Money (that’s what I want)

by Bryan Walker on October 12, 2010

I participated a few days ago in a Friends of the Earth urgent email action concerning US stances on the proposed Global Climate Fund through which developed countries will give financial assistance to developing countries in tackling the impacts of climate change. Friends of the Earth were alarmed by the US push for the management of the Fund to be handled by the World Bank rather than come under the aegis of the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

They noted dryly that the World Bank has more experience causing climate change than preventing and addressing it.

”Despite the climate crisis and its devastating impact on developing countries, the World Bank loaned more money for coal in 2010 than it ever has before, with a 40-fold increase over the last 5 years”.

They also consider that the World Bank falls short on the important issues of democratic governance, sustainability, poverty alleviation, human rights and environmental integrity.

The other US position which Friends of the Earth took exception to was the threat at the Tianjin talks to block the establishment of a Global Climate Fund this year if US demands for more actions from developing countries like China are not met. They pointed out that the threat is unfair given that the US is the country most responsible for causing the climate crisis and among the world’s least active in addressing it.

Oxfam was another NGO last week expressing concern about the management of the Global Climate Fund.  They issued a report Righting Two Wrongs:  Making a New Global Climate Fund Work for Poor People which called for a new Fund to be set up at the UN climate summit in Cancun in December. In the Copenhagen Accord last year developed countries committed to a goal of mobilising US$100 billion a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries. Oxfam’s concern is that as much of the money as possible should be channelled through a single fund and that the fund should be “fairly governed, accountable and accessible to the groups, including women, who are on the front lines of climate change.”

Oxfam wants us to learn from the experience of recent years which shows that poor people in developing countries are not receiving an appropriate share of the climate funds disbursed. They are already having to adapt to severe effects of climate change and are not being supported as they should be. Currently money is being applied much more to mitigation in developing countries than to adaptation.

The report is typically detailed in its suggestions as to how the Fund should be set up and managed, and while it wants the populations most affected by climate change impacts to be much more involved in the process it also recognises the interest of the donor countries in being assured that the money is used transparently and wisely.

“New and additional” are the words the Copenhagen accord used to describe the funding they committed to. Some will no doubt try to simply divert existing development aid to climate projects, but they will have no basis to defend such attempts The new money will add up to a similar amount to that already spent on development aid, and Oxfam considers that at least 50% of it should be allocated to adaptation in vulnerable developing countries.

A sense of the urgency Oxfam feels behind the measured statements of their report was well communicated by their senior climate change advisor Kelly Dent when announcing its release:

“For many people around the world, this has been a year from sheer hell. We’ve seen floods, droughts, fires, storms and other extreme weather events that will only get worse as climate change intensifies. Some of the poorest people in the world have seen their crops wiped out and livelihoods destroyed – but we still haven’t caught on to their needs. Will we sow the seeds of resilience now or pay the price of failure later?”

[The Fabs]

{ 113 comments… read them below or add one }

David October 12, 2010 at 12:46 pm

“We’ve seen floods, droughts, fires, storms and other extreme weather events that will only get worse as climate change intensifies”

hahahahahahahahaha, thats hilarious.
Link or Citation please to a Peer Reviewed Paper which supports this view.
And no, an article written by a WWF journalist doesnt count.

Richard C1 October 12, 2010 at 7:22 pm
Richard C1 October 13, 2010 at 7:49 pm
Macro October 13, 2010 at 8:38 pm

It would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious. Here are Rio Tinto one of the greatest polluters in the world being hit by the effects of their own pollution – the most rain in recorded history – and they think it will get better?

R2D2 October 13, 2010 at 9:05 pm

here we go again

Bryan Walker October 12, 2010 at 1:57 pm

David, if denial runs so deep for you that you find that sort of statement hilarious it’s not likely that anything I point to will serve. But just in case, I’ll suggest looking at this recent post in Skeptical Science. It’s not a peer-reviewed paper, but it draws on the work of scientists who have written plenty of papers.
It is my view that Oxfam is entirely justified in saying the kind of thing that is reported here. They work among poorer people whose experiences increasingly match the predictions of climate science, and they have a right to be heard just as we have a duty to listen to them and help them adapt as best they can to the changes we have helped cause.

R2D2 October 12, 2010 at 2:43 pm

“”Despite the climate crisis and its devastating impact on developing countries, the World Bank loaned more money for coal in 2010 than it ever has before”

I presume electricity generation is one of the most common things the World Bank loans money to developing nations for. Are you / Friends of the Earth suggesting the World Bank should only loan money to developing nations for electricity generation if that generation is renewable?

Sam Vilain October 12, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Loaning money for coal isn’t really “developing” the nation, is it. It’s more like shackling it in the dark ages.

R2D2 October 12, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Riiigghht.

I don’t know where to begin, that is possibly the most idiotic thing ever written on this page.

Maybe I will just say try doing business in a nation without reliable power. And coal is still the most reliable form of power (presuming an area does not have access to nearby gas).

Macro October 13, 2010 at 8:57 pm

I just had to give this the thumbs up – it gave me such a belly laugh! Are you so simplistic R2 that you think that only coal provides reliable energy?

R2D2 October 13, 2010 at 9:51 pm

“only”, no I said “most”

If I was president of poor African nation and wanted to invest money in electricity generation I would go to a coal plant unless gas was available and cheaper.

Macro October 24, 2010 at 7:36 am

thank goodness your not!

Gosman October 12, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Where is this additional 100 Billion dollars a year meant to come from given the fact that the developed countries are on the whole running massive Budget deficits and are looking to cut back spending?

Is there ANY examples where foreign aid has been successfully used to fundamentally alter the economic basis of countries in the developing world?

adelady October 12, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Well for a start, governments could come out ahead if they forked out $100 billion and simultaneously cut off the $500 billion a year subsidies going to FF companies.

Gosman October 12, 2010 at 4:56 pm

What are FF companies? Frequent Flyer perhaps?

adelady October 12, 2010 at 5:05 pm

FF = Fossil Fuels

Gosman October 12, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Okay. so how are they receiving $500 billion per year?

Is this direct subsidies or externalities that the countries that they reside in don’t request back from them?

adelady October 12, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Cold, hard cash.

(Mainly by cheque or electronic transfer or rebates or credits – you name it, there’s a way of paying it.)

Gosman October 12, 2010 at 8:24 pm

You haven’t answered the question. How is this 500 billion subsidies manifest itself.

Thomas October 12, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Gosman here you go:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/04/business/04bptax.html

http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/2010/pol050410a.htm

http://www.progress.org/2003/energy22.htm

http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Oil-Companies-Benefiting-from-Large-Tax-Breaks-as-Congress-Meekly-Looks-On.html

Plus many countries actually tax subsidize fuel to their people:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasoline_and_diesel_usage_and_pricing

The total in tax payer subsidies to Oil and Gas and Coal companies likely is more in the region of 1 T$ globally.

Against that development subsidies for clean technology are rather small.
Funny that the liberal capitalists like our ACT party who are so opposed to tax incentives for clean technology never ever speak up against OIL subsidies.
Perhaps that as to do with the fact that Oil companies spend $380 Million on Lobbyists in the USA alone since 2008 as you can read in the NY times article.

Gosman October 13, 2010 at 10:53 am

Tax rebates or discounts are not the same as direct subsidies. They depend on the person receiving them actually making money to begin with. You remove the rebate and there is no guarrantee that you will receive the amount of money it cost you.

Regardless of this there is no evidence that it is costing $500 billion per year in any of the articles people have linked to. Where did you pull this figure from?

Thomas October 13, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Gosman:
http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2010/06/picture.htm

The above is from the IMF and you would hopefully agree that their figures are not some looney green imagination.
The world wide oil subsidies have been between $500 and $1000 billion lately…..!

Gosman October 14, 2010 at 9:17 am

I think you will find that those figures are made up of a large proportion of price subsidies in countries outside the West. Countries like Nigeria and Iran who provide fuel to their population at below costs. The IMF is very big on removal of these as they cause market distortions such as the fact that petrol is often in short supply in these places as many people smuggle the commodity to neighbouring countries where they can make an instant profit.

Of course you are welcome to grab this subsidy and direct it to a fund to help with dealing with the effects of climate change in the developed world. However much of these subsidies are in the developing world.

John D October 13, 2010 at 11:02 am

It’s also worth mentioning that the ROC system with wind in the UK guarantees the wind farm operator money even if they don’t produce any energy.

Also, the solar feed-in tarrifs are so high that it is economically viable to shine a high power arc lamp at an array of solar panels and make money out of it. This is now a part of the orgainised crime network in Europe.

Thomas October 13, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Hahahahhhahaha!!!

John D October 13, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Thomas,
it’s so funny even Monbiot thinks its a scam

http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2010/03/01/a-great-green-rip-off/

Bryan Walker October 12, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Gosman, funding for adaptation is not development aid, it is more like a debt we have incurred. I presume you’re not claiming that developed countries shouldn’t have to pay their debts because they’re cutting back spending.

Your question about aid I won’t attempt to address because it’s not what the Hot Topic website is concerned with. But you could drop a line to Oxfam and ask them. Jason Garman is their NZ communications and media person. (jason@oxfam.org.nz)

Gosman October 12, 2010 at 3:55 pm

You might like to define it however you want to Bryan but it is still Aid regardless of your thoughts.

It would be like if the UK demanded money from other countries for use of the English language, or African nations demanding compensation for Slavery, or Iran wanting pay back from Mongolia and China for the damges inflicted by Genghis Khan. You can make a case in each of them examples of some sort of ‘Debt’ owing.

Bryan Walker October 12, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Or Maori receiving modest compensation for past injustices? But we’re not even looking that far back. This is all comparatively recent and the effects are being experienced right now. You write as if 100 billion dollars is massive in relation to developed countries’ income. It’s a simple matter of justice so far as I am concerned – and if we had an international climate law I’ve no doubt successful cases could be brought.

Gosman October 12, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Maori had a legal means to negotiate compensation coupled with a political willingness from within the Political system to provide one off payments. How much willingness do you think there would have been if compensation was open ended?

100 Billion dollars per year additional to existing Foreign Aid spending is pretty big no matter how you look at it. It would essentially double the ODA given at the moment. A hard sell I would say in countries like the US and Europe who are undergoing economic difficulties and cut backs.

Bryan Walker October 12, 2010 at 5:50 pm

The Copenhagen Accord settled on 100 billion a year. Hardly open-ended.
I disagree absolutely that that is big money. It’s trifling.

Gosman October 12, 2010 at 8:23 pm

For how long Bryan is this 100 billion per year going to be paid for?

Bryan Walker October 12, 2010 at 10:05 pm

I imagine the thinking has only gone as far as how to reach that level of funding, not on withdrawal strategies. It’s a murky future to try to peer into given the way we are carrying on at present.

R2D2 October 12, 2010 at 11:02 pm

So if a hurricane hits Haiti how do we know if it is a regular hurricane or a man made one? (in order to determine if the nation is eligible for compensation)

What about when the next drought hits somewhere in Africa, how will we know if that is a regular drought or a man made drought?

CTG October 13, 2010 at 8:15 am

That’s a false dichotomy, as has been pointed out to you many times before, R2. Really, my labrador catches on quicker than you.

But if you insist on playing silly games, then your question is easily answered: given that man has altered the earth’s climate system, ALL future hurricanes will be man-made. There is no such thing as a regular hurricane any more. M’kay?

John D October 13, 2010 at 9:23 am

ALL future hurricanes will be man-made.

Sorry, I can’t reply to the original post, but that is possibly the most retarded and idiotic statement I have ever read on this or any other blog.

Gosman October 13, 2010 at 11:16 am

So it is open ended then isn’t it.

Bryan Walker October 13, 2010 at 11:37 am

quelle horreur

CTG October 13, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Reading comprehension is not your strong suit, eh John D?

Okay, I will keep it simple for you. R2 asked how to tell the difference between “regular” and “man-made” hurricanes. My reply was that is a false dichotomy. You can look that up in a dictionary, but basically it means that you can’t split hurricanes into regular and man-made.

Obviously in the second part of my reply, I was being facetious. Oops, that’s a bit of a long word – I mean I was JOKING.

I thought the bit about “silly games” might have given that away, but I guess I will have to make it a bit clearer for you in future.

R2D2 October 13, 2010 at 5:21 pm

So your now saying no future hurricanes are man made? The joke wasn’t very clear the first time. This is why people are sceptical about paying for climate change. It seems it is very easy to claim hot days, cold days, windy days, and wet days are all a result of climate change. With no regard to the fact that weather has always changed.

CTG October 13, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Now you are being deliberately obtuse, R2.

YOU were the one who introduced the term “man-made hurricane”.

Just so we are clear on this – there is no such thing as a man-made hurricane. Okay?

We could have a sensible discussion about how to measure the anthropogenic contribution to things like hurricane intensity, but frankly, what’s the point? You will only do what you always do, which is deny deny deny.

CTG October 14, 2010 at 7:43 am

Obviously John D and R2 are not interested in the actual science behind man’s influence on extreme weather events, but for members of the reality-based community, here’s what Kevin Trenberth has to say on the matter:

For every one degree Fahrenheit increase in sea temperature, the water holding capacity for the atmosphere goes up by 4%. And since the 1970’s on average there’s about a 4% increase in water vapor over the Atlantic Ocean and when that gets caught into a storm, it invigorates the storm so the storm itself changes, and that can easily double the influence of that water vapor and so you can get up to an 8% increase, straight from the amount of water vapor that’s sort of hanging around in the atmosphere.

Full interview here.

R2D2 October 14, 2010 at 11:28 am

Unfortunatly there is a difference between what the great Kev says publically and what he says privately.

Publically:

“These events would not have happened without global warming.” (Pakistani floods and Russian Heat Wave) – Kevin Trenberth

What he says privately:

“Saying it is natural variability is not an explanation. What are the physical processes? Where did the heat go? We know there is a build up of ocean heat prior to El Nino, and a discharge (and sfc T warming) during late stages of El Nino, but is the observing system
sufficient to track it? Quite aside from the changes in the ocean, we know there are major changes in the storm tracks and teleconnections with ENSO, and there is a LOT more rain on land during La Nina (more drought in El Nino), so how does the albedo change overall
(changes in cloud)?”

“The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.”

CTG October 14, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Now that’s classic R2 – the ol’ quote-out-of-context routine.

There’s a difference between those two quotes because they are talking about completely different things!

The first quote addresses what we were talking about – does the long-term warming trend have a systemic influence on weather events? (Answer: yes)

The second quote is talking about whether climate sensing systems are able to completely track short-term fluxes in energy between the ocean and atmsophere systems. Trenberth is lamenting that the current sensor systems aren’t good enough to provide full accounting of where the heat goes. Not even remotely related to the topic at hand.

The really funny thing is that deniosaurs love to quote this email because all they can see is the word “travesty”, and they are blind to the context. But if they agree with Trenberth that “it is a travesty”, what they are actually agreeing is that climate science is UNDERFUNDED! Somehow I don’t think that was quite the point you wanted to make, R2 :-)

Gosman October 12, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Any country can decide to stop paying debts back. It happens all the time. Zimbabwe fell into arrears with the IMF and World Banks, (amongst others), recently. What were the consequences do you know Bryan?

Bryan Walker October 12, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Are you suggesting we have to default because we can’t afford it?

Gosman October 12, 2010 at 4:37 pm

What happened when Zimbabwe stopped supporting their Debts?

Gosman October 12, 2010 at 5:00 pm

No my point is that it isn’t a debt because there are no negative economic consequences for those that you say owe the debt.

Any person, company, or Country can welsh on a debt. If they do they take the cosequences.

The only one you have here is a moral obligation to pay something. Moral obligations don’t tend to be as effective in providing incentives.

Bryan Walker October 12, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Moral obligations work for me. Am I some kind of freak?

adelady October 12, 2010 at 6:29 pm

No.

I notice that Germany’s just paying the last of the reparations demanded after the war. Would anyone notice if they’d not paid it? It’s a very small amount by modern standards.

Gosman October 12, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Ummmm… in case you didn’t know they lost a rather large war and there have been a number of foreign troops based on German soil for the past 65 years.

Thomas October 12, 2010 at 8:44 pm

And our fossil fuel habit is currently loading the gun for devastating destruction in many developing countries who have done no harm to deserve this as their contribution is small compared to the contribution of the USA and the West.
A sea level rise of a few meters, now almost certain over the next couple of hundred years will do a massive amount of damage plus the effects of climate change generally which will devastate many regions economically without a chance of recovery (unlike rebuilding after a war).
Plus Gosman, with your total ignorance about the massive subsides received by fossil fuel companies you have really told us here that you do not know enough about this subject to have your opinion taken very seriously indeed. Do some research before you jump on the box!

R2D2 October 12, 2010 at 11:10 pm

“unlike rebuilding after a war” – after Hitler invaded Eastern Europe the nations were ‘liberated’ by Stalin. The former nations of Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and the nations of Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Estonia, I could go on, have still not recovered. There is no measuring the damage that was done to these nations. Hardly just “rebuilding”. And thats not to mention the loss of life. I can’t believe you actually wrote that :-(

Also, you seem to be so obsessed with fossil fuel subsidies yet I presume you probably have no problem with subsidies for biofuel or renewable energy? Who also employ expensive lobbyists by the way.

bill October 12, 2010 at 11:45 pm

One, what’s Stalin got to do with it? Thomas did not mention, far less defend, him. The point is actually obvious – if your productive capacity is decimated – full-stop – by being swamped by the ocean or no fresh water arriving via, say, evaporated Glaciers (remember those?) no Marshall Plan is going to save you. Self-righteous tirades on the evils of communism are irrelevant to the discussion.

But you actually know that; this is some form of silly point-scoring

Also, who has the most bloody lobbyists? And get the biggest subsidies. By, what, an order of magnitude? More? I mean, you’d have to be extremely dumb not to be able to work that one out, wouldn’t you?

If you’re going to take to calling others ‘idiotic’ you might want to start looking a little closer to home, a la pots and kettles! Some of us ‘can’t believe you wrote that’ either a lot of the time, you know…

R2D2 October 13, 2010 at 5:24 pm

“what’s Stalin got to do with it”

Bit off topic, but the invasion of Eastern Europe by Hitler and the subsequent demise of the Third Reich allowed talin to occupy, or control, most of Eastern Europe. If Hitler didn’t invade in the first place this wouldn’t have happened.

adelady October 13, 2010 at 2:37 am

You worry that renewables also get subsidies, r2d2?

Tell you what, let’s add up all the subsidies paid for all technologies. Put it into one heap then split evenly.

Half for the burning technologies, half for the others. Then let the burning mob argue for their shares of one pie. Geo, solar, tidal, wind, hydro can fight it out for the other half.

Who’s got most to gain from that scenario? I’ve not heard the FF folks put this up because they feel hard done by in the present arrangements. Maybe they’d like to keep this topic off the public agenda.

Thomas October 13, 2010 at 8:02 am

R2D2: Subsidies for the FF industry keep us stuck in an UNSUSTAINABLE habit. FF will run out (peak oil, coal) and pollute (AGW).
Subsidies for alternative energy development are an INVESTMENT into a SUSTAINABLE future. There is NO future unless it is sustainable!!! Get it???

Many businesses invest heavily into new technology. They know that they going to have to ‘SUBSIDIZE’ new development by calculating a break even on their investment some time into the future. In the terms of business this is call Investment. In the terms of energy, why do we call it subsidies?

John D October 13, 2010 at 8:36 am

Questions:

(1) How long does a wind farm last before it needs replacement?

(2) How much non-renewable backup generation is needed to provide baseload for when the wind isn’t blowing?

(3) How much non-renewable material is used to create the wind-turbines?

In answering these questions, you might get a greater insight into what we define as “sustainable”

R2D2 October 13, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Although I disagree personally with subsidies, many of the arguments about investment in the future you apply to renewable generation other people apply to non-renewable generation. For example, a nation with reliable energy is far more likely to grow economically. So a government may choose to subsidise generation in order to grease the wheels of the economy.

I am just pointing out your bias. Your problem is not with subsidies, you actually love them, you only have a problem for subsidies for the industries you personally dislike. And herein lies the problem with subsidies, they result in the government ‘picking winners’.

Thomas October 13, 2010 at 6:15 pm

R2D2: So you think its a great idea to grease the wheels of an unsustainable economy based on FF energy so that that unsustainable economy grows bigger and hits the limits of its sustainability with much greater impact????
Like a person wanting to jump of a cliff choosing to climb a bit higher in the hope the impact might be survivable then???
What is it that you don’t get about a habit being unsustainable???

John:
Wind farms are designed with a 20 to 30 year life span. The energy they are generating is much more than that required to build them. Many of the parts (metals) can be recycled. Many pats will have a life span well in excess of 20 to 30 years. Some parts will have to be rebuild from scratch.
PV solar panels have now manufacturers warranties in excess of 20 years, where else do you get this?
The service life of thermal generation plants is not much different either!
Generating the energy we use from a sustainable source (wind, solar, tidal, water, geothermal) is a prerequisite of any other moves towards sustainable practices. If you are unable to get your energy sustainably our civilization will perish.

adelady October 14, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Just been reading these comments. That payment being reported was the last of the reparations Germany owed from the FIRST World War.

Gosman October 15, 2010 at 10:25 am

And your point being what exactly adelady?

Gosman October 13, 2010 at 10:59 am

Excellent. You have no problem paying for my share of the debt then Bryan?

In fact there is a case to be made to shift the burden of any compensation package on the older generation. As such we should immediately reduce National superannuation payments by a percentage and use this money to fund the costs involved in climate change.

How do you feel about this Bryan?

Bryan Walker October 13, 2010 at 11:33 am

As a citizen I support our country paying its share of what I regard as climate reparations. Where the money for government expenditure comes from is hardly a matter for discussion on this thread. I note that you think more should come from me and presumably less from you, but won’t argue with you about that here.

Gosman October 13, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Given the fact that it has your generation that received most of the benefit from unrestrained carbon based economic development Bryan and my generation that is likely have to start having to pay the cost for this in the future I think it is only fair that people from your generation should be required to pay more than mine upfront.

I’d start by cutting National Super and putting a poll tax on all people aged over 60.

This is fair wouldn’t you agree?

Bryan Walker October 13, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Gosman, I’ve said all I have to say on this.

Gosman October 14, 2010 at 9:30 am

Fair enough if you don’t want to deal with the actual hard questions of who will have to pay this so called ‘debt’ and how it will be achieved but it does go to the heart of the matter.

You write about the moral obligation of the Developed world paying for the impacts of climate change on developing nations but you seem happy if it involves other people’s money. How about the moral obligation YOUR generation owes Bryan? How about you accept that people in the over 50 age group owe disproportionately more than others for the mess they created and therefore you should pay more to sort it out?

Bryan Walker October 14, 2010 at 11:26 am

Gosman I’m not trying to avoid your questions, it’s just that Hot Topic is hardly the forum for a discussion about how governments raise their money. So far as my generation being disproportionately responsible for what has happened I might remind you that it is only in the past two decades that there has been widespread awareness of the AGW phenomenon. However there is little sign of any appropriate response to that awareness as yet and we should be helping poor developing nations cope with the early effects of climate change because we can afford to and because we persist with a course which is only going to make things worse for them – and for ourselves in the slightly longer term.

Gosman October 14, 2010 at 11:46 am

The trouble is Bryan you are very precise on pointing out so called obligations that you believe we have to fix this but very fuzzy on how we go about meeting these obligations.

Currently the model for funding Government expenditure is weighted towards those who earn income and who spend. In both those cases the older generation, (i.e. over 60’s), are unlikely to pay as much as someone in a younger generation. The elderly are likely to spend less as they have built up their assets already and have less overheads. On top of this their income is not so easily taxed (Superannuation payments for example are generally tax free) or are receiving benefits from the working age population.

Given this fact would you support a general Climate Change mitigation tax on the over 60’s if a group was set up to push for this to be implemented? I could set up a group online if you like. It would be good to have someone like you as a foundation supporter as you will give it some kudos.

Sam Vilain October 14, 2010 at 1:51 pm

I think that’s taking the notion of ‘user pays’ a bit too far. What about the ones who are dead already?

It does raise the very good point though that our measures of progress do not include forms of intergenerational robbery/debt. CO2 is one of these but the easiest example to understand is national debt. We have this situation where people try to maximize spend/GDP but increasing debt is seen as a good thing economically. It can be – but if the GDP is so increased surely there is money to pay the deficit? Otherwise people are stealing from the future generations such will have to repay the debt, with interest. Our economic systems do not deal with this well at all.

Gosman October 14, 2010 at 2:14 pm

If you’re dead you’re dead, although I’m interested in an Asset based tax system rather than income. This would mean the Tax obligation would be taken against your assets meaning that even if you die your estate would have to pay out.

Say we take that there areapproximately 700,000 people aged over 60 in N.Z. (around 16% of population) and we wanted to double our Aid committment from 500 million to 1 Billion per year. That means that we would require from every over 60 year old a commitment of just over $714 per year. This is less than $14 per week. Those that don’t want to lose income a reverse mortgage over their properties could be set up to take the payment from that.

Gosman October 14, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Actually if we moved towards more of an Asset based tax system rather than income and expenditure some of the problems you bring up Sam would be resolved.

The problem is that the current system encourages you borrow now to buy Assets and let the next generation of Taxpayers pay the cost. When you retire you can sell the Asset and live off the capital gain largely tax free as well as reaping the other tax free benefits afforded to you as a retired person.

Taxing your Assets would mean you can’t escape this liability even in death. It would remove a large amount of burden that the elderly put on the young and should encourage people to think about whether they truly should borrow now rather tha be more thrifty.

laurence October 13, 2010 at 10:34 am

What makes you think that wind turbines have a shorter life span than any other type of turbine and why does backup generation need to be non-renewable. Materials are materials wind-turbines are no different from anything else. The only difference is the fuel, and that sunshine, is the big problem. Non-renewables are non-renewable ie: they run out, and, they have an environmental cost that so far hasn’t been paid.

You think that renewable energy can’t compete, why not level the playing field and see, make the fossil fuels pay the full cost.

John D October 13, 2010 at 10:41 am

How much tax comes out of a litre of petrol? Answer about 80%

The idea that renewables are somehow being penalised is utterly ridiculous. Wind is probably the most expensive and inefficient means of producing energy.

You need baseload. For every MW of wind, you need the same in baseload for when the wind is not blowing.

Maybe NZ can achieve this through Hydro but it is the exception rather than the rule.

You might want to check out this video, about 20 mins long.

http://www.europesillwind.org/films/europes-ill-wind-2.html

Lots of very pissed off people in there.

laurence October 13, 2010 at 11:39 am

“How much tax comes out of a litre of petrol? Answer about 80%”

And all of that tax and more is ploughed back into providing infrastructure for the vehicles that burn that fuel. More environmental damage that is not being paid for. And again why do you think base-load has to be fossil fuel, you have after all just given an example of where it’s not.

“Lots of very pissed off people in there”
You’ve found a video of some pissed of people, whoopee, I dare say if I looked around I could find a video of some people who are not so pissed off.

And just so you don’t feel you’re being left out here is a link for you. It would seem that some folk think that wind has a future http://tinyurl.com/238xxee

John D October 13, 2010 at 11:55 am

Naturally, Laurence, I don’t expect you to take the slightest interest in the video that I provided.

The fact the people in Europe are being run roughshod over, having windfarms put in without their consent by rent-seeking businessmen, destroying the countryside and making their property values worthless, this is of no interest to you.
(and this is happening on an industrial scale, no not little pockets)

Yes, they are having mental health issues, they cannot sleep because of the noise of the turbines.

And we have the excreble Franny Armstrong (if you don’t agree with me I will red Button you, no pressure) making a cameo appearance, telling us that it is “immoral” to oppose wind farms.

Naturally, I don’t expect this to register at all on your conscience.

Why is this?

laurence October 13, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Bullshit John it’s nimbyism pure and simple. And since you are so worried about people being run roughshod over by rent-seeking businessmen destroying the countryside and making property values worthless, how about these rent seekers. http://tinyurl.com/ydgh28y or this lot http://tinyurl.com/37yodst

John D October 13, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Laurance,

NIMBYism?

So would YOU be OK if a windfarm opened next door to you, no compensation?

Your house rendered worthless?

You cannot sleep.

You feel suicidal?

How many people do you think are effected by this?

Pointless arguing really isn’t it?

Why is this?

Doug October 13, 2010 at 1:45 pm

I won’t mind.

I have more noise from the wind and the neighbours than a wind farm.

If you are going to listen for the turbines you will hear them. Get on with life and they aren’t so bad. Comes down to personal preference.

John D October 13, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Reply to Doug below

If you are going to listen for the turbines you will hear them. Get on with life and they aren’t so bad. Comes down to personal preference.

and the tourist industry has dried up because the raison d’etre for going to these unspoiled locations has just disappeared?

(As is happening in Wales)

Never mind, I’ll obviously never persuade you.

We’ll just have to wait for the whole industry to go tits up and then I can have the dubious pleasure of saying “told you so”

Sam Vilain October 14, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Such hyperbole. Your arguments about it being expensive have been countered here before; if it were true then we’d have no windmills in NZ because they are not subsidised here. You wouldn’t be seeing the massive investment in it by Chinese, American and European venture firms.

As for the noise, that’s basically solved with current blade designs.

House prices? Statistics show that windfarms make no difference on those.

Tourism effects? I doubt that is a supportable statement.

Visual appeal? There’s never been any accounting for taste.

Doug October 13, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Following on I have found one study so far looking at the impact on wind farms on property values in this case the U.S.
Conclusion no disernible effect.
Wind Energy Facilities and Residential Properties: The Effect of Proximity and View on Sales Prices, B Hoen,
American Real Estate Society Annual Conference, Naples, Florida, 14-17 April 2010

Now looking for evidence that wind farms have destroyed the Welsh tourist industry. Will report ASAP.

John D October 13, 2010 at 3:46 pm

One study to support your view Doug?

OK, well the science is settled then.

We can safely ignore the people in the video, they are probably denialists funded by Exxon.

And if property prices do actually decrease as the empirical evidence indicates, and commonsense would tell us, we can always use a “trick” to Hide the Decline.

Doug October 13, 2010 at 4:58 pm

One more study than you and as I said it is the only study I have found. May be the science is not settled if so you will retract or at least qualify the comment.

“Your house rendered worthless?” stated in terms of absolute certainty.

John D October 13, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Tim Yeo, MP in the UK, is a good example of hypocrisy at work.

http://www.timyeo.org.uk/newsshow.aspx?id=20&ref=81

Supports the group against the windfarm in his local constituency, yet says that Britain needs more windfarms.

Government Nimbyism at its worst.

Doug, do you think that the term “eco-nazi” is inappropriate for Franny Armstrong?

If so, you really need to get out more.

try this
http://grumpyoldtwat.blogspot.com/2010/10/no-pressure.html

Doug October 13, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Nothing nada. Only a couple of reports stating that it might be a potential impact one from back in 1997 (Welsh FOE).

Latest stats are up to 2007 show a slight drop, but I suspect that this is probably due to economic conditions. This view seems to be supported by this article from last month which attributes lower occurpancy rates to the ongoing effects of the recession, but no mention of wind farms:

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2010/09/21/tourism-leader-predicts-dull-trade-ahead-91466-27307004/

You see John to convince me you first have to start by telling the truth. Making shit up may impress your friends but it just annoys the hell out of me.

John D October 13, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Doug,
I am not “making up shit” as you put it.

Do you really think that by building a 100m high turbine close to your house, that makes a low frequency thump-thump sound every time the wind blows, will not reduce the value of your property?

Why would it not? Would you buy one?

Anyway, in Europe, it is only the start of the Wind Industry. the plans are for massive increases in onshore windfarms. the countryside will be destroyed, and it is the so-called environmentalists who are pushing this.

What really gets me is Eco-nazis like Franny Armstrong have the gall to call it a “moral crime” to oppose windfarms, when they would never live next to one themselves.

They, and all her middle class eco-friends are all hypocrites

Doug October 13, 2010 at 4:50 pm

1st paragraph summarised to my opinion applies to everyone (how can it not?)

3rd para. It could be argued that the countryside is already destroyed what with 9,000 years (+ or – a millinium or two) of farming and other land use activities. I would note that it is easier to remove wind farm than a nuclear power plant, a road cutting, or a quarry.

4 th para Name calling does not enhance your argument in the opinion of others. I suggest if you want to win hearts and minds dial back your ideological leanings and frame your arguments in terms of facts and in the absence of fact, which seems to be most of the time, heartfelt and sincere opinions.

Just a note on advocacy of certain technologies. There are many people who are so concerned about CC who now advocate nuclear power. For reasons I have briefly expressed before I am against nuclear power, but I can understand the desperation of their concerns to feel the need to have to advocate this technology.

In the same view I can understand the concerns about the spread of wind power but I feel (heartfelt) that in the scale of adverse effects they are way down the list.

laurence October 13, 2010 at 5:21 pm

It seems that the good folk of Wales don’t share your views on wind farms either.

“The University of Wales’ environmental and countryside planning unit surveyed opinion for the BBC at three sites: Llandinam, near Europe’s largest wind power plant built: Rhyd-y-Groes, a project within sight of the Wylfa nuclear power station on the island of Anglesey, and Taff Ely in populous south Wales.

The majority of those surveyed, 67%, favored wind development in Wales, 21% were opposed. The level of support ranged from 61% in favor at Rhyd-y-Groes, where 30 medium-sized wind turbines are distributed among the hedgerows, to 76% at Llandinam, where 103 turbines were installed by a consortium of British, American, and Japanese companies. Though not the 100% endorsement wind developers would like to see, “70%-75% is still a lot of support and shows a large majority in favor” of wind energy says, Garrad Hassan’s Andrew Garrad. Only 22% were opposed to further wind development in Wales. “

Or Cornwall 85%, or New Zealand 90%

http://www.wind-works.org/articles/tilting.html

Le Chat Noir October 13, 2010 at 5:51 pm

“They, and all her middle class eco-friends are all hypocrites”

And your peer reviewed evidence to support this is?

John D October 13, 2010 at 5:55 pm
Thomas October 13, 2010 at 6:29 pm

I guess John, no, in fact I am sure now as you are citing Delingpole that you actually made that wordpress icon next to your name yourself!
It all makes sense now! :-)

Le Chat Noir October 13, 2010 at 7:21 pm

So your peer reviewer must be Lord Lawson of Blah Blah Blaby then.

bill October 13, 2010 at 9:29 pm

As a resident in a state with 40% of this country’s wind supply, I have to ask: WTF are you talking about, John?

Who exactly is being driven insane by the low frequency whump whump? Christ, we have housing on major arterial roads and densely nested suburbs entirely surrounding the boundary of our airport. We have major new suburbs developed next to our major freeway! People live in caravan parks next to major highways.

Have you ever stood next to a windfarm? To my mind the electrical transformer whine is the most irritating sound, and, no, I wouldn’t want to live right under one. But are you seriously suggesting that in NZ or Wales there are no compulsory buffers separating turbines from dwellings?

And in this state hosting wind farms is actually proving a rather attractive option for many farmers. After all, AGW is making agriculture increasingly unprofitable.

John, you’re confusing the conviction that comes from always being angry with actually knowing things, a frequent problem on your side of the argument.

Dappledwater October 13, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Ever since John D showed up here, he’s been wibbling on about windmills. Afflicted with Don Quixote Syndrome methinks.

RW October 14, 2010 at 7:37 am

FFFs (fossil fuel fans) will be increasingly sidelined by current and future developments. They can “wibble” on as much as they like in the meantime, but their irrelevancy will be almost universally recognised in due course.

John D October 13, 2010 at 10:34 pm

I am not angry.
I am happy in the knowledge that I am right, and you are wrong.

The spectre of global warming and the political panic surrounding it has triggered a goldrush for renewable energy sources without an open discussion of the merits and drawbacks of each. In The Wind Farm Scam Dr Etherington argues that in the case of wind power the latter far outweigh the former. Wind turbines cannot generate enough energy to reduce global CO2 levels to a meaningful degree; what’s more wind power is by nature intermittent and cannot generate a steady output, necessitating back-up coal and gas power plants that significantly negate the saving of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to the inefficacy of wind power there are ecological drawbacks, including damage to habitats, wildlife and the far-from-insignificant aesthetic drawback of the assault upon natural beauty and the pristine landscape, which wind turbines entail. Dr Etherington argues that wind power has been, and is being, excessively financed at the cost of consumers who have not been consulted, nor informed that this effective subsidy is being paid from their bills to support an industry that cannot be cost efficient or, ultimately, favour the cause it purports to support.

About the Author
John Etherington was a Reader in Ecology at the University of Wales, Cardiff. Since his retirement from the University in 1990, he has devoted himself to researching the implications of intermittently available renewable electricity generation, in particular wind power. He is a Thomas Huxley Medallist at the Royal College of Science and a former co-editor of the International Journal of Ecology.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wind-Farm-Scam-Independent-Minds/dp/1905299834

Thomas October 14, 2010 at 12:28 am

You are wrong John.

Read this: http://www.politicsinthepub.org.au/downloads/BP16_BaseLoadFallacy.pdf

Wind will play a significant role in our energy future.
It already does so in many places in the world. And while it obviously can not at present replace all installed base load capacity it replaces very much so base load fossil fuel use. This is a big difference as the wind is free, sustainable and non-polluting.
In the future of wind energy we will see direct conversion of wind to liquid fuels, use of wind with large scale flow cell battery technologies and stratospheric wind energy concepts which might bring high capacity factor installations.
Here in NZ wind is very profitable without any subsidies. So much so that even pension funds from the US are most happy to invest here.

Tell me for a moment what your alternative solution to a sustainable energy future would look like. How do you think society should feed its energy demand in 50 years?

Don’t say FF as these are not sustainable as you hopefully agree. Even if you do not believe a word about AGW you will concede that we will run down the peak FF production in the very near future.

Doug October 14, 2010 at 8:39 am

John seems convinced that NZ is the same as the UK. Let’s make it clear that it is not and we downunder definitely don’t want it to be the same.

The need for backup generation in NZ for wind is done by hydro. In effect NZ has a wind/hydro hybrid generation system. Why do you think Meridian is so keen on it. It allows for more control and high value use of their limited water storage. It will take a lot more wind in NZ before the limit of this backup capacity is reached.

The two limitations to wind in NZ are local environmental issues (amenity, landscape and yes to some degree NIMBY) and limits to access to the transmission grid.

Thomas October 14, 2010 at 9:23 am

Exactly. I am a member of the NZ Wind Energy Assoc and what you say is correct.
NZ has a great ability to absorb Wind into the baseload component of the power mix. With hydro lakes reaching low levels at critical times of the year there is ample loss free storage by throttling hydro whenever the wind blows. Ideal!
Wind significantly reduces the hugely expensive peak load firing times of peak load stations. Even a 10% eduction in overall time of these needing to come on in a given year shaves a lot of the annual power bill of the nation.

http://www.ewea.org/fileadmin/ewea_documents/documents/publications/reports/MeritOrder.pdf

And a very interesting analysis on Energy return on investment (EROI) for wind energy in comparison to others:

http://www.eoearth.org/article/Energy_return_on_investment_%28EROI%29_for_wind_energy

From a science point John is completely wrong.

bill October 14, 2010 at 3:14 pm

John, you just don’t get it!

The world you say can’t happen is already being built!

I have lost count of the number of times I’ve seen pro-nuke and pro-FF commenters and bloggers announcing that wind capacity can never reach levels it actually outstripped several years ago, that there’ll be mass suicides near turbines because they’re somehow the loci of some almost mesmeric evil (unlike, say, noisy highways or airports!), that they don’t last forever (whereas other power stations are eternal, I suppose?), that birds will go out of their way to kill themselves on the blades (but ignore the tens of thousands of car grills and windscreens swooshing past on the adjacent highways!)…

It’s all just silly. Yes, they don’t work when the wind’s not blowing – if that was really a ‘gotcha’ obstacle the wind market would hardly be expanding every year. No, they’re not a silver bullet – no one technology is going to achieve that – and, yes, grids will have to become ‘smarter’ to accommodate them.

But they’re quick to erect – what’s the lead time on a nuclear power station, BTW? – relatively inexpensive, efficient, flexible (one turbine in a field of 30 stops – big deal!) and don’t massively drain investment capital.

Your arguments remind me of the machinations of the packaging lobby in the eastern states of Australia, It has managed to convince a raft of state governments that potential container-deposit legislation will destroy their economies and bring down the free world! We’ve had the deposit for decades in South Australia, and just doubled it to 10c – the net result of which is no blow to the economy whatsoever, remarkable recycling rates, and the cleanest roadsides in the country!

The oil will run out. The technologies you appear to despise are our future, whether you like it or not. Adapt or get left behind!

Gosman October 14, 2010 at 3:22 pm

What is your problem with Nuclear power generation?

The problem with Wind generation, as I see it, is that you have to build it in conjuction with other power generating options, or build more capacity than you need for peak demand, to ensure continuity of supply.

Nuclear power generation doesn’t suffer from this sort of difficulty.

bill October 14, 2010 at 4:13 pm

My problem is with nuclear advocates who argue that wind, solar thermal etc. aren’t viable and that there’s is the only Greenhouse-friendly energy generation technology.

I suspect this is because nuclear power is viewed with deep suspicion by the public and proponents are aware it will significantly distort ‘clean’-energy investment, so they feel they have to deride the alternatives in order to justify their chosen technology!

Nuclear power generation may indeed not suffer from this sort of difficulty (to the same extent – all production has to have back-up capacity on hand), but it has other problems, being phenomenally expensive, impossible to insure without a state guarantee (a risk I would have thought you’d have to deem to be outrageous! :-) ) and extremely slow to come online.

Notice I didn’t mention the waste! Or even speculate as to whether a big shift to nukes – even Gen 4 – wouldn’t actually see an increase of greenhouse gas output overall during the construction phase and only prove a disappointment in this regard thereafter…

John D October 14, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Did you watch the video?

In the Netherlands, for example, there are approx 60 million people. Geographically, this is the size of Canterbury NZ.

Do you have any idea how many wind turbines would be needed to power the Netherlands? Do you have any idea what density of turbines is required to supply the Netherlands?

Do you know what will happen when the wind doesn’t blow, when a large anti-cyclone envelopes Europe? When this happens, there is no wind across the whole of Europe.

What happens when there is no power?

Is Denmark a successful wind project? (hint: watch the video)

I am not particularly interested in Aus or NZ. I am more interested in the fate of the Europeans who will suffer because of their insane energy policies.

You know, like genocide? Only that doesn’t count does it?

Gosman October 14, 2010 at 3:55 pm

The Netherlands has only got a population of 16 – 18 million people, just to be a pendant.

Also I don’t see where genocide comes into the equation.

John D October 14, 2010 at 4:10 pm

By the way, I was in the UK last year.

The wind energy issue is becoming a major source of conflict.

It’s in the papers and on the radio almost every day.
So you can read all the surveys you want. If you actually go there you will find a different picture.

People are getting sick of the lies from politicians, from the wind lobby, and they are getting very wary of the Green lobby.

It is not looking good.

bill October 14, 2010 at 4:18 pm

‘Genocide’!

That’s nearly a Godwin, John.

Carol Stewart October 14, 2010 at 9:51 am

>So would YOU be OK if a windfarm opened next door to you, no compensation?
John D, I look out my living room window (in central Wellington) and see a wind turbine. And what’s more, we are rather attached to it. In fact, when it reached the age where it needed maintenance recently, the energy company did some public consultation on what the people in the neighbourhood wanted done with it (remove, repair, replace), And by far the greatest vote went to the option of replacing it (with a slightly bigger one).
Our house seems to have kept its value rather well.
So, just to let you know, you don’t speak for me.

Gosman October 14, 2010 at 9:57 am

I agree that Wind farms are great. However there does seem to be a significant section of the population who doesn’t like them for some reason. Just look at Bryan Turner down in Central Otago, or the opposition to Wind Farms out at Makara on the Wellington Coast.

John D October 14, 2010 at 10:14 am

Did anyone actually bother to watch the video that I posted, and understand the arguments therein?

Carol Stewart October 14, 2010 at 10:17 am

Here’s a deal, John D. I’m happy to watch the video if you show some sign of taking on board the comments we are making.

John D October 14, 2010 at 10:27 am

Ok, it’s a deal

John D October 19, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Here’s a deal, John D. I’m happy to watch the video if you show some sign of taking on board the comments we are making.

Did you?

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