The ESRI forecast record

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The ESRI macro-economic forecast record has attracted some attention this week.

The Indo is unfair to Frances Ruane. The ESRI has long tried and failed to fill the gap in its expertise in finance. In 2006 and 2007, it was nigh impossible to hire an economist. Part of the problem was/is that the data on the financial sector were/are so murky.

The Irish Times is fair in its critique.

For the record, the ESRI did predict the end of the housing boom (as did most others because it was fairly obvious) but we did not foresee that this would coincide with a major international crisis in finance (again, we were not alone).

43 Responses to “The ESRI forecast record”

  1. Brian Lucey Says:

    Richard
    Do forgive me if im wrong, but I dont recall seeing ads in the SSRN or Jobs.ac.uk et for “ESRI research professor of finance/financial economics” in 05-6-7? Nor do I recall being asked, formally or informally, if I knew of anyone interested. Maybe others were asked for suggestions….in any case, I could have made a few suggestions. A full prof salary in Ireland is not trivial (so I understand) and could have attracted people of the caliber equivalent to the RP’s in other areas.
    That aside, the indo piece is an indo piece…nuff said.

  2. EWI Says:

    In 2006 and 2007, it was nigh impossible to hire an economist.

    The Indo piece actually repeats this (somewhat unbelievable) claim by Ruane, so I fail to see how they’re being “unfair”.

    What’s the excuse for writing shoddy reports on Poolbeg, then? (Not to mention giving a perch to an associate of Lomborg and the rest of the climate denialist industry)

  3. Eureka Says:

    Remember the thing we learned in primary school:
    “he who knows not and knows he knows not is a wise man,
    he who knows not and knows not he knows not – he is a fool”
    The ESRI dupes us into believing we know more than we actually do.
    It is dangerous and does not work. It should be abolished.

  4. kevin denny Says:

    The ESRI did at least publish Morgan Kelly’s piece in the QEC although I can’t recall its response to it.

  5. Richard Tol Says:

    @Brian
    The ESRI had just strengthened international and environmental economics, so could not afford another senior appointment. You can argue that that was a mistake — inappropriate policies in energy and environment cost Ireland hundreds of millions of euros per year — but those decisions were not made on Frances’ watch.

  6. Karl Whelan Says:

    I think it is unfortunate that the ESRI’s fiftieth anniversary has been greeted mainly by a round of finger-pointing over their failure to sufficiently warn about risk of economc meltdown. The failures of various groups of economists — including academics, stockbroker and government economists as well as those at the ESRI — to influence the government in a way that would have prepared us better to deal with the global crisis is a good topic for debate.

    However, it would have been nice to have seen at least some focus this week on all of the important work that the Institute has produced during its fifty years across a huge range of areas. The Institute has always been far more than the “forecasting outfit” the media presents it as and much of its work on social policy, education, health, energy, environmental and macro modelling has been invaluable. It would be a pity if this fact was ignored in the rush to find yet another scapegoat.

  7. Karl Whelan Says:

    In relation to the Indo article, the section starting with

    “Over the intervening 50 years the role of the ESRI has grown steadily in importance. In recent years, as the Department of Finance has found it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain in-house economists, it has increasingly come to rely on the ESRI for the economic forecasting previously carried out by its own staff.”

    does not strike me as in any way credible. The piece blames the inability of the Department of Finance to pay “market” salaries as the reason it ended up with reduced numbers of in-house economists.

    The fact that the Central Bank has maintained a large staff of economists on public sector salaries throughout this period shows that this picture is not an accurate one.

    That leaves the explanation dismissed by the Indo (or the Indo’s source more like): “Some blame it on the natural tendency of bureaucrats to marginalise and exclude those with superior technical knowledge.”

  8. Michael Hennigan - Finfacts Says:

    I agree with Karl Whelan that in the context of a 50-year record, the finger-pointing about the bubble period is misplaced.

    It’s surprising in a country where so many drank the soup in their own self-interest, that the independence of the ESRI could remain intact.

    I would have preferred that the ESRI, IMF and OECD would have been more direct about the risks during the bubble, but it would not have made any practical difference.

    Frances Ruane has said that the institute lacked competence in the banking area; that is the past and what’s important now is that forecasts account for a changed global economic situation where emerging economies are the engines of growth.

    GNP growth forecasts of almost 6% annually in the period 2010-2015 seem a little optimistic, if not foolish.

  9. Enda H Says:

    @ Eureka
    “he who knows not and knows he knows not is a wise man,
    he who knows not and knows not he knows not – he is a fool”

    You go on to call the ESRI “dangerous” and proceed to call for its abolition, even though it’s a private organisation.

    I wonder where that places you in terms of your rhetoric.

  10. Cormac Lucey Says:

    Sorry to break up the party.

    But the ESRI hardly deserves congratulations for observing (in the 2005-2007 period) that the share of construction in the Irish economy had reached an unsustainable level. The key error was to fail to make the connection between a construction bust and a banking bust.

    In its Medium-Term Review, 2005 – 2012, published in December 2005 it concluded that “The fundamental factors driving the Irish economy remain quite favourable.” The lowest annual rate of GNP growth in its “Low Growth Scenario” (in that document) was +2.7% (2009), a far cry from what actually transpired.

    The ESRI makes and has made a major contribution to national debate. The fact that there is a state-supported think-tank in a country suffused with so much low level anti-intellectualism is a minor miracle which we should all applaud.

    The ESRI (or at least France Ruane and John Fitz Gerald) should also be congratulated for their intellectual honesty in facing up to forecast errors.

    On Thursday, Frances Ruane got kicked around the “Prime Time” studio a bit for those errors. Really it ought to have been the former head of the Department of Finance (David Doyle) and the former governor of the Central Bank (John Hurley) in the hot seats, and not Frances Ruane. But I guess that she held her hand up while they ducked. Plus le change.

    But the ESRI needs to make at least two major changes if it is to advance in its next 50 years:

    a. it needs to change the background of the members of its council http://esri.ie/about_us/the_institute/governance/council/ It is wholly dominated by public sector / academia / protected private sector types. It is notable for the total absence of anyone with a monetary economics background or a background in trading or operating in financial markets. It was such people who came closest to warning of what was to come. By the, what the heck is Michael Kelly doing on that Council?

    b. it needs to incorporate financial and credit market elements into its modelling i.e. Taylor rule stuff. Years ago, my wife used to work at the ESRI and – at a social drinks event in Smyths of Haddington Road – I fell into conversation with a middle-level ESRI economist who looked completely blankly at me when I mentioned the Taylor Rule. He simply didn’t know what it was.

  11. Eureka Says:

    @Enda H
    You’re right – a fool I guess.
    I suppose what I’m trying to say is that bad research is infinitely more dangerous than no research at all. If they didn’t have the skills they shouldn’t have made any pronouncements at all. Humanity hates uncertainty but uncertainty breeds caution and caution (above all else) was missing during the boom. The four words we heard precious little of from anybody during the boom were “we do not know”.

  12. Richard Tol Says:

    @Cormac
    You may meet blank stares for all sorts of reasons, for instance, for suggesting to apply the Taylor rule to a small part of a currency union, or for confusing the current state of the economy with its fundamentals, which, if anything, have improved as kids are staying in school longer and emigration is disproportionally of the lower-skilled.

  13. Eureka Says:

    @RichardTol
    Not sure about the emigration stats. Anecdotally most of the people I know who have emigrated are higher skills – the ones that other countries want to let in

  14. Celtic Phoneix Says:

    @ Eureka

    I know of some highly educated young people deciding to start their careers/adult lives elsewhere not because they cant get jobs here but because they have lost faith in this country. I cant say I blaim them.

  15. EWI Says:

    The ESRI had just strengthened international and environmental economics

    So the employment of Richard Tol not only led to the current spectacle of a one-man war against climate science and policy being waged from within the ESRI, but was also a contributory factor to the banking collapse in this country? Someone should update Richard’s Wikipedia page with this information…

  16. Oliver Vandt Says:

    The 50 years of work by the ESRI do deserve congratulation. The (qualified) willingness by Ruane to face up to errors by the organisation is welcome. There is a strong suggestion in the Indo article that Opus DoF may have learnt something from the master about diverting blame on to others by using the spin (i.e. plausible untruth) identified by Whelan. All this though does not mitigate the colossal failure by many parties embodied in the prediction of a soft landing. In the future people will look back with astonishment at how a single bank, Anglo, caused such catastrophic economic damage. The establishment of 00s Ireland will be compared to that of late twenties America or late eighties Japan. People will read about Ireland and say, “How could they have been so DUMB?”

    Institutions which fully acknowledge their errors and confront them will earn an end to the brickbats but not until they do so. I fear Opus DoF and much of the establishment will never learn. I hope the ESRI and our next government do.

  17. Oliver Vandt Says:

    @EWI
    “Lomborg campaigns to oppose the Kyoto Protocol and other measures to cut carbon emissions in the short-term, and argues that we should instead adapt to short-term temperature rises as they are inevitable, and spend money on research and development for longer-term environmental solutions, and on other important world problems such as AIDS, malaria and malnutrition.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bj%C3%B8rn_Lomborg
    That seems a perfectly reasonable position to take, just as reasonable as disagreeing with it does. There is a strong whiff of McCarthyism in the attitude of some environmentalists to Tol and Lomborg. If, “establishing priorities for advancing global welfare using methodologies based on the theory of welfare economics,” reminds you of Holocaust Denial then the problem isn’t them – it’s you.

  18. Con Says:

    On the skills levels of emigrants, the clearest thing I see in the data is that a lot of people qualified to honours bachelor degree or higher are emigrating. Numbers aged 15-64 at this level of qualification were down 63,000 on the year as of Q1. Net emigration must have been significantly higher than this, given that the number of new people entering this category on graduation would have been considerably higher than the number leaving it on reaching 64 or dying.

    It’s more difficult to tell what is happening at lower levels of qualification. Numbers qualified to primary, lower secondary and higher secondary levels are falling quite rapidly, but it is difficult to be certain to what extent this reflects emigration and to what extent it reflects people who would once have entered the workforce directly on leaving school continuing their education. My guess would be that it’s a bit of both, and that nationals of other countries who had previously migrated into Ireland may be disproprtionately represented among the relatively low qualified people who are leaving.

  19. Richard Tol Says:

    @Oliver
    Adherents of the Church of Gaia aim to impose their Green Dogma on the entire population by a relentless pursuit of Heretics like me and you.

    Lomborg is a professional polemicist, but his core message is that we should consider pros, cons and alternatives. It’s an appeal to reason.

  20. Cormac Lucey Says:

    @Richard wrote
    “You may meet blank stares for all sorts of reasons, for instance, for suggesting to apply the Taylor rule to a small part of a currency union….”

    Your comment is mistaken.

    The OECD applies the Taylor Rule to component (and small) parts of EMU here … http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1302789

    The graphs on page 18 and 19 show very clearly the link between monetary policy, credit and property for individual members of the Eurozone. The graphs show Ireland, Greece and Spain the outliers (within the Euro) in terms of cheap credit and rampant property booms. Is it a coincidence that these are the EMU components now suffering the greatest economic distress?

    Honohan and Leddin “Ireland in EMU: More Shocks, Less Insulation?” also applied a Taylor Rule analysis to Ireland within EMU.
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=922071

    Bottom Line I
    The Taylor Rule can be applied WITHIN currency zones. You can also apply it within countries.

    If you were to apply it to eastern Germany where I worked in the immediate wake of German reunification, you would see that eastern Germany has a much too restrictive monetary policy since that time. This partly explains why the population in the small city where I worked, Weissenfels, has fallen by a stunning 23% since 1990.

    Bottom Line II
    Monetary policy explains and predicts much better what goes on in economies than fiscal policy. But Irish economic debate overly focusses – to its immense detriment – on fiscal policy.

    The facts that M3 is falling in the Eurozone and in the US signal renewed economic softness in those areas. But these facts have attracted minimal public attention to date.

  21. Joseph Says:

    @Karl Whelan – “The failures of various groups of economists — including academics, stockbroker and government economists as well as those at the ESRI — to influence the government…”

    Failure (economists) to convince or failure (government) to listen?

  22. Paul Hunt Says:

    It is unfortunate that the ESRI has gotten caught up in this blame-shifting game – “we had a watchdog and it didn’t bark, so how could we have known that things were so bad and dangerous”. It didn’t matter how loudly the ESRI barked; it would have been squashed and ignored by the groupthink. Indeed, John FitzGerald, has previously referred to legal constraints on the ability of the ESRI to comment on the activities of any individual bank.

    Apart from the appointment of competent game-keepers and more effective enforcement of banking supervision and financial regulation, nothing has really changed in the formulation of economic policy. This continues to emerge almost fully formed in draft legislative terms for rubber-stamping by the Oireachtas from the hidden crucible formed by the Minister, special advisers and senior DoF officials – presumably subject to some EC and ECB oversight.

    Until some light is shone on this process and it is subject to effective scrutiny, we are at nothing.

  23. Donal O'Brolchain Says:

    @Cormac
    “ESRI Council ….It is wholly dominated by public sector / academia / protected private sector types”
    Is this not true of much else in Irish life? As Joe Lee put it, “possessors not performers” are in control. As such, they have “a culture of the contented”.
    I suggest that something similar happened in the 1950s until the protectionist paradigm collapsed.

    This was replaced by what I call “cargo-cult economics”, which worked until about 2000. The possessors thought they had a new paradigm and reverted to type, putting alll our eggs into one very badly-designed basket ie. property.

    We have seen the beginnings of a new paradigm with the appointment of Honohan and Elderfield – a break with “normal” patterns.
    It remains to be seen whether this continues. Similar breaks with previous ways of doings things started well but were diluted and continue to be so over time eg. the limitations on the Freedom of Information Act.

    @Oliver
    “People will read about Ireland and say, “How could they have been so DUMB?” ”

    Some people have been saying that for a few years.
    Faced as we are with institutional corruption, the same questions will be asked about us, unless we change how we do things here, including how we govern ourselves.
    As Ivor Kenny put it furing the 1980s crisis “How do we construct a state that provides its people with the power of adapting to the changes that the constantly descend upon it?”

  24. Richard Tol Says:

    @Cormac
    When someone suggests that I include “Taylor rule stuff” into a model, I tend to think that they want me to include a rule to set the interest rate.

    I now understand that you suggested to include things that were included already.

    A blank stare was the polite response.

  25. Eureka Says:

    This blame-game is futile. It’s a waste of energy. Lots of people made lots of mistakes but that … is life. People get things wrong -so what!
    Disband the ESRI or change its role but there’s no need to attack the individuals in it.
    We all got seduced by consensus.
    We are all angry at what happened. This is just transferance onto an easy target. Time to learn, reform and move on. Personalizing things gets us nowhere.

  26. Dave Says:

    Is there any good reason why there would be a shortage of macroeconomists? Perhaps I’m biased coming from a political economy (undergrad) background, but macroeconomics would have struck me as the most appealing field for a sprightly young academic.

    Is it a supply-side shortage or is it just a historical lack of demand in this country that’s put off young academics?

  27. EWI Says:

    @ Oliver Vandt

    That seems a perfectly reasonable position to take, just as reasonable as disagreeing with it does. There is a strong whiff of McCarthyism in the attitude of some environmentalists to Tol and Lomborg. If, “establishing priorities for advancing global welfare using methodologies based on the theory of welfare economics,” reminds you of Holocaust Denial then the problem isn’t them – it’s you.

    And where exactly have I referred to Holocaust Denial…? If you expect to be replied to, then I suggest holding to at least some standard of truthfulness.

    @ RTol

    Adherents of the Church of Gaia aim to impose their Green Dogma on the entire population by a relentless pursuit of Heretics like me and you.

    You are not a scientist (and thus have nothing much to say on the issue), you continue to associate with the hardcore of anti-scientific denialist and industry lobbyists (Lomborg, the GWPF etc.) and your so-called ‘contributions’ to the debate have consistently furthered the agenda of this well-funded fringe of the mad and the bad, particularly through your eagerness to throw mud at anyone of the non-denialist side of the fence.

    Lomborg is a professional polemicist, but his core message is that we should consider pros, cons and alternatives. It’s an appeal to reason.

    Lomborg is a con-artist, pure and simple (his ‘honest mistakes’ excuse when challenged on his supposed methodologies wore thin years ago). I’ll refrain from commenting on what that makes you.

  28. Seamus Grimes Says:

    Cormac Lucey said:

    ‘The key error was to fail to make the connection between a construction bust and a banking bust.’

    I would add to this the on-going uncritical view of the need for high levels of immigration creating an unsustainable demand for housing.

  29. zhou_enlai Says:

    It strikes me that the organs primarily responsible for avoiding banking collapses were the Central Bank and the boards of the Banks. Banking collapses have long since been associated with bubbles. The banks saw the bubble and made it worse.

    (It didn’t all stem from Anglo either. If BoI, AIB and PTSB weren’t feeding bigger and more unsustanable mortgages to individual buyers then Anglo couldn’t have fed the money to developers.)

    The ESRI had a tangential role as a watch-dog and was an independent body which politicians could use to make their fiscal policy look reasonable (and they probably thought it was reasonable). However, the bankers broke the country by feeding unsustainable mortgages to financially illiterate customers. Don’t forget it.

  30. Edgar Morgenroth Says:

    @Seamus Grimes – “I would add to this the on-going uncritical view of the need for high levels of immigration creating an unsustainable demand for housing.” – you can’t tag this one on the ESRI. For example Alan Barrett raised the issue of the appropriate migration policy in the early part of the naughties. The report on investment priorities published in 2006 also made a strong case that per capita GNP should be the measure of success rather than GNP (and that immigration was adding to the housing bubble and infrastructure deficit).

    I commented on some of the ESRI advice on construction and the macroeconomy before.
    http://www.irisheconomy.ie/index.php/2010/06/17/economic-policy-advice-to-the-government-prior-to-the-financial-crisis/#comment-56777
    http://www.irisheconomy.ie/index.php/2010/06/17/economic-policy-advice-to-the-government-prior-to-the-financial-crisis/#comment-56979

    In relation to hiring macro/banking specialists, this goes back to a time before Frances Ruane became director of the ESRI (and before Richard Tol joined the ESRI). Colm Kearney joined the ESRI in 1998 as a replacement for Patrick Honohan, but left about a year later. An effort was made to hire on a number of occasions but as we know the position was not filled. I know that one offer was turned down on the basis that housing in Ireland was too expensive (@Brian Lucey – you are right salaries in Ireland are high but costs have also been high and depending on family circumstances the disposable income after housing and transport was/is higher in other countries).

  31. David Mc Williams Says:

    Morning,

    In the boom many of us economists said and wrote silly things (myself included) now it is better if we collectively stop flinging mud at each other, not least because we should all be on the same side.

    That side, as I see it, is explaining to the citizens (and each other) what is going on as best we can, in order to educate and inform so that this never happens again. I realize that there are various ways of doing this and my own chosen method is not to everyone’s taste. But thats hardly matters.

    For example, this website is the best thing to have happened economics in Ireland in a long time and but when it descends into a slagging match, its currency becomes devalued.

    The ESRI made mistakes, who hasn’t?

    So let’s be generous not petty.

    Kind regards, and keep informing me and others with the quality on this site.

    David

  32. Eureka Says:

    @David.
    You’re right. This site is a fantastic resource.
    This is called transferance in psychology – taking out our emotions on easier targets than the true object of them.
    We are a proud and great country. Our Taoiseach fawning over hrh a week after we found out what her soldiers did to our citizens doesn’t help that pride. We have triumphed over worse than this recession and we can do it again. We are freer now than ever before – no church, no respected bankers, no politicians with any moral authority and a great new cohort of immigrants and their children. This country is worth alot – let’s fight for it’s future – not about its past

  33. Eureka Says:

    Sorry for transferance read displacement

  34. Richard Tol Says:

    @David
    Mud slinging is bad, soul searching is good. We failed, but we should not take comfort in the fact that all others failed too.

    I think that an ESRI with Ahearne, Honohan, Lane, Lucey and Whelan on its staff would have made essentially the same forecasts until Lehman Brothers collapsed; but we would have been quicker on our feet making sense of the ensuing turmoil. Then again, these individuals and others stepped up to provide an excellent service to the public anyway.

  35. Donogh Diamond Says:

    The ESRI’s forecasting record wasn’t perfect, but there is no doubt that it, and John Fitzgerald in particular, constantly warned of the dangers of an unsustainably large property and construction sector, which is much more than many other forecasters managed.
    There seems to be little doubt that the greatest failure of any State agency was that of the Central Bank. As Cormac Lucey pointed out on ‘Prime Time’ financial stability was the very core of its job. Coming in close behind would seem to be the Department of Finance.
    Beside the staggering failures of the Central Bank/Financial Regulator, and the Department of Finance, the shortcomings of the ESRI seem relatively minor.

  36. Robert Browne Says:

    Let’s face it. If they were in the private sector nobody would pay hard cash for their mostly inaccurate reports and they would be all out of jobs. If you took investment advice from them you would be bankrupt several times over. If this is a “soft landing” for the Irish economy then I hope I am not around when they forecast the hard landing jobless recovery on the cards.

  37. Derek Brawn Says:

    Without re-hashing the historical accuracy or forecasting track-record of the ESRI, it is important to remember their position in Irish society & the perception of them in the media & amongst the public is very high (seen as THE economic think-tank). They are accorded huge status particularly by the newsprint media, so when they forecast 60,000 New Home Demand per annum – it is seized upon by the Auctioneers, Stockbrokers, CIF (put it on Home page of their website up until July 2008) etc.

    Last October in Kenmare, I put it to Prof. john Fitzgerald that their latest housing demand model (incidentally predicting 45,000 new homes needed by consumers p.a.) was too ‘esoteric’ for the public to understand i.e. the assumptions underlying it and so on. The media takes the ‘conclusion’ not the model parameters or input assumptions, then that becomes de facto ‘Gospel’.

    Anyone who has ever engaged in econometric times series modelling knows that it is more Art than Science (model choice, parameter selection, time series data set start/end and so on). Over-reliance upon models, focusing on Statistical Robustness as opposed to predictive power, not to mention choosing the right independent variables (a priori), leads to forecasters being Wed to their Models – such was likely the case with the ESRI HERMES Macroeconomic forecasting model.

    The ESRI has been put on a pedestal by punditry in this country, so they must suffer the criticism when they get it horribly wrong, so they must then adapt, change their models & hopefully get it right in the future.

  38. paul quigley Says:

    @ David Mc W

    Evening

    ‘In the boom many of us economists said and wrote silly things (myself included) now it is better if we collectively stop flinging mud at each other, not least because we should all be on the same side’

    If economics is a science, then the measure of success is scientific progress. The historical record shows that scientific progress is not always rewarded by social success. Gallileo was lucky, as many great scientists have been sent to a gulag, or worse. Lets remember them.

    The ESRI became, or always was, part of our little establishment. Lots of talent and hard work, but saying and doing the Right Thing. Even when it was wrong. The dog that didn’t bark.

    Now that the establishment is in crisis , and the future of our state is in question, the ‘sides’ you mention remain to be defined. Economic growth or stable economy ? Free market or regulation ? Eurozone or floating currency ?

    As you say, this blog is the business. Hat tip KW. The best way to ensure that this never happens again is to work our way towards consensus on what in the name of Jaysus hit us ?

  39. Edgar Morgenroth Says:

    @Robert Browne – firstly the bulk of ESRI funding comes via competitive tendering rather than grant in aid. Secondly, if you look at the evidence you will find that private sector forecasters got it more wrong, yet I think nobody got fired. Yes a soft landing was forecast, but that was conditional on no adverse external shock (it sometimes helps to read reports). The source of the shock was a surprise as was the state of the banking system but we should have seen the latter coming.

    If other advice that had been given by the ESRI (and others) had been followed we would not have ended in the kind of mess we are now in. By running a budget surplus we would have built up reserves (or reduced the level of our debt) that we could use now to cushion the blow to the economy and the property bubble would not have grown to the size it did, thereby reducing the size of the problem (including the banking problem).

    @Derek Brawn – in relation to annual housing demand it is important to remember that the forecasts are for a 10-15 year period over whish they would be expected to be fairly accurate. Such forecasts are contingent on demographics (size of population, household size etc.) and income. If we expected net-emmigration for a prolonged period then housing demand will change substantially. There is a huge difference between short-, medium- and long-term forecasts, a fact that seems to have passed a lot of people (including the Dept. of Finance) by!!

  40. Oliver Vandt Says:

    @EWI
    Climate scientists try to tell us what will happen to the climate, economists what the economic costs of the alternative measures to respond to climate change will be. There is no contradiction. I believe in climate change but I also can’t help noticing that the measures proposed in the short-term are very costly but with little overall effect. There is a legitimate debate to be had on what is an economic/political question not a scientific one. Environmentalists, including I presume yourself, care deeplyabout these issues, perhaps sometimes too much.

  41. zhou_enlai Says:

    @Oliver Vandt

    Some economists like to profess on what will happen to the climate:
    http://www.irisheconomy.ie/index.php/2009/05/28/is-dublin-missing-out-on-climate-change/

  42. Oliver Vandt Says:

    @zhou
    Economists have excellent statistical skills and Walsh applied them to temperature records in Dublin and some from the country as a whole. He was well within his area of competency.

  43. zhou_enlai Says:

    @OV

    That’s one opinion.

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