Sweden for example … III

Okay – one last time. I decided to have a look at Will Steffen’s comment:

So much for the myth that taking vigorous action on climate change will damage or slow the economy. Quite the opposite seems to be the case.

Sweden is part of the European Emissions Trading System so it is possible to compare like with like. A very simple test is to compare economic growth over the phase one period of the EU ETS. The Wiki provides a very nice table showing the change in emissions over the 2005 – 2007 period. It also has the nice feature of pre-dating the GFC. I then collected GDP (at PPP prices) from the IMF for those economies for the 2005 – 2007 period and calculated percentage changes and then graphed the data.

For the 24 economies in the sample Sweden is at the median for growth but has achieved the greatest emission reduction. That does not support Steffen’s argument. To be fair it doesn’t negate it either. A lot more analysis would have to be undertaken and I wouldn’t be surprised if that analysis did negate Steffen’s argument.

I also put a trend line through the data – the coefficient is positive but not statistically significantly different from zero (p-value not shown). So the (very simple) analysis fails to reject the hypothesis that there is no relationship between emissions change and economic growth in the EU ETS over the 2005 – 2007 period.

Update: Should point out the other country to come close to cutting as much as Sweden is Portugal and their growth was an anaemic 10.3 per cent.

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12 Responses to Sweden for example … III

  1. Milton Von Smith

    Forget the graph – just look at the aggregate emissions data on that wiki link. The ETS commenced in 2005, and yet aggregate emissions still rose!

    Indeed, wiki states that “Verified emissions have seen a net increase over the first phase of the scheme. For the countries for which data is available (all 27 member states minus Romania, Bulgaria, and Malta), emissions increased by 1.9% between 2005 and 2007.”

  2. TerjeP

    I can’t find a good reference but my recollection is that around the start of this period the Swedish government authorised an increase in output from Swedens nuclear power plants.

  3. cohenite

    Great series of posts about the liar Steffan.

  4. Louis Hissink

    Noooo, it is an alternative narrative, cohenite, and just as important.

    Gosh you would fail Marxism 101, for sure!

  5. Alfonso

    Seffan……political science at its worst.
    Being on a govt climate committee means you agree with Julia’s CAGW or you aren’t on the committee.


    Steff wants to watch he doesn’t become as credible as Phil Jones and the boyos at the East Anglia Uni CRU.

  6. cohenite

    laterite; the Judge will give his decision in this case which will consist of either a declaration that the official NZ temperature record is flawed in part or whole as alleged in the Statement of Claim or that it isn’t.

    The 2nd option isn’t really feasible however since the Defence consisted of an admission that the temperature record was not accurate and that there was no obligation for the Defendant, NIWA, to preapre an accurate record.

    It really is a strange case with considerable bearing for the Australian temperature record since it is prepared in a similar process of homogenisation which has also produced an increase in the temperature trend so as to make it appear as though warming has occurred.

  7. Cohenite, what is your legal opinion on the larger case, because the judge will not make a decision on matters of science, i.e. whether the record was deficient. The issue, as I read Richard, is the conflicting loyalties between science, and the government of the day . Loyalty to he government of the day is the lipstick on the pig of course, as it really entails bending over for funding.

    Isn’t the case about resolving conflicting loyalties. Everyone agrees the record is flawed, don’t they?

  8. To refer back to the post, should Prof Steffan be bound (legally) to use basic reasoning and 1st year numeric techniques like linear regression, or is he bound by the Crown as his employer to bend over for Gillard?

    To lift a quote from the NZ discussion:

    … there should be no reasonable doubt that NIWA has an obligation to use internationally accepted techniques and if it does not do so then it should be obliged to do so if the words ‘pursue excellence’ are to have the commonly accepted meaning

  9. cohenite

    Everyone agrees the record is flawed, don’t they?

    Well, according to the Defence the record is non-existent, or at least not official.

    The dispute seems to have been distilled to the issue of what standard should apply to the efforts of semi-governmental body performing a function which has a public consumption component.

    As part of the Defence it was argued that NIWA did not have a duty to pursue a standard of excellence in its endeavours; Counsel on their behalf argued that what NIWA aspired to was:

    not duties, they’re not called duties, they’re called operating principles

    This is in contradiction to the pronoucements of certainty and public declarations of “the science is settled” which have framed the context of the NZ temperature record and its employment as justification for policy.

    It also contradicts the essence of government service to the community which funds its various agencies for its benefit.

    It is a desperate Defence which can only be explained as a muddying of the waters and an attempt to technolise a plain interpretation of the role of government instrumentalities and the attendant definition of duty.

  10. cohenite

    Just to clarify further; NIWA is trying to avoid a breach of duty declaration with all the claims which would flow from that by alleging there was no duty to breach.

  11. David Brewer

    There are probably quite a few more factors to consider here, e.g.

    – assessing growth and emissions in a single country, or a handful of countries, over only two years, can’t really prove much either way, as Sinc says. In any case, the European ETS is a fleabite, not “vigorous action” to use Steffen’s phrase.

    – Sweden’s ETS emission figures for 2005-7 are not credible, or at least, there is some major anomaly affecting them. Sinc’s Wiki link shows these as rising from 19.4 million tonnes of CO2 in 2005 to 19.9 million in 2006, but then crashing to 15.3 million in 2007. No way can this represent the real fall in emissions between 2006 and 2007, since Sweden’s overall GHG emissions (including those not covered by the ETS) only fell from 67.3 to 65.6 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent in that period (see Sweden’s official report here, page 24).

    – Sweden’s report also makes clear that their emissions have barely changed from 2005 to 2010. Excluding the large, volatile and questionable deductions for land use, land use change and forestry, Sweden’s emissions only fell by about 1.5% over the period, which includes the entire effects of the ETS.

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