Monday, August 29, 2011

Anthropogenic Global Warming

I have so much in my head at the moment, and a great desire to write it down, but it is completely incoherent.

For the global warming debate, I feel it is important to demonstrate my non-partisan take on it. One easy way to do this is to show an example of a policy belief of mine usually associated with the far left (Green party or left wing of the Labour Party) and a contrasting belief that is associated near the other extreme (National party or One Nation or Right wing of the Liberal Party).

This is not because I want to present myself in the middle ground, but that what I believe to be true takes up a point in idea space far away from the political left-right line that at the moment takes up all the discussion space in virtually every forum I visit.

For instance, I am vehemently against solar PV tarriffs above the wholesale market rate for electricity.

I am also very in favour of a Carbon Tax.

I steer away from arguments that question whether global warming is "real" or not. To me it is like a question of whether I believe in God or not. I perceive both these questions to be a device to flatten my beliefs and squeeze them down onto the political continuum line from their proper place in multiple dimensions - with an aim to push me with denial or acceptance of various assertions one way or another to the correlated viewpoints of (in this case) the left or right of politics.

There is no "references" I can point to in regards to this basic philosophical idea, but it should be simple enough for the casual reader to understand.

The question remains as to how I can convince someone to my same viewpoint. It is much easier to convince someone that solar PV tarriffs are bad because Global Warming is bunk than it is because it makes the energy market dysfunctional. It is also easier to convince people that we should have a Carbon Tax because AGW is real and a threat, than it is because it moves tax reform down a sensible direction (broad based, flat, easy to administer, can replace messier taxes or even carbon trading)

Another question may be why I think minor structural detail of the laws which underpin the energy market are more important than the global risks of catastrophe or conversely wasting our time, money and energy on a non-catastrophe.

The answer is to me, that the underpinning structural detail is absolutely vital both to succeed in whatever aims that voters think is important with regards to energy usage, and to not waste any time, money or energy in that achievement. Laws which make markets act in functional ways are a net profit to society, laws which don't, are a net loss - pure and simple.

Monday, August 08, 2011

They should have built fibre to the premises

I think that The US's experience of wireless broadband demonstrates the dangers in relying on private enterprise capital and regulation to deliver a functional long term backbone of infrastructure. The article I've linked to demonstrates the pernicious effects of selling responsibility of infrastructure onto the private sector. The value of a spectrum increases if more can be done with it, and therefore there is an perverse incentive for government regulators to relax spectrums and rules, independently of the original reasons to have the rule there in the first place. It isn't just a "fibre is better than wireless tradeoff". Wireless is always going to be chosen by private enterprise because a return can be made in a reasonable timeframe. The issue of fibre vs wireless is separate, and I would be just as happy with the NBN plan if it went something like 10% FTTP, 50% FTTN, and the remaining 40% the newer version of next G wireless, as long as the government could take control of the infrastructure.

However both for practicalities in taking over the infrastructure and being able to think long term, 93% FTTH is entirely reasonable in getting country areas onto the grid. The more important point to note is that Australia's transmission spectrum will remain functional and unencumbered by huge data loads and conflict of interest, while the US's will lose way more than the $1500 per household or whatever it is within a decade in its dysfunctional spectrum allocations and congestion.