Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Fact and fantasy

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  • Sacha, in reply to DexterX,

    the costs and harm that result are not met by the people profiting from the risk taking

    Which requires regulation to create a functioning market. Instead we get 'relaxation' in the name of progress. Go, Jetsons.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16752 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Islander,

    and pay fines for the pollution – because it’s cheaper than fencing off the polluted areas.

    I encountered an interesting article in the Economist a few months back, which looked at the impact that fines needed to have in order to discourage antitrust violations. The conclusion, not surprisingly, was that the fines needed to be absolutely massive, far in excess of just the opportunity benefit that might be seen from a violation.

    NZ has woeful levels of financial penalties in most areas, and this is particularly true of the fines levied on businesses. Telecom has been on the receiving end of our largest fines, and not a single one has exceeded, from memory, $12m. A company with annual revenue in the billions isn't going to be swayed by an eight-digit fine, especially when it's not adjudged until many years after the fact. Similarly, wilful polluters need to not just be billed the real and actual costs of cleaning up their messes but also fined a punitive sum so large that it makes the cost of doing the right thing attractive. And if it breaks them, well, tough shit. We only get one environment, and the sympathy I have for people who are too cheap and lazy to protect it as they pursue personal profit could be measured with a very tiny micrometer.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3909 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    Yes, that third eye is actually quite fetching, on an older man.

    bravo

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16752 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Farmer Green,

    It seems that you believe too much of what you read. The science of climate continues to develop, and there is no reason for despair.

    Actually, recent news suggests there is cause to be very, very concerned.

    On what actual basis do you say we shouldn't be worried about the probably irreversible release of methane from Arctic permafrost?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18961 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Sacha,

    Great to meet you and your other half last week too.

    Yes, likewise.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3909 posts Report Reply

  • Rod Snowdon, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I agree that GMOs and pollution belong in different debates, and I really don't want to go there. Way back then I remember arguing that the perceived or real threat of GMOs to New Zealand's clean green image was nothing compared to the very real and present threat posed by New Zealanders' personal and collective lack of environmental conservation sense. Things have changed a little (rubbish sorting and recycling!) but nowhere near enough.

    Germany • Since Nov 2012 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Similarly, wilful polluters need to not just be billed the real and actual costs of cleaning up their messes but also fined a punitive sum so large that it makes the cost of doing the right thing attractive.

    When Auckland was bowling many of our historic buildings in the brave 1980s, the heritage building Browns Mill was illegally destroyed overnight, resulting in a desultory $5000 fine. I recall mention of what would have happened in more enlighted Germany: the demolisher required to pay heritage experts to reassemble the building brick by brick, and then cop a hefty fine. But here that would be 'unfair' to our oppressed heroes, the developers. Let Christchurch be our example instead.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16752 posts Report Reply

  • Rod Snowdon,

    My wife just chimed in: "Plastic supermarket bags! Even Australia does that better" (although they have a minute population density. On the other hand they're also shitting in their monstrous backyard even way worser than newziln, mate...)

    Germany • Since Nov 2012 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    no one's tried grazing Herefords on permafrost tundra yet. QED.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16752 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rod Snowdon,

    Way back then I remember arguing that the perceived or real threat of GMOs to New Zealand’s clean green image was nothing compared to the very real and present threat posed by New Zealanders’ personal and collective lack of environmental conservation sense.

    True. And there has been both some progress and some major movement in the other direction since.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18961 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Can we have a round of applause for someone who actually is a farmer coming in and very reasonably arguing their corner?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2968 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    Can we have a round of applause for someone who actually is a farmer coming in and very reasonably arguing their corner?

    Applause! :)
    (GF is not an ‘average’ farmer: but has thought about the issues and put some sweat and treasure into mitigating them. Good on ya!)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1574 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    Ben Wilson agrees, and likes his style too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8587 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to BenWilson,

    Ben Wilson agrees, and likes his style too.

    Rob Stowell is not so sure about the style- or the gender :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1574 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Ben Wilson notes that third person is the only style incapable of hiding his gender.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8587 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Islander,

    I have known West Coast dairy farmers cynically pollute local streams (whitebait havens) with shit&nitrates, and pay fines for the pollution

    I had the pleasure of talking to Dr Joy about his interactions with farmers directly. If I remember him correctly he said that some older farmers were like this but most weren't. And most importantly the young farmers being taught at Massey had a completely different attitude. Even more telling when he got to talk to small groups personally they tended to "get it" and make changes but when he talked to "the industry" he got nowhere.

    It wouldn't take much input from govt to get changes. But until the public put pressure on the govt nothing will happen. We really do have make ourselves heard if we want the govt to prioritise the environment.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3414 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    one tips one's hat

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16752 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Rod Snowdon,

    My wife just chimed in: “Plastic supermarket bags! Even Australia does that better” (although they have a minute population density. On the other hand they’re also shitting in their monstrous backyard even way worser than newziln, mate…)

    Such as nuclear waste dumps.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4351 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Even more telling when he got to talk to small groups personally they tended to "get it" and make changes but when he talked to "the industry" he got nowhere.

    That's heartening and saddening all in one sentence.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8587 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I'd be happy to do that , but it is quite a big effort , which you could easily make yourself . It would involve discovering the present state of climate science, considering all sides of the arguments , and arriving at the only justifiable conclusion. All the science is available ; open minds are hard to find.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 487 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to BenWilson,

    Sorry I don’t get it. Would you like me to post the coliforms cfu/g?. I could probably find them : we sometimes do them as part of our quarterly monitoring of discharges.
    Anyway please let me in on the joke.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 487 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    Definitely not an average farmer : well below average stocking rate ; almost no fertiliser use for 25 years ; well above average profitability; possibly educationally advantaged ; anything but a collectivist.
    But still working (playing) 12 hour days , 7 days a week , 52 weeks a year.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 487 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    Ye Gods ! Plaudits ?
    Farmer Green insists that he does little more than farm the way both his grandfathers did, with the advantage that he can understand the science which has elucidated that which was once known as husbandry.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 487 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Sorry I don’t get it.

    It was hyperbole with a Simpsons reference. I don't really think you've got a mutated third eye from swimming in the Manawatu. Thanks for your contributions, was actually what I meant to say.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8587 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Farmer Green,

    I’d be happy to do that , but it is quite a big effort , which you could easily make yourself . It would involve discovering the present state of climate science, considering all sides of the arguments , and arriving at the only justifiable conclusion. All the science is available ; open minds are hard to find.

    I am not a scientist, let alone an active climate researcher. But I have a reasonable idea as to who is, and where I can discover reliable information on the state of the science. I'm in no doubt whatsoever as to the fact of anthropogenic global warming.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18961 posts Report Reply

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