I am a lucky man: I can spend my time and energy on something I believe in, and I think that this is a fair definition of happiness, at least in professional life. I help organise a conference on carbon content measurement, my research topic, and I know that it can make a large difference.
Together with the IMF, the BIS, Eurostat, the Central Bank of Chile and the University of Oxford Blavatnik School of Government, the Bundesbank is organizing a workshop on “Carbon content measurement for products, organizations and aggregates: creating a sound basis for decision making.” Here is a link to the conference website.
The concept of this workshop is novel in two ways. First, the center stage will not be occupied by pre-prepared conference papers, but by a set of important questions that await solutions. And around sixty experts will try to come up with good answers. Second, the conference is hybrid in a special way. While the experts will interact personally, the results and the discussions will be broadcasted world-wide, allowing for online participation. Thus it is really two workshops: one is on-site and hands-on, the other is remote and with broad access.
Without feasible and exact carbon content measurement, the efforts to bring emissions down cannot be successful in the end. The workshop will take place on 21-23 February 2023 in Hamburg, in the conference area Deutsche Bundesbank Regional Office in Hamburg. I am looking forward to it, in a very literal sense!
The side conditions of this trip were somewhat unfortunate: because of delays and cancellations, it took me almost two days to reach Ottawa, and when I arrived, my baggage had disappeared. I was absolutely exhausted. Below you can see my shirt drying at the hotel window in Ottawa. I had to handwash it the morning after arrival — literally my last shirt…!
I saw lots of homeless people in Ottawa. On two occasions, I felt the strong urge to intervene: a young woman lying on her stomach right on the sidewalk, after dusk, with the pedestrians stepping over her, and a young man lying in the glazing sun at noon, face up, without protection. It would have been easy to help, but I failed to do so, feeling inhibited and afraid. I learned something.
On my last day, I had the chance to see beautiful Gatineau Park on a splendid summer day. Below is the view from the boats house of a former prime minister, at Lac Kingsmere. It is just as peaceful as it looks, full of light.
It was my birthday. Not just any odd birthday — it was my 60th birthday. And there was this invitation by Karthik Ramanna to attend the inauguration conference of the newly founded E-liability Institute in London. Karthik works on carbon content measurement. From the accounting side he had discovered the same principle as I did from the statistical side — information on carbon content needs to be passed directly from supplier to producer, in a decentralized fashion. This will allow to build up a universal system of carbon content measurement: on the product level, on the company level and on the level of sectors and countries. And Karthik is incredibly successful in promoting this idea.
Thus I decided to attend the conference, making the trip by train. Here is a link to the program and a view of the site, in the docklands, east of London.
I learned and saw a lot and made new connections — but on the evening of my birthday I began to feel rather lonesome without my family. There was a short speech before dinner, and then, when everybody had a glass in their hand, the speech suddenly turned to me and my anniversary. Karthik had a small cake in his hand and the entire conference (!) sung “Happy Birthday”. I will certainly never have this again…!
My paper on statistical governance got accepted at the 13th Annual Conference on the Political Economy of international Organizations (PEIO), that was held in Vancouver on February 20-22, 2020. The paper is on the real economic effects of a statistical standard implemented and promoted by the IMF, so I took the chance to also present it in Washington. Being there, I got an invitation from the Fed to present on the statistical challenges of Fintech activities, see the entry on Fintech under topics. I presented both on the classification issues of Fintech and on our household survey on Fintech use in Germany
This was one of the hardest weeks I ever had, but an immensely valuable opportunity to get competent feedback on many important aspects of my current professional work. In a sense, I did this in the last minute — crossing the borders started to get cumbersome and difficult because of Corona. One week later, the trip would have been impossible.
In November 29, 2019 the International Statistical Institute (ISI), the Irving Fisher Committee of the BIS (IFC), the African Union and Statistique Tunesie organised a conference on Data Governance in Tunis. This gave me the chance to present the core results of a recent discussion paper on statistical governance and foreign direct investment, with a focus on African economies.
Most delegates came from African countries, both North and Sub-Saharan Africa. Discussions were lively, and in the course of the conference I had the chance to learn a lot about the problems of statistical governance in a rather direct way.
As a satellite event to the ISI World Statistical Congress in Kuala Lumpur, the Bank of Malaysia and the Irving Fisher Committee on Central Bank Statistics (IFC) hosted a seminar on statistics on Fintech, on August 17, 2019. Here is a link to my contribution. The seminar allowed me to also participate at the World Statistical Congress, with its many important meetings especially on statistics and globalisation.