VEGA News Item

Draft Climate Change Bill - 13/06/2007
VEGA comments on a draft climage change bill
VEGA comments on a DEFRA consultation: Draft Climate Change Bill

Questions 1 to 5*

Yes in general to these questions. Flexibility must be maintained and not unduly constrained by legislation and targets. “The world is too much with us… buying and selling…” Economists must develop much better instruments than, say, taxation, usury, and crude rationing to induce thrifty commitment for many reasons in individual exercise of consumer power and stimulated overconsumption and exploitation. Particular example and activity might be directed at the press, entertainment and advertising industries.

Q 6 and 7

The calculations required for many of these well-meaning solutions are daunting. There are short term transitional activities that need monitoring and advice, over which governments have to sponsor pragmatic guidance for committed consumer involvement. Do we do any good by discarding functional lightweight 60w bulbs for recycling or landfill and replacement with technologically superior but weightier equivalent light sources using a quarter of the electricity and with longer functional lives – but probably more problems with disposal and with the possibility of another supervening challenge of technology as LED lighting emerges as a further factor? On the big scale light pollution is a price we have to pay largely on sociological grounds – of crimes and vandalism. There is also no reason against urgent adoption of the relevant advice in the question “Is Your Journey Really Necessary?” to be posted on motorways, railway stations, and sea and airports.

Q 8 to 14

Trading and bargaining in quotas are facile solutions but with many complications and possibilities of a restriction in radical progress. Who is to play banker?

Q 15

The Executive Committee must be composed of experts with scientific backgrounds and experience in matter of production and consumption. Individual members should be chairpersons of subgroups in which stakeholders with good records of relevant understanding should be represented or used on a temporary or advisory basis.

Q 16

Climate change is a major aspect of environmental education. It should be worked into schooling and embrace the wellbeing of all animals, domestic and wild, and include the ecological values of land and geography, geology, and marine life. It is therefore an excellent topic to refresh in the extra year of the age of school leaving and in courses on good citizenship. Corresponding encouragement should be offered in faculties of learning at university level. The teaching should inform a greater appreciation of the results of our forebears’ wanderings and exercise of apparent ingenuity and resilience in movements into territories climatically and unsuitable in various ways – of altitude, latitude, geology, climate etc. Vast populations of livestock emit carbon dioxide and methane, as well as the species and plants in our relatively small domain and, like us, they are susceptible to large-scale changes of population and presence owing to pollution by microorganisms in air, sea, and land and to predation.

Much of our advantage has come from heating and cooling to compensate for seasons of short-term climate changes less severe at lower latitudes. However, threats of flooding and drought may be factors in areas where their carbon footprint would have to be adjusted in fair systems of accounting for emissions. Even among humans some polymorphs emit methane more than others, owing to factors of genetics and diet. Per capita emissions would be difficult to apportion.

Q 17 and 18

Initiatives in trading must always be explored, but constant attention should focus on reduction.

Q19 and 20

Yes! to both of these questions with the reservation that the labor of reporting progress should depend in a well-agreed formula of calculation and development and not inhibit useful flexibility and adaptation in the short term. Debates over food miles (and crap kilometers in an organic return) nicely illustrate the accounting in matters of importation and exportation and the means of transport and its production and maintenance: our computer might be made in China, carried in a container made in Thailand on railways built by Italians with steel from India, transported in a ship flying the Panamanian flag and itself built in Korea partly from steel recovered from wrecks in Bangladesh, and as part of mixed cargo of goods offloaded at an East Anglian port on to British-built roads and vehicles of very mixed origins – like all the fuel used on the way – for delivery into one of millions of suburban offices and structures and dependent on all manner of servicing, maintenance, and insulation. And the empty container might be returned in ship to China filled with “waste” and parts of old computers for reuse and recycling or dumping in someone else’s landfill or a specially-built power-factory. Fair allocation of carbon costs will be very difficult!

*For questions click here.  

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