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Mark Lynas on carbon rationing
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RevdTess



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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Location: Newquay

PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 4:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Freedom of Choice : Myth Reply with quote

jo wrote:
@Tess

I said : "The National Government insists on blaming end consumers for Carbon Emissions, even though their policies lock end consumers into a High Carbon lifestyle through the High Carbon services that are deployed."

You said : "I certainly agree with you there! We need to make low-carbon lifestyles easier to choose."

I think you might have missed something I was trying to get at : the idea of "Embedded Carbon". The notion that Carbon Consumers have a choice to change their lifestyles is not completely true.

Personally, I have been able to reduce my Carbon Footprint by about 20%. Much of the rest of the Carbon is "embedded" in systems I have absolutely no control over, such as street lighting, office heating, the high Carbon content of food, water etc

I can't really choose to have the road repaired in a Low Carbon way in the street where I live.

I can't really choose to have a light rail system (trams, DLR, trolley-buses etc) on which to commute instead of a heavy rail system which is Carbon-intensive.

I can't really choose to have my house built in a Low Carbon way.



No sure what you think I missed as I agree with you entirely. I live on a narrowboat as you can see and it's still nothing like as low-carbon as I'd choose if the choice were available. I perhaps should have said that we need to make the choices available, rather than make them easier to choose.
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jo



Joined: 20 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 4:21 pm    Post subject: Sorry Ma'am, Man (delete as appropriate) Reply with quote

@Tess

Sorry Ma'am, Man (delete as appropriate).

As an oil trader, how are you betting ?

The graphs still look highly ascendent in trend to me...

I use wtrg.com. And you ?

BTW I refuse to bet on oil and natural gas, out of principle...
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RevdTess



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 4:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Peak Oil is setting the Carbon Quota Reply with quote

jo wrote:

it is hard to divert large quantities of hydrocarbons from one supply chain to another.

In other words, it would be hard to arrange for all the North Sea Oil and Natural Gas to go to, China, say.


With oil trader hat on, I disagree. There is a large volume of crude oil in the world that very rapidly switches between destinations in China, India, the US and the Mediterranean. I do have the numbers. I track this data every day.

Natgas is another story, that tends to be more parochial.
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RevdTess



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 4:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Sorry Ma'am, Man (delete as appropriate) Reply with quote

jo wrote:
As an oil trader, how are you betting ?


Not allowed to say as I work for a bank and they have very strict rules.
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RevdTess



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 4:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Sorry Ma'am, Man (delete as appropriate) Reply with quote

jo wrote:
BTW I refuse to bet on oil and natural gas, out of principle...


I figure the higher the price, the more quickly we'll move to cleaner tech. Or to coal. Rolling Eyes
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Blue Peter



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 4:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Peak Oil is setting the Carbon Quota Reply with quote

Tess wrote:
jo wrote:

it is hard to divert large quantities of hydrocarbons from one supply chain to another.

In other words, it would be hard to arrange for all the North Sea Oil and Natural Gas to go to, China, say.


With oil trader hat on, I disagree. There is a large volume of crude oil in the world that very rapidly switches between destinations in China, India, the US and the Mediterranean. I do have the numbers. I track this data every day.

Natgas is another story, that tends to be more parochial.


As a matter of interest, over at TOD, Westexas, was suggesting that there might be problems (especially for the US Gulf Coast) due to the declining imports from Mexico and Venezuala. He reasoned that instead of a relatively quick journey from either of those to the US, there would be increasingly longer journeys, presumably from ME and Africa. This would tie up tankers for longer and so cause shiiping problems.

Do you reckon there's any mileage in such a theory?


Peter.
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jo



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@RenewableCandy

You said :-

"I was more of a fan of 'rationing' than I am now, because it might well be used an an excuse (yet another one!) to bring in ID cards, of which I thoroughly disapprove for security reasons* "

If Carbon Rationing were to be implemented in the same way that Democracy is implemented, that is, through the Democratic Services of the Local Government, there is more chance of being able to correctly identify people WITHOUT a national ID scheme.

It would also allow an increased engagement with the democratic process : One Person, One Vote, One Carbon Ration.

You say :-

"Perhaps the best thing to do would be to tax upstream a la this article, and extend the Winter Fuel Allowance to poor people who aren't old. They would then have the same incentive to become energy-efficient as the rest of us, but with less pain."

Given the prevailing wind on rising Energy and Fuel prices, the Treasury action to alleviate Fuel Poverty is essential, both morally and FUNCTIONALLY : enabling Energy and Fuel consumers to carry on consuming.

However, there are problems with this, for example, the projection that "free fuel" schemes for the poor will have to be extended to a rising number of people as the recession caused by rising Energy and Fuel costs are going to drag the remaining Middle Class, I mean Middle Income-Earners, back into the Dark Ages of serfdom and penury.

You say : "*Imagine being female, and being mugged. The thief runs away with your bag, containing keys, oh and a handy little card with your name and address on it. And before you ask: what pockets?"

The best solution for the ID scheme is an ultraviolet tattoo behind the right ear over the mastoid bone. It will mean you have to bob your head on the cashtill when you go shopping, but unless someone kills you for your skin, your ID shall be safe. It's called "the Mark" and it was predicted in the Book of Revelations.


Last edited by jo on Mon Jun 09, 2008 9:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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RevdTess



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 4:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Peak Oil is setting the Carbon Quota Reply with quote

Blue Peter wrote:
As a matter of interest, over at TOD, Westexas, was suggesting that there might be problems (especially for the US Gulf Coast) due to the declining imports from Mexico and Venezuala. He reasoned that instead of a relatively quick journey from either of those to the US, there would be increasingly longer journeys, presumably from ME and Africa. This would tie up tankers for longer and so cause shiiping problems.


Good question. There may be some mileage in what you say, however a more popular explanation at the moment is that the cost of crude is such that refiners are drawing down stocks in the US gulf to avoid the huge drain on their working capital. More of a financial issue than a production issue.

After all, european crude seems very oversupplied and yet no one in the US seems to want to touch it. The US is pricing crude to push it away, not desperately find replacements for lost latam crude.
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RevdTess



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jo wrote:
The best solution for the ID scheme is an ultraviolet tattoo behind the right ear over the mastoid bone.


I dont remember the bit where it was predicted to be ultraviolet, but that sounds pretty goth... Cool
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jo



Joined: 20 Oct 2007
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Location: London

PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Tess

Mark Lynas said : "At what point should you sell your unused ration? Carbon prices will doubtless fluctuate, like prices in any tradable commodity. Might you get more for your carbon buck in six months’ time? Would you be better off flogging the lot the moment it comes through the door, and then buying carbon on the spot market the next time you fill your petrol tank? I can’t see most ordinary people – most of whom wouldn’t dream of speculating on currency exchanges or the commodities markets – understanding how to play the system. And that means they are likely to lose out or get ripped off. It also means that people would not be getting the correct price signal to encourage them to change their behaviour."

You said : "Finally, someone who gets it. I've been banging on about this on the TEQ forum threads for a while but the tradeable quota advocates seem clueless about the realities of trading. I mean, if govts and middle classes are already screaming about speculators manipulating global oil prices, how long do you think a carbon trading system (whose sole purpose is artificial demand destruction) would survive? As Mark says, everyone would have to become an oil or carbon trader, and many would get ripped off.

Much as I'd love to personally benefit from my lower-carbon lifestyle and the ability to trade quotas, I agree with Mark that the more pragmatic solutions are best. Tax and redistribution. I know it's not sexy, but it's proven and effective, and already has public consent (even tho we grumble and protest about the amounts)."

TEQs has an element of Carbon Trading, but actually it's more about Carbon Control than trading.

Here's how I see it working :-

1. A Carbon Bank and/or Registry is created that issues Carbon Shares, to Citizens in the form of FREE Carbon Rations, and to Companies in the form of Auctioned Carbon Permits. The split is 40% / 60%.

Why do the Companies have to buy Carbon Permits ? There are many reasons. The net outcome of any system of Carbon Quotas for Companies will be that they pass their extra costs onto Consumer Citizens, so this sector also pay, but they are mostly compensated by their free Carbon Ration.

Where does the Auction money go ? Where do you think ?

In the 60% Corporate split, there are also Allocations for National and Local Government, that have to be vindicated (see below).

2. You have your Carbon Credit Card. It looks like a store Reward Card. It has a 16 digit number.

You give that number to your home energy supplier to calculate your ration deduction when you pay your bill by direct debit, or give via BACS if you pay at a bank or post office (if they still exist) by cash or token.

If you have several people living together, they register their own Carbon Account Number as being deductible alongside that of the bill payer with the Home Energy company, and that way the Carbon Cost is shared.

3. When you register for your Carbon Ration, it is at your local Town Hall, where you pay your Council Tax.

You are identified by your National Insurance Number or your National Health Service Number.

The number of Carbon Rations that a Local Authority registers qualifies that Local Authority for a Carbon Quota of the right size from the National Carbon Bank or Registry (see above).

4. When you buy vehicle fuel, you will need to present a valid Carbon Ration card for deduction, or pay the spot price for Carbon in addition to your purchase.

5. When you buy transport tickets, you will need to present a valid Carbon Ration card for deduction, or pay the spot price for Carbon in addition to your purchase.

6. If you live within your Carbon Ration (and in the first years, more than 30% of people could do so), then you can sell the remaining unused Carbon Rations to others who are profligate.

7. If you are below the Median/breadline/poverty wage (as determined), you receive a Carbon Credit, much like a Family Tax Credit. If you have special needs, also.
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jo



Joined: 20 Oct 2007
Posts: 184
Location: London

PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:39 pm    Post subject: The Price for De-Carbonisation Reply with quote

@Tess

You said : "I figure the higher the price, the more quickly we'll move to cleaner tech. Or to coal."

By not-quite-contrast, I predict that the higher the price of "conventional" hydrocarbons (Coal has its own uptick price trend), the more "cost-conservative" the producers will get, abandoning Clean Tech development in favour of rapacious things like Tar Sands.

Basically, investment in Renewable Energy Technologies is already being abandoned in favour of shoring up "conventional" Energy supplies against the shortages apparent.

Any new investment costs really big money, but investment in Tar Sands is less costly than Renewables AT THE MOMENT. Until Canada fully applies the law on Carbon Emissions...
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biffvernon



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2008 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's Shaun Chamberlin's take on Mark's blog:

Why Mark Lynus is wrong to say he's wrong




(edit: Bad link fixed)


Last edited by biffvernon on Mon Jun 09, 2008 12:36 pm; edited 2 times in total
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RevdTess



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2008 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am finding Shaun's modus argumenti increasingly frustrating. He seems entirely closed to debate, assuming and insisting that all opposing arguments are simply born of misunderstandings of the TEQ approach. If I see him dismiss one more concern as a 'common misunderstanding' I shall scream. Perhaps these concerns are 'common' because those who hold them are seeing what Shaun, in his zealous certainty, cannot?

The argument in truth comes down to this: Are TEQs likely to engage the population in reducing carbon emissions? Anyone who has talked to the bloke on the Clapham omnibus will know that TEQs will not engage unbelievers in what will be perceived as a green-fascist endeavour of the highest order, not least because some people will get rich (or worse, richer) out of others' ignorance, misunderstanding, desperation or profligacy.

Moreover the project must be global or carbon emissions will simply migrate (or rather, continue to migrate) to the unregulated parts of the world where fuel subsidies remain in place.

TEQs will not reduce the price of petrol at the pump, and ultimately a price-drop would be the only reason our culture would willingly engage and enthuse about any major change to our current market/tax/vat price-setting approach.

TEQs are a technocrat's wet dream. Surely it must be obvious that human nature is years from being able to accept such a thing?
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jo



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 12:31 am    Post subject: Seeing the light... Reply with quote

@Tess,

Please don't shred the furniture.

Shaun is, I believe, a male person, and Shaun's brain is therefore of a variety that seeks to systemise understanding. His language may not make much sense to you if you are a female. You will need creative and lateral, with a strong dose of down-to-earth practicality and realism.

Bear with me for two minutes while I unpack TEQs a little, hopefully adding to your big picture.

Forget the "tradable" bit for a moment. What you have left is guaranteed access to Energy, security that you will be able to heat your home and drive your car, cook food and pay your power bill. By certificating you with an Energy Quota, the Government is issuing you with Carbon Rights. Your way of life, though restricted little by little, is still intact. Provision for your needs is assured. This is not "eco-fascist". This is eco-socialist.

Forget the "quota" bit for a moment as well. What you have left is a Government commitment to the provision of Energy, going forward (to use business-speak). Now, I think you would agree that the provision of Energy is a vital element of modern civilisation, and we should look to our Government to ensure it happens. If it happens at a more local level, independently of the national commitment, that would be all well and good, but the idea is that the national authorities are safeguarding sources and grids.

Now look at the Carbon content of these Energy allowances : high for now, but with good policies and decisive regulation, and with a strict Carbon Budget, the non-Carbon content of all Energy could rise sharply.

However, for some time to come the Renewable portion of the Energy supply will be relatively low, so it will still make sense to keep rationing Energy, even as it de-Carbonises.

Using rations is a direct way of controlling the flow of Carbon, and is not compromised in its effectiveness by side-issues like all the monetary mechanisms so far suggested or implemented.

As we watch helplessly at the roadside, the price of crude oil is rising exponentially, it seems, taking the whole Economy up with it. Any Climate Change legislation that focuses on Taxation, or selling all the Carbon Rights upstream, would only add to the costs accruing to the ordinary end consumer of Energy.

However, if s/he received a TEQ, then any unused portion could be sold to others and s/he would be compensated for the rising energy prices.

The TEQ would act as a "share" in the Carbon Budget, and so have an instrinsic monetary exchange value. One would not be obliged to sell one's Carbon Rights, however. Most people will make use of most of their TEQ in the form of Energy.
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Adam1



Joined: 01 Sep 2006
Posts: 2707

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tess wrote:
The argument in truth comes down to this: Are TEQs likely to engage the population in reducing carbon emissions? Anyone who has talked to the bloke on the Clapham omnibus will know that TEQs will not engage unbelievers in what will be perceived as a green-fascist endeavour of the highest order, not least because some people will get rich (or worse, richer) out of others' ignorance, misunderstanding, desperation or profligacy.

Moreover the project must be global or carbon emissions will simply migrate (or rather, continue to migrate) to the unregulated parts of the world where fuel subsidies remain in place.

TEQs will not reduce the price of petrol at the pump, and ultimately a price-drop would be the only reason our culture would willingly engage and enthuse about any major change to our current market/tax/vat price-setting approach.

TEQs are a technocrat's wet dream. Surely it must be obvious that human nature is years from being able to accept such a thing?


Do you think that the passenger on the Clapham Omnibus is any more enthusiastic about green taxes or "letting the market decide"?

TEQs aren't a panacea in themselves: they don't claim to reduce prices on the forecourt. They do claim to provide a basic allowance for everyone, however the size of that allowance will not be adequate for even the most frugal consumer, unless other measures to transform our energy provision are taken - and even then there may not be enough.

They are meant to be part of what we need to do to implement any contraction we sign up to internationally. If we sign up to a contraction and convergence agreement, we need a realistic plan for how to make that contraction in energy use a reality here in the UK/EU.

How about setting up a site called www.energytaxes.net putting forward the counter argument? Smile
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