Together with Martin Henseler I just published an article entitled “The impact of weather on economic growth and its production factors” in the journal Climatic Change.

Here is the abstract:

We investigate the influence of weather on countries’ GDP and their main components of production, namely total factor productivity, capital stock, and employment. Our panel dataset includes annual observations on 103 countries for the period 1961–2010. We find that the main impacts of weather occur through temperature and drive the growth in GDP. Our results show that, for higher levels of temperature, the poor countries are much more strongly impacted than the rich countries. We also find that weather impacts per capita GDP growth through all its factors of production, with the largest impacts on total factor productivity. Again it is the poor countries for which these impacts are the strongest. The findings provide empirical evidence for negative impacts of temperature on economic growth and its factors of production and furthermore point towards climate change as an important driver of international inequality.

For journalists or non-academic readers, a non-scientific version of our article just went online at the magazine The Ecologist.

The main conclusion of this article is the following:

Climate change already prevents poor countries from reaching their full growth potential, and with increasing future temperatures they are going to fall even further away from that potential.

The cumulative effects can be horrendous. The solutions for this problem are well-known.

For governments: price carbon via a tax or via cap-and-trade. If necessary regulate companies and consumers.

For individuals: don’t vote for nationalists. Someone who places “America first” or who views migrants as the source of evil is clearly unfamiliar with how the world works. Within a family nobody really places the own interests above those of the other family members. International cooperation between countries should not – and can not – work any differently. Also, think twice before you buy – do you really need this?

For companies: Yes, prices matter, productivity is important, shareholder value a useful indicator. But do not be mistaken: There very often is little trade-off between producing green and sustainably and staying same-old-same-old. Going green and sustainable, and doing this well, is only a matter of good leadership.

Some information about my co-author:

Martin Henseler holds a PhD in agricultural science from the University of Hohenheim and is specialized in agricultural economics. From 2008 to 2012 Martin worked for the Joint Research Center-IPTS of the European Comission (Sevilla). Between 2012 and 2016 Martin continued his research activities as a freelance researcher. Martin has been working at the Thünen Institute of Rural Studies since 2017. He is affiliated to the Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP) Network and to L’Equipe D’Economie Le Havre – Normandie (EDEHN) of the University of Le Havre. Martin currently works on the regional estimation of microplastic emissions into agricultural soils, as well as on regional agro-economic models in agricultural and environmental policy impact analysis (applied to water quality, biofuels, greenhouse gas emissions, mitigation measures and impacts of climate change).

According to the Guardian, the US gov’t plans to reclassify radioactive waste. “Labeling some high-level waste as low level will save $40bn in cleanup costs.”

[irony on] I think that is a very interesting concept. Here is an idea to Mr Trump: Why not simply classify all nuclear waste as being a non-pollutant, then the USA can save all the clean-up costs. You could simply leave it lying around as, once it is reclassified, it then would be harmless anyway. I mean, it was most likely non-sense anyway that nuclear waste was classified as being harmful in the first place, right? [irony off]

This is yet another addition towards the recent streams of environmental deregulations from the current US government. This government, headed by Trump, seems to be convinced that it is better to save money than to save the lifes and health of its citizens. Well, somehow fair game, after all the voters fell into the illusion that Trump would actually be interested in them and do something for them, voted for him despite everything that had been made public about him.

So fortunately there is going to be an election in the US soon and the voters can show what is most important for them. If they continue to support Trump despite his tantrums, misbehaviors, focus on tweets instead of actual policy, mood-dependent policy and irresponsible international policy, then that is their fair choice and they have to live with the consequences.

When it comes to the election time, the important point they however need to consider is going to be: Am I better off since Trump took power? Do I feel safer, happier? And for those voters who not only have their own interests in mind: Has he made the world a better place?

As a professor I spend quite some time teaching students. I supervise a good number of master theses. I organize conference. I write scientific articles. I (try to) write for newspapers. I write many, many referee reports. I write recommendation letters for students. As you notice, from time to time I also write blog posts. Most of my time I spend behind a computer screen. Most of my articles see a fair amount of rejections before being accepted in journals. It is at times like these that some positive feedback really elevates the motivation. This just came in my inbox from one of my students this year:

Thank you so much for your lectures, you were such a caring, kind and good teacher to me. I wish you well for the future! 

That made me really happy. This kind of personal feedback, whether it comes from students or other researchers or just anyone out there, just puts a smile on the face. It would be great if people in general were to give treats like that more often.

There are so many claims that Germany’s Energiewende is a true failure. For example, Larry Hamlin wrote that “EU climate alarmist champion Germany has its Energiewende program exposed as a catastrophic failure with enormous costs“. Or, a post on Politico.eu notes that ” Germany is expected to fall short on pretty much all its national and EU emission reduction and clean energy targets for 2020. ” These opinions are strangely all over the internet. I just want them to get the facts straight. And what is better than letting the data talk.

In Figure 1 we see Germany’s renewable energy share in gross final energy consumption and gross electricity consumption from the year 2000 to 2018. The dotted lines show the national targets. As one can see, Germany is in line for achieving both 2020 targets. In fact, the 2020 target for its renewable energy share in gross electricity consumption is already overshot and Germany is well in line to achieve its 2025 target during 2019 or 2020 already.

Figure 1

While it is true that there are costs associated with the Energiewende, it is clearly wrong to speak of Germany falling short of its energy targets. I think that is a point well worth emphasizing and it does show that, whatever Germany is doing, works.

Figure 2

However, as is nearly always true, there is a catch. Renewables in energy consumption is only one of the vital targets helping our planet to become more sustainable. It is not only important that we rely on renewable inputs to meet our consumption needs, but that also our production does not produce unwanted outputs.

The major additional output is, of course, the production of greenhouse gases. As Figure 2 shows, it is true that Germany will fall short of its 2020 targets by maybe 50-70 million tons if current trends continue. Most of this is due to the energy industry, then industry in general and then transport. Under Merkel’s rule the dirty part of the energy industry, especially the coal industry, as well as the dirty part of the transport industry, has seen substantial support. This is the reason for the shortfall in emission reductions. It has nothing to do with the Energiewende per se. It is simply the result of protective policies, based on an old legacy. There is a term for this in academic, it is history dependence.

Let’s see whether the new leaders in Germany will follow Merkel’s path of protecting the coal industry and the old school car industry, or whether there will be a further shift away from dirty energy inputs and from transport relying on combustion. As long as one is not tight to a specific history, then one is also more likely to change the path one treads on.

Subconference in Environmental Economics at the 10th International Research Meeting in Business and Management (#IRMBAM2019).

We warmly invite you to submit your paper for presentation in the Subconference on Environmental Economics, organized by Ingmar Schumacher (IPAG Business School, France), Eric Strobl (University of Bern, Switzerland), and Cees Withagen (IPAG Business School, France and VU University, Amsterdam, Netherlands) at the 10th International Research Meeting in Business and Management that will take place on 8-10th July 2019 in Nice, France. We welcome both theoretical and empirical contributions on environmental economics and resource and energy economics, with emphasis on climate change economics; green growth; welfare, discounting and sustainable development; uncertainty and irreversibilities in dynamic resource use; the nexus between population, economic growth and the environment; environmental policy; as well as empirical studies that focus on economic aspects of the environment.

The keynote lectures will be held by Carolyn Fischer (Professor of Environmental Economics, Vrije University, The Netherlands), and Antony Millner (Associate Professorial Research Fellow, London School of Economics, United Kingdom).

How to submit?
Submit your papers electronically at http://ipag-irm.sciencesconf.org/
Only papers in English are considered.
Please choose the Topic “Subconference in Environmental Economics”

Important dates
Submission deadline : April 7, 2019
Notification of acceptance/rejection: May 4, 2019
Registration deadline: June 8, 2019
Conference event: July 8-10, 2019

FURTHER INFORMATION

For queries, please contact the organizer at Ingmar.schumacher@ipag.fr or ipag-irm@sciencesconf.org

Many researchers have recently voiced an increasing resentment towards academic journals. Opinions vary widely, and tend from “they are not necessary anymore”, over “they are clubs and you are either part of these clubs or you don’t publish”, to “I love academic journals”. Economists tend to be particularly troubled with their journals, researchers from medicine seemingly less so. Why is that and what can be done about it?

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Friday the 15th of March 2019 marked a new beginning, or so they say. Kids all around the world took the future in their own hands and marched onwards in a desperate attempt to make their voices heard. “The future is ours, don’t take it away from us,” they shouted. “Time to wake up,” was written in big print. “We have no planet B,” was a common reminder. The enthusiasm was really overwhelming. Nobody expected close to 10,000 students demonstrating in Luxembourg alone. Hundreds of thousands of German students marched the streets, the biggest number of young kids demonstrating since the sixties. Even the politicians came to show, one would guess, their support. In France,  a sizable number of the gilet jaune, for some reason, joined the Friday strikes. What next? An assessment and suggestions.

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