Posts by Bart Janssen

  • Speaker: The purpose of science and its limits, in reply to Sacha,

    the real issue for New Zealand R&D

    is that our private sector has never invested their share

    That is propaganda by the governments (Labour and National).

    While it is true that business funding is low, the government funding is at best two thirds of the OECD average (depending on how you count it). That's the average!

    All the evidence from overseas shows that business funding only rises after government funding rises so the government(s) pointing the finger at industry is bollocks.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3108 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate, in reply to BenWilson,

    I meant what I was saying over short time period, like 5-10 years.

    In 2004 I had two massive CRTs on my desk. 3D printers barely existed then, now people are making their own for fun, in five years there will be 3D print shops in shopping malls (a guess but not an extreme one). Change happens really fast sometimes. New York is currently switching its city lighting over to LEDs. When aid agencies think about taking electricity to developing countries they take solar not diesel generators.

    There are bits of energy saving technology all over the place that need only a small change in attitude to be implemented. It seems to me that we don't need much effort on the part f government to change quite dramatically in a short period of time, but we do need the government to stop actively obstructing change and actively promoting inefficient technologies.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3108 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate, in reply to henry laurensen,

    The middle ground where all (including deniers and vested interests, governments etc.) can agree on the goal would seem to be somewhere about here;; increased efficiency, reduced wastage and squandering , and finding cost -competitive alternative energy sources.

    Who would lose?

    No many. Sadly those who would lose (big oil etc) have a lot of power.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3108 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate, in reply to BenWilson,

    You keep talking about losing things and I keep trying to talk about using something different or better.

    Not that I care much about SUV drivers but why can't their bigass'd vehicle be powered by something else. And why can't we send solar powered electric pumps to Cambodia. No loss of the experience, but a huge change in emissions.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3108 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate, in reply to BenWilson,

    I’m completely confused about what you’re saying here.

    There are a couple of things here. First we don't need to stop burning all fossil fuels to get carbon emissions to a point where we don't damage the climate (too much). So you don't need to go from 70-80% to 0%, you can probably get away with getting rid of the top 20-30%. Providing you get rid of the really inefficient first.

    Next, not all fossil fuel burning is the same. Modern gas fired electricity production is incredibly efficient at turning fossil fuel into usable energy. Yes it would be nice to burn zero gas/coal etc but if we switch from burning fossil fuels inefficiently to burning them efficiently then we use dramatically less to get the same energy needs. And hence produce less CO2 and also less other crap.

    or every usage of it increase in efficiency 5 fold

    You said it yourself - the difference in efficiency between a recycled truck engine used as an outboard motor in Cambodia and a modern electricity plant is vastly more than 5 fold.

    That's why the focus is on cars, particularly big-arsed stupid gas guzzling SUVs. They are an incredibly inefficient use of fossil fuel energy. And that's not even thinking about shitty combustion engines used in the developing world.

    So there is good reason to believe we can produce the same amount of energy while burning much less fossil fuel - we probably don't need to go to zero.

    Combine that with other sources of energy and you get no real net loss in energy used but a significant (enough?) reduction in emissions.

    Next we may not need to use the same amount of energy to have the same (or better) standard of living. LCD monitors use a huge amount less energy than a CRT AND they are better. There was no loss of standard of living when we switched. The same is true of a lot of the things we use. So the argument that any reduction in energy use equals a loss of economic or social wealth or wellbeing is not certain at all.

    And finally none of the economic models are anywhere near sophisticated enough to be able to predict what would happen to the world's economy if we actually did reduce energy use.

    The only thing we know for certain is that big oil companies will suffer if we use less oil/gas/coal ... "oh the tragedy". Certainly not the economic disaster claimed by most opponents.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3108 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate, in reply to BenWilson,

    Yup all those things.

    We don’t have an economic organization that can withstand a drop in consumption.

    I would point out that there is sweet F all evidence for the postulated economic loss. It is definitely true that some industries and businesses will suffer economic losses if we reduce fossil fuel emissions. But it is not at all certain that the economic losses to society as a whole would be large or even present at all.

    The biggest piece of unsupported scaremongering going on over climate change comes not from the scientists saying the climate is changing but instead from those businesses with vested interests claiming the next great depression is coming.

    the drop in quality of life that comes from energy usage reduction to everyone currently using it

    There is stuff all evidence that this will occur at all. Either the reduction in energy usage or the reduction in standard of living.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3108 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Language of Climate, in reply to Moz,

    Fascism! Technomancy, call it what you will, the belief that if we can just get those messy people out of the way the technology will work properly.

    Nope that's not what I said.

    You are suggesting I want to get rid of those in power who won't, in this case, reduce emissions (because I know best). That isn't what I said or meant.

    What I'm saying is that IF those in power won't enact one solution to the problem I want to use technology to create other solutions to the problem instead. Hopefully amongst those other solutions there will be something that those in power will accept.

    The point is I don't see much value in doing things that have been shown not to work, in this case trying to convince businesses and governments to reduce fossil fuel use by telling them it's a bad thing to do - I'd rather spend my effort figuring out other options.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3108 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Standing together, in reply to NBH,

    subject to professional sanctions

    Ok look you are kind of right but also not. Yes my employer can place restrictions on my behaviour but they only have legal bearing in so much as I can have my employment terminated (subject to labour laws).

    Yes my peers can shun me from the journals and choose not to employ me but they cannot prevent anyone from choosing to employ me as a scientist.

    And yes the ethics committee can judge whether my planned experiments meet the ethical standards but those standards are either enshrined in the law of the land or in my employers code of conduct and not within some ethical code for scientists.

    All that is quite different from the legal or medical profession. In both those cases the professional society has legally enshrined powers to prevent the practice of law (or medicine) by someone they deem to have broken their code of ethics. It is a very special power given to those professions and technically only jobs with such societies should be called professions. But the word has changed it's meaning.

    Which is all very interesting but the reality is suggesting that personal morality has no role in law because of the professional code is both daft and something that lawyers insist is important.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3108 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Standing together, in reply to Andrew Geddis,

    And so how do you explain all those ethics panels at my University?

    You should check, but I'm pretty sure their power comes directly from the law. There simply is no code of ethics than has power other than a warm fuzzy feeling. It may be called an ethics committee but what it is actually doing is checking that experiments fit within the legal requirements for harm to animals and humans.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3108 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Standing together, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    You have a code of ethics

    Actually we don't. Unlike the law (and medical) profession, scientists have no (royally decreed) professional society. No lawyer can practice law without being part of that society that restricts behaviours. The same is not true of most other jobs, for most jobs the "code of ethics" is the law.

    There simply is no "code of ethics" for scientists that has any strength other than in the individual morality of the scientists themselves. I am moral because I am moral not because of any "code".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3108 posts Report Reply

Last ←Newer Page 1 2 3 4 5 311 Older→ First