Russ Roberts

Environment Podcast Episodes and Extras

Category Archive with 19 podcast episodes and extras
 

Christy/Emanuel Postmortem

EconTalk Extra
by Russ Roberts

Here's my postmortem on the Christy/Emanuel episode. The original episode can be found here.

CONTINUE READING...

CATEGORIES: Environment

   

For those of you wishing to dig a little deeper into this week's episode on climate change, here are some additional questions for your consideration. Share your thoughts in the comments, or share the questions with others, and let us know how it goes.


1. Why do you think non-experts are so passionate about climate change and macroeconomics? How do you think they would justify their passion? Do you think evidence can settle these disputes? What can be done to "detribalize" these debates?

2. In August, 2013 Roberts talked with MIT Economics Professor Robert Pindyck about the policy challenges of climate change. Unlike his MIT colleague Emanuel, Pindyck argues the climate change debate is not characterized by uncertainty, but by disagreement. How does the way Pindyck views the "climate change dilemma" compare to the views of Christy and Emanuel? By whom are you most persuaded, and why? [Note: The Pindyck episode also has a corresponding Listening Guide, which may be useful for further questions and/or instructional use.]

3. In December, 2013, Roberts spoke with Georgia Institute of Technology atmospheric scientist Judith Curry about the complexities and uncertainties of climate change. Like Emanuel, she emphasizes the variability and multiple factors that contribute to temperature fluctuations. But she concludes, "There's bigger things to worry about than climate change." What sorts of things is Curry worried about, and how do they compare to the concerns of Christy and Emanuel? What do you think our focus should be in terms of climate policy, and why?

CATEGORIES: Environment

   

This week's episode was recorded live at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, featuring two guests, both climate scientists, but with different views on what we know about climate change and what policies should be put in place, if any, to deal with it.

Here are some questions based on their conversation. Please share your responses in the comments, and/or let us know how you use this Extra to spark your own conversation offline.

Please keep Econlib's comment policy in mind.

1. In what ways is climate science like macroeconomics? How are climate models like economic models? How are they different?

2. Christy claims that the debate over climate change really entails a moral question, not a scientific one. What does he have in mind? To what extent do you agree?

3. In discussing temperature trends over the past ten to fifteen years, Roberts says, "one person's eon is another person's blink." What does he mean by this, and how does it help illustrate the differences in the perspectives of the two guests?

4. Christy thinks the upper bound of the Emanuel's temperature change forecast is unlikely to occur. How do you think he might justify that claim?

5. Emanuel concedes that current climate models are imperfect. How does he justify his predictions in the face of that imprecision? How does this influence the policy applications Emanuel thinks should follow?

CATEGORIES: Environment

   

John Christy and Kerry Emanuel on Climate Change

EconTalk Episode with John Christy and Kerry Emanuel
Hosted by Russ Roberts

John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology talk with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about climate change. Topics discussed include what we know and don't know about global warming, trends in extreme weather such as hurricanes, rising sea level, the likely change in temperature in the next hundred years. Both scientists also give their perspective on what policies might be put in place to reduce risk from climate change. This episode was recorded before a live audience at the College of Business Administration at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Size:29.7 MB
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Paul Sabin on Ehrlich, Simon and the Bet

EconTalk Episode with Paul Sabin
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Paul Sabin of Yale University and author of The Bet talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book. Sabin uses the bet between Paul Ehrlich and Julian Simon--a bet over whether natural resources are getting scarcer as population grows--as a lens for examining the evolution of the environmental movement and its status today. Sabin considers the successes and failures of the movement and the challenges of having nuanced public policy discussions on issues where both sides have passionate opinions.

Size:29.1 MB
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CATEGORIES: Books , Environment , Paul Sabin

   

Judith Curry on Climate Change

EconTalk Episode with Judith Curry
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology and blogger at Climate Etc. talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about climate change. Curry argues that climate change is a "wicked problem" with a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the expected damage as well as the political and technical challenges of dealing with the phenomenon. She emphasizes the complexity of the climate and how much of the basic science remains incomplete. The conversation closes with a discussion of how concerned citizens can improve their understanding of climate change and climate change policy.

Size:30.6 MB
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Wally Thurman on Bees, Beekeeping, and Coase

EconTalk Episode with Wally Thurman
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Wally Thurman of North Carolina State University and PERC talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the world of bees, beekeepers, and the market for pollination. Thurman describes how farmers hire beekeepers to pollinate their crops and how that market keeps improving crop yields and producing honey. Thurman then discusses how beekeepers have responded to Colony Collapse Disorder--a not fully understood phenomenon where colonies disband, dramatically reducing the number of bees. The discussion closes with the history of bee pollination as an example of a reciprocal externality and how Coase's insight helps understand how the pollination market works.

Size:29.1 MB
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Pindyck on Climate Change

EconTalk Episode with Robert Pindyck
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Robert Pindyck of MIT talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the challenges of global warming for policy makers. Pindyck argues that while there is little doubt about the existence of human-caused global warming via carbon emissions, there is a great deal of doubt about the size of the effects on temperature and the size of the economic impact of warmer climate. This leads to a dilemma for policy-makers over how to proceed. Pindyck suggests that a tax or some form of carbon emission reduction is a good idea as a precautionary measure, despite the uncertainty.

Size: 29.8 MB
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Sachs on the Crisis, the Recovery, and the Future

EconTalk Episode with Jeffrey Sachs
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University and author of The Price of Civilization talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of the American economy. Sachs sees the current malaise as a chronic problem rather than a short-term challenge caused by the business cycle. He lists a whole host of issues he thinks policymakers need to deal with including the environment, inequality, and infrastructure. He disagrees with the Keynesian prescriptions for stimulating the economy and believes that the federal government budget deficits are a serious problem. The conversation closes with a discussion of the state of economics.

Size: 31.1 MB
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David Owen on the Environment, Unintended Consequences, and The Conundrum

EconTalk Episode with David Owen
Hosted by Russ Roberts

David Owen of the New Yorker and author of The Conundrum talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his book. Owen argues that innovation and energy innovation have increased energy use rather than reduced it and similarly, other seemingly green changes do little to help the reduce humanity's carbon footprint or are actually counter-productive. Only large reductions in consumption are likely to matter and that prescription is unappealing to most people. Owen points out that New York City, ironically perhaps, is one of the greenest places to live because of the efficiencies of density. The conversation concludes with a discussion of how to best approach global warming given these seeming realities.

Size: 32.5 MB
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Dyson on Heresy, Climate Change, and Science

EconTalk Episode with Freeman Dyson
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Freeman Dyson of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about science, his career, and the future. Dyson argues for the importance of what he calls heresy--challenging the scientific dogmas of the day. Dyson argues that our knowledge of climate science is incomplete and that too many scientists treat it as if it were totally understood. He reflects on his childhood and earlier work, particularly in the area of space travel. And he says that biology is the science today with the most exciting developments.

Size: 30.3 MB
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Laughlin on the Future of Carbon and Climate

EconTalk Episode with Robert Laughlin
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Robert Laughlin of Stanford University and the 1998 co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about energy use and the future of the earth's climate. Drawing on his forthcoming book on energy, Laughlin predicts that we will continue to use cars and planes and electricity long after coal and petroleum are exhausted and speculates as to how that might play out in the future. The conversation concludes with discussions of other concerns of Laughlin's--the outlawing via legislation and taboo of certain forms of knowledge, and the practice of reductionism rather than emergence in the physical sciences.

Size: 39.2 MB
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Winston on Market Failure and Government Failure

EconTalk Episode with Clifford Winston
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Clifford Winston of the Brookings Institution talks about the ideas in his book, Market Failure vs. Government Failure, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Winston summarizes a large literature on antitrust, safety regulation and environmental regulation. He finds that government regulation often fails to meet its objectives. While markets are imperfect, so is government. Winston argues that idealized theories of government intervention based on textbook theories of market failure are not the way regulation turns out in practice. He argues that special interest politics explains much of the disappointing outcomes of government regulation.

Size: 30.4 MB
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Don Boudreaux on Energy Prices

EconTalk Episode with Don Boudreaux
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Don Boudreaux of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the recent surge in energy prices. They talk about why prices have risen, the implications for America's standard of living and the implications for public policy.

Size: 29.1 MB
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Botkin on Nature, the Environment and Global Warming

EconTalk Episode with Daniel Botkin
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Daniel Botkin, ecologist and author, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how we think about our role as humans in the natural world, the dynamic nature of environmental reality and the implications for how we react to global warming.

Size: 30.4 MB
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Sunstein on Worst-case Scenarios

EconTalk Episode with Cass Sunstein
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Sunstein.jpgCass Sunstein of the University of Chicago talks about the ideas in his latest book, Worst-Case Scenarios. How should individuals and societies cope with low-probability events with potentially catastrophic consequences? In this conversation with EconTalk host Russ Roberts, Sunstein discusses the uselessness of the precautionary principle as a guide to behavior and the psychological challenges we all face in coping with uncertain, risky events. He also speculates why we have chosen politically to treat terrorism and global warming so differently.

Size: 29.5 MB
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Yandle on the Tragedy of the Commons and the Implications for Environmental Regulation

EconTalk Episode with Bruce Yandle
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Bruce Yandle of Clemson University and George Mason University's Mercatus Center looks at the tragedy of the commons and the various ways that people have avoided the overuse of resources that are held in common. Examples discussed include fisheries, roads, rivers and the air. Yandle talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the historical use of norms, cooperative ventures such as incorporating a river, the common law, and top-down command-and-control regulation to reduce air and water pollution.

Size: 38.7 MB
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Grab Bag: Munger and Roberts on Recycling, Peak Oil and Steroids

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Michael MungerMike Munger, of Duke University, and EconTalk host Russ Roberts clean up some loose ends from their previous conversation on recycling, move on to talk about the idea of buying local to reduce one's carbon footprint and then talk about the idea of peak oil. They close the conversation with the Rick Ankiel story and the implications for the Barry Bonds saga.

Size: 30.0 MB
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Munger on Recycling

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Michael MungerMike Munger, professor of economics and political science at Duke University and frequent guest of EconTalk, talks with host Russ Roberts about the economics and politics of recycling. Munger argues that recycling can save resources, of course, but it can also require more resources than production from scratch. Some curbside recycling, for example, makes sense, while other forms (such as green glass) may be akin to a form of religious expression rather than a wise policy that is environmentally productive. The conversation is based on Munger's recent essay at the Library of Economics and Liberty.

Size: 28.7 MB
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