Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Top 10 Environmental Economics Blogs

Top 10 Environmental Economics Sites

In response to a request here is “Globalisation and the Environment’s” top 10 sites for Environmental Economics (there are actually 11). Whenever you read these “I can help you blog” sites they always (repetitively) tell you that “lists of other blogs” are a great way of driving traffic to a site (and we're not proud).

This ranking is based on a number of criteria outlined below:

· “Click order”. My reader currently has 76 feeds covering my various interests including environmental economics. The greatest weighting in this ranking is the “click order”. If I have a spare 30 minutes (rare in academia of course) which sites do I read first? Often blogs with a too higher post frequency will not be clicked as the sheer amount of reading puts me off.

· “Borrow-ability”. The “re-posting” of previously posted stories via links and Hat-Tips is cheap and an obvious short cut to hard-core content blogging but it saves considerable time and can keep a blog ticking over when real life intervenes. As an economist my aim is to maximise good content finding related to globalisation and the environment in the quickest time. This ranking therefore reflects the “gold dust to dross ratio” or put simply, how many posts do I have to read before I find something worth “borrowing”.

· “Personality”. There are certain blogs where, after a while, you get a feel for the bloggers personality. This can work both ways of course but I give a higher ranking to blogs where I can relate to the sense of humour (or otherwise) of the blogger. Thus, blogs that occasionally throw in tit-bits of the bloggers real life make reading the blog more like a soap opera allowing the reader to vaguely care about how the story will unfold.

· “News”. The forth ingredient is whether a site keeps up with current news stories. Often such articles are posted without comment.

· “Academic”. As an academic one is always on the look out for inspiration for new research so I want to read some good heavy material once in a while (but not too often).


Top 10 Environmental Economics Blogs

1. Environmental Economics – Undoubtedly the “daddy” of environmental economics blogs. Scores highly in most categories and currently in “click” position 1. This site has an excellent balance of, post frequency, information content, personality, irreverence, humour and pointless stuff. There is a good banter between Tim Haab and John Whitehead and any blog that has so many alcohol related posts has to be a winner. By telling it as it is they give some excellent insights into academic life with their conference and crash and burn journal experiences (even though they are respected and well published academics). The blog’s content is US-centric though.

2. Environmental and Urban Economics – Matt Kahn’s blog is in click position 2 and scores highly for academic content and personality. A relatively low post frequency concentrating on quality is a strong plus point. The posts are a mix of environmental and urban economics. Matt also gives some excellent insights into academic life and a top quality publication record to match. His book “Green Cities” is an excellent read. Blog layout could do with a little tweaking.

3. Gristmill Blog – this is the first “mega” site included in this ranking. “The Grist” is an online magazine covering environmental news and commentary. The blog has a large number of posters so scores lowly on personality and academic quality. It also has far too many posts so I can only face reading it once in a while to “catch up”. However, there are often a number of high quality posts hidden in the 200 posts I often have to read. David Roberts is one of the best posters.

4. Planet Ark – purely for providing news stories delivered conveniently to my email address daily. The posts are concise and high on relevant information thus scoring highly on “borrow-ability” where further insightful (in theory) comment can then be added.

5. Greg Mankiw’s Blog – perhaps controversially in at 5, Mankiw’s blog always has genuinely interesting posts covering all aspects of economics. He keeps the links short but maintains a high quality of comment and debate. There is also a surprising amount of environmental economics related material especially as he continues his worthy Pigovian tax crusade. Scores highly in all categories.

6. IPE Zone – primarily a political economy blog with the by line “Tales of Power, Money and Occasional Violence”. Emmanuel does a great job of posting news and commenting. Good post frequency and plenty of high quality environmental and Chinese related content.

7. Treehugger – the second “mega site” in this ranking. Not as good as Gristmill and too many posts on clothes and general green things but does have the occasional gem hidden amongst the adverts and pictures of cars. Very high post frequency puts me off reading too often. Recently sold for $10 million.

8. Conservation Finance – some interesting posts and a manageable post frequency. Often picks up some good news stories.

9. Ecological Economics – a highly academic blog with good quality posts or considerable length. Dave Iverson knows his stuff and it is interesting to get the “ecological” perspective on the current environmental debate.

10. Celsias – Not sure how I feel about this blog that is attached to a business and has 30 different posters. Very high post frequency but does cover all the latest news with some comment thrown in occasionally. A slick blog with a growing readership I believe. Craig Mackintosh does a good job as blog editor and has posted some good stuff in the past. For such a large operation it is not clear how it makes a profit. A bit too capitalist in nature for me.

11. Environmental Economics and Sustainable Development – Brad Ewing’s blog covering his thoughts on various environmental economics issues. Some interesting material not found elsewhere.

Other blogs that deserve a mention include The Temas Blog (South America), Natural Capital (inactive), Development Crossing (development news), In the Green, China Economics Blog, ResponsibleChina (CSR and environmental posts for China), Living in a Toxic World, It’s the Environment Stupid (few posts), Economist’s View (good general economics) and Sustainablog.

edit: China Dialogue is also good for China/Environment issues.

Comments and suggestions welcome and apologies if I have missed anyone out.

14 comments:

Craig Mackintosh said...

Hi Rob. Nice of you to include us in your list.

Thought I'd be bold and pipe up with the fact that we're not capitalist in nature at all (if that turns out to be the case, you'll see me hop off the bus). We're project oriented, and hope to get climate cooling projects off the ground. Stay tuned for more.

All the best in your work.

Keith said...

Many thanks for the honorable mention, Rob. My blog is heavily regional in focus and Temas is not all about the environment-economics interface or even the globalization angle, so I'm doubly glad to find out that my blog is nonetheless "clickable" and that, though still a young blog, is in such good company already in the estimation of a blogger I have come to respect quite a bit. Maybe with another year of work I can reach the top 10 (hope I don't have to push Craig out to do it, though! I like Celsias).

Warm Regards, Keith R

Keith said...

P.S. Are you guys considering a post on the implications of the Brazilian tire case recently decided in the WTO? I've been struggling with drafting a post on the topic for Temas and would love to hear your thoughts on the subject, as I suspect you would come at from a different angle than I.

Rob Elliott said...

Hi Craig,

I see now that Celsias has relaunched. I am sure the earlier version was somehow "carbon-offset" related and my impression was that the blog was merely a way of getting punters through the door.

I suppose the question is now is how Celsias intends to pay for software design and the wages of the full timers. Is the funding provided as charity to support this worthy cause or is the aim to grow and be sold in a treehugger fashion in a few years making the 15 "names" a lot of money each thus, the names are all putting in some "seed money". The economist in me always wants to know this sort of thing.

I must say you have managed to recruit some impressive names such as George Monbiot and Lester Brown.

The new Celsias is off to a good start and there is no reason the new model will not work.

ResponsibleChina said...

Thanks, kindly, for including ResponsibleChina.com on your list. China is a BIG place, so any resources, tips and links to information from any of my readers or fellow bloggers are much appreciated. I'm hoping to launch a podcast this week, so stay tuned!

Tom W. said...

Nice list! On the China front, chinadialogue.net is the "daddy" for blogs on China and the environment (although responsiblechina is looking quite promising), with excellent posts from a variety of writers and often with a global (read non-China centric) emphasis.

Rob Elliott said...

tom w - thanks for the comment. I agree that ChinaDialogue is an excellent site for China/Environment stories. They have some good writers and the pieces are of good academic quality.

I will add it to the blogroll asap.

Emmanuel said...

Thanks for the favorable mention, Dr. Elliot. It's pretty formidable company we have to keep up with here! Best regards from the IPE Zone.

Jeremy said...

Thanks for the list. Lots to investigate there.

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