20 Oct 2009

Scott Sumner on Climate: So Close, Yet So Far Away

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Scott you’re killing me, man. Folks, I was so thrilled that I could unambiguously endorse Scott Sumner’s latest blog post, where he talks about climate change rather than printing money. (In fact I was working on a joke in which the Fed creates trillions of carbon-eating dollar bills in order to simultaneously fix the economy and the climate.)

He starts out great. After all, he’s responding to Matt Yglesias so that earns him a B- alone. Then Scott shows that he’s no punk on the issue, either; Scott drops terms like “radiative forcing” and “albedo” like they’re Cobb-Douglas production functions. (Geek econ joke.) The climate ninjas’ heads pop up and say, “This one has skills. Proceed with caution, Shrill Tiger and Smearing Bear.” (Yes I am surely mixing up cultures.)

Scott then goes on to suggest that, properly computed, the optimal carbon tax might well be near zero! Woo hoo! That’s (sort of) what I’ve been saying [.pdf]!

And just as I’m firing up Blogger to shower hugs and kisses on Scott, he goes and says:

[A]s a good utilitarian I am going to use this blog platform to push two issues over the next few years. One you already know about; a forward-looking monetary policy targeting NGDP. And my second obsession will be a global tax/subsidy scheme based on the impact of various activities on global temperatures.

Waa, waa, waaaaaaaaaaaaa. (That’s music, not me whining.)

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