Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Fact and fantasy

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  • Angus Robertson, in reply to mccx,

    I agree that the proposed Kyoto cap levels are unfair to the developing world and that they were promoted by the developed world on the basis of domestic political feasibility. What's the developing world's solution though?

    Bigger per capita cap for them and a smaller cap for us.

    I thought it was uncontroversial that a cap was needed, but that the terms of the debate were about whose cap is at what level.

    Caps are useful political animals, they allow every country (or groups of) to point and say that climate change is going to happen because of that lot failing to act. Caps meet with universal political approval.

    I have a hard time imagining how continuing growth of emissions from the developing world and significant climatic change, even if it came with technology transfer and development aid, would turn out to be a good deal for the developing world.

    So do I, but I also think that we are never going to be able to agree on a cap. So what does it leave us with?

    My 2c answer - tax the consumer.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Farmer Green,

    other individuals may follow

    and yet you want 'certainty' in other matters.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    My 2c answer - tax the consumer.

    It's a partial answer. But giving the consumer viable alternatives is a pretty big part of it, too. Petrol is already heavily taxed here, but it would need to be a hell of a lot more before it made a real dent in my car usage, because the alternatives are pretty dire. It's not the cost of petrol that stopped me taking my car into the city every day - it was the cost of parking. Petrol, which I worked out was costing me 25c/km, made the round trip to the city $5/day, which is much less than the bus. Add on the inconvenience of the bus, which is approximately an extra hour per day, and you're talking one heck of a lot of petrol tax to get me back on the bus. Or you could make the bus better/cheaper.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8027 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Sacha,

    I'm not sure what you are saying there; can you expand that a little bit?
    For sure you can lead the horse to the water . . .

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Petrol is already heavily taxed here

    We have the sixth lowest fuel tax in the OECD. A lot of the problem is urban sprawl, making public transport inefficient and slow and leading to extensive car commutes.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4218 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to BenWilson,

    That suggests that increasing the parking tax even further could work, even though it is only indirectly a tax on pollution.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Farmers have their petrol excise tax refunded on the grounds that the tax is primarily a way of collecting road user charges. Tractors also have limited recreational use, compared to say Formula One cars.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Jimmy Southgate,

    A good fresh through the river sees it swimmable all the way to P.N.. It has been pretty good since wet summers became the norm around 1999.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    We have the sixth lowest fuel tax in the OECD. A lot of the problem is urban sprawl, making public transport inefficient and slow and leading to extensive car commutes.

    OK, by heavily I meant "compared to other taxes we have to pay for stuff", rather than "compared to the same tax everywhere else". I agree with the rest of what you're saying there. However, I'm also not in control of urban sprawl, certainly not in control of my complete inability to afford property within 10km of the city. I am in control of my car use, and if the "tax the rational consumer" ideology is to transform my behaviour, it's going to have raise tax a hell of a lot. Just on cost alone, they'd have to nearly double the cost of fuel to make the bus competitive, which would involve raising taxes around 5-fold.

    Which is meant to be a reductio ad absurdum on the idea of solving global warming by taxing the pollution. Even with the tax, I've still got very little choice about producing the pollution. Which is not to say that we shouldn't tax the pollution, of course we should. But it's not the whole solution.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8027 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Fencing

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson, in reply to BenWilson,

    Tax new cars, tax 2nd hand imports, tax new buses, tax diesel, tax petrol, tax spare parts. End subsidies on public transport. Make the commute expensive.

    Urban sprawl and a long commute are big problems, commuting is anathema to the climate. Ideally people would live close to their work. In a centralised city, that means living in an apartment. In a decentralised city/cities it means multiple spread out centres of employment.

    Even better, work from home and have a virtual commute.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    Depopulating Auckland is a plan I'd never considered.... hmmm, that might work.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8027 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Farmer Green,

    farmer green thinks that any agreement which did not include China and India and the US would be absolutely pointless, just as an agreement for the whole of Godzone would be merely symbolic.

    So little point in us being Nuclear Free, you know, because the US, China, France, Russia... blah blah blah are all Nuclear Powers. I fear you "misunderestimate" the power of symbolism.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4453 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Sacha,

    Fencing

    As in . . . ?

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    Absolutely!
    "How can you possibly have an international agreement that's effective unless countries like China and India are not full participants?"
    :-)

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Farmer Green,

    regulated markets, like grown-ups use

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Climate deniers need to answer what they're so scared of if scientists have it wrong and all will be fine if we do nothing different. Where's the harm, other than in foregone profits for the already wealthy?

    Whereas the consequences of ignoring climate change seem a tad harsher and more widespread.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Attachment

    A friend of mine put this on Facebook today. Where have the trees gone? This is papa mudstone country. Some of the most temporary landscape in the world. We slashed and burned. This was the the beginning. Not fencing waterways is just a continuation of the 150+years of rape and pillage and pollution.

    It is time Farmer Boy used his verbal jousting to constructively improve the situation we are in.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1459 posts Report Reply

  • mccx, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    So do I, but I also think that we are never going to be able to agree on a cap. So what does it leave us with?

    My 2c answer – tax the consumer.

    I agree that widespead adoption of effective emissions caps is in the near future is unlikely, but I can't see widespread adoption of carbon consumption taxes as politically feasible either. Wouldn't developing countries just say that the level of tax they levy should be deservedly less than that of developed countries? The fairest solution would seem to be an equal per capita allotment of allowable emissions that at an aggregate level avoids dangerous climate change.

    I don't see how NZ opting out of Kyoto2 gets either NZ or the rest of the world closer to either equitable or effective solutions though.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2012 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    To Farmer Green's way of thinking adaptation means doing things differently. Constant change is what gets him out of bed in the mornings.
    One likely consequence of ignoring change which is already occurring is getting a nasty wake-up call .
    In the absence of validated GCMs yielding outputs to the contrary , FG regards increasing atmospheric CO2 and global average temperature rising at about 1 deg. C./century as benign. But neither can continue forever . Climate cycles seem to be inevitable.
    I do understand your concerns, I think , but I think also that one should not fear the future. FG sees only a future pregnant with possibility for change for the better; deeper , more carbonaceous topsoil; better water retention; reduced nutrient losses ; better animal welfare; enhanced social capital in rural communities; improved profitability of added-value production.
    In spite of having been told he was dreaming , that his failure was assured, that his plans were impossible, he went ahead and did it all. Should he not have tried? Should he have listened to the doom and gloom merchants?
    Well, he should definitely have listened to their point of view , but if he doubted their wisdom, then surely he should have proceeded.
    Rational optimism about the future is not a bad way to live.
    Irrational fear about the future is debilitating.

    FG is aware of papers in preparation which challenge the physics assumptions which underly the current GCMs. The ensuing revisions may paint a very different picture.
    It is still early days.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to mccx,

    I don’t see how NZ opting out of Kyoto2 gets either NZ or the rest of the world closer to either equitable or effective solutions though.

    Do you see no prospect of a better arrangement? Perhaps NZ would be better to identify what is most important to us , and attempt to bring it about. It may be that climate is the least of our concerns as a nation.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Ross Mason,

    FG is wide open to suggestions for further improvements on the land over which he has some control. Fire away.
    Just for the record and to save time, FG has one of the more forested farms , particularly amongst dairy farms, and has several areas of remnant native cover; matai , totara, matipo, Cordyline, Pittosporum, Sophora, kahikatea, Hoheria etc.etc.
    Generally establishing 50 new stems/annum in the riparian zone, (against the wishes of the regional council).

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Sacha,

    regulated markets, like grown-ups use

    You lost me there. Is that a Fonterra reference?

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    @Sacha That reasoning is identical in structure to Pascal's wager, if you substitute God for climate change and eternal hellfire for environmental catastrophe. It won't work on deniers just like the wager doesn't work on atheists. They're not afraid of something they consider fictitious.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8027 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    Heh heh, that Farmer Green argument-generator is a wonder to behold!

    I've got a feeling his views are just slightly mis-aligned from those of a whole bunch of folks on here, but some of his 'open-mindedness' on the like of AGW is setting people against him who would otherwise basically agree with, say, 80% of what he is saying.

    Myself, I try to keep my emissions down but certain constraints that have developed over the years (where I live & where I have ended up working, that sort of thing) ensure that I will always be on the higher side of what I'd like. And there is a natural human irritation at depriving oneself in the midst of others who are obviously and evidently not holding back. In our family, my sister got the martyr-gene, not me.

    But I am getting old and the way politicians fuck-around it's likely I'll be dead & my caracss ground down & fed to the fishes (no point wasting them nutrients, eh?) long before any significant progress is made on this. Age brings a wearying cynicism that I try not to prevent me from making what efforts I can. (Not too many negatives in that last sentence to make it unreadable, I hope.)

    "The answers will come from a multiplicity of sources" - Einstein

    Te Ika A Maui - Waitakere… • Since Oct 2008 • 552 posts Report Reply

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