Critique of REMI

I went to a talk about Carbon Pricing and what it might do to the RI economy by Scott Nystrom of REMI today.  I read the report yesterday.  The report was fine, said a carbon tax would not in any way hurt the RI economy.  But I learned some stuff about how REMI works that help me understand how the state of Maine got a report that did not answer any useful questions about how banning clearcutting was going to affect the economy.

One of the keys was openly stated.  The report stated it absolutely did not take into account the effect of climate change on the economy.  That jarred me into realizing that the report the State of Maine used against our campaign stating the effect of banning clearcutting on the Maine economy absolutely refused to use any data on the health of the forest and its depletion rate at that time.

Given that cutting practices in Maine changed dramatically in the years after the failed attempts to ban clearcutting, primarily because of the health of the forest and the depletion of the woods, clearly the REMI report , the use of the REMI model in situations involving natural systems that are being degraded, leaves much to be desired and provides truly false information to the public looking at the policy implications.

Given this flaw, maybe what we need is a study looking at the types of studies REMI has done over the last 30+ years to see how accurate they are.  Obviously they must have that information since they must use it to refine their methodology and equations.  I would love to see a report by REMI discussing which situations are the hardest for them to get right over time with a special emphasis on natural resource systems subject to depletion.  I did notice that the map in the presentation today did not include any studies done in Maine, so maybe REMI is in denial.


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