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Mark Lynas on carbon rationing
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RevdTess



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adam1 wrote:
Do you think that the passenger on the Clapham Omnibus is any more enthusiastic about green taxes or "letting the market decide"?


No, I think they'll respond exactly the same way. That's partly what I'm trying to argue.

The advantage of taxes from a government perspective is that they can be imposed centrally without any expectation of consumer support or 'engagement' with carbon reduction goals. The advocates of TEQs argue that TEQs are superior to other approaches because they create a way for people to engage with the goal - they stick awareness of the problem and solution right in your face. I would say the opposite is more likely, that TEQs will cause people to hate the green agenda with an even greater passion. If a Greeny like me finds them outrageous, you can be sure the Daily Mail will.

I'm making no claim that any other approach is superior to TEQs, just that TEQs have numerous flaws that their proponents are blinding themselves to, which make the idea in my view dead on arrival at this time.

I do have my view about what other approaches might work, but I can't express them in conversations like this because certain people feel that by attacking the (many) failings of alternatives they are proving that TEQs will be effective. This isn't really the case. It's perfectly possibly that there is no effective approach to reducing carbon emissions before the oil runs out, Revolution notwithstanding.
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tess wrote:
It's perfectly possibly that there is no effective approach to reducing carbon emissions before the oil runs out.
Too damn right. Which is why we need to embrace all the possible strategies at once, even mutually exclusive ones, in that hope that one or more will have a useful outcome. I don't think it is possible to predict the future to the extent that we can confidently say this will work and that will not work. Let's be positive and allow any plan to show it's worth, empirically testing the outcome. TEQs, taxes, upstream supply limits...
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clv101
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tess wrote:
It's perfectly possibly that there is no effective approach to reducing carbon emissions before the oil runs out, Revolution notwithstanding.

I don't have any faith that we can proactively decide, choose, to leave fossil fuels in the ground that would otherwise be extracted. Our job is to understand the impact fossil fuel reserves and extraction rates will have on our economy, our society, our civilisation, our eco-system, our planet and act accordingly. Roll with the punches.

The sooner we realise we're not in proactive control of the system the sooner we can work out ways to sit comfortably and try and enjoy the ride.
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Shaun Chamberlin



Joined: 04 Feb 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tess wrote:
I am finding Shaun's modus argumenti increasingly frustrating.


I'm sorry to hear that Tess - I hope you found my apology on the other thread!

I've never been accused of zealous certainty before, but perhaps we can stick to actually debating the points, rather than speculating on each other's personalities. I do tend to start from the assumption that if we are disagreeing one of us has probably misunderstood something, because I think we have the same goals in mind, but I thought there was some good debate happening between us to reach a shared understanding.

Tess wrote:
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.


Absolutely. As Adam said, TEQs need an overarching international agreement on national carbon budgets above them to ensure that global emissions are falling. Equally, such an international agreement needs TEQs to ensure that the agreed budgets are actually achieved and that societies adapt to existing within their contracting budgets.

Tess wrote:
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.


In the short-term this is essentially true. TEQs would help to smooth the impacts of price spikes as previously discussed, but would not reduce overall prices immediately. On this timescale it is the introduction of rationing for a scarce resource (probably gas in the UK) that is likely to be the 'killer app'. In the medium-term the very point of TEQs is to stimulate the changes in society that reduce energy demand, and that of course is the only real way to reduce the price of petrol at the pump in a supply-constrained world.


Last edited by Shaun Chamberlin on Mon Jun 09, 2008 4:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Shaun Chamberlin



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 3:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Seeing the light... Reply with quote

jo wrote:
Shaun is, I believe, a male person


Guilty as charged Smile
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jo



Joined: 20 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 9:36 pm    Post subject: Free Trade ? Not likely Reply with quote

@Tess

If one zone of the world adopts a Carbon Cap, you say : "Downstream rationing cannot guarantee to reduce global production in a timely manner, it just reallocates the same production towards people not adopting rationing. Partial adoption does not reduce global extraction."

I came back on that to say : "If all the markets were truly freely traded, then it would happen as you suggest, but you have ignored strong "zoning" of supply routes : 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. And it's getting harder by the minute for the British Government to keep Natural Gas imports up to the level it wants. The LNG terminals and pipelines are rather empty."

You countered with : "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."

I would like to pull you back to this, as I think it is important to recognise the interdependence of regions of the World.

For example, if China implements a Carbon Cap (it has been proposing a Cap and Trade system this week), then it would not be able to produce so many goods, for a while, until it ramps up Renewable Energy for manufacture.

It would not be instantaneous for nations that consume Chinese goods to ramp up their production again, that they had outsourced to China. And so the net result will be a reduction in the flow of hydrocarbons, and a reduction in Carbon Emissions, PLUS a drop in trade.

It really is going to be hard for the "free market democracies" of the World to accept that Economic Growth is being squashed by both Peak Oil and essential Climate Change policies.

The point I was trying to make about trade in hydrocarbons is that nobody can assert that it is "free trade" : there are not an infinite number of suppliers, only a few. This naturally leads on to the fact that the supply, the price and the demand are not subject to standard theories of Economics.

This does afford us some hope : that it will be possible to control Carbon at some point, when we have the cooperation of all the Oil Majors and OPEC.

I would like to see a stabilisation in the price of petroleum and petroleum by-products, alongside a strict control of the flow.

Hydrocarbons should become "controlled substances" to avoid the current destructive addition.
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jo



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 10:01 pm    Post subject: Economic stabilisation by Carbon Rationing Reply with quote

@Tess & @Adam1

Tess said :
"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."

Adam1 said :
"Do you think that the passenger on the Clapham Omnibus is any more enthusiastic about green taxes or "letting the market decide"?"

Tess said :
"No, I think they'll respond exactly the same way. That's partly what I'm trying to argue. The advantage of taxes from a government perspective is that they can be imposed centrally without any expectation of consumer support or 'engagement' with carbon reduction goals. The advocates of TEQs argue that TEQs are superior to other approaches because they create a way for people to engage with the goal - they stick awareness of the problem and solution right in your face. I would say the opposite is more likely, that TEQs will cause people to hate the green agenda with an even greater passion. If a Greeny like me finds them outrageous, you can be sure the Daily Mail will."

As far as I can see we have a basic choice ahead of us : either grit our teeth and get a "centrally planned" policy on Carbon which will protect the lower echelons of Society to an extent, or continue with "free market" machinations and let the poor fend for themselves as the price of Energy gets hiked and hiked for reasons of Peak Energy and Climate Chaos.

The phenomenon of Rising Energy prices is accentuating the social division between rich and poor, and this will have enormous consequences for us all, wealthy or impoverished. Where will the "markets" go to, if increasing numbers of people become disadvantaged ?

Surely it's in the interests of both Society and Economy to have Carbon Control ?

It's a practical matter, more than an ideological position.

My preference for the Economy is to try to achieve stabilisation, at the same time as trying to achieve Climate stabilisation. This can only be achieved by controlling Carbon.

In the last 50 years, the Economy has not been stable : the rise in wealth for some has been at the expense of wealth and social benefits for others. A lot of this can be attributed to so-called "free markets", and I think that the time has come to recognise this, and that things seem to have reached an impasse. Economic growth will just not be possible from now on.

In order to avoid freefall, I would suggest that certain things be removed from "free markets" in order to make sure the Economy keeps on functioning.

The Daily Mail reporters are not stupid : and neither are their editors. They have recognised the faults and pitfalls with money-based solutions for Carbon Control. But "sharing the Carbon cake" is still a metaphor that can be sold effectively to their readership as it is based on the concept of "fairness", rather than "taxation". Carbon Rationing, once again.

It is true that as TEQs begins to bite with its yearly ratcheting down, people will have to pay some more for Energy, but this will coincide with a sharp rise in Renewables (under a properly set Carbon Cap), so eventually Energy will normalise in price in relation to the Economy as a whole.

We are in for a few troubling decades, whatever policies we adopt...
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jo



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 10:12 pm    Post subject: What would you suggest ? Reply with quote

@Tess

You said : "I do have my view about what other approaches might work, but I can't express them in conversations like this because certain people feel that by attacking the (many) failings of alternatives they are proving that TEQs will be effective. This isn't really the case."

The debates about various forms of environmental control have been rumbling on for literally decades, and I have yet to hear from anyone with anything GENUINELY new.

There seem to be only two ways to approach the problem of Pollution. The "Polluter Pays" principle should really be reserved for "outcome pricing" - in other words - companies that send out leaky oil tankers should be paying to clean up oil spills.

"Polluter Pays" does not work in a market scenario, as those that incur costs invariably pass them on to their customers.

A rights-based solution to Carbon Control is really the only policy anchor that makes any sense to me.

You will hear many voices from many constituencies begin to talk about Carbon Rights in the next few years.

For example, it is within the Carbon Rights of the Bangladeshi to both use Energy and be protected from Climate Change.

It is also Climate Justice for the Inuit to urge emissions controls on the USA.

When it comes to Carbon Rights, I balk at allowing those already made wealthy by Carbon to inherit those rights going forward : I think the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme got suckered by allowing the Point Emitters to get free Carbon Permits.

Why should we protect the business of Carbon criminals ? Why should we have a system that ringfences the rights of the burners to carry on burning and the loggers to carry on logging ?

I would like to hear what you have to say on Carbon Policy...HERE especially...
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jo



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 10:17 pm    Post subject: All Ways Forward ? Reply with quote

@biffvernon

You said : "Which is why we need to embrace all the possible strategies at once, even mutually exclusive ones, in that hope that one or more will have a useful outcome. I don't think it is possible to predict the future to the extent that we can confidently say this will work and that will not work. Let's be positive and allow any plan to show it's worth, empirically testing the outcome. TEQs, taxes, upstream supply limits..."

We are currently undergoing several laboratory experiments in Carbon Control, and most of them are proving to be low-scorers.

The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme : going nowhere pretty fast.

"Natural" Carbon Pricing from Peak Oil : will lead us down some unsavoury Carbon-intensive roads.

The odd Levy and Tax : not really worth the paper they're written on.

Although I'm up for proof of concept, I really can't be "multi-faith" about this.

The only policy that will have any serious impact will deal with BOTH the source and the destination of Carbon : a fixed Carbon Budget split between producers and consumers is the only thing I think can fit the bill - TEQs again.
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jo



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 10:26 pm    Post subject: An Uneasy Ride Ahead Reply with quote

@clv101

You said : "I don't have any faith that we can proactively decide, choose, to leave fossil fuels in the ground that would otherwise be extracted. Our job is to understand the impact fossil fuel reserves and extraction rates will have on our economy, our society, our civilisation, our eco-system, our planet and act accordingly. Roll with the punches. The sooner we realise we're not in proactive control of the system the sooner we can work out ways to sit comfortably and try and enjoy the ride."

I'm really sorry to read this as it seems like you are caving in, that the forces seem beyond your influence, that you cannot have any impact on what's going down.

Please stay engaged. We need all brains switched on for this.

Remember the interconnectedness number : you are six handshakes away from someone with real decision-making democratic power. And as Peak Energy kicks in, Mr or Ms Decisionmaker will be so much more ready to listen and share with you.

Things are not fait accompli (mission accomplished, matter-of-fact).

There is a lot left to play for.

I've recently been exchanging with someone who has made a brave decision to relocate their entire family from one Continent to the other in order to get INVOLVED on Climate Change and Carbon Policy.

Everything is at risk. Don't hide in your cave.

Besides Carbon Policy, there are the enormous matters of how to enforce Energy Efficiency in every human system and every production process, how to facilitate central and de-centralised Renewable Energy provision, how to educate people about the effects of Climate Change and Peak Energy...there is no time to sleep. This is no time to back off.

Use your vision, and point to a brighter day.
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clv101
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 10:48 pm    Post subject: Re: An Uneasy Ride Ahead Reply with quote

jo wrote:
@clv101

You said : "I don't have any faith that we can proactively decide, choose, to leave fossil fuels in the ground that would otherwise be extracted. Our job is to understand the impact fossil fuel reserves and extraction rates will have on our economy, our society, our civilisation, our eco-system, our planet and act accordingly. Roll with the punches. The sooner we realise we're not in proactive control of the system the sooner we can work out ways to sit comfortably and try and enjoy the ride."

I'm really sorry to read this as it seems like you are caving in, that the forces seem beyond your influence, that you cannot have any impact on what's going down.

Please stay engaged. We need all brains switched on for this.

Remember the interconnectedness number : you are six handshakes away from someone with real decision-making democratic power. And as Peak Energy kicks in, Mr or Ms Decisionmaker will be so much more ready to listen and share with you.

Things are not fait accompli (mission accomplished, matter-of-fact).

There is a lot left to play for.

I've recently been exchanging with someone who has made a brave decision to relocate their entire family from one Continent to the other in order to get INVOLVED on Climate Change and Carbon Policy.

Everything is at risk. Don't hide in your cave.

Besides Carbon Policy, there are the enormous matters of how to enforce Energy Efficiency in every human system and every production process, how to facilitate central and de-centralised Renewable Energy provision, how to educate people about the effects of Climate Change and Peak Energy...there is no time to sleep. This is no time to back off.

Use your vision, and point to a brighter day.


I'm not caving in, I'm still engaged - I just think there's more benefit to be had working out how the system WILL respond rather than attempting to mitigate the response. Say we burn everything we can get our hands on and the CO2 level increases to 600ppm. What does than mean? What's the timescale? When do we abandon London? 10 years? 50 years or 100? Are Dutch style sea defenses viable or not? What crops to grow where?

I think work in this area over the coming decades is likely more productive, mitigate more climate change damage than attempting to keep otherwise easily extractable fossil fuels in the ground for a meaningful timescale (through upstream or downstream actions).

My best hopes for avoiding the worst of climate change are:
* global economic collapse - which would reduce fossil fuel demand significantly below what would otherwise be the case
* smart mitigation, movement, protecting what can be protected, intelligently abandoning what can't be, changing where and how we live to adapt to the changing environment

The third way, of proactively heading it off with global treaties, consumer choice, national demand side policy, coal moratoriums, unconventional oils abandonment etc... I have little faith in. It's a case of directing one's efforts where they will have most effect.

Your paragraph I bolded, I totally agree with and I'm active in those areas. I am also active in calling for upstream cuts, as while an outside chance I seem them has at least having the potential to deliver global carbon cuts.

P.S. The forum software have a quote feature like I used above, I think it would make your posts a bit easier to read.
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jo



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 12:55 am    Post subject: Solving The Problem Faster Than Creating It Reply with quote

@clv101

I'm glad to hear you're still in the land of the (relatively) optimistic.

I fear for those who burn out, I really do. These are big issues and some people feel the weight quite keenly.

The only way to survive for some people is to feed on the energy of their outrage...

When you say : "I just think there's more benefit to be had working out how the system WILL respond rather than attempting to mitigate the response. Say we burn everything we can get our hands on and the CO2 level increases to 600ppm. What does than mean?..."

I would like to challenge you that mitigation (stopping) of Greenhouse Gas Emissions is our only hope. The reason is that rough estimates of Climate "Damages" are accumulating at a rate of roughly 6% year-on-year.

In other words, we need to clean up the mess faster than we are creating it, or we will soon be neck-deep in acidic, salty water. There is no more time to "wait and see". And there is no way that we can pay for all the adaptation that would be necessary if we let Climate Change continue unabated.

If I am to follow your example and direct my efforts where I think they will have the most effect, that would mean that I need to continue to alert people to the devastating consequences of letting this carry on unchecked.

There are some things I don't need to worry about.

During the Climate March in London, England last December, I passed a member of the Socialist Workers Party of Britain, holding up the usual newspaper, trying to sell it to me.

He was shouting something like "Smash Capitalism !" I shouted back, "I don't need to. It's smashing itself !" He retorted with "It's not !", but you and I both know I'm right.

Capitalism has hit a brick wall, and an avalanche of "non-standard" Economics is about to hit the fan (up mixed metaphor alley without a paddle)

The domino effect is already in action, causing writedowns in every sector. It's not "greed" that caused it. It's bad debt, based on the vapourising flow of Carbon as Peak Oil kicks in.

The last bastions of "investment" have sunk : manufacturing, property, and in the near future LAND and LABOUR will suddenly have a value approaching ZERO (high unemployment and vanishing financial resources to develop land).

Forget pensions. Forget making money on your savings. It's time to scamble up the muddy bank as the flood waters rise, taking what little wealth you can in your pockets.

I think the coming recession will do more to tip us into Energy Sanity than any other policy/move at present.

It's time to stop waste. Not plastic bag waste - ENERGY waste. And it's time to stop THROWING CARBON AWAY. It's very valuable.

Carbon Conservation is not only a practical, resource-saving measure. It's also essential for survival. In more ways than one.

FAQ : What does 700 ppmv CO2 mean ? What does 3 to 4.5 degrees Celsisus average additional global warming mean ? The Arctic/Siberia region is already experiencing forcings in the region of 4 to 9 degrees Celsius of increased warming :-

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/monthly_maps.lrg.gif

and the data is truly frightening : huge meltdown, sea ice loss, methane eruptions. We're not just talking about Polar Bears, here. Greenland is genuinely at risk which would mean several metres of sea level rise. Be ye warned :-

http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/scienceandnature/story/0,,2063401,00.html
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jo



Joined: 20 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 2:03 am    Post subject: Renewable Energy Consultation : Funding The New Generation Reply with quote

Comment from me regarding the announcements about Renewable Energy plans :-

http://www.changecollege.org.uk/html/funding_the_new_generation.html
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clv101
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:15 am    Post subject: Re: Renewable Energy Consultation : Funding The New Generati Reply with quote

jo wrote:
Comment from me regarding the announcements about Renewable Energy plans :-

http://www.changecollege.org.uk/html/funding_the_new_generation.html

Poor show regarding the comments to that piece Jo. I think you're wrong to be so closed towards upstream capping. Yes, b d used more words than he/she should have but they are words you need to hear.
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jo



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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 10:43 pm    Post subject: Spend Money on De-Carbonisation, Not Carbon Permits Reply with quote

Funding The New Generation : Carbon Pricing Isn't Working

Carbon Trading isn't working, and Carbon Credits are sometimes badly invalid.

Carbon Taxation can only touch so much before causing massive inflation, and Carbon Permit by Auction is just handing Carbon Property Rights to Big Energy.

What's to do ? Deal with crabby e-mail :-

http://www.changecollege.org.uk/html/funding_the_new_generation_2.html
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