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The costs and benefits of having a habitable planet to live on

Written By: - Date published: 3:20 pm, May 3rd, 2017 - 24 comments
Categories: climate change, global warming - Tags: , , , , , ,

In “most frustrating news of the day”:

Govt orders stocktake for how NZ can meet carbon promise

The Productivity Commission has been asked to look at the cost and benefits of moving to a low-carbon economy.

Having deleted my initial unprintable reaction, let’s try again.

I guess any sign of sanity is to be encouraged. But. When the Nats came to power there was a framework for reducing carbon. It was an inadequate framework because of political compromise, it needed strengthening. Instead the Nats dismantled or weakened it. Now, nine long years later, they want Yet Another Study? By well known environmental “experts” the Productivity Commission?

I hope that the Commission takes into account the costs of not having a habitable planet to live on. There is no economy without the environment.

24 comments on “The costs and benefits of having a habitable planet to live on ”

  1. weka 1

    Yep. I fully expect in the next 6 months for National to do a number of things that look like they are starting to move in the right direction. It’s lies. There is no epiphany where they’ve realised that CC is real or that homeless people need housing etc. I truly believe they don’t give a shit, and anything hopeful coming from their direction is designed to win them the election. After which they would then continue with their pillage while they can governance.

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    Can the fruit of the ACT tree be anything other than rotten or will the Sun explode first? Time will tell.

    At the bottom of the tree is the National Party, gorging itself on the nation.

  3. Bill 3

    Aw…what could possibly be remiss with doing a cost/benefit analysis of saving our arses?

    On a more serious note, Kevin Anderson has been pointing out for about the past decade that this nonsense – of putting economic considerations before all else – has been the responsible driver behind a veritable mountain of pollyannish AGW reports, including ones by such luminaries as Hanson and (less luminary) Stern.

    So, to be fair, this isn’t just the NZ Nat government pulling this shit in isolation – it’s ubiquitous.

    • Antoine 3.1

      Emission reduction in NZ will not save our arses, all else being equal.

      A.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        Doing so is holding ourselves responsible, otherwise known as taking responsibility for our actions.

        Something that all RWNJs say people must do but then come up with excuses as to why they’re not at fault when they obviously are.

        • Kevin 3.1.1.1

          People need to accept the fact that any thing we now do will do nothing to avoid the inevitable decline of the human species on this plant.

          Reductions in emissions, assuming that was even possible given the worldwide political climate, are already too late.

          The evidence is all out there. People just need to read it and plan their lives accordingly.

  4. Gosman 4

    You lot haven’t been terribly successful convincing the wider population to come along on the journey to tackle AGW. Perhaps that might be because of the attitudes expressed here. Have you ever thought that it is better to make some progress and get some movement rather than bemoan lack of serious action and potentially cause a backlash where no action is taken at all?

    [Stop trolling Gosman – weka]

    • In Vino 4.1

      Arrogant fool. You obviously don’t even believe that there is any possibility of a real threat, let alone the extinction of our species. Profit is what really matters to your lot, isn’t it Gosman?

      • Fustercluck 4.1.1

        Extinction of our species is certain. The only question is when. Environmental degradation will catch us long before climate change does but arguing about climate models allows business as usual to continue. So many people missing so many points. Oh, well.

        • Kevin 4.1.1.1

          I agree.

          AGW is real and happening, just accept that there is nothing that can be done about it.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2

      “The wider population”.

      [citation needed]

      In other news, is Gosman lying or just full of shit? Read all about it.

      • weka 4.2.1

        Research jointly co-ordinated by Dr Milfont in 2015 found that if people from 24 countries believe that addressing climate change will result in a more caring and moral community, they are more likely to take action.

        That’s a gem.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.2.2

        It’s both.

  5. Jeremy 5

    “There is no economy without the environment.”

    I’m not sure I understand what that even means. I had a quick look at the dictionary, and it had two definitions for environment:

    1). The surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates.

    So our environment exists whether it is carbon dioxide rich or not. Do you mean there is no economy without a healthy environment? If so, that is problematic when we look at definition two:

    2). The natural world, as a whole or in a particular geographical area, especially as affected by human activity.

    But what is an economy if not the bringing together of land, labour, capital and enterprise, which usually takes the form of enterprise directing labour and capital to effect the land? So an economy is how man effects the environment to make life more comfortable and secure, and whether we get vastly more efficient or not in terms of carbon, we will continue to have a massive effect on the environment because we will continue to have an economy. What constitutes a healthy environment then becomes a matter of debate.

    In summary I think the sentence is a non sequitur.

    I don’t think doing a study on whether focussing on one form of efficiency (in this case carbon efficiency) may lead to an overall decline in New Zealander’s comfort and security is inherently a bad idea, however I suspect we lack the ability to do it accurately.

    • In Vino 5.1

      The problem is with your all-encompassing definition of ‘economy’.
      For most people ‘economy’ means money matters. Many profit-gougers in the system have no concern with your over-generous definition involving bringing all those concepts together. In fact, it is mainly the environmentalists who actually care about ‘stuff like that’.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 5.2

      Recalling the line from a wonderful Clark and Dawe commentary (also part of the environment):

      The ship was towed outside the environment

      There is no part of “the economy” that exists outside of “the environment”. All economic activity is a subset of the environment, which includes both the Earth and the tangible and intangible outputs of humans (also part of the environment) and other organisms.

      Basically, before the economy, and before humans, there was the environment. After the economy, and indeed after humans, there will be the environment.

  6. Tamati Tautuhi 6

    Unfortunately a number of economists do not understand that the Environment is actually part of the Economy, when the numb skull Tory Economists do the maths on things like irrigation of light land soil types on the Canterbury Plains they do not factor in the degradation of the Environment and the on going costs to society and the loss of enjoyment for recreational purposes/tourism etc of the Canterbury River ?

    One way to describe it, dumb, dumb and dumber ?

    • Macro 6.1

      The Economy is a subset of the Environment not the other way round.
      If you trash the Environment ultimately you trash the Economy.
      That is what humans are doing right at this very moment.
      For example:
      Farmers are trashing our waterways with excessive runoffs from over stocking of pasture. They are consuming the environmental capital upon which their livelihood depends – clean water. When there is no more clean water their economic power will have vanished.

  7. Antoine 7

    Sending something to the Productivity Commission basically means binning it. There will be a long delay followed by a report that is not acted on. If the Nats wanted to do more in this space they would just do it.

    A.

  8. Macro 8

    There has already been two reports similar to the import of this done. One in the UK – The Stern Report, and one in the US by Yale professor Nordhaus
    The problem with reports such as these lie in the assumptions being made by the economists undertaking the calculations, of future costs.
    The discounting of the costs of future warming is the main area of concern and there is no way that that can be accurately assessed.
    https://www.cato.org/blog/nordhaus-vs-stern
    Gives a rundown of the differences that occur over a simple figure. Nordaus’s 3% – 5% of GDP v’s LOrd Stern’s up to 20%. Only God knows. If warming causes rapid SLR such as indicated by recent collaping Ice Shelves in Greenland and Antarctica then a 20% cost in terms of GDP may even be on the low side.
    This proposal by National is just a further example of the only “Policy” they have in their political bag: “KIck the can down the road”.

    • Antoine 8.1

      You are missing the point. National’s study isn’t about the cost of global warming, but about the cost/benefit of various options that NZ can take. None of which will prevent global warming, but some of which may save us some costs under our international obligations.

      A.

      • Molly 8.1.1

        ” None of which will prevent global warming, but some of which may save us some costs under our international obligations.”
        Most likely, using a totally contrived and isolated set of parameters to quantify.

        I agree with your earlier comment, they have no intent to “govern” on this issue, but they have never been in power to govern our resources and people well.

      • Macro 8.1.2

        If you support that “policy” you miss the point about being responsible global citizens.
        Are you aware that Kiribati and the Tokalaus are under immediate threat from rising sea levels? NZ has a responsibility for both of these Island Nations but at present shows no interest in their plight nor accepts Climate Change refugee status.

        • Antoine 8.1.2.1

          I’m not sure how your comment relates to mine. Are you disagreeing with my view on what the CBA will be about?

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