This year's winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics is Jean Tirole. Tirole is best known as someone who has formalised (in a mathematical sense) key concepts in microeconomics and industrial organisation. Click here to read Tyler Cowen's comprehensive post on Tirole's contribution to economics. Tirole played a large role in my education. I read / studied two of his books during my graduate studies - The Theory of Industrial Organization (1988) and The Prudential Regulation of Banks (1994). Notably, both of these books have stood the test of time - as will his book The Theory of Corporate Finance (2006).
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.