Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Environmental policy - Carbon trading good, reducing food miles bad

If you have doubts about the merits of carbon trading I suggest you read the following link selling hot air. Not only does it seem that greenhouse emissions trading is working to reduce emissions, but that the side benefit is increased energy prices in areas like Europe (which is further enabling further CO2 reductions), and a large transfer of associated money from the first world to the third world (albeit mainly China) on UN approved project of greenhouse emmission reduction. This brings me to the issue of reducing food miles. This always smacked to me of import restrictions by stealth, just like disease quarantine barriers to banana imports. I think that there should be as little restriction as possible on food imports, because these are critical to pull the third world out of poverty. Third world poverty is what will make them so much more susceptible to future natural disasters. Foreign aid is so paternalistic compared to opening of trade and migrant labour barriers.

Signing Kyoto seems also to be fairly meaningless, as it is being used as a reference line for Australia and the US which didn't sign it, and is being ignored if not flagrantly overrun by countries like Canada, which did.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Climate Change Again

Bringing this subject up again has been prompted by this Survey of the environment which seems to contradict its own previous conclusions of just a couple of years ago (especially re Lomborg conclusions). The survey has concluded that the precautionary principle should apply and has implied a lifting of carbon reduction priority in comparison with the Copenhagen Consensus. Part of this reasoning is that some forward predictors seem to be becoming more accurate. Also, some things that will probably reduce CO2 overall are potentially costless (with that I mean global Carbon trading *NOT* voluntary measures). I am a little disturbed that "the Economist" seems to have taken up the paradigm of the environmental scientists and seem to have forgotten that there is more to making the world a better place than stopping global warming.

Anyway, I just wanted to clear up that the reason I, as an individual disagree with voluntary reductions for the benefit of the environment. It is thus: The "net" result of an individual taking the trouble to reduce say fossil fuel usage is not the associated reduction in usage due to market factors. In practice, the non-use of a resource, means that there is more for "someone else" to use. Me using less water during a drought means that there is less pressure for everyone else to use less water. Net result: I needn't have bothered putting myself out. The costs of voluntary reductions are real, substantial, but invisible. 99 times out of a hundred the net result seems positive, but the reduced demand gives an equal and opposite reaction that reduces the price of the resource such that the net usage is the same as it would have been without the measures. If you can understand the crux of the argument - this is why I rail against the promotion of selflessness and voluntary reduction measures. It is a huge exercise in self-congratulation and kidding oneself.

On Carbon trading however, even though I don't see much point in the environmental priority of it but there is one HUGE plus with global carbon trading. People will see that "Globalisation" is a force for good. Trade of EVERYTHING should be global, including carbon emmissions.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Rail against brand snobbery

There has been several experiences within the sales team at Cueldee where local schools or businesses have pretty much disrespected our local, family oriented business, while heaping praise on big-name competing brand(s) such as Kombat, Canterbury, Peerless etc. Now, this is perfectly understandable coming from someone from a metropolitan area far away, but it kind of bites when it comes from a teacher at a school I've been a student at, or where my children attend. I have also seen this kind of brand snobbery coming from other local business owners.