In his budget yesterday (FT's coverage is below), the Chancellor of the Exchequer (click here for the etymology of this title) announced a £12 billion mortgage guarantee scheme. Why is the UK government so keen to stimulate the UK housing market? After all, it was the exuberance in housing markets which was largely to blame for the financial crisis. The mortgage guarantee scheme is aimed at helping borrowers who don't have enough money to put down a deposit on a house. Are these not going to be subprime borrowers of various shade? Click here to read Robert Peston's view on this scheme.
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.