Friday, January 21, 2011

So, why are we trying to blame, rather than fix?

This is a reply to a Blog posted on Canberra's Causerie today. 

I write my blog as a reply to his arguments, and I also added this reply to the comments section of the posting, but at the time of this post it had not yet been cleared by the editors. 

Drag0nista, you have written some quite insightful articles which I've always enjoyed reading here, but it is sad to see you drop the ball and push the envelope a little too far. Yes, I know, piling on metaphors is NOT a good look, but I'll press on.

The problem is that you set up one premise - deception in market research, then by inference, label truthful, balanced comments by Senator Brown as the same thing.

Lets see, are the mining industry not paying there way for a finite resources that we own and so therefore producing "excess profits"? Well, yes, actually, they are. No emotive deception there I think.

Is untrammelled exploitation of natural resources by industries with no current legal requirements to be carbon neutral contributing to climate change and global warming, and thus can these industries be branded "culprits"? Well, according to the vast majority of current scientific endeavour, yes they can be branded as such. Once again, emotive deception? No.

Now, is the coal industry “75% owned outside Australia”?  Actually, it is. But deceptive? No, but it is rightly a little emotive to some because we have lost a lot of the profits that leave the country, but not emotive because Senator Brown puts the simple fact in front of you. So no again.

The final quoted phrase "would cost Australians $35 billion in foregone revenue" was taken from a Goldman Sachs study; a company not normally associated with wild claims to back up the green movement. Just simple numbers. Emotive and deceptive? No. 

And these phrases were "honed by researchers in sympathetic think tanks such as the Climate Institute and the Australia Institute". That one had me rolling on the floor. 

Finally the usual long list of what we'll loose if we believe Senator Brown. Now I had a bit of time so I googled the phrase "they should get rid of that second fridge or the freezer/bar fridge in the garage" and tried to find a mention of the Senator extolling that requirement to be saved. The result you can guess. I gave up after the first five pages of results. Finding references to US Senators called Brown was hint that the pickings were getting slim.

Are industry, transport, households and the whole lot of us responsible for the state of the planet today? 


Everyone and everything is interlinked. Every decision you and your neighbours make and every option you and your neighbours take affects the world we live in, in a small way, both positive and negative. That's a given. Some people cry over the losses and other prefer to ignore them. That's also a given.

So lets look at it another way. Do we have to do all of the things on the list to be saved? For us to do a few of them would help, but what we really need to look at is why we do these things now. 
  • Why do we have a fridge in the garage going all of the time just to keep a couple of bottles of beer cold? 
  • Why do we leave computers on all night and all day when we aren't using them? 
  • Why do we have stand-by power in appliances that normally sit right next to a power point? (don't laugh, my water heater at home does. And I switch it off ;-)
  • People who use electricity at peak time DO pay more. We all do as peak load is more expensive, but the cost is spread to all consumers.
  • Why do young married couples buy four bedroom homes when they don't need the space for years toy come, and for that matter why can't a single person get a decent two bedroom house with a garden and entertainment area that is not a unit or an apartment? Actually, I can answer that one. The housing industry makes the most profits from big houses on ever increasingly small blocks.
  • Why do people buy large 4 wheel drives and V8s for primarily going to the supermarket?
  • Why aren't cement and aluminium producers called to account for their excessive energy use, and why don't these cosseted industries pay the true cost of energy? I wouldn't mind if their production methods were carbon neutral, but they are not. They are ripping other electricity consumers off.
  • Finally, I'm not sure what I can say about the last item on the list. If you are talking about animal by-products, then all I can say is that the vast majority of those food products exported are actually plant-based and so carbon-reducing. Meat products only accounts for about 30% of the value of food exports.
Actually, Senator Brown would not advocate your list, Drag0nista, because the list is reactive and flawed. He is also not promoting those actions, but it seems that you are, to create another premise, that in the end also falls down.

er, see ya at half past...

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