NZ Green Party
The Emissions Trading Scheme: time for your thoughts

Chris Trotter has a pleasingly simple view on the world sometimes.  If something is supported by Labour and opposed by National it is good.  This is his view of the ETS despite the fact that it risks very real inequities that could hurt ordinary New Zealanders at the expense of big business.  Hence his plea this morning that the Greens “get with the programme” and support the ETS (and Labour).

Sadly for us, it never has been that simple, because ‘sustainable’ Labour has continually tried to water down the legislation to favour agricultural and transport polluters making it not only harder to support but at risk of being counter productive and damaging to the environment.  Jeanette and her team have been negotiating for improvements for a long time now and have won some changes:

“On some of the issues we have not been able to make progress. We have not been able to get agreement to phase in transport instead it will come in in one lump in 2011, so this has not changed. We have made very little progress on agriculture but we are still talking about this. Very importantly we have not found a way for Government to accept a biodiversity standard to ensure that planting pines does not destroy biodiversity.

“On the other hand, it appears there will be substantial financial assistance to help people make their houses warm and dry. We have also made good progress on ensuring that the ETS does not lock our economy into old technology and that there is room for innovation. There will be better rules about allocation plans.

And now she’s seeking feedback from others on whether to vote for it or not:

At the beginning of this process we said we wanted to be as open about these negotiations as we could be and now we have reached a point where the Green Party caucus has to make a decision about this next Tuesday and we would like some feedback from New Zealanders before we do.

We are now keen to hear from New Zealanders any views they have before we make our decision on Tuesday.

People can email their opinions to ets@greens.org.nz

70 thoughts on “The Emissions Trading Scheme: time for your thoughts

  1. why do you link the feedback to a (compulsory) email set-up system..?

    ..i..and many many oythers..already have one ..thanks..!

    y’know..!..it’s not rocket science..!

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  2. why not just on this thread..?

    ..why complicate it..?

    ..bring some synergy to frogblog at the same time..!

    sheesh..!

    or..would you rather not that we see the actual feedback..?

    surely not..!

    c’mon..!..

    don’t just pretend at open democracy..

    ..be seen to be doing it..

    ..engage..!..f.f.s..!

    ..phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  3. Eh? I sent my submission straight through – clicked on the link and it opened up in my mail program.

    Good to have the chance to have a say – thanks Jeanette and others

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  4. My trading solution is simple. Don’t trade.

    WE have a government, it sets the stage for what it wants to have happen through policies and programmes, it also has a fair chunk of the income of those of us who work for a living. The Government must pay any ‘fines’ from that revenue pot. Simple.

    Declaration of interest. I own substantial hectares of qualifying forrest development, and will be personally affected by taking this position. To my detriment as I own the land as well as the trees and plan to re-plant in my grandchildren’s’ names when the crop is harvested.

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  5. Well, my members vote goes for rejecting it on principle and making it an election issue the best we can, make it part of a whole focus on tax reform, if we could make this election a stage for green perspective tax reform and highlight the economic benifits of such a system we may be able to win afew seats.
    promote land tax, eco tax, resource extraction fees, CGT, and carbon equivlent trading alongside the tax-free bracket and lower overall taxes on the ‘goods’.

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  6. and again I post;

    I think that first the ETS should be modified to fit the following criteria;
    1; New Zealand generated Carbon Equilvent Deficits may only be off-set by purchasing New Zealand verified Carbon Equivlent Credits, with the option of purchasing foreign Carbon Credits through the State from verified distributers at a set proportional added cost.
    2; The base rate for New Zealand Carbon Emmisions should be set at zero, in effect removing the grandfathering effect inherant in most models and producing real steps towards carbon neutrality.
    3; Those whom create the Carbon Equivlent Credits through approved means are allowed to sell them as they choose, the government having no claim over and above GST.
    4; Those whom generate Credits from plantations of native forest are excluded from GST.
    5; The State has an allocation of Carbon Equivlent Credits equal to the net production of all crown land reserves and half of the production of the New Zealand territorial waters. These Credits may be sold by the state at a set proportion above the market price.
    6; Imports from countries which lack carbon accountability may have carbon tariffs imposed apon those goods sufficent to account for the approximate carbon emmisions during creation at New Zealand market value.
    7; Emmisions Debits for wide distribution goods are to be paid by the producer or importer of those goods.
    8; Tax collected through carbon tariffs must go towards a fund for increasing energy efficency within New Zealand.
    9; Fuel spent within New Zealand aerospace must be offset by a volume with the equivlent radiative forcing as the average radiative forcing at the average emmision altitude of the flight.

    In addition to the ETS there should be fuel efficency and energy efficency measures and, as hinted at in the previous list, the ETS should apply to all major recognized greenhouse gasses acording to their relative radiative forcing.

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  7. Sapient
    so let me see if I understand this.. You would eliminate GST on goods and put it instead at the point of incurring carbon emission?

    Interesting!

    My first thought is that it could lead to higher prices, because selling prices are usually calculated on cost-to-consumption plus margin – and this would add to the cost-to-consumption, which GST doesn’t, in fact it can be regarded as reducing that cost due to the ‘use of money’ period between collecting the tax and remitting it to the IRD. However, there’s nothing scientific about initial thoughts! It would be interesting to see how this coasted out at the Infernal Revenue Department and cost to consumer levels.

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  8. My opinion: the Greens should support the scheme for three reasons:

    1) Even if implemented in its current form, it would prevent future emissions growth. From what I can gather, the government’s 2013-cap is likely to be somewhere between 65 and 75 MTCO2-e a year. Gross emissions are expected to be 82.4 MT in 2010 and 91.2 MT in 2020. Even if the scheme is never revised and the cap is left at its 2013 level (something I regard as unrealistic), it will prevent ~100 MT of emissions between 2013 and 2020 (and while emitters could purchase credits on the international market, that simply means that prevention will happen somewhere outside New Zealand). That’s 100 million reasons to support it right there.

    2) it creates a mechanism you can exploit in future to drive emissions reductions. I expect the government will plan to lower the cap over the long-term, depending on the outcome of international negotiations and its future obligations. But once the cap exists, you can use every set of coalition negotiations to push for it to be even lower. Supporting the ETS is giving you a big tool for the future.

    3) what’s the altenative? National’s just-announced policy is “introduce a new ETS within 9 months”. Which once you account for the time it will take to pass (about a year), pushes the data of their proposed targets back to 2011. Assuming it ever happens. If short-term reductions are important enough that you’re concerned about the marginal difference made by introducing fertiliser a year earlier, then think of the difference _delaying_ energy and industrial emissions (28% of the total!) by two years will make.

    I know its an ugly scheme. It provides financial support to polluters and sets no long-term targets for lowering the cap. But it will have some good effect, and it seems to be better than anything else which is credibly on offer. Better to support it now and push for changes in future (and hammer that cap down every election cycle) than let them keep on emitting for free for another two years (at least).

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  9. “I’ll tell them what will happen if they do. First of all, Labour will go into full attack mode against them. Second, Labour will shamelessly appropriate all of their green iconography (belching smoke-stacks, dwindling ice-shelves, polar bears) and use them in their own campaign ads. They will justify this by saying that the Greens have betrayed their own followers, and arrayed themselves with those other opponents of the ETS – National and ACT. If that happens, the Greens will soon look back with affection on the Exclusive Brethren’s little pamphlet.”

    What charming bedfellows you choose to get whipped by…..

    Look, the ETS is an unworkable pile of doggy-doo, and even Labour supporters admit it. What is their justification for ramming it through? That National & ACT oppose it?

    Labour need to swallow their Titanic egos and go back to the drawing board. They didn’t get it right.

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  10. Strings,
    Not exactly.
    By ‘Goods’ I am using the termonology utilised in the Green Party tax policy to refer to efforts exerted by people, that is to say things like GST, Corporate Tax and Personal Tax all tax the effort exerted by people and as such tax actions that are considered benificial to society and act as a disincentive to perform those actions.
    I would first bring all things that should be taxed and charged for under the tax banner, that is that I would introduce Capital Gains Tax, I would impliment a land tax in recognition of the rental of that land from the people of New Zealand, I would impliment fees payable to the state for any commercial natural resource extraction and fees for any commercial use of non-produced communual resources such as water, I would also introduce greater and more wide ranging fees for environmental degrigation equal to the cost to fully reconstruct the previous status. I would impliment a carbon trading system as that recognises that the atmosphere used in production is produced through use of land which is planted with trees and provided a motive for more trees to be planted, I would apply GST to all carbon trading not generated by native plantations to provide native replanting efforts and increase the tax basket.
    With this larger tax basket each individual area needs to be taxed less than previously to generate the same tax take. The tax is then shifted around so that the tax on the ‘Goods’ is as small as economily feasable with the main body of the tax being gained through the fees charged for use of land and the fees for resource extraction and environmental degridation.
    There are alot of economic variables in there but the end result is a far greater incentive for growth in high value goods and services, to further incourage that I would remove all tax on R&D units and utilise bonded schlorships to keep the highly trained here. I would also encourage PPP’s in the form of government owned vital networks such as rail, electricity and local broadband with fees set proportional to upkeep costs to encourage competition in those markets which would otherwise be near natural monopolies. I would also encourage PPP’s in the form of low interest (though above inflation) loans from the state to industies which have large development costs in an attempt to further develop competition.
    You are right that initially there will likley be a increase in prices when both are only lightly implimented and there will be associated inflation driven by monetary demand for a short period, the costs will transfer to the profit margins of the companies which act as intermediataries as there are prices both sides will be unwilling to surpass past a certain point, those costs should easily be absorbed, most likley there will be some small scale lay-offs of unproductive staff to return the profit margins until the initial levels convert to more efficent processes or the higher levels start sourcing more dirrectly. Though one the tax is shifted more heavily to the ‘Bads’ the busness should become more productive again and this should encourage greater job production in the higher wage areas of the economy which are les affected by the polution and land levies, assisting in moving us towards the high wage economy that the greens so desire. A weightless economy as the New Zealand institute put it so eligantly.

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  11. whoa, that was somewhat longer and more rant like that I intended. I think I made afew too many leaps of logic in the last paragraph too, lol.

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  12. I say reject it, for two reasons:
    - It won’t help the environment much if at all
    - It will cost a horrendous amount of money to do that, money that could be used on something that actually did help the environment.

    Good on you asking for public input.

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  13. BTW, if someone – not a denier troll – has a well-written argument on why the Greens should oppose the ETS from an environmental perspective (again – because I will need to say it – I am not interested in providing a platform to deniers and trolls), then I would be happy to publish it at No Right Turn as a guest post.

    Or else you could always post it at GBlog.

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  14. Idiot,

    >>ETS from an environmental perspective

    It’s unaffordable. Costs must be proportional to benefits. They ‘aint.

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  15. As Owen succinctly put it: “we don’t have a Kyoto problem and how can you be a world leader in solving a problem if you don’t contribute to the problem to begin with.”

    What problem are Labour solving, exactly? The “we haven’t introduced any new stealth taxes lately” problem?

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  16. Idiot: “not a denier troll”

    So now if you have a particular scientific view you are not only a “denier” (or “heretic”), now automatically everything you post is “trolling”. That is a pretty stupid way to approach science.

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  17. BP,
    So because that cask of wine I want is only a small portion of the shops stock and selling it would only represent a small portion of their over-all profits it is alright for me to steal that cask? I like yours/owens logic, do you happen to run a shop? If so I would like to know the location and product range so I may attempt to apply this logic you condone.

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  18. My personal preference is for a simple “carbon” tax on greenhouse gas emissions (including N20, which is not actually a carbon compound).

    Failing that, I could live with a strong emissions trading scheme with rapid introduction of transport and agriculture.

    The Government’s scheme doesn’t do this, and there seems to have been little progress through negotiations between the Greens and Government in strengthening it.

    I don’t agree with Chris Trotter’s analysis. To the contrary, I actually think the Greens could be dumped into the same greenwash bucket as Labour and National if they support an ETS that doesn’t do the business.

    Having nothing to differentiate themselves from a weak Labour response to climate change will imo likely cost the Greens votes, rather than gain them.

    Sure, Labour may go into “attack advertising” mode agaisnt the Greens, but that actually helped the Greens when National under Shipley did it in 1999. The EB’s effort at the last election was more of a mixed blessing, but I think that also did not do the Greens much harm – maybe cost one seat.

    We can always start again after the election, and while I agree that urgent action is necessary on climate change, I don’t think a one year delay in the introduction of an ETS (or even better, a carbon tax, if the Greens can get enough electoral support to get that on the table again) would be particularly significant if we can bring forward the dates that transport and agriculture actually start paying for their emissions.

    The other difficulty with supporting a weak ETS is that it is very hard to undo even if the political climate swings in favour of the Greens. People acquire property rights through an ETS, and you can imagine how some of them will bleat if there are future proposals to legislate over those property rights to implement more effective measures to curb greenhouse emissions.

    Idiot/Savant – is that good enough for you to publish as a guest post on No Right Turn? I’ll publish it at g.blog.

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  19. Good post Toad, thanks for showing how even if AGW is real this ETS is foolish. The “believers” will listen to you since you normally agree with them, they tend to ignore the rest of us however good our arguments.

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  20. I said earlier I’ll publish it at g.blog.

    Yep, it’s on g.blog now, and that is another feedback option for people who are not AGW deniers and would prefer to not engage too much with what promises to become a lengthy thread here. Far less traffic over there, at least for now.

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  21. Sapient,

    New Zealand makes as much difference as a child taking a leak in the ocean. Would you arrest the child for crimes against the planet, or would you get a sense of proportion?

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  22. Toad,
    the thing with a carbon tax, and the reason I support a trading schemme over a tax, is that a tax only accounts for decreasing demand, it doesint account for increasing supply. that is to say; sure we are decreasing the amount of carbon and other greenhouse gasses we are putting into the atmosphere but we are also cutting down forests and clearing land that sequesters that carbon because there is no economic benifit to haveing land forested, so we would essentially be making no progress or even making it worse. producing 30 units when you can only sequester 20 is bad, but creating 15 when you can only sequester 10 is just as bad, the only difference being the volume of consumption. Its basic economics, you need to provide incentives to create thes sequestion projects.
    Re Dennis and AGW,
    To be totally honest, im not too fussed about AGW; if its false then I think the changes needed to be brought about anyway to ensure our economies can accually function into the future, if it turns out to be true and we scew everthing up then ohwel. if we die out; its our own fault. if we survive but ruin the planet; ohwel that what you get I guess. If we take action and survive; well we are bound to find numerous new ways to kill ourselves.

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  23. Oh, and Mr Dennis, thanks for the compliment on my post, but I must chastise you for the reference to the “believers”.

    This is a matter of trusting the consensus of the science, despite the dissent of a few renegade “scientists” like Associate Professor Chris de Freitas.

    I, with no academic credentials in this field past Stage II Geography, caught him out a couple of months ago stating that that agricultural methane emissions were carbon-neutral, despite the fact that methane – even though both it and CO2 molecules each have one carbon atom – has vastly greater greenhouse potential through its dipole moment than CO2 does.

    De Freitas’ geography credentials are impeccable, but he doesn’t understand the physics, which is actually essential if you are getting into the climate change debate at a scientific level. Anyone with a reasonable knowledge of quantum mechanics will know that the greenhouse effect happens, because the science (at least to the extent we have developed it today) demonstrates that it does happen – both in theory and in experimental practice.

    Oops – probably getting too technical here for some. For me though, the science is unequivocal. It is the response to what it predicts is happening, and empirical evidence indicatesis happening, that I’d like to debate.

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  24. BP,
    maybe you should get a sence of proportion, world wide carbon emmisions in 2004 were 27,245,758,000 metric tons, new zealands were 31,493,000 metric tons, thats about 0.1 percent of the total emmisions.
    That amount, although it may not seem so to you, is quite substantial, esspecially considering our low population.
    Let me rephrase it in terms you may understand, using proportions that reflect the truth rather than your week and substantially understated analogy.
    If you have 1,000,000 dollars of debt owed to you and no savings apart form that debt and I owe you 1000 dollars, it is okay, under your logic, for me to defualt on that debt because it is insubstantial to the total amount owed to you. But under that same logic all the other people whom owe you money can do the same, so you keep loosing 1000′s of dollars and then the bigger parties decide that 10,000 here and there wont matter eaither and then you are left with nothing, flat broke and out on the street wishing you had that 1000 dollars.
    huh? perfect analogy? same proportions? realistic simulation? god darn it, I wouldint want you to manage a company for me!

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  25. whoa, I agree with toad, its been an odd day indeed.
    All the evidence suggests that an increase in the proportion gasses in the atmosphere with stronger radiative forcing effects than those displaced would logicly retain a greater amount of heat within the atmosphere.
    the reason that the models find it so hard to predict is the immense amount of variables. If I had a powerful enough computer that took track of the posistions, energies and paths of every particle in existance then I could easily predict the future. weather and climate are much the same, the sun effects things, the cloud distributions effect things, the extent of the ice caps effect things, the forest coverage effects things, even the posistion of jupiter effects thing, its far to complicated to make more than sweeping generalisations and approximations.

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  26. Um, Sapient, if the Government imposes a carbon tax, it can also expend some of the revenue from that tax to incentivise reforestation. Some of the revenue can also be expended on subsidising or lending to support home insulation. Some can go into funding public transport to reduce carbon emissions.

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  27. toad,
    so the government attempts to do the job of the market but adds in a large amount of inefficency without producing any real outcome? sounds efficent, fair and productive?

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  28. >>your week and substantially understated analogy.

    Weak, not week. It was as relevant as yours, which admittedly is “not very”.

    I don’t need analogies. I want the truth. How many degrees will global temperature drop if New Zealand has an ETS? How many degrees will global temperature increase if we don’t?

    Enough with the smoke and mirrors, already. Your stance is religious, not logical.

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  29. lol, well we all know im not good at grammar, but that is besides the point.
    Changes in temperature anywhere in the world can change the air currents and as such the distributon of moisture over the continents resulting in a significant change in fertile areas. Increases in temperature can melt glaciers and result in changes in the oceanic currents resulting in changes in heat distribution through those currents. Its a complex system, noone can really predict something like temprature rises and such without a vast amount information and understanding which I lack, but I can understand enough to see those intricate interactions and see that it is not worth the risk.

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  30. BTW:

    “The basic idea is to drill deep enough into earth so water can be heated by the magma and returned to the surface with sufficient energy as to drive electricity making turbines.

    A recent report out of MIT estimated that by just tapping into 2 percent of the heat between two-seven miles beneath the Earth’s crust in the continental US the results could produce 2,500 times the countries entire annual energy. On Wednesday the Australian government aanounced that it was going to invest $12 million into developing ways of geothermal energy into electricity. Scientists predict that by just using one percent of the Australia’s ‘natural’ underground central heating system the Aussies could provide enough energy for 26,000 years. Blimey!”

    Yay, technology!

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  31. “Its a complex system….not worth the risk”

    You don’t know the risk. You don’t know New Zealands contribution to that risk. But there IS risk in implementing costly schemes that make no difference.

    That is the point.

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  32. BP,
    We have good reason to beleive that there is significant risk to the environment, society and economy in continuing the way we are.
    We have good reason to beleive that the introduction of a carbon emisions trading schemme and resource extraction fees will benifit the economy, the environment and society.

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  33. BluePeter said: How many degrees will global temperature drop if New Zealand has an ETS? How many degrees will global temperature increase if we don’t?

    Um, BP, you are missing the point. New Zealand can be a world leader in this. We did it with universal franchise in the 1890s. We did it with social security in the 1930s. We did it with accident compensationin he 1970s.

    Why can’t we do it again with climate change? If every nation sits back and says “we won’t go there without a global treaty” or “we’ll do it when our trading partners do” we’ll all be stuffed, environmentally and economically.

    New Zealand can set an international example in this, and we should.

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  34. Toad:
    is that good enough for you to publish as a guest post on No Right Turn? I’ll publish it at g.blog.

    It would have been fine. But since its already published, I can just link to it (gblog deserves more traffic anyway :)

    I think its an important debate, and I’d like to show my readers the other side of the argument, so if anyone else (again, not a denier troll) wants to have a go, drop me a line.

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  35. >>New Zealand can be a world leader in this.

    Even if we could (we can’t), how does being the lead lemming help us? It makes us the first over the cliff, jumping blind.

    >>we’ll all be stuffed, environmentally and economically.

    You assume it, but I think you have a very thin grasp on cause and effect.

    >>We have good reason to beleive that there is significant risk to the environment, society and economy in continuing the way we are.

    Like what?

    >>will benifit the economy, the environment and society.

    How?

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  36. Sapient said: so the government attempts to do the job of the market but adds in a large amount of inefficency without producing any real outcome?

    I don’t see why collecting and redistributing a tax is inherently more inefficient than a trading scheme, except hat there is a “middle (wo)man” bureaucracy that obviously have to be paid to do it.

    But it can be more effective. A lot of the emissions trading at the moment internationally is based on HFC-23 and N2O industrial (and with the latter, not even agricultural) reductions in emissions in developing countries.

    This is the easy bit where people can purchase and merrily trade carbon credits without addressing at all the big picture issues of transport and agricultural greenhouse emissions.

    A pigovian tax, by contrast, can be redistributed in a planned manner, so those who genuinely reduce their emissions, rather than play clever financial games with China, Russia and the Ukraine, actually benefit.

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  37. Toad

    “Um, BP, you are missing the point. New Zealand can be a world leader in this. We did it with universal franchise in the 1890s. We did it with social security in the 1930s. We did it with accident compensationin he 1970s.

    Why can’t we do it again with climate change? If every nation sits back and says “we won’t go there without a global treaty? or “we’ll do it when our trading partners do? we’ll all be stuffed, environmentally and economically.

    New Zealand can set an international example in this, and we should”

    WHY should we?, our efforts will make not an ounce of difference.
    Why on earth should we commit economic suicide simply because the Greens want the feel good factor of being able to say we were/are the first.

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  38. Ok BP, time for some Economics 101.
    Our economies rely on the trading or resources, in the form of goods and services, between nodes, in the forms of people and conglomerations of those people, based on desire for those resouces by the various nodes and desire by other nodes to satisfy the formers desires for a price. If there is a decrease in the number of nodes, the availibility of raw resources or the fluidity of trade then the economy suffers.
    Under the proposed conditions of climate change old resources such as water and food are no longer as plentyful and land area itself is decreased, as is ability to support nodes. The result of such is a decrease in availibility of goods and services, fludity and nodes. in short the economy becomes significantly less vibrant and shrinks, thus incuring damage.

    How could the economy benifit from such policies? well lets see. it provides a new source of tradable goods, it removes distortions and cost externilisations from the market, in doing so restoring equilibrium. it disincentivises poluting industries, industries with traditionally low profit margins and low wages. it incentivises high wage industries and clean industries that are able to produce more goods per unit of energy than the dirty industires and as such provides more potential for continued growth than the dirty industries. the higher wages and higher volume of higher value goods increases fluidity and economic vibrancy.

    I am aware that doesint flow and tie together very well but im to tired to bother restructuring it, so have fun.

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  39. Toad,
    Agreed, on both points.

    I think that a trading scheme offers a greater potential benefit, as compared to taxation, because it introduces a new market for tradeable goods and allows the market to determine supply and demand where as a government administered approach lends itself to flxuations and uncertainty based on the three yearly change of governments. A government administered scheme would increase pressures from the agricultural sectors on potential governments to relax the tax and would attract charges of distorting the market ultimately leading to a highly fluxuating and short lasting system which would provide significant uncertainty and lack of return to growers that they would not take the risk if relying on payments from the government. At least with a market system they are guarantied a return, and a larger one at that and are not so subject to changes of government and the scheme does not fall to the arguments of market distortion. Additionally, the tree growers could become their won lobby group, lol. .Both options would require somewhat expensive beaurocracy to administer though, that could come from the tax on exchanges.

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  40. Toad, I used the word “believers”, for want of a better term, simply because it is the opposite of “deniers”. I know full well it is just as inappropriate a word as the word “deniers” is. When those whom I termed the “believers” stop calling those who disagree with them “deniers”, maybe I’ll change my terminology for them too.

    What would you prefer each group to be called? I don’t associate myself with either group so aren’t too fussed myself.

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  41. The “we have no effect –> why should we?” argument is interesting.

    It strikes me as being somewhat nihilist and, more interestingly (for who consider themselves ‘right wing’) ethically destitute.

    Analogies seem to be the order of the day so here’s another: imagine the UK wanted to invade some random country, for example, Argentina.

    The UK asked New Zealand to assist with the invasion by accomodating HRM troops, ships, and aircraft – at no expense to New Zealand.

    Now – what New Zealand decides has no effect on the invasion, which will go ahead regardless. Our involvement, or otherwise, is inconsequential.

    There is no chance the war will spread beyond South America and we have no interest in helping Argentina.

    In fact, their agricultural products tend to compete with ours. It’s actually in our interest that Argentina is laid to waste scorched earth Soviet style.

    In such a situation it would appear that those opposed to emissions trading would stand up, place their webbed hand on their heart, and proudly say:

    “Our decision has no influence on the outcome and, moreover, we benefit from the result. We should therefore acquiesce to the request to assist with the destruction of an innocent country”

    People who oppose emissions trading on ‘why should we’ grounds are not ‘right’ – they are ethical parasites. Be gone cretans.

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  42. New Zealand has an effect on CO2 emissions as we produce them however by reducing CO2 emissions we have no effect on the effects of increased CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Anything we do with regard to C02 emissions is an emotional reaction not a logical reaction.

    Since everyone seems to be drawing stupid examples to highlight their points. Here is one from me.

    Lets suppose we are standing in the path of a freight train, we have two choices we can move one foot off the track but we leave the rest of ourselves on the track to be hit by the train or we can leave all of ourselves on the track and be hit by the train. No matter which choice we choose the end result is exactly the same.

    Local efforts to a global problem wont work and they always seem to be pushed by human beings that don;t like to feel helpless, but at the end of the day the individuals pushing for a local solution are feeding their own ego’s and self importance.

    Also we can’t lead the world, so when Toad makes these wild claims and they are very wild that our actions will result in the rest of the world following suit. Well Toad has absoluting no evidence to back the claim up.

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  43. Also Sapient, Toad, sdonovan your posts on this subject give me a sense of fear from all 3 of you that you are not in control of the situation, by doing something about it you can sleep at night.

    I would hope that the 3 of you will at least acknowledge that New Zealand has limited resources and we need to be very careful about how we spend those resources. If we waste resources setting up a carbon tax/trading scheme which doesn’t actually do anything then what was the point of wasting the resources in the first place again. If it was to make you 3 feel good then that was a pretty selfish action on your part.

    New Zealands approach to global warming needs to be one of ok global warming is going to happen so what are we going to do in order to handle these effects and their impact on New Zealand. Trying to stop the effects of global warming this late in the game is just simply wishful thinking on the part of people trying to act. We needed to act years ago Toad and we didn’t.

    As for stopping the reduction of C02 emissions, well the effects of the C02 emissions will be the best solution at reducing C02 emissions.

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  44. Today Bill English announced how they can get an ETS up and running within 9 months of the election.

    3. The ETS should be as closely aligned as possible to the planned Australian Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, with, where possible, common compliance regimes and tradability. National wants to closely co-operate with Australia as we develop our respective schemes. We note that Australia intends to release draft legislation in December and to introduce a bill to the House by March next year. National thinks it would be foolish to ignore this obvious opportunity to work with Australia, to share information and ideas and to work for mutual benefit as we develop our trading schemes.

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  45. sdonovan

    Wrong, and your analogy is as stupid as those that have gone before it.

    There are various opportunity costs and real risks associated with an ETS.

    The believers seem to be saying “we must do SOMETHING, anything!”, irrespective as to whether their action makes a positive difference. Even if it did make a positive difference, they still have an obligation to weigh the course of action in terms of cost and benefit.

    If it costs New Zealand significantly in terms earnings, then people will die. There will be less money for health, welfare and various other programs. And for what? What effect did you have on the planet? You can’t even tell me! You don’t even care – you’re so obsessed by the need to “do SOMETHING!”

    Morally bankrupt. Blinded by ideology.

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  46. “National thinks it would be foolish to ignore this obvious opportunity to work with Australia, to share information and ideas and to work for mutual benefit as we develop our trading schemes. ”

    If we are to participate in this nonsense – and we may well be forced to – then National have the right approach. The last thing New Zealand should do is lead on this (the only point in us leading as far as I can see is to feed the massive egos of our politicians) – we must move in tandem with our trading partners, lest we introduce costs they don’t face.

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  47. turnip28 said: New Zealands approach to global warming needs to be one of ok global warming is going to happen so what are we going to do in order to handle these effects and their impact on New Zealand.

    Ah, the “adapt, because it is too late to mitigate” argument. I’d be interested to hear just how you propose we adapt, Turnip, apart from everyone who lives in coastal regions heading to the mountains, and all that entails. And what about the people of Kiribati – where have they got to go?

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  48. Absolutely Turnip28 – we should be careful about what we choose to do with our resources.

    My point is not about the practicalities (or otherwise) of the emissions trading scheme. It aims to refute the conclusion that we should do nothing about climate change because the effects are unlikely to be significant. I contend that such an argument is ethically spineless. And it is. I’m not saying do anything, just don’t rule out doing something.

    Ha! I’m an obsessed idealogue according to Blue Peter. No – I’m actually rather practical person who just happens to allow ethical values to guide whether I engage on a particular issue. That’s not to say that the ETS is worthwhile – just that it should not be dismissed on the grounds of New Zealand’s contribution to C02 emissions.

    As well as being ethically questionable BP arguments fall over on practical grounds. The climate is a dynamic, complex, and non-linear system. In his climatic modelling of European weather patterns, Lorenz found that numerical accuracy to 8 decimal places was not sufficient to reproduce the same weather patterns, even with all the other initial conditions and boundary conditions being equal.

    Lorenz’s work showed that climates are complex and extremely difficult to predict. There may be critical points at which our weather patterns flick into something compleletely different from what we’re used to. It’s just as likey to be NZ’s 0.1% emissions that acts as that switch. Obviously this makes climate modelling difficult, but not useless – and modelling suggests that CO2 will increase the Earth’s temperature.

    In other words Blue Peter – you have no ethical values and you don’t know what you’re talking about. Other than that I think we would get along fine.

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  49. >>It’s just as likey to be NZ’s 0.1% emissions that acts as that switch.

    It is not “just as likely”. You’ve just picked a random variable and deemed it to be important.

    >>In other words Blue Peter – you have no ethical values and you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    You failed to make your case.

    If you take action that introduces significant costs to New Zealand, and has no measurable positive effect, then your actions are both selfish and morally questionable. It is no less contemptible that you appear to be arguing “I do not not know what effect we’ll have, but lets do it REGARDLESS because it feels right”.

    Not with my money, you’re not.

    >>Other than that I think we would get along fine.

    Go join Facebook. I’m not bothered if we get along or not, only with the quality of your arguments.

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  50. BP, as someone who does not even acknowledge the problem, who mocks the conclusion of every major credible scientific body out there, your opinion is less than worthless. It’s noise, and you have no credible evidence to support your position.

    I agree with Idiot/Savant on this one. It might not be perfect, but there is really no need to be idealistic about it. The numbers and dates can all be changed by modifying legislation, but a straight repeal is much less likely.

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  51. This is a plea on behalf of my farming client-base that you do not support an ETS in any form. I’ve seen preliminary figures (which I don’t have) that indicate ETS will be, just for a start, the end of the beef industry in NZ. And a serious impairment to all other rural based industries. Currently, this country is completely reliant on the production of commodities for its standard of living: ETS seeks to cripple just those industries.

    And not only the producers: ETS will continue to increase food and fuel costs, thus prices.

    It really is a no-brainer, please do not go with this. (It’s simply a tax on living to fix a non-existent problem).

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  52. mugwump said: The numbers and dates can all be changed by modifying legislation…

    I’m not confident they can, actually, at least without a huge uproar. The problem is that an emissions trading scheme confers property rights, and it is very difficult politically for a subsequent Government to legislate to interfere with those property rights.

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  53. >>your opinion is less than worthless

    My opinion is worthless because I question how sacrificing the virgin on the altar leads to better crops next year? So be it.

    “Well all the other villagers are doing it!”

    >>you have no credible evidence to support your position

    It isn’t up to me to prove a negative. You must prove your case, and you haven’t done so. All we’ve got thus far is “New Zealand must do it because a few others are doing it”.

    >>It might not be perfect

    It is far from perfect. It is wasteful, destructive, and will achieve nothing.
    Janets disposition in those videos speaks volumes….

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  54. Sapient
    It does not matter how powerful your computer, you cannot predict the long term future of a chaotic system such as the climate.
    Chaotic systems are governed by feedback loops and a small change in the inputs generate major changes in the output. This is known as the butterfly effect.
    I prefer the bee which changes the direction of a tornado and destroys one village rather than another.
    The maths of deterministic chaos means that you run into a measurement problem. If you enter 1.00000 degrees when you should have entered 1.000001 degrees then a desk top computer will demonstrate that the weather will be quite different after a large number of iterations.
    Lorenz wrote this famous paper which demonstrated the unpredictability of chaotic systems some time ago, which is one reason most economists gave up modeling economies long ago. Chris Monckton (who used go be an economic modeler) tells me that many IPCC researchers are not even aware of the Lorenz paper, which I find astonishing. I have read it so why haven’t they?

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  55. Sapient

    This goes on a bit, but I hope you work your way through it.

    FIRSTLY, thank you for your explanation. While I have some difficulties with aspects of it, which I will address below, you have at least looked to make a complete system of your ideas, not just expressed the things that are suitable to your personal desires, as many do here. THANK YOU FOR THAT.

    Now, some questions.
    >
    >>I would implement a land tax in recognition of the rental of that land from the people of New Zealand

    I believe we already pay this form of tax. It is labeled “rates? and is used to provide services to the local community. While based on the nominal value of both land and improvements, to make the load distribution more equitable in the eyes of local politicians, it is, none the less, a land based tax.
    My biggest worry with your proposal is that people without the means to pay additional revenue to the state (e.g. pensioners,) would almost certainly be faced with a cost increase for a significant transition period as ‘federal’ land tax was phased in and income tax (which they don’t usually pay as they have minimal income, phased out. The poor, who rent, would be hit just as hard as the rich who own, as this tax would be passed from landlord to tenant.

    >
    >> implement fees payable to the state for any commercial natural resource extraction and fees for any commercial use of non-produced communal resources such as water,

    I believe these fees are already payable in the form of royalties or licenses. Any substantial increase in them would fall directly, again, to the consumer. For instance, water is sold by a business entity (that would have to pay additional fees) to a city council, who on-charges either through the rates (inequitable cost distribution) or through meter based pricing. Again, the poorer in our communities would end up with larger costs.

    >
    >>I would also introduce greater and more wide ranging fees for environmental degradation equal to the cost to fully reconstruct the previous status.

    This I don’t understand. Does this mean that is I clear a pile of bush from land that I own, and then plant trees or develop a farm, I have to pay a fee equal to the amount required to urn it back into bush land with the same contours, etc.? If this is true, then the investment must at least double, and thereby make all new development that requires land usage uneconomic.

    >
    >>I would apply GST to all carbon trading not generated by native plantations to provide native replanting efforts and increase the tax basket.

    Is this a Tax on a Tax? Is there a market, say for native wood, which equates to the volume of the market for radiata pine, which would provide an economic platform to encourage investment in this type of farm? Radiata is popular because of its speed to maturity and consistency of demand, if (for instance) Rimu does not have such a ready market, and your tax on tax makes radiata uneconomic, we would end up with less tree mass than we currently have, reducing our carbon absorbing capability.

    >
    >>The tax is then shifted around so that the tax on the ‘Goods’ is as small as economically feasible

    Another ‘rub’ point for me. I now have all these new taxes on the cost side of the price calculation, with perhaps less on the profit side. Using your definition (i.e. efforts exerted by people, that are considered beneficial to society) there would be many things that are not classified as goods – for instance are alcohol, prostitution, recreational drugs (including those that are tobacco based), movies, cigarettes, cars, bank transactions, etc., etc., etc., beneficial to “society? or just to an individual?
    This ‘moving around’ would seem to make a lot of the things that constitute our standard of living more expensive than is currently the case.

    >
    >>the end result is a far greater incentive for growth in high value goods and services

    I’m afraid this is a leap of faith that doesn’t sit well with me. Based on the examples you have given, I cannot think of anything that I, as an investor, would be incented to manufacture, and most ‘value adding services’ would have to be at costs that the ‘average’ (read mass market) person couldn’t afford because of the tax distribution being biased against individual benefit.

    >
    >>I would also encourage PPP’s in the form of government owned vital networks such as rail, electricity and local broadband with fees set proportional to upkeep costs to encourage competition in those markets which would otherwise be near natural monopolies

    I’m really lost here. If these networks, which of themselves do nothing, are owned by the government, why do you need private participation? Again, we have to look at today’s model and see where it takes us! The electricity ‘system’ is already essentially in public ownership. “Local? broadband has no value without the central core and international gateways, and we already have some idea of the taxation impact of the newly nationalised rail system. (A system which, because of its limited distribution, is unlikely to ever take away the need for the road system. (Imagine being one of the residents in a small town/village/hamlet that no longer has either road or rail access, the former because we abandoned it as ‘unbeneficial’ the latter because the cost of construction was too high. Would you stay?)

    >
    >>the costs will transfer to the profit margins of the companies
    Indeed. Thus reducing the Return on Investment and causing ‘capital flight’ to countries with a more encouraging regime.

    >
    >Though once the tax is shifted more heavily to the ‘Bads’ the business should become more productive again and this should encourage greater job production in the higher wage areas of the economy which are less affected by the pollution and land levies, assisting in moving us towards the high wage economy that the greens so desire

    I really don’t understand this. Whatever the ‘bads’ are, I can see them leaving. This will reduce the number of jobs in the economy, as well as make what ‘goods’ we produce uncompetitive in the global market (for instance, I doubt we could sell animal products under the cost base you propose). This would lead to economic isolation, and from there to industrial isolation (as we would not be able to afford foreign exchange). That leads to us having no cotton goods, vehicles, building materials, (other than native wood), international transportation etc., etc., etc., Which would, I think, result in total economic collapse and people getting out of the country in droves, leaving a small population happy to be living a ‘basic’ life.

    If my understanding is right, and the small population happy to be living a ‘basic’ life is your vision for New Zealand, then so be it, and you should clearly demonstrate this in your election manifesto. If I’ve got something wrong in my understanding – which I rather think I may have done – I would appreciate you pointing it out.

    Again THANK YOU for the explanation, it is appreciated.

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  56. I also read Chaos, by James Gleik many years ago. If it is true that IPCC scientists aren’t familiar with chaos theory, that is truly shocking.

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  57. Great posts turnip and BP

    Toad:
    “Ah, the “adapt, because it is too late to mitigate? argument. I’d be interested to hear just how you propose we adapt, Turnip, apart from everyone who lives in coastal regions heading to the mountains, and all that entails. And what about the people of Kiribati – where have they got to go?”

    If global warming is correct, we’ll probably have to adapt anyway. How will we do this if we’ve already blown our budget on a futile gesture?
    More here, no point in duplicating myself on the same blog:
    http://blog.greens.org.nz/2008/08/21/focussing-on-what-matters/#comment-54201

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  58. Owen,

    You are simply showing that you don’t understand the difference between weather and climate modelling. Modelling weather is basically an “initial conditions” problem, where multiplying uncertainties make it impossible to be accurate over long periods. Climate modelling deals with “boundary conditions” like GHG forcings, and is concerned with developing the statistics of climate over decadal timescales.

    And I wouldn’t take Monckton’s word on what climate modellers have or haven’t read. Why not talk to some real ones (we have them in NZ), rather than one of your wacky crank friends?

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  59. sifting and weighing …idiot/savant makes the best call. Whatever Bill English might say, disregard.

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  60. I’m not confident they can, actually, at least without a huge uproar. The problem is that an emissions trading scheme confers property rights, and it is very difficult politically for a subsequent Government to legislate to interfere with those property rights.

    Sure, it confers property rights – but what’s important to note is that those property rights have a limited lifespan, and will usually be purchased from the goverment at auction. The government can quite happily choose to sell fewer permits than it did in previous years – its basically a cabinet decision, requiring no additional legislation. Though policywise, its best to announce such changes well in advance, in order to get emitters to respond early.

    Having handed out so many free permits to polluters complicates this somewhat. But its not an overwhelming number, and is compatible with most short-term goals (I haven’t fully crunched the numbers, but I think we can do 20% by 2020 without it being a problem). And there is a review clause which provides cover for a future policy change. The biggest effect of the grandparenting is distributional, effectively funnelling funds to the chosen polluting industries. Its unfair and inequitable, but it doesn’t actually compromise the effectiveness of the scheme unless we’re trying to set a target below the fre allocation.

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  61. I was not making a point about weather or climate.
    I was just pointing out that sapients assertion about the great Asimov computer was wrong.
    And I am sorry if you believe that climate modelling does not have to deal with deterministic chaos then you are misguided.
    After all chaos theory effectively destroyed the idea of economic modelling and yet the IPCC scenarios all have to model the world economy.
    IT requires a huge leap of faith to say “I know I cannot predict the weather more than one week ahead but I can predict what the climate and sea levels will be doing in ninety years time.
    Monkton was at Bali and he of course is an expert on modelling and developed some powerful economic models in his earlier life. He had just been talking to, and exchanging views with many of the modellers (because he was analysing the modelling methods they were using and he was shocked that some of the younger ones in particular had not read the Lorenz paper. You may think he was lying but I have no reason to believe so. It was a private conversation over a glass of malt.

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  62. Mark Hubbard:
    Pretty well every political party is supporting an ETS now, even National is promising to put one in within 9 months. Even if the Greens reject this, it will only delay rather than halt an ETS.

    The only way to actually stop an ETS is to put parties in parliament after the election that will ensure one does not go ahead. The only parties promising that are the Family Party primarily, and Act appears to be leaning in that direction too (but is still proposing a carbon tax).
    http://www.familyparty.org.nz/policy/environment

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  63. “..(I haven’t fully crunched the numbers, but I think we can do 20% by 2020 without it being a problem)..”

    really ..!..idiot/savant..

    and that’ll be ‘enough’..y’reckon..?

    (go and stand in the corner with the other incrementalists/apologists..!..

    i thought better of you..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  64. I understand the Maori party is against it too. Otherwise it would fly through.

    relax Toad, the latest and most reliable data shows no sign of sea levels rising around Kiribati.
    I would post the data/graph but cannot do so on here.

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  65. “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.” A.Einstein

    Regards the ETS (and other issues) there is an employment opportunity for one genius, or more.

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  66. Owen McShane Says:
    August 23rd, 2008 at 9:31 am

    > relax Toad, the latest and most reliable data shows no sign of sea levels rising around Kiribati.

    I wouldn’t expect there to be yet. The only way you’re going to get enough extra water into the sea quickly to raise the sea level a noticeable amount is by a massive speed-up in the flow or melting of glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland. That can only happen once the sea ice at the mouths of these glaciers is gone. Some of that ice has been breaking up, but the sea level rise doesn’t start until the sea ice is gone, exposing the glacier mouths.

    We know that this massive speed-up does occur – it has already happened with a few glaciers on the antarctic peninsula – but that’s not enough glaciers to make a difference. Of course what’s happened now is more than a drop in the ocean – it’s some massive icebergs in the ocean – but a massive iceberg falling into the world’s oceans is still largely comparable to emptying a glass of water into a duckpond.

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