Nicholas Crafts has just posted a piece on Vox, which examines policy lessons from past severe recessions (click here). In particular, he looks at the recessions of 1930-32 and 1979-81. Among other things, he advocates stimulating private house-building as the stock of houses is estimated to be three million below the long-run equilibrium. Tim Besley and Tim Leunig have some radical suggestions as to how this can be achieved - click here. Of course, the impact of this policy will be to drive down house prices, and, in the process, raise defaults on mortgages, further damaging bank balance sheets.
The Berkeley Earth Project , an independent study of global warming, has found that the earth has become a degree warmer over the past half century. However, the statistical uncertainty surrounding pre-1920 estimates makes it very hard to say much about long-term trends - click here for graph . This is one of my concerns with the global warming debate - we simply don't have trustworthy long-run data which looks at temperature changes over the last millennium (or two). My second concern with the global warming debate is that it is very hard to prove any sort of casual link between global warming and human activity. The scientists may be able to show correlation between global warming and our production of carbon dioxides etc., but correlation is not causation. My third concern with the debate is that those who are sceptical or agnostic are stereotyped as flat-earthers or intellectually-challenged crackpots. This only stifles debate and the progress of science itself.