Wednesday, March 18, 2009

IEA's Roles

It's been almost two weeks since I wrote my last post. I've asked myself why, and there's a really simple logical causal chain. As everyone else, I've been preoccupied with the global economic crisis. I've wanted to comment on the effects of the economic crisis on the energy sector. However, my best source for global energy market statistics is the International Energy Agency, which will publish its 2008 energy statistics sometime in 2010. Hence, the best I can do is to speculate what the effects of the current crisis are.

I understand that not all countries follow or assemble their energy statistics as quickly as others, notably as quickly as the US (EIA). What I don't get is why doesn't the IEA provide up to date summarized statistics for the countries that do publish that data in a timely manner. It can be argued that IEA's purpose is not to offer timely statistic data of the global energy markets. Rather, it's primary role is to provide advice on energy policies. Whether or not you think they've succeeded in that, I think we need an institution that offers timely information of the global energy markets. There are several statisticians at the IEA, and they could be separated from the agency to form a new public agency that serves that purpose. That way the OECD tax payers could get a bit more bang for the buck.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Papers Worth Reading

The role of carbon markets in preventing dangerous climate change by Karsten Neuhoff (quick read) and David Newbery (a bit more wonkish but more rewarding). There are too many important messages in these papers for me to list them here. By the way, RePEc (Research Papers in Economics) just ranked EPRG as the world's top institution in energy economics, and David Newbery as the top author. Congratulations! Now, some of you may wonder why Columbia University's CEMTPP is not on the list. The answer is that they're trying hard, but so far CEMTPP has served mainly as part of a graduate master's program, not as a research program. The energy center is run by people with professional backgrounds in energy rather than in academia. Most of them hold PhDs, but not all of them.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Dancing Tango Alone

Jacob A. Frenkel gave us a talk at Columbia last year, and shared his experience of being the governor of the Bank of Israel. Among many of his anecdotes; he said it's like dancing tango with the market. Edward Hugh's post on Jean Claude Trichet and deflation risk is worth reading. When will Mr. Trichet understand that it takes two to dance tango? What if he doesn't?