Friday, October 28, 2005

Global warming

I propose we have a problem even with current proposed solutions.

The problem (I expect you may find many Americans pointing it out in this regard due to self serving bias - but there is some truth to it) is that your desire to achieve the second aim of encouraging the thirds world to be able to develop to the levels of the first world via copious energy consumption cripples the ability to achieve the first goal (and even promotes a culture counter to what you want).

I am concerned about this mixing of goals within a single proposal - and think that both could be achieved with a different approach (although I see why it is politically easier to build such things into every proposal in an American "pork" sort of a way).

For example if third world countries per capita usage were to go to an arbitrary amount like half of the USA's total usage would rise by a bit more than 10 times (ignoring effect like population changes that would make it larger) and reducing the US consumption to zero would have an insignificant impact in such an environment obviously we don’t want that from an environmental perspective even if from a equality perspective it might be fantastic.

But there is another effect that makes this worse. You can see for example the per $ usage of oil (i.e. the effective value of the stuff that is being produced by each set amount of oil) where countries like Japan have very low oil usage (and USA is moderate) and countries like china (etc) have very high usage. I.e. when a third world country uses some extra fuel to raise its standard of living it costs a lot more in fuel than it does in Japan(or maybe the usa) Kyoto actualy makes this problem worse since it increases the distance between productive production and consumption (for example if africa lets say was a place of cheep production due to cheep energy and that displaced domestic suppliers in canada).

So there is a question whether a system that restricts the use of carbon fuels in the first world but not the third world will encourage the movement of wastage from first to third world without providing much benefit to the third world actually encouraging them to waste large amounts of it. And the earth as a whole may get less for more cost (environmentally speaking) with the movement of dirty production activities to third world countries.

In addition it creates the problem that a third world country may be made highly dependant on the abuse of fossil fuels and slam into the Kyoto barrier at a terrific rate. I.e. there is no incentive to not pollute and then all of a sudden there is a massive one - this will test their commitment.

Now this is just an explanation of the problem as opposed to defeatist talk - I suggest that there is a question whether exemptions are not just an inferior method of passing two laws

1) A restriction on carbon fuels (e.g. a tax on any attempt to mine or extract or export oil) or a tax on carbon usage.


2) an aid package designed to encourage the third world to develop in a sustainable manner (or even to just make certain types of portable environmentally friendly energy production almost free, imagine if you had an arrangement to build a wind generator anywhere it was viable in the world - minimal use to rich countries but fantastic for poor ones)

Or one could decide that environment was the priority and needed to be solved now at whatever cost or that poverty is the problem and that ets say 4 degrees of temperatue rise worldwide is a acceptable cost.

Either might be is a reasonable position. But what we need is a clear debate on the facts and the potential concequences ans opposed to just two sides trying to sell their assumptions at any cost.


Blogger maksimovich said...


You promote rational not ideological thought.

One ship sails East,
And another West,
By the self-same winds that blow,
Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales,
That tells the way we go.

Like the winds of the sea
Are the waves of time,
As we journey along through life,
Tis the set of the soul,
That determines the goal,
And not the calm or the strife.

Rightly or wrongly we are part of the Kyoto process.The NATs signed it and the LABS ratified it.The purpose of the protocol is purely a beaurecratic tool to restrict growth and will not have any measurable quanifiable outcomes.

The outcomes promoted by the G8 and the 6 country agreement far exceed the KP.

Constraints on NZ by the KP limit our options.The carbon tax and carbon trading will not produce target outcomes but is merely wealth constraint mechanism.

Realisitic solutions are only technical they are not ideological words of Sustainablity etc.

Techncial solutions are available now it is Governement policy and protection of the governemnent energy oligopolies and tax base that prevent uptake.The policy and beaurecracy prevents uptake.

Your ideas are sound but the instruments for third world countires and emerging countries already exist.These are with the transferance of technology with the G8 and the 6 country agreement.

It also exists in the KP as a mechanism called the CDM(Clean development mechanism)The governemnt has not used this or even explored this option.This would be a better option for our pacific aid programme.WIN WIN.

2:50 AM  

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