Thursday, April 28, 2016



Eight economists for Brexit have today published a pamphlet on the economic case for leaving the EU.  I suggested in an earlier comment that at the political level there was a strong correlation between Brexit and climate scepticism.  That correlation is obviously strongly in evidence in the economic fraternity as well. (Yes it is a fraternity, at least for the eight.)

Of the eight, three have strong institutional or personal connections to the climate sceptic position, one as a former adviser to Nigel Lawson (Brexit and GWPF), one as adviser to Boris Johnson, and one with the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). The IEA has for a long time been exercised by the threat that climate change realities (and the EU) might pose to small state and free market ideologies.

Of the others, Tim Congdon once claimed that “… the EU bureaucracy has accepted the so-called ‘warmist’ doctrine that, … mankind is largely to blame for the warming of recent decades.” 195 countries have just signed up to this strange notion in Paris, and it is a notion that  is shared by every serious academy of science and meteorological organisation in the world. Never mind.

I am not familiar with Neil McKinnon, but an economist Neil McKinnon has written somewhat less temperately on the subject in the Scotsman: “ …there can be little doubt that this country has taken one more step closer to a state of green fascist insanity….”  In this instance the charge is laid against Holyrood, not Brussels. [Apologies to both if this a namesake, and I will publish your comment.]

Patrick Minford may be out of the mainstream in terms of Europe (according to the FT), but does not appear to have strong views on climate. Perhaps his absence from the sceptic camp reflects his time as an adviser to Mrs Thatcher, a politician who famously was one of the early politicians to “get” climate change, according to Sir John Houghton, first chairman of the IPCC. Likewise the last two do not feature strongly in the climate policy debate.

It seems to me to be quite tragic that ideology should dominate the climate debate. I hope it is not doing that for Europe. With or without Brexit, everyone will be facing difficult questions in the light of the Paris agreement.

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