Saturday, December 08, 2007

Way to go John!!

We all know that John Whitehead is the straw that stirs that Mountaineer drink. Congrats to ASU.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

One Last Chance

If you have not had a chance to comment yet this semester - here is one last opportunity - more evidence on a warming planet.

Please take a moment to read this and leave a thoughtful comment.


p.s. - we will have a review session today, Thursday, and again next Tuesday in preparation for the Exam next Thursday.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Local Water Issues

Here are the readings for the rest of the semester. Ignore whatever we have on the syllabus and be sure to read each of these carefully.







see you this afternoon.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Is that the mayor with Jim Casey????

Yes, that's right, The Green General and the Mayor of Wilmington NC. We were participating in a "press conference" supporting the development of alternative energy technologies in New Hanover County. Wind, Wind, and More Wind.....

Friday, November 02, 2007

Reading for next week

Please be sure to check the syllabus for the new readings for next week.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ethanol Schmethanol

Although the title of this post would lead you to believe that I am only going to address Ethanol in my talk today - that is not the case. I want to provide a framework and some numbers for thinking about the environmental trade-offs associated with different ways of producing biofuels. In the end, however, its - ethanol schmethanol. I did a back of the envelope calculation for the cost of removing one ton of CO2 by subsidizing corn ethanol in the US and it is costing taxpayers about $500 per ton of mitigated emissions of CO2.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


This is me and Zach after the race yesterday. I finished 243rd out of almost 900. Not bad for an old man. More importantly I got to spend time with family and raise money for autism research. Obviously, its never too late to donate.

Tune in tomorrow for the premier of Ethanol Schmethanol.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Ethanol, schmethanol - The Economist, schmomonimist

I am heading back to Lexington, VA next week to speak at the COVES conference (Commonwealth of Virginia Energy and Sustainability). I have been asked to speak about Ethanol and its potential environmental externalities. The tentative title for my talk was Ethanol, schmethanol, but I was concerned this would be a little cavalier of me - then it happened. I opened up the latest issue of the Economist this evening and sure enough an article on biofuels titled Ethanol, schmethanol. Well, I am still using the title - so there you have it - Economist, schmomonimist!! Stay tuned for a sneak peak at my presentation.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Updated Syllabus Again

Here is the latest version. Great conversation yesterday, not what we had planned, but sometimes the best laid plans...... Have a great Fall break.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Prof. Whitehead's Favorite Quiz Question

See if you can identify the mistake in the following passage from The Economist.

"At the same time high prices are bound to constrain demand, and unpredictable economic growth and Middle Eastern politics make the future of both demand and supply uncertain."

Hint: exogenous vs. endogenous.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sustainability Tuesday

Please check the syllabus for two new articles. One is a short comment by Bob Solow on Sustainability and the other is article is from RFF. Here is a link to the updated syllabus.

Also, notice we do not have class this coming Thursday - I will be at NC State attending a climate economics workshop.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Why do we treat natural resources the way we do?

Maybe there are some clues here.

Fascinating work and even more insights into that whole conservative liberal thing....

Field Research II

Olivia and I went swimming in Banks Channel yesterday afternoon. We saw 6 dolphins swimming in the channel and then they headed out to sea through Masonboro Inlet.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Why Lead in Toy Paint?

The answer is: it's cheaper. But is it? According to this article paint with high levels of lead sell for 1/3 the price of their lead-less counterparts. So, firms in China buy leaded paint to lower costs and maximize profits - wouldn't Uncle Milton be proud. Are the firms in China bearing all the costs or are there potential market failures here? Let me know what you think?

Monday, September 10, 2007

How should we teach Coase??

I thought it might be helpful to see how others struggle with teaching Coase. Here are some thoughts from Tim Habb.

See you tomorrow.

Field Research during my Sabattical

Part of my time away from W&L will be spent doing field research. Since my primary field of interest these days is Marine Resource Recreation Valuation, it is important for me to recreate. Tonight we (the research team consists of Catarina, Olivia, and Lisa) went to a sea turtle excavation. It was really beautiful to see those little dudes heading for the great big sea. Yesterday, our research yielded an intact sand dollar and a good size crab caught with a chunk of mullett.

I Knew it!!!

I want to learn about this study, but in the meantime here is an interesting article on the difference between conservatives' brains and those of a liberal bent...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

What Can I do with a Degree in Economics?

Students are fond of asking that question and often the response is something 'blase' like go to Law School, be a consultant, go to business school, or work for an NGO. One of my former students works for AEI in Washington and from now on, when students ask me, "what can I do with a degree in Economics" my response will be "read this."

Nice work Tom!!!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Next Week...

Next week we will finish chapter 2 and read The Tragedy of the Commons.

Garrett Hardin published this piece in 1968 and for any current student of resource economics it is just as relevant today as it was 39 years ago - maybe even more so today.

Nice class today - I am enjoying the level of participation.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Simple ideas from a brilliant man

And he's a pretty good hoopster to boot. Bill Bradley had a nice piece in the Washington Post
a few months back that is worth revisiting. His argument is simple - tax the things we want less of (oil imports) and reduce taxes on things we want more of (jobs). In case you weren't aware, Dollar Bill ran for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2000. He served in the US Senate for 18 years, played for the Knicks for about a decade ( I saw him play when I was 4), went to Princeton and Oxford. The ideas he talks about in the article are just a sampling of the kind of things he thinks about - I guess that's why I voted for him in 2000 and wish he would run again.

The General

Monday, August 27, 2007

More on China

Yesterday's NYTimes had an article on economic growth and pollution in China. It is hard to imagine how fast China's economy has been growing and even harder to imagine just how dirty the air and water must be. It begs the question - at what price growth??

China Pays Steep Price As Textile Exports Boom

Did you see the WSJ article on August 22nd with the title "China Pays Steep Price As Textile Exports Boom"? A perfect example of negative externalities.

Below is the link if you have access:

The Syllabus

ECN 330

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Costs of Market Failure

Since we will be talking about market failure in class this week - here is an update on the link between pollution and asthma.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The General Is Back!!

Back in the classroom - that is. Yesterday I taught my first class as Visiting Associate Professor of Economics at UNC-Wilmington. It felt good to be back in the classroom and the 22 students who showed up seem like a great bunch - I am really looking forward to the semester. As was the case last Winter - we will be using this site as a place to conduct an ongoing conversation about Natural resource economics and related issues. Hope to hear from lots of you.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Thursday, July 19, 2007

China's advice for Africa

A very interesting piece from Jeff Sachs on the recent meeting of the African Development Bank held in China. Notice the role of government in the development process.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Monday, July 02, 2007

Good Morning Summer Scholars!!!

Today we will stick to introductions, course outline, and some general discussion of the program. I am very excited about the next four weeks, and I hope you are as well. I will use this forum to post articles, both, with and without commentary. My expectation is that you will have checked the blog before you go to sleep so that you may come prepared for any potential in-class discussion the following morning. Please feel free to create an account and post things, but remember, anyone, anywhere might read it - including mom and dad.

Peace, Jim aka The Green General

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

N. is at it again

Greg Mankiw is up to his old tricks - check it out.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Climate Policy in China

An interesting read from this morning's CSM.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Fortune Magazine on Gas Taxes

most people think I'm a crazy liberal who wants to impose my values on others (SARC)- like clean air for children and no blood for oil. Well it's not just me and the other "world government" folks - check out Fortune.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Bet you didn't know...

In my spare time I founded a Fortune 500 company

I teach at Berkeley, and I run a drum shop in Vermont

No wonder I never get any writing done.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Global Forces, American Faces: Who Wins? Who Loses?

I am sitting in a class listening to Dave Richardson (Syracuse) talk about some results from recent research by a group of economists at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Here is the summary of the policy implications from this research - "further deepening of America's global engagement needs newly creative, newly effective domestic policy. The recipe for American success involves pairs of ingredients always, cognates, global intiatives paired with domestic initiatives. Without domestic policy innovation, conversely, continued global integration may be unsustainable in this democracy."

Sound familiar - check it out.

Peace, The General

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

More Climate Economics

Professor Anderson passes along a good read in today's NYT.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Hog Heaven

Last week in class I was telling you all about the pleasantries of Hog farms in NC. One of the ideas I mentioned, in the context of our energy acquisition/dissipation model, was turning waste into an energy input. Well, check this out- Pig Poop Economics.

Enjoy your break. JC

Climate Federalism

is this what the founding fathers had in mind? Hopefully this kind of action will force the hand of the feds to act internationally on our behalf.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Not Exactly a Crazy Liberal

As most of you are now aware climate alarmists are a group of deranged liberals who want to ruin the US economy. Clearly we are deranged, because we want to do things to harm ourselves and our children (SARC). Well, check out the latest member of the Pigou Club.

SARC is the universal blogger signal for sarcasm.


More on Climate Change Economics

I direct you to N. Gregory Mankiw's blog for a look at three new articles by three very good economists. We may read the Weitzman piece for the week after Feb. break.


Monday, February 12, 2007

Buy Your Tickets Now!

Based on this article I am thinking about starting my own futures exchange for air travel.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Latest IPCC Report

I must admit I did not sleep well last night, but I tend to be a worry wart - here is the summary for Policymakers .

We will probably read this during the last week on energy and climate change while we discuss policy option.

Carbon Emissions Data

The World Resources Institute has some great data and graphics that we will use in class today.


and for more carbon emissions data check out the Top 20.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Can trade improve environmental quality?

I think so. Check out today's story in the WSJ.

Notice the tariff and the subsidy for US farmers and imagine how much we would import from Brazil without them.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Run for your lives!!!

Was it Pink Floyd who said "there's nowhere to run to baby" It looks like the latest IPCC report will induce even more anxiety.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Energy, Energy , Energy...

Here are three useful websites for this section of the course:

Oil Imports

Oil reserves

BP Energy Analysis 2006

Hydrogen on the Horizon

The other day in class I was making bold predictions about the future of hydrogen energy and how it had the potential to completely change your lives. Seems I am not the only one, as Tim Haab has been predicting similar changes. And it looks like we might be on to something.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Alternative Energy

An interesting article in the NYTimes. Can you think of an economic argument for increasing our expenditures on R&D in the area of alternative fuels?

Pigou - Can you?

Apparently the idea of using taxes to curb gasoline consumption is catching on. Take a look at this morning's Marketplace on NPR. There is also a new web site for Pigouvians. And as always the former chair of the council of economic advisors for President Bush is a voice for change.

We will be making heavy use of the Pigouvian tax idea for the next few weeks - And I am very much looking forward to your comments, both in and out of class. Keep up the great work!!

The General

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

surprise, surprise

Did you ever think you would see this on the cover of the Wall Street Journal . The global warming debate is shifting from science to economics, so says Jeffrey Ball at the WSJ. Why do you think this is happening?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Evidence from China

Here is a story from China about the costs of environmental degradation and what it will cost to clean up the mess. I wonder if this is an example of the Environmental Kuznets Curve at work or wise policy makers looking at a bleak future and recognizing the importance of investing in natural and environmental capital for future well-being. What do you think?

More on Green = Green

So you don't think improving the quality of the environment can increase economic growth - well Jeff Sachs thinks differently. I happen to agree with Jeff that we need to start thinking about the environment as a primary input to production and not some luxury good we can afford once we have enough income.

Here is a link to another study suggesting that air pollution can reduce productivity.

Maybe Kermit the Frog was wrong.

Perhaps it is easy being green. Check out this story from Charlotte, NC.

Are there really $5 bills on the sidewalk?

On Monday, in class, we will be talking about the relationship between the economy and the environment. Many have argued that protecting the environment hurts the economy - not Michael Porter . Additionally, Al Gore was just up at the HBS talking about his take on the economy - environment relationship. What do you think?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Go Generals!!

On Wednesday evening our Generals beat the Wasps of Emory and Henry thanks, in part, to our very own Kirk Jones .

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Put up or Shut up

Yesterday in class I may have said something about the Dems' opportunity to put up or shut up about climate change - looks like they will put up . Thanks to Jon Rogers for finding this article. As it happens the WSJ has a similar story on the frontpage today.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

How important are fish?

200 million Africans eat fish regularly and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that fish provides 22% of the protein intake in Sub-Saharan Africa.

When I was in Mexico last spring the local fisherman were saying a fish in the ocean was worth more than a fish on a plate. I think there needs to be a coversation about integrated fisheries management for tourism and protein supply. I wonder what John Whitehead has to say about this? I guess I will ask him.

2006 was hotter and 2007 is predicted to be even hotter

I figured we could get started on some of the basics/background for the next section of the course. Earth Institute

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Pigou v. Coase

In case you are interested - here is a list of some pretty darn good economists who support Pigouvian taxes.

See you all tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I WIll Terminate Emissions!!!!

This morning we briefly mentioned the potential role of government in reducing negative externalities - way to go Arnold! .

Can you see any unforeseen consequences?

I think they forgot someone

Check out this article from today's NYTimes.

Economists are doing some cool things - so pay attention in class. LOL!!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

2.4 billion and counting

Yesterday in class we started the discussion of the energy/climate change connection. I briefly mentioned that it is not possible to discuss this without including China and India. This morning's NYTimes gives us a sneak peek at things to come.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Welcome Back

Hope everyone enjoyed the Holiday season. I did a little traveling, ate, drank , and was merry - now I have to repent for the extra carbon emissions. Before we get started, a special thanks to John Whitehead for placing us on the Blogroll over at ENV-ECON .

For the next 12 to 14 weeks or so this site will be dedicated to an on-going discussion of environmental and natural resource economics as it is being taught in Econ 255.

Stay tuned.....