Saturday, January 12, 2008

"Inhofe's 400": the 19 skeptical economists unmasked

In a follow up to our previous post on the economists of Inhofe's 400 climate change skeptics we are grateful to the Daily Green for providing us with the full list of 20 so-called economists although this list contains those who barely qualify for this name.

Strictly speaking there are only 19 as Tim Curtin is included twice. Sigh.

Perhaps the most surprising in Gary Becker. In a post to follow I intend to dig out Becker's work or comments in this area to reveal the true extent of Becker's scepticism on climate change.

edit - I believe Richard Tol has also requested his name be removed from the list so we are down to 18.

For more detail on a number of these economists including publications see:

The "400": Economists for the climate high jump

With the exception of Becker and perhaps Milne this is a motley bunch many with industry funded links and others that are not really economists.

However, 20 is still only a small percentage of the 413 names on Inhofe's list although the Daily Green does have a point - economists are not climate change scientists.

20 Economists

1. Gary S. Becker, Nobel Prize-winning economist who is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and University Professor of Economics and Sociology at the University of Chicago. Not a natural scientist.

2. Tim Curtin, economist, and a former advisor to the EU, World Bank, and an emeritus faculty member of Australian National University. No discernable climate or natural science background.

3. Tim Curtin, economist, and a former advisor to the EU, World Bank, and an emeritus faculty member of Australian National University. No discernable climate or natural science background.

4. Robert W. Hahn, economist who is heavily involved in industry-funded groups (EPW report lists him as a chemical engineer).

5. David Henderson, a professor at the Westminster Business School and former chief economist for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Has no discernable formal education in science and is associated with the right-leaning Hoover Institution, which receives funding from ExxonMobil, Arco, big tobacco and similar interests.

6. Dr. Robert Higgs, a Senior Fellow for the Independent Institute who has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University, Stanford University, and a fellow for the National Science Foundation. Economist with no discernable scientific background. Higgs is also a Senior Fellow with the Libertarian Independent Institute, which is industry funded.

7. Dr. Arnold Kling, economist with no discernable climate or natural science background. Sssociated with CATO, which receives Exxon funding.

8. Hans H.J. Labohm, PhD, economist, former advisor to the executive board, Clingendael Institute, who was an IPCC reviewer. No degrees in or peer-reviewed articles in natural sciences. Connected to industry-funded groups.

9. The Rt. Hon. Lord Lawson of Blaby, economist; Chairman of the Central Europe Trust; former Chancellor of the Exchequer, U.K.,NIGLAW

10. Alister McFarquhar, PhD, international economist, Downing College, Cambridge, U.K.

11. Ross McKitrick, PhD, Associate Professor, Dept. of Economics, University of Guelph, Canada. Economist with heavy connections to industry-funded groups.

12. Owen McShane, B. Arch., Master of City and Regional Planning (UC Berkeley), economist and policy analyst, joint founder of the International Climate Science Coalition, Director - Centre for Resource Management Studies, New Zealand. Economist, not a natural scientist.

13. Frank Milne, PhD, Professor, Dept. of Economics, Queen's University, Canada.

14. Des Moore, former deputy secretary of the federal treasury in Australia. Economist and political commentator. not a natural scientist. Director of the Institute for Private Enterprise. which receives industry funding.

15. Dr. Thomas Gale Moore is a former professor at Michigan State University, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute, which receives funding from corps like Exxon.

16. Professor Emeritus Peter R Odell of International Energy Studies at the University of Rotterdam. Retired Economist with no natural science experience.

17. Gwyn Prins of the London School of Economics. Economist with no discernable natural science experience.

18. Alex Robson, PhD, Economics, Australian National University. Economist who is connected to industry-funded groups.

19. Dr. Richard Tol, the director of the Centre for Marine and Atmospheric Science, and a prominent economist with Hamburg University in Germany. An economist with no discernable experience in climate or earth sciences.

20. Dr. G. Cornelis van Kooten, professor and Canada Research Chair in environmental studies and climate change, Dept. of Economics, University of Victoria. Economist, with no discernable climate or earth science experience.



Nathan Rive said...

In my understanding, a couple of people were swept up into the 400 (i.e. they didn't elect to join it) for even mildly sceptic comments - and this doesn't necessarily reflect their view on the science.

Rob Elliott said...

Nathan, thanks for the comment.

I wondered about that. You have have thought that as it was a letter "signed by 413" that the people "swept up" would have agreed to their name being included.

Whether this is true or not is crucial. Did Becker jump on board or was it press ganged?

That is the question.

Arnold Kling said...

I am independently wealthy. I received money from Cato for publishing a book on health care policy. I have never done any work for Cato on climate change. To imply that my views are in some way influenced by industry is quite a stretch.

I do claim no expertise in climate science. However, I know something about statistics and the scientific method.

Nathan Rive said...

This post at Rabett Run suggests that the 400 were not voluntarily swept up:

Rob Elliott said...

Thanks Nathan, it does appear that names were included of scientists that may once have said something somewhere.

It would be interesting to see how many economists wanted to be removed.

Thanks also to Arnold Kling for commenting. This issue about economists and climate change is an interesting one. All empirical economists should know a lot about statistics and scientific method including many environmental economists. I would be very grateful if you could please explain the process by which your name was included on the list. Did Inhofe or a colleague contact you to ask whether you would like you name to be included on the letter or did you just see if there?

Finally, if I may ask, is it your strong belief that man has had no influence of the recent increase in global temperatures.

Thanks in advance

Anonymous said...

On Richard Tol: "no discernable experience in climate or earth sciences" is a joke. He build most of his career on the economics of climate change. He was a "contributing, lead, principal and convening" of IPCC Working Groups I, II and III (that is all, quoting from Wikipedia). Whoever put together this list of 20 economists and put down these opinions on their credentials should do his/her homework and not write such crap. Also, from quickly looking over his list of publications, he does not seem to be a sceptic of climate change at all, quite the opposite.

Anonymous said...

Same actually for Gary Becker, who put him down as a sceptic of climate change in the first place?!? Read this hear by him:, this list is just silly

Rob Elliott said...

Thanks for the comment. I agree with both your points. I know Tol's work very well and agree that if any economist is an expert in climate change then he would be the one.

I also believe that he has asked to have his name removed from the list and may not have agreed to it being there in the first place. The same goes for Becker. This is what I want to get to the bottom of. Where the asked and agreed or did their names just appear because of some quote made at some point when perhaps playing the devils advocate.

For your information the list was drawn up by a Mark V Johnson from Remember he had 413 of these to do so as you can imagine, the time spent per person would not be great and moreover, he is not an economist and can not be expected to know the academic work of these economists.

This post, in a sense, was written to draw out comments such as yours that will help get to the facts behind the names.