources if they are outside the academy. I'm all for [open scholarship](http://okfn.org/) and [open bibliography](http://openbiblio.net/) but we're not there yet.
  • 2.

    I'd prefer that, whilst you might want to make the authoritative links to original sources, if you happen to know of a non-restricted version include that as a secondary link. Apart from anything else, as someone outside academia I can't verify that some paper that I think I've found is the same as the subscription version (which given that a paper often progresses from a conference version to an expanded journal version with the same title sometimes happens).

    Comment Source:I'd prefer that, whilst you might want to make the authoritative links to original sources, if you happen to know of a non-restricted version include that as a secondary link. Apart from anything else, as someone outside academia I can't verify that some paper that I think I've found is the same as the subscription version (which given that a paper often progresses from a conference version to an expanded journal version with the same title sometimes happens).
  • 3.
    edited November 2010

    Walter writes:

    As a general point, we should link only to the original sources(s).

    It's even better to link to original sources and freely available sources. I've been trying to do the following:

    1) When the original source is open-access, I make the title of the paper into a link to that source, e.g.:

    2) When the original source is not-open access, I make the journal title into a link to the original source, but the paper title into a link to any source that happens to be available, e.g.:

    The point of this system is that

    • you can click on the paper title and get the paper for free (unless the link has broken in the meantime)

    • if only the journal title is underlined it means you probably can't get the paper for free (unless someone has made it available in the meantime)

    • you can always see a reference to the original source.

    In case 2, sometimes I get lazy and don't include a link to the original source, e.g.:

    This is not ideal, but there is still enough information to quickly find a link to the original source using Google. I encourage people (including myself) to improve such entries by bringing up to the standard described in 2. This is something that anyone can do whenever they have a bit of spare time.

    The goal here is to make information quickly accessible to everyone while still preserving good scholarship. It doesn't need to be an either-or thing.

    Comment Source:Walter writes: >As a general point, we should link only to the original sources(s). It's even better to link to original sources _and_ freely available sources. I've been trying to do the following: 1) When the original source is open-access, I make the title of the paper into a link to that source, e.g.: * K. Anderson and A. Bows, [Reframing the climate change challenge in light of post-2000 emission trends](http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/366/1882/3863.long), _Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A_ **366** (2008), 3863–3882. 2) When the original source is not-open access, I make the journal title into a link to the original source, but the paper title into a link to any source that happens to be available, e.g.: * M. Meinshausen, N. Meinshausen, W. Hare, S. Raper, K. Frieler, R. Knutti, D. Frame, and M. Allen, [Greenhouse-gas emissions targets for limiting global warming to 2 °C](http://www.ecoequity.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/meinshausen_nature.pdf), _[Nature](http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v458/n7242/full/nature08017.html)_ **458** (2009), 1158–1162. The point of this system is that * you can click on the paper title and get the paper for free (unless the link has broken in the meantime) * if only the journal title is underlined it means you probably can't get the paper for free (unless someone has made it available in the meantime) * you can always see a reference to the original source. In case 2, sometimes I get lazy and don't include a link to the original source, e.g.: * M. Meinshausen, N. Meinshausen, W. Hare, S. Raper, K. Frieler, R. Knutti, D. Frame, and M. Allen, [Greenhouse-gas emissions targets for limiting global warming to 2 °C](http://www.ecoequity.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/meinshausen_nature.pdf), _Nature_ **458** (2009), 1158–1162. This is not ideal, but there is still enough information to quickly find a link to the original source using Google. I encourage people (including myself) to improve such entries by bringing up to the standard described in 2. This is something that anyone can do whenever they have a bit of spare time. The goal here is to make information quickly accessible to everyone while still preserving good scholarship. It doesn't need to be an either-or thing.
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