The Duck of Minerva

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Thursday Linkage: Hey! A Non-World Cup/Brazil post

July 17, 2014

I’m ready to move on from Brazil and football/soccer news. Really I am. Here are some links related to climate change and I’ve thrown in a link to Will Moore’s post about using satellite rain data rather than rain gauge data to track rainfall (the latter may be subject to variation due to conflict. Hard to collect rain gauge data in conflict zones!). In other news, Australia votes to repeal carbon tax, while lots of action afoot to deal with emissions from autos, HFCs, impacts, etc. 

Climate Change

– White House announces new initiatives to address climate change, mostly related to adaptation and emergency preparedness

– Is California drought related to climate change?

– Global Fuel Economy Initiative identifies big savings in emissions even with greater demand with modest design changes in cars, weight reduction and advanced hybrids

– Australia finally repeals carbon tax and joins the likes of Canada in major policy reversals on climate change

– Ed Dodge wonders if the EPA coal rules will survive court scrutiny and reflects on the challenges of implementing CCS in the US

– NRDC and CEEW leading the way to discuss with Indian producers how to phase out HFCs, Indian producers appear to be ahead of government policy (pt 1, pt 2)

– Climate change advocate Tom Steyer reflects on his former life as investor when he did invest in fossil fuels (and New York Times piece that slated him for it)

Rainfall Data and Conflict

Will Moore writes on satellite rain data (which doesn’t go very far back in time, late 1990’s earliest) and rain gauge data (which may be hard to collect in conflict periods).

 It turns out that, if a district experienced some insurgency related conflict in the previous year,  it is less likely that this district has an active rain gauge reporting data in subsequent years. While it is a no-brainer that places with severe conflict do not have functioning weather reporting, these results suggest  that reporting may also be systematically affected in places with relatively low intensity of conflict – as is the case of India.

While I do not want to overstate the importance of this, it provides another justification of why it makes sense for economists to be using  remotely sensed weather data.

Reminds me of some earlier work Brad Lyon at Columbia showed me on rain gauge numbers in the DRC over the last half century, the number of which have declined dramatically, not just conflict but state capacity as well.




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Joshua Busby is an Associate Professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas-Austin. He is the author of Moral Movements and Foreign Policy (Cambridge, 2010) and the co-author, with Ethan Kapstein, of AIDS Drugs for All: Social Movements and Market Transformations (Cambridge, 2013). His main research interests include transnational advocacy and social movements, international security and climate change, global public health and HIV/ AIDS, energy and environmental policy, and U.S. foreign policy. He also tends to blog about global wildlife conservation.