Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Kyoto

I'm not an expert on climate change, by any means, and I've always kept it as one of those issues I think are very bad and important but don't personally have the energy for. But I have long been a little uneasy about Kyoto. I was listening to Rod Oram talking about it on Nine to Noon today, and apparently I was right.

It does seem to be simply the commodification of pollution, and I'm pretty sure I think that's a bad idea.

Is there any good reason why a left-wing person would support Kyoto?

9 comments:

  1. Hmm... I don't think I would agree with you. Pollution is already commodified in terms of things like bottled water, air filters, medication and treatment for asthma and other pollution-related conditions. These things benefit from increases in pollution, whereas with Kyoto, people benefit by decreasing pollution. It's design to reduce pollution (theoretically speaking anyway), so I wouldn't call it commodification even though economic incentives are involved. But then again, I don't know anything about the particulars of the Kyoto protocol.

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  2. Anonymous2:47 pm

    I would think that a left-wing person should probably support the Kyoto agreement if they live less than a metre above sea level, and not in a houseboat.

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  3. My question isn't whether something needs to be done about climate change, the question is whether we support Kyoto as that solution.

    For example I'm always in favour of providing free public transport, over petrol tax, as a way of getting car use down.

    I'm not convinced this will get pollution down, just make it something that is being paid for.

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  4. Commodifying pollution isn't good, but it's better than simply allowing free unregulated pollution. We should support Kyoto in principle because despite its flaws it will have a marginal beneficial effect. I wouldn't waste any practical effort on it, though, because it's so grossly inadequate.

    Left-wing people shouldn't care whether it's themselves or other people that live less than a metre above sea level, but such people are in trouble regardless of what happens with Kyoto.

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  5. Nuclear energy is worth debating, and many energy experts seem to agree. The contnuing burning of fossil fuels to provide energy is not sustainable either in terms of fuel supply or emissions.

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  6. Oh well Graham if the experts say so.

    Just for the record I think ending capitalism is the best solution to our energy problems

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  7. Note to Graham - putting aside the debate about nuclear waste, you should bear in mind one thing.
    Uranium is not a renewable energy source and is a very rare resource even when compared to dwindling supplies of oil and gas.
    If we used nuclear at the same rate we consume oil, then the world's uranium reserves would run out in just 10 years.
    The only sustainable, long-term solution is a massive and sustained reduction in consumption accompanied by a shift to a wide spread of renewable energies (and not just wind power!).

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  8. I'm a libertarian and I agree with you on this.

    Kyoto, amongst other things is the commidification of polution.

    Essentially firms have a choice:

    a) negotiate a greenhouse agreement
    b) cut emissions
    c) let emissions continue as long as the cost of the emissions is more than the profit they make without cutting emissions

    essentially large polluters will continute to pollute as long as it is profitible not to...

    and small firms won't be able to afford the costs...

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  9. Oh no those poor small firms, that's tragic that they won't be able to afford the cost.

    Although the fact that a liberatarian agrees with me is a convincing argument that I'm wrong, I'm not sure it's sufficent in htis case.

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