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Beyond the expected

A destination without a route as the Greenhouse Targets arrive?

By johnboy 19 October 2010 23

Simon Corbell is trying to drum up some enthusiasm for the new, staggeringly ambitious, greenhouse targets he’s legislating today with no real strategy to achieve them:

The ACT can take the lead in creating a low carbon future with the debate of the Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Bill 2010, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Simon Corbell said today…

The legislation commits the ACT to making a 40 per cent cut in emissions, based on 1990 levels, by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050.

“The Government has also set a peaking target for greenhouse gas emissions in 2013, which recognises that immediate action must be taken to reverse the trend of carbon emissions in the Territory,” Mr Corbell said.

In addition the Bill:

— mandates regular reporting to the Legislative Assembly on the ACT’s greenhouse gas emissions trends;
— establishes a Climate Change Council to provide independent advice on climate change issues as they effect business and the wider community;
— and encourages private organisations and industries to take action through voluntary sector agreements with Government.

With all due cynicism we note that this puts the peaking target safely after the 2012 election. At which point the Labor Government no doubt hopes they’ll have their Assembly majority restored and not have to suck up to those pesky greens until 2016 at which point one can hope there’s finally some certainty about global and national greenhouse action.

But I can think of one way this could be made to work, in a nasty, technical sense.

Firstly let’s assume that we’re going to have to end building and construction in the ACT in order to get these massive cuts.

With the continued growth of the Australian Public Service, and the ancillary services that surround it, house prices will then skyrocket lining the government pockets with stamp duties.

The lowly in Canberra society (like website editors) will then be forced over the border into low-sustainability tract housing.

The increasingly gentrifying Canberra proper will have the spare income to invest in solar panels and double glazing at a higher rate than they can now.

With the little people and their polluting lifestyles swept over the border the lucky few able to afford to live in Canberra will be able to feel wonderful about their low-polluting ways without having to account for the smoking donut city surrounding the emerald city.

The net impact on the planet and the nation would be horrendous.

But it would look good on paper. AND get rid of the riff raff.

One can only hope that isn’t the plan.

In fact the best possible outcome is that this is more “aspirational” target setting (remember “No Waste 2010”?) to cripple the Green vote in 2012.

It’s a hell of a way to run a railroad.


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23 Responses to
A destination without a route as the Greenhouse Targets arrive?
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TwainAndHume 1:46 pm 02 Mar 14

A good article to read … shows that such things are achievable ….

http://thecontributor.com/environment/how-wind-met-all-denmark%E2%80%99s-electricity-needs-90-hours

georgesgenitals 2:38 pm 25 Oct 10

ANyone here read Levitt and Dubner’s “SuperFreakonomics”? They propose a very different solution to global warming. I’ll admit right now that I don’t know a lot about environmental science – anyone else in the know read this?

housebound 12:45 pm 20 Oct 10

In total agreement with Thumper.

We’ve also had this debate before. A reduction of this scale requires more than just tinkering. It requires massive structural and social change that governments are unlikely to be willing to support.

For sure, this is just an ‘aspirational goal’ that will go the way of ‘No Waste by 2010’.

A previous thread on this is at: http://the-riotact.com/?p=26737.

If we were serious, we might have to go back to pre-1900 lifestyles, or find some serious technological solution that currently doesn’t exist at the required level of maturity and scale of implementation.

rebcart 11:05 am 20 Oct 10

Wantok, nuclear really isn’t as much of a solution as you think it might be, because

1. to get enough baseload power stations here in Australia will take us about 10-20 years to get the infrastructure up and running (wish I had a copy of that report I helped work on to check the stats on that, I hope it’s released in the next few months…), and

2. it’s a non-renewable resource. Better to save it up and be able to use nuclear for medicine for longer, instead of throwing it down the electricity guzzler and then having to decommission stations and find baseload renewables anyway.

chewy14 10:35 am 20 Oct 10

beemused said :

I’m just grateful that the naysayers and brilliant (nameless, faceless) minds on RiotACT aren’t in charge of environment, or any public policy!

When you place your reputation, your career, your electorate and the public good on the line with your views and suggestions for public policy then your vitriolic, defeatist posts might actually be taken seriously.

Do our pollies actually do this? Put themselves and their careers on the line? They keep stuffing up yet get voted back in every election.
And since when do they have a reputation that can be ruined? I think you’ve missed the boat well and truly there.

The problem is, the government come up with these stupid motherhood statements and policies when they know they don’t have the ability to effectively achieve anything.

Love those aspirational targets.

wantok 10:12 am 20 Oct 10

80% reduction by 2050 is much more easily achievable than 40% by 2020. And 40% by 2020 is achievable – but requires some hard and controversial decisions.

Improved efficiency and better public transport can get us part of the way to 80% emissions reduction – but not enough. Electricity is the big issue, particularly beyond 2020, as cars move from petrol to electric (and so electricity demand goes up substantially).

The smartest solution for electricity – and, arguably, the only solution likely to get us sufficient reductions in emissions at plausible cost and speed – is to use the kind of new nuclear power tech that is being installed (at an astonishingly rapid rate) in China, Japan, etc. Extremely safe (far safer than coal!), drastically more efficient than older generations of nuclear, uses existing nuclear waste as its fuel supply, a lot cheaper per megawatt than renewables (with the possible exception of some geothermal), and most importantly supplies baseload power which can actually replace coal rather than just supplementing it.

See bravenewclimate.com for a whole lot of info on all this. Assorted big names in climate science – e.g. James Hansen of NASA, probably the most eminent climate scientist on the planet – support nuclear as the most effective solution.

georgesgenitals 4:42 pm 19 Oct 10

James-T-Kirk said :

Ok – You are right – I clearly didn’t think that through.

I will also stop eating Chili, and cows…

Mmmmmm Chili and Beef – As Nature intended it.

That will also help reduce the methane loan on the planet.

Methane is a much mmore powerful gas than carbon dioxide in greenhouse terms. Eradication of cows would probably reduce overall carbon levels in the atmosphere more than removing cars!

beemused 4:39 pm 19 Oct 10

I’m just grateful that the naysayers and brilliant (nameless, faceless) minds on RiotACT aren’t in charge of environment, or any public policy!

When you place your reputation, your career, your electorate and the public good on the line with your views and suggestions for public policy then your vitriolic, defeatist posts might actually be taken seriously.

James-T-Kirk 3:54 pm 19 Oct 10

Ok – You are right – I clearly didn’t think that through.

I will also stop eating Chili, and cows… Mmmmmm Chili and Beef – As Nature intended it.

That will also help reduce the methane loan on the planet.

georgesgenitals 3:51 pm 19 Oct 10

James-T-Kirk said :

troll-sniffer said :

Thumper said :

80% by 2050. Do these muppets actually think about anything they are saying?

That’s the difference between you and them, Thumper, they have put time and thought into their response to a serious issue, you haven’t.

A society that refuses to accept that being lazy and relying on supposedly free energy to replace muscle power has to eventually pay a price. We are, unfortunately, on the downhill slope towards a reckoning, a slope that only gets steeper the longer drongoes like you don’t think beyond the next five minutes of your pampered lifestyles.

I vow to reduce the burning off I do in my back yard by 80% in 2049 – by buldozing everything to raw dirt!

That will do it!

That’s ridiculous – what about the ability of the grass to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen?

You environmental vandal you.

James-T-Kirk 3:46 pm 19 Oct 10

troll-sniffer said :

Thumper said :

80% by 2050. Do these muppets actually think about anything they are saying?

That’s the difference between you and them, Thumper, they have put time and thought into their response to a serious issue, you haven’t.

A society that refuses to accept that being lazy and relying on supposedly free energy to replace muscle power has to eventually pay a price. We are, unfortunately, on the downhill slope towards a reckoning, a slope that only gets steeper the longer drongoes like you don’t think beyond the next five minutes of your pampered lifestyles.

I vow to reduce the burning off I do in my back yard by 80% in 2049 – by buldozing everything to raw dirt!

That will do it!

Thumper 2:47 pm 19 Oct 10

err.. reptoids, not small scaly dragon like creatures….

🙂

Thumper 2:24 pm 19 Oct 10

hmm, why was thumper’s second para not italicised? there musta been a coal-fired power surge or summat

Or reptilians, again…

astrojax 1:45 pm 19 Oct 10

hmm, why was thumper’s second para not italicised? there musta been a coal-fired power surge or summat…

astrojax 1:44 pm 19 Oct 10

Let’s see, maybe if you get rid of your car (do you have two cars?), heating, air conditioning, oh, fridge, stereo, TV and telephone, you’d get close to an 80% reduction. Of course, just going to work and sitting at work requires power but you can’t realistically remove that. Of course, travel on holidays, better remove that as well. You can eat, but remember, all that food you consume has to be grown, stored and transported to the ACT, maybe you’d better cut down on that as well, just in case, or at least only consume 20% of what you do now. And clothes, they take up a fair bit to make, transport, store, sell. Better learn how to darn and sew, you’re going to need to. Oh, do you have kids or plan to have kids? Damn, that’s a shame, they are going to use a hell of a lot of energy over the next 40 years. But then again, you could tell them to move to NSW and that would solve the problem.

Let’s put it another way. Try eating 80% less, you’ll probably die. Try using you phone 80% less. Try using your car 80% less. Try watching TV 80% less. Try doing all of them at the same time. And so on….

or there is the argument that you look at how the power you use is generated – there are two sides (or more) to this debate. cheers.

Thumper 1:25 pm 19 Oct 10

That’s the difference between you and them, Thumper, they have put time and thought into their response to a serious issue, you haven’t.

Most people would attempt to mount an argument as to how the 80% reduction could be achieved but no, you just use abuse. No facts, no reality, just abuse.

Let’s see, maybe if you get rid of your car (do you have two cars?), heating, air conditioning, oh, fridge, stereo, TV and telephone, you’d get close to an 80% reduction. Of course, just going to work and sitting at work requires power but you can’t realistically remove that. Of course, travel on holidays, better remove that as well. You can eat, but remember, all that food you consume has to be grown, stored and transported to the ACT, maybe you’d better cut down on that as well, just in case, or at least only consume 20% of what you do now. And clothes, they take up a fair bit to make, transport, store, sell. Better learn how to darn and sew, you’re going to need to. Oh, do you have kids or plan to have kids? Damn, that’s a shame, they are going to use a hell of a lot of energy over the next 40 years. But then again, you could tell them to move to NSW and that would solve the problem.

Let’s put it another way. Try eating 80% less, you’ll probably die. Try using you phone 80% less. Try using your car 80% less. Try watching TV 80% less. Try doing all of them at the same time. And so on….

And of course one needs to think about what Canberra’s population will be in 2050. Let’s say a conservative 600,000 hey? Where are they going to live? Oh yeah, in the dwellings that will be constructed. Oh that’s right, that creates massive emissions. Makes the 80% start to really look silly doesn’t it. Maybe we’ll get lucky and Canberra’s population will drop by 80%, but I doubt it.

But feel free to do what I suggested in the first paragraph. I should add that I’m all for cutting emissions but I like to be realistic about it all, unlike Corbell and yourself.

Oh that’s right, Mr Corbell said this “ACT Government programs are also allowing our homes, workplaces, schools and community centres to become more energy efficient”. Well, that should do it. Forget everything I previously said. , after all, it’s obvious Mr Corbell has put time and thought into his response to a serious issue.

Okay, so maybe I was going a little overboard in mentioning the issues above, but seriously, this is no better than no waste by 2010, in fact, probably worse because it is less achievable. By all means put in place achievable goals with realistic pathways to achieve these goals, but don’t give us motherhood statements wrapped up as policy.

And now I have to get back to the pampered and privileged lifestyle you seem to think I lead.

Cheers 🙂

Thumper 12:42 pm 19 Oct 10

That’s the difference between you and them, Thumper, they have put time and thought into their response to a serious issue, you haven’t.

80%.

Shall I repeat it, 80%

troll-sniffer 12:15 pm 19 Oct 10

Thumper said :

80% by 2050. Do these muppets actually think about anything they are saying?

That’s the difference between you and them, Thumper, they have put time and thought into their response to a serious issue, you haven’t.

A society that refuses to accept that being lazy and relying on supposedly free energy to replace muscle power has to eventually pay a price. We are, unfortunately, on the downhill slope towards a reckoning, a slope that only gets steeper the longer drongoes like you don’t think beyond the next five minutes of your pampered lifestyles.

Thumper 11:19 am 19 Oct 10

80% by 2050. Do these muppets actually think about anything they are saying?

georgesgenitals 10:52 am 19 Oct 10

They probably do this sort of thing to make a big statement that they will never have to live up to. The reality is that government is starting to realise just how much these environmental-based changes will cost, and doesn’t want to be associated with it.

Of course, the health of the planet longer term is very important, which is why we need to come up with smarter solutions that achieve goals more efficiently than the crap being wheeled out now.

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