Irish economy and climate change

Climate policy in Ireland and Europe is important to the economy of Ireland, and I will continue to blog on that. I have not posted much lately, which is because nothing much has happened (except for a series of non-conclusive international and European meetings).

Most aspects of climate change are not particularly relevant to the Irish economy. Although some frequent visitors to this site share my interest in these matters, the discussion is better placed elsewhere. My adventures in IPCC land are discussed here, but I’ll also use VOX, Klimazwiebel and Pielke Jr for issues on climate change economics, science, and policy, respectively.

15 replies on “Irish economy and climate change”

I have not posted much lately, which is because nothing much has happened

Oh, really? How about your failure to write any follow-up to your (extensive) posts on the so-called ‘Climategate’, mentioning that the scientists in question have been cleared? Or how about this, even today:

“THE FIRST official investigation of errors in the most recent assessment of global warming by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that none of these were so serious as to undermine its main conclusions.

PBL, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, which carried out the investigation at the request of the Dutch government, focused on the rate at which Himalayan glaciers are melting and the IPCC’s stated percentage of the Netherlands that lies below sea level. This had raised concerns in the Dutch parliament over the reliability of scientific information on which government climate policy was based. As a result, PBL was asked to assess how such errors would affect the IPCC’s main conclusions on the regional impacts of climate change.

Its report, published yesterday, said the panel’s fourth assessment – issued in 2007 – “conclusively shows that these effects already are visible in many places around the world, and that these will become more serious under further temperature increases”


“The IPCC is an international network in which scientists from all over the world participate . . . PBL has indicated that, in a document that is thousands of pages long, representing the state-of-the-art in science, errors seem in actual practice unavoidable.”

You’re not seriously going to expect us to believe that you missed a report on this by the Dutch government, are you…?

By the way, this:

I know of one case in which somebody was nominated by his government, without him knowing. I know of one case in which someone was nominated by a junior civil servant, against the will of more senior civil servants. I know of one case in which someone agreed to be be nominated, but declined the invitation by the IPCC.

…is you referring to yourself, correct?

@EWI 1
I don’t think this discussion belongs here.

The PBL press release may have cleared the IPCC, but the underlying report did not. In fact, it discovered further errors.

And it could have highlighted more, such as the Niang-Diop reference on the impacts of sea level rise. The Africa chapter relied on a gray publication and ignored peer-reviewed papers. The gray paper was more alarmist than the peer-reviewed ones. The IPCC ignored 7 out of 12 results, and suggested that the remaining 5 were representative.

@EWI 2
I refer to three different people.


The urge to nit-pick the PBL report must be unbearable. It unequivocally supports the summary conclusions of the IPCC. It finds error in the detail, but notes that these do not affect the conclusions. I urge anyone to read for themselves:

With Pachauri getting ( so far) a new lease at the IPCC, the PBL report & a plethora of exonerations for Phil Jones & Michael Mann, skeptics/ deniers are getting less and less to talk about. But obviously, they will talk about these topics more and more.

Nit-picking is what academics do.

The PBL is very close to the IPCC (having hosted a TSU for 11 years) and to the Department of the Environment. It is therefore significant that they found more errors (and involuntarily exposed others).

It is worrisome that everytime someone opens the WG2 report, (s)he finds errors.

Hi Richard,

When you say that climate change is not relevant to the Irish economy, what do you mean?

Given that we have one of the most carbon-intensive economies in Europe and the implications of the 4th IPCC report, surely climate change has everything to do with our economy?

What I meant to say, is that “Irish Economy” is not the place to discuss whether climate change is real or not or whether the IPCC is corrupt or not: these are global issues and largely unrelated to economics, and there are plenty of alternative sites on these matters

Our energy intensity per capita is mid-range.

Similarly, our CO2 per capita is mid-range.

Then, the size of both our economy and our population is SMALL.


We could take up carbon emissions as a hobby and it would be irrelevant in terms of the impact on the global climate. That’s not a value judgement on whether or not we should do so, merely an observation that our economy and its emissions are insignificant on any global scale. Climate change may have relevance for our economy, but our economy has little or no relevance for climate change.

I think Richard Tol is correct. If people stick to reasoned debate about economics then this site should be easy to moderate.

On the other hand, debates about some climate change and environmental matters really get people worked up. Intemperate remarks that have nothing to do with economics are made. I have got a bit carried away myself.

It appears to me that Richard Tol is acting in the interests of this site by moving “newsy” stories elsewhere. Hopefully Richard Tol and others will continue to post links to research and reports on the economics of climate change on this site.

Most aspects of climate change are not particularly relevant to the Irish economy.

Spectacular insouciance. I’m so glad we have this quality of advice coming from the E(S)RI. (The S is in brackets because they don’t do much Social in amongst the discredited neo-classical Economics).

Just take a look at what 1.2m+ of sea level rise would do to the Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Cork etc. as predicted to occur in a century by the models in papers by Grinstead 2009, Vermeer and Rahmstorf 2009 & Jevrejava et all 2010. Rahmstorf, Nature: April 2010. No effect on the economy that I can see. Geography is irrelevant. Move along there please.

Now imagine tens of millions of refugees from Africa and Southern Europe trying to find somewhere to survive in the more temperate parts of Europe. Imagine the global decline in food supplies etc. etc.

But hey, don’t worry, the divine market will save us. Just keep paying your dues to it’s priesthood at the E(S)RI.

@ Hugh

Our CO2 emissions per capita are mid range, but our CO2-eq emissions (read greenhouse gas emissions) per capita are among the highest in the world. I’ll leave it to you to find the relevant link.

The size of Ireland’s economy and population are irrelevant to the debate on how Ireland’s legally binding emissions reduction targets are best met.

Both true.

Sure. Let this be a forum to discuss the implications of climate change and climate policy for the Irish economy — nothing more, nothing less.

@pope epopt
The methods behind the sea level explorer were discredited in the early 1990s. See the papers by Hoozemans and Yohe.

My point was primarily that climate change may be important for our economy, but that our economy is not important to climate change.

Whatever we do on emissions will have no significant impact on what happens to us. Our legal obligations may be met or not. On a global scale it is not important and will not impact the trajectory of climate change nor any impact on Ireland. Our primary planning driver should be the changes that we anticipate and their impact on Ireland.

@Hugh Sheedy,

Isn’t that a recipe for a “tragedy of the commons” where every individual country acts on the basis of national utility, and collectively a resource available to all is destroyed or severely impaired? The resource in this case being the planet. Surely whatever influence Ireland has internationally should be expended in the persuance of international agreements, which we then maintain? That does not diminish the responsibilty of the major emitters to take their responsibilities.

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