NZ Green Party
Carbon offsets – keeping it real!

Simon Johnson is a conservationist, tramper, accountant, former DoC worker and resource management consultant. Simon also blogs periodically at Hot-Topic.co.nz. In this guest post he writes about carbon offsetting from the point of view of a carbon forest.

I am one of the trustees of a small 47-hectare carbon forest sink and native re-vegetation project and mountain bike park, “Project Rameka”, in the east Takaka hills in Golden Bay.

It’s really a response to climate change made by two of my old friends, Bronwen Wall and Jonathan Kennett, who bought the land in 2008. Bronwen and Jonathan decided to apply their experience organising native planting projects in Wellington to climate change after reading the 2007 fourth report of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

It’s been embraced enthusiastically by the Golden Bay community who do the planting, pest control and track work through Project Rameka Inc

The land is owned by a trust and I am one of the trustees. I did the early accounting for the trust and prepared the application to get the land into the Permanent Forest Sinks Iniative (PFSI).

In return for a 50-year covenant restricting the land use to forest, we receive about 800 carbon credits assigned amount units per year for Project Rameka. These units started life as part of New Zealand’s 1990 baseline amount of carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol.

How many credits we get is based on the amount of carbon withdrawn from the atmosphere by the trees. Thanks to the Golden Bay weather, plants grow really quickly. So we really are storing carbon. We have seen 3cm annual growth rings in the few pines we have removed.

For a couple of years we didn’t do anything with the units. They sat in our account at the NZ Emissions Unit Register (the ‘bank’ for carbon credits). We initially thought the units could be a revenue stream to fund more traps or native seedlings. However the many donations to the project have always kept ahead of the costs.

We also thought that if we owned these units then we would be keeping them out of the hands of emitters so possibly we might even be reducing New Zealand’s emissions as well as sequestering carbon.

As we began to understand the New Zealand emissions trading scheme (NZETS), we realised that the good done by the Permanent Forest Sink Iniative couldn’t make up for the design flaws in the NZETS, as they are joined at the hip. Both schemes create and use carbon credits that are bought, sold and have prices. We could say that the PFSI and the NZETS are both limbs connected by the blood flow of carbon credits to the body, the international carbon trading market.

So when we were approached by Kevin Hague to offset his greenhouse gas emissions, we didn’t say yes straight away. We had a bit of a discussion about it. Trying of course to avoid MEGO; “My Eyes Glaze Over”, as we would rather be talking about this winter’s planting plan than carbon trading. After much discussion we had two options.

One option was to say no, we don’t want a bar of “carbon offsetting”.

We were aware that the Tyndall Centre’s Kevin Anderson has said that “offsets are worse than doing nothing.”

Selling our units as “offsets” could imply that we accept that international Kyoto-style emissions trading and offsetting and schemes like the NZETS are sufficient responses to climate change. That clearly isn’t the case. We would agree with James Hansen that the UNFCCC and Kyoto processes have not and will not achieve the magnitude of emissions reductions the science tells us is necessary. We think the NZETS is a joke as it has no cap on the number of units given free to emitters and it allows unlimited use of cheap units from the much larger international carbon market.

The other option was acknowledge the problems with the NZETS, and come up with our own version of offsetting in negotiation with Kevin Hague. And that’s what we did.

Why did we do this? Well, we know that Kevin’s flying is not for a weekend of shopping in Melbourne, but part of the essential price of putting the Green message to the public. We support the Greens as the only party with good policy on climate change.  The fact that the Green MPs offset their flying emissions does have real political value.

This struck home to me back in June this year when I went to a talk about the ‘Rio+20′ conference. Kennedy Graham described the conference’s failure to address climate change as a “double crisis,” an environmental crisis and a crisis of international governance.

Neophyte Minister of the Environment Amy Adams defended business-as-usual and patronised Kennedy saying he was too idealistic. Someone asked Adams if she offset her flying and what she did personally to reduce her emissions. She completely fluffed her answer. Moral victory to Kennedy who we know had offset his air travel to Rio.

What does this offsetting look like?

We cancel, not sell, our AAUs, in return for payment from Kevin. A sale means the unit can be resold many times before being used by an emitter in the NZETS to allow emissions. Cancelling means the unit legally ceases to exist.  It can never be used by an emitter. We could insist on a higher price per tonne of GHGs than the current NZ market price, which has recently been less than the price of a cup of coffee.   With Kevin we settled on $25 per tonne, which was the price discussed when the NZETS was being amended in 2009.

We also let our Golden Bay network know we are getting money for offsetting from Kevin Hague. The Project Rameka team had no problem and immediately came up with new trapping and planting projects for the money. As ever they exceeded expectations. They went out and bought the traps and installed them before any money had changed hands!

So far we have not agreed to provide any offsetting service to anyone but Kevin Hague. We have been asked a few times to offset discretionary personal overseas travel and we have said no. Flying that doesn’t seem that essential doesn’t tick all the boxes the same as our arrangement with Kevin Hague.

Since we started our offsetting arrangement with Kevin, the price of carbon has continued to decline and the NZETS has been made even more ineffective. The Government has permanently excluded agriculture from the NZETS and has extended the two-tonne-for-one-unit discount for emitters. Tim Groser remains welded to the idea of “lowest international cost”.

As far as commercial carbon foresters are concerned, the NZETS has gone pear-shaped because of the price collapse.

Carbon foresters have seen the value of their forests decline by 90%. Pine seedling planting in nurseries has declined by millions and forest clearance for dairy conversions in the North Island looks like starting all over again.

Brian Fallow, the Herald economics editor, describes the NZETS and NZ’s climate change policies as a shambles and a disgrace.

It appears the only people trading forest carbon in New Zealand that are happy at the moment are the Rameka Trustees and Kevin Hague.

We are happy as we are supporting the Greens, getting a realistic carbon price for our units and recycling the proceeds into more carbon-sequestering re-vegetation.

Kevin has said to us that he appreciates being able to go for a bike ride at Rameka where his flying is offset, and he also appreciates that we let him know what his money was spent on. He said to us “It felt real”. If only we could get the rest of New Zealand’s climate change and emissions trading policies just as real in terms of being the right incentive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

33 thoughts on “Carbon offsets – keeping it real!

  1. I wouldn’t worry about it. AGW is no longer a threat, according to the latest data.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323981504578179291222227104.html

    “The conclusion—taking the best observational estimates of the change in decadal-average global temperature between 1871-80 and 2002-11, and of the corresponding changes in forcing and ocean heat uptake—is this: A doubling of CO2 will lead to a warming of 1.6°-1.7°C (2.9°-3.1°F).

    This is much lower than the IPCC’s current best estimate, 3°C (5.4°F).

    Mr. Lewis is an expert reviewer of the recently leaked draft of the IPCC’s WG1 Scientific Report. The IPCC forbids him to quote from it, but he is privy to all the observational best estimates and uncertainty ranges the draft report gives. What he has told me is dynamite.

    Given what we know now, there is almost no way that the feared large temperature rise is going to happen. Mr. Lewis comments: “Taking the IPCC scenario that assumes a doubling of CO2, plus the equivalent of another 30% rise from other greenhouse gases by 2100, we are likely to experience a further rise of no more than 1°C.”

    A cumulative change of less than 2°C by the end of this century will do no net harm. It will actually do net good—that much the IPCC scientists have already agreed upon in the last IPCC report. Rainfall will increase slightly, growing seasons will lengthen, Greenland’s ice cap will melt only very slowly, and so on”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 10 (-2)

  2. Thanks Frog. It’s always useful to hear about how these policies effect those at the coal face. Why does something that could be so easy made so difficult?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 (+5)

  3. You talk of a 50-year covenant restricting the land use to forest, what happens to the forest carbon after 500 years or longer, when the trees fall down and rot, the forest catches on fire or perhaps it get bulldozed for housing, or the trees are cut for timber and later that timber having been treated ends in landfill; all that sequestered carbon is then re-released back into the atmosphere. Any money exchanged for credits or any form of offset relating to that forest is then null and void, nothing has been achieved and the scam continues. Unless your trust can guarantee that forest will remain intact for all time, that carbon will eventually find its way back into the air.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2 (+10)

  4. Arana, you say that the climate is warming due to greenhouse gases (1.6 degrees by 2100). Are you not worried because: you’ll be gone before the warming causes big problems, or because you think the greenhouse gas increase/warming will stop after 2100?
    My point is that even if the warming “is much lower than the IPCC’s current best estimate, 3°C”, doesn’t that just give us more time to protect the environment for our descendants?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2 (+6)

  5. It means move on. It’s a non-problem. We’ve got real problems to solve.

    No, I’m not worried. The climate always changes and for all we know, it may enter a cooling trend sometime after that, or it may remain neutral – we simply do not know.

    There’s no need to kill people now, which is what we are guaranteed to achieve if we arbitrarily increase energy costs, just because you’re guessing what may or may not happen hundreds of years from now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 10 (-2)

  6. “We simply do not know”
    Indeed, ignorance is bliss, and I’d gladly join you..
    But even your evidence shows warming of 1.6 in under 90years, and no sign of a reversal in the CO2 levels that are causing the warming.
    None of us can predict the future. The best estimates we can make about the future are surely those of the collective body of world scientists who put their minds to that task.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3 (+2)

  7. Arana

    The WSJ and its online version have a long history of lying about climate. Goes with the territory, and Faux news is worse, as there’s less inclination to correct them.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=primetime-fox-news-and-wsj-editoria-12-09-21

    http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/09/breaking-news-corp-misleads-audience-climate-change

    What Matt Ridley is writing now is basically that a lukewarmer named Lewis thinks that some of the data he has looked changes the IPCC climate sensitivity drastically.

    Given the fact that all the relevant science is already out there, just not coordinated and gathered together in a big heap (which is all the IPCC really does), all that data has been known and is known to all the people in the field.

    Lewis is the only person drawing this conclusion about what is in the IPCC data and he is doing so on the basis of stuff he says he sees but cannot show us. He has the honesty to not copy his preliminary information to the press, but this doesn’t help as Ridley is still free to gasp excitedly about how little the temperature is actually going to change based on no visible data or actual analysis.

    It is just a claim…and it isn’t the first time he’s gone off the deep end.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/matt-ridley-wired-for-lukewarm-catastrophe.html

    Yet even lower sensitivities are still a problem, because people like Ridley and Lewis are too damned blind (having their ideology challenged by science is inconvenient) to allow that anything needs doing nothing gets done.

    Yet the CO2 is still going up like this.

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/history.html

    You really think this is “no problem”? Even using even that lowest possible 1.6 degrees value? I thought that there was some UNCERTAINTY. It is amazing that suddenly a low value estimate appears and THAT is the one you think is certain, and everyone should ignore everything else?

    Denialists are funny. Lukewarmists are only a little less so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5 (+3)

  8. “It means move on. It’s a non-problem. We’ve got real problems to solve.
    No, I’m not worried. The climate always changes..blah de blah de blah de blah…
    Lord, preserve us from these fools.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7 (-1)

  9. we don’t agree with you so we’re fools. God, I hope you never become a Minister, I can just hear the “off with the fools’ heads” echoing through the beehive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6 (-2)

  10. “We”?
    Are you Arana also?
    And what exactly is it you don’t agree with me on?
    An example might be interesting to debate, Dave, in a level-headed, straw-man-free way. Up for it, are ya?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3 (+1)

  11. ” Nic Lewis has made significant contributions to the subject of climate change.

    He first collaborated with others to expose major statistical errors in a 2009 study of Antarctic temperatures. In 2011 he discovered that the IPCC had, by an unjustified statistical manipulation, altered the results of a key 2006 paper by Piers Forster of Reading University and Jonathan Gregory of the Met Office (the United Kingdom’s national weather service), to vastly increase the small risk that the paper showed of climate sensitivity being high. Mr. Lewis also found that the IPCC had misreported the results of another study, leading to the IPCC issuing an Erratum in 2011.”

    I suspect his analysis is somewhat more credible than our local GreenFly, who appears to be a specialist in ad hominem.

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  12. Lord, preserve us from these fools.
    “these” plural, and I’m sure you included me in your comment :(
    grow up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3 (-2)

  13. “In 1990, climate scientists from around the world wrote the First Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It contained a prediction of the global mean temperature trend over the 1990–2030 period that, halfway through that period, seems accurate.”
    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate1763.html
    I guess I’m not as positive a person as you Arana, or else I could surely belive the ‘whatsupwiththat’ website instead of a peer reviewed article.

    If you want to stay ‘chipper’, don’t look at what’s happening in the Arctic http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2012/20121205_arcticreportcard.html

    Of course, for a positive soul such as yourself, you may look on the bright side and see all the oil that is soon going to be within reach as the ice dissapears ;)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2 (+5)

  14. Funny, we’ve seen ALL the peer reviewed data that is going to be in the IPCC, and the people doing that research don’t think there is anything shockingly different to see.

    Nic Lewis thinks the clouds will save us. A dubious proposition for many reasons.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/338/6108/792

    Moreover, the analysis that has been done of the IPCC projections shows their accuracy. Despite Watt’s animated fairy tales.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/frame-stone-2012.html

    http://skepticalscience.com/rahmstorf-foster-cazenave-2012.html

    … and it isn’t the sun, in spite of Rawl’s premature emissions :-)

    https://theconversation.edu.au/sun-and-climate-moving-in-opposite-directions-says-leaked-ipcc-report-11375

    You can believe the science or you can believe the ideologically blind fools. Nobody much believes them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3 (+3)

  15. Arana is one of these deluded souls who only look at the graphs of the sophists and ignore the realities like the poles that are actually melting, the sea levels rising in Micronesia and of course the horrific storms that are battering the US and Samoa.

    Sure it would be nice to tighten our belts and think we are just going through a rough patch. But if you read the links that Bj provides it’s not just a rough patch It’s quite apocalyptical.

    Even if the world doesn’t end tomorrow !!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3 (0)

  16. @arana 5:44

    Whitehouse did us a service because he actually picks up a needed correction to an error in that graph… well actually HE doesn’t notice anything at all being an ideologue and therefore ignorant… but he induced a real statistician to examine it…

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/fake-skeptic-draws-fake-picture-of-global-temperature/#more-6082

    … Watts merely served up a double helping of “how to lie with statistics” by republishing Whitehouses tract and purloined graph.

    The graph can now be done correctly in the final report.

    :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3 (-1)

  17. bjchip says:
    “You can believe the science or you can believe the ideologically blind fools. Nobody much believes them.” (emphasis mine)

    Crikey, Dave – I think he means you!

    Tell him to grow up!

    And then, to make matters worse, Marmallard says this:

    “Arana is one of these deluded souls who only look at the graphs of the sophists and ignore the realities …” (helpful emphasis mine)

    He’s no better, Dave – you are being bullied!!!

    Complain to Frog! People (you) could get hurt here!!!

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  18. As Feynman famously pointed out, when actual observations over a period of time contradict predictions based on a given theory, that theory is wrong.

    There are plenty of ideologically blind fools spouting sophistry, but there is no escaping the science. The observations do not match the AGW predictions.

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  19. I beg your pardon Arana, but the data DOES match, and match quite well, the predictions of the climate scientists. Did you not understand something in the linked papers? Did you not understand what sort of data you are looking AT? The mistakes made on Watts’ site are well understood. The errors made by denialists around the world are… to any thinking person… obvious.

    So what particular *bit* of data are you looking at. I suspect you are working with “The Escalator”…

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/graphics.php?g=47

    It IS a classic error… and lots of people like it. :-)

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  20. The problem for Nic Lewis and Ridley, MOSTLY Ridley, is that they are picking the lowest possible sensitivity and calling that a certainty.

    http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/knutti08natgeo.pdf

    It ain’t really smart to do that. The most likely sensitivity looks to be 2.7 degrees.

    There is also the problem that you have done zero consideration of risk in your assertion that there’s no problem.

    The consequences of being wrong are vastly more severe than the consequences of doing something about it and having it be LESS bad than we expected. This is called risk analysis. Here is a very nice treatment of it…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE6Kdo1AQmY

    This is of course, Ridley’s failure as well… and the WSJ which fails utterly at everything… much as this government does.

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  21. Who knew the Green Party was full of MP’s of the “Do as we say, not as we do” ilk? I’ll take Kevin Hague and co. seriously when their emissions are less or equal to mine.

    “Kennedy Graham described the conference’s failure to address climate change as a “double crisis,” an environmental crisis and a crisis of international governance.

    This sounds like a euphemism for fascism – governance by the Green Party, the Corporate elite and banks (who have their fingers well and truly in the Emissions Trading Scam pie) and unelected dictators working in “global government”. The only crisis we have is reality – which they conveniently forgot to mention – is representation of the wishes of the people – which of course parties of all colours are scared of – lest the people disagree with their diabolical schemes…

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  22. Given that they DO offset emissions and I guarantee you they are always careful, I am not sure their emissions are NOT less than or equal to yours mate. No idea what you do for a living, their job entails travel.

    If it describing “a crisis of international governance” sounds like fascism to you, you have a truly distorted and incredibly mistaken understanding of English. Is it your first language?

    Greens didn’t want the ETS, we wanted a tax, we debated whether to accept the ETS when Labour decided on that and narrowly accepted it. If we have a chance to rearrange things, a tax is what we will have. So much for your ignorant scam theory.

    Given our attitude to the corporate elites and the banks, governance by us rather excludes them and indeed they hate and fear us enough to promulgate all manner of lies about us… and you are believing them too! :-) It is amazing that you can believe those lies and come up with that sentence at the same time. Doesn’t your head hurt with all the contradictions in there together?

    The wishes of the people? You mean the 60% or so of the planet who want something MORE done about the fact that we are fucking it up so thoroughly for our kids?

    http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/btenvironmentra/631.php

    You’ve showed up here with an attitude issue and a problem with reality.

    I really doubt you’re going to find them defensible.

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  23. “Given that they DO offset emissions and I guarantee you they are always careful, I am not sure their emissions are NOT less than or equal to yours mate. No idea what you do for a living, their job entails travel.”

    Many people’s jobs entail extensive travel and even environmental destruction. Like the Green Party MP’s I am sure they can justify it to themselves by “I’m just doing my job” or even paying a token guilt tax (Quite easy on an MP’s expense account).

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  24. “Greens didn’t want the ETS, we wanted a tax, we debated whether to accept the ETS when Labour decided on that and narrowly accepted it. If we have a chance to rearrange things, a tax is what we will have.”

    Please do. Anything that puts another nail in the coffin of the capitalist system that supports you. I don’t think the consumerist proletariat is going to react kindly to the inevitable price rises though.

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  25. ” or even paying a token guilt tax (Quite easy on an MP’s expense account)

    You did READ the article above? We aren’t about “tokens”. Your abject ignorance of what we EXPECT both of ourselves and our government renders you ridiculous. Read it again.

    In order to advocate for the laws that protect this commons, people must first give up their use of the commons?

    No Michael. That’s NOT required. Not even rational to think it might be.

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  26. Please do. Anything that puts another nail in the coffin of the capitalist system that supports you. I don’t think the consumerist proletariat is going to react kindly to the inevitable price rises though.

    You really ARE a dumb one, aren’t you. We aren’t (for the most part) anti-capitalist.

    I think that people who see the dividend checks returning that tax and the inevitable opening up of new business opportunities as our economy changes over to less carbon will find it rather less onerous than you imagine.

    I don’t imagine we’ll be all that popular with bankers in Australia… or with people making more than 250k and making untaxed capital gains, but there is no doubt that we’d do a better job with the economy, without asset sales and with an emphasis on making sure there are jobs in THIS country

    Capitalism has a weak underbelly Michael, and that is its use of debt based dollars. The monetary system, based on fractional-reserve and debt, creates a massive distortion in how Capitalism actually works.

    So we will CHANGE it, but we won’t be destroying it or removing it.

    Just don’t mistake the things you believe in for anything of which Adam Smith or Ricardo might have approved, or on the other hand, for things that the Green Party actually intends to do.

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  27. If you have been following this blog you would know that few of us are against capitalism. So long as it is regulated so cheats and thieves do not prosper, externalities are paid for, the private sector is not given infrastructure that can be more efficiently provided by the State and undemocratic and excessive power.

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  28. If/when the Green Party get involved in the machinations of power they will quickly discover they can not change the world but they can sure tax to financial oblivion. The masses are not overly environmentally active and neither are a lot of Green Party supporters. I look at what people actually do – not what they claim to uphold.

    War sure sucks and being in bed with the United States is somewhat unpopular – but never underestimate the many direct and indirect, obvious and subtle, benefits being on good terms with Uncle Sam provides. The populace has become so used to these benefits they don’t even realise the reality for large segments of the world.

    The marginal political unpopularity of asset sales is nothing in comparison to how the masses will react if they suddenly wake up one day and have to go cold turkey on their consumerist and materialistic lifestyle supported by the co-villains of oil, strong but fake money and unrestricted access to civilian-use technology developed by US based companies.

    We are discussing this on a network that was, and has never broken free of, a US based military/academic use platform. There is no such thing as pure pacifism. RoHS (Reduction of hazardous substances) was supposed to be a massive environmental step in terms of e-waste – but has resulted in items that have a lot shorter lifespan and hence create e-waste. Lead is a toxic substance but it does a far better job! There is no such thing as pure environmentalism either.

    Every step you take to mitigate the effects of capitalism and “the system” will create as many or more, often worse, consequences short of people deciding to either go without or pay a (often considerable) premium. I do not think either option will be politically acceptable.

    I have traveled and continue to travel this sustainability road in my own life. It is hard work and quite often – expensive. I have been able to get as far as I have with a lot of commitment and some ironically-capitalist endeavors. The further I go the more I find a gulf between what people say they want and what they actually do – even within Green Party circles. It was and still is the path of the few. Many of these fellow few hang out in the Green Party. But at the end of the day politics is politics and the ETS is no exception. It is as far as I am concerned – the token gesture of the hypocrite and those who want someone else to play their part for them.

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  29. Michael asked “what happens to the forest carbon after 500 years or longer, when the trees fall down and rot”

    They would make some carbon/humus rich soil, which is part of a healthy forest.

    “the forest catches on fire?”

    That’s a shame, but forests regenerate well after fires http://www.sciencebuzz.org/buzz_tags/forest_regrowth

    “or perhaps it get bulldozed for housing”

    That’s unlikely, as in 50 years time (when covenant finishes/is renewed) the ecological value would be so obvious that public backlash wouldn’t allow it. I really can’t foresee “bulldozing” as you imagine. Perhaps very low density zero carbon abodes, with occupants in a caretaker role, is possible..

    “Unless your trust can guarantee that forest will remain intact for all time…”

    Nothing lasts forever. A 47 ha forest sink is not going to save the world, but it is a step in the right direction. A template for a possible greener future..

    “the ETS…is a token gesture”

    BJ has already reminded you that the Greens only reluctantly supported Labour’s ETS, the Greens would’ve prefered a direct tax on polluters. But the Greens realise that ‘you have to be in the system to change the system’. Just as National has changed the ETS to suit their desires.

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  30. @Michael

    We believe we can make a difference, and I think you’d be surprised at how much we COULD change were we in a position to exert some influence.

    The soft underbelly? It exists mate. The bankers are vulnerable as hell IF a sovereign state decides to change the rules.

    When did this discussion turn into “war” and “USA” and “pacifism” and the origins of the internet? We were not discussing those, but I will point out that the Green Party does have a defence policy that is not based on “pacifism”. Non-Violence is a basic principle, but even more basic is survival.

    Going cold turkey on a consumerist and materialistic lifestyle is WAY better than some of the alternatives, but we will not be suffering so much as other places, and I think we can wean ourselves off it more gradually than that.

    I hadn’t noticed that my computer hardware was shorter lived… given that I have been in the business since before Windows OR DOS that should be a fairly strong data point. Things mostly go obsolete before they wear out. I’d be interested in links to the Lead vs RoHS compliance, if you’d provide them as I haven’t studied that issue at all.

    There is no such thing as pure environmentalism either.

    You sound like Tony now. There isn’t anything that is actually sustainable. Well yes… but we all know that sustainability is a relative concept and that living means, among other things, some unavoidable consumption of things that cannot be replaced.

    Every step you take to mitigate the effects of capitalism and “the system” will create as many or more, often worse, consequences short of people deciding to either go without or pay a (often considerable) premium. I do not think either option will be politically acceptable.

    Interesting statement. We aren’t entirely on the same page perhaps.

    Capitalism is controlled through regulation, but it needs far LESS control when the monetary system has been put back in balance and is properly controlled.

    Doing that WILL put a considerable premium on some things, while at the same time enabling people to find work and earn a decent wage relative to their needs. Will all that be “politically acceptable”? I think it depends on where we wind up relative to the rest of the world at the time. Priorities are shifting. They will shift further as Climate gets more obvious and the shambolic state of the global economy becomes harder to conceal. What is “politically unacceptable” now may well be much more acceptable in a few years time.

    The ETS was accepted with reluctance, as the best we could get from a dying Labour party at the time. Remember that we had no actual power in that government. We knew what we wanted and could NOT get it. Is it a token gesture? With National running things it certainly has turned into that, but blaming Greens for the current situation seems an error of no small size. Politics is the art of the possible.

    We get nothing without getting votes enough to DEMAND recognition. Are you helping or hindering that?

    The Greens I know take public transit where it exists. They do what makes sense in this society… but unless the rules respecting the commons which we all follow are altered, they cannot, any more than you, change their impact on the planet more without committing a form of suicide.

    Advocating for the rule changes DOES NOT require the suicide as a precondition.

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  31. So MPs got a payrise, and it’s backdated. How about all of that payrise (from Green MPs) goes toward a forest sink like this one? I can’t see why it couldn’t also count as offsetting CO2, and political gain would be enomous.

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