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Green dollars to save the planet?

Richard Black | 04:38 UK time, Thursday, 21 October 2010

From the UN Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Nagoya:

If there are any youngsters in your neighbourhood who are looking to you for career advice, environmental accountancy might be a good thing to recommend.

Ledger

Forget studying iconic animal species - forget plants - even forget fungi and soil bacteria.

Top of the agenda when it comes to saving nature - at least, here - is the notion of giving economic value to services the big outdoors does for us, and pricing out unsustainable use - Payment for Ecosytem Services.

Here's the thing. According to the draft agreement [1.74MB PDF] before negotiators here at the CDB, safeguarding nature across the planet will cost between $30bn and $300bn per year.

That's between 10 and 100 times more than is spent on it at the moment.

No-one claims, by the way, that these numbers are accurate down to the last dollar - they're indicative only.

And they indicate two things. Firstly, a massive spend would be needed; and secondly, given that most highly biodiverse areas are in the relatively poor countries of the tropics, that spend would mean another transfer of money from the industrialised to the developing world - at its upper end, a vast one, dwarfing both existing overseas development aid and the projected $100bn per year for climate change.

However, when you add a third figure into the mix - the $2-5 trillion per year that loss of nature is costing the global purse, according to The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (Teeb) project - it still looks a good investment.

The key to making it work - at least in the draft agreement here - is to change the economic paradigm.

These are the key clauses - I've somewhat presumptuously taken out the infamous square brackets and tidied things up a bit (something that's much easier for me to do than for negotiators) so as to focus on the general sense:

- by 2020, at the latest, the values of biodiversity are integrated into national accounts, national and local development and poverty reduction strategies and planning processes

- by 2020, at the latest, incentives harmful to biodiversity are eliminated, phased out or reformed in order to minimise or avoid negative impacts and positive incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity are developed and applied.

So if current economics encourages the degradation of nature - change the economics.

There are many reasons why the idea might be a tall order to implement, even if governments agree it here.

Dragonfly

What is the economic value of a tree - or a shrew, or a dragonfly? How can the costs and benefits of planting a field with monoculture maize be quantified against the costs and benefits of not doing so, and instead doing something with it that benefits biodiversity?

Mind you, it's something that some businesses are looking at already - some with an eye to their reputation, but others in order to secure their supply chain.

The clearest example cited by Pavan Sukhdev, the Deutsche Bank capital markets expert who's leading the Teeb project, is Coca-Cola, which has adopted a commitment to "no net impact on fresh water by 2020", or "water neutrality".

It's not hard to see why. A heck of a lot of water goes into that fizzy pop; lose the ecosystem services that keep the water flowing - all those forested watersheds, for example - and business costs soar.

Even though there are questions about what "water neutrality" means, it's this sort of thing that environmental accountants envisage taking hold in companies and governments across the world - an economics-backed greening, where not much else has worked.

It's beginning to happen in Japanese companies too, according to Yoji Yokoyama, who works on biodiversity with Dentsu, Japan's biggest advertising agency.

"Biodiversity has been thought of as a theme for environmentalists," he told me.

"But now many business persons are paying attention, and they study, and they've found it's a good topic for their business - they need to manage the risks."

The World Bank is set to come in on the act by unveiling an expansion of its Green Accounting initiative that will aim to analyse the economies of selected countries along environmental lines - we should find more about that next week.

Hence the careers advice - although perhaps you'd better wait until seeing this meeting's outcome before deciding just how much of a good idea it's likely to be.

Comments

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  • 1. At 08:22am on 21 Oct 2010, Monty wrote:

    Relating biodiversity to it's ecenomic value is a great idea and should attract the attention of many international businesses. However, there is still not enough resources devoted to the 'knock-on' effect of biodiversity abuses. A classic example is the collapse of the USA's scallop industry caused by excessive shark depletion on both seaboards to satisfy the Far East taste for shark fin soup. The bottom-feeding cow-nosed ray numbers increased exponentially in the absence of it's prime predator - the hammerhead and tiger sharks !

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  • 2. At 08:50am on 21 Oct 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    Why is it that every newly touted environmental idea requires the systematic re-engineering of our entire economic landscape? You'd almost think it was being used as an excuse....

    Seriously however, it's an interesting idea- completely unworkable on every conceivable level of course, but a nice idea. I actually quite like it (shock horror).

    But to re-iterate a post i made a few blogs ago, real environmental change cannot be imposed top-down. You cannot 'sanction' people into protecting the planet, they need to want to do it.

    Hence the incentives idea i put forward. Instead of setting up control mechanisms that WILL be easily circumnavigated (it does open the interesting possibility that you could offset the extinction of a species with a suitable dollar bribe, sorry investment) put incentives for extra funding for local environmental management schemes, proper census' and records of local wildlife, it's fluctuations etc etc. Make it a local issue that people care about and get rewarded for looking after and the 'issue' will look after itself.

    Another question- how is biodiversity measured and what are the safe/dangerous levels?

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  • 3. At 09:12am on 21 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Richard Black.

    "..safeguarding nature across the planet will cost ... between 10 and 100 times more than is spent on it at the moment ... a massive spend would be needed.."

    that sounds so convenient -- just throw loads of money at conservation and, bingo, magical results without our having to make any other changes. shame it doesn't sound plausible.

    "If there are any youngsters in your neighbourhood who are looking to you for career advice, environmental accountancy might be a good thing to recommend."

    the UK alone could contribute about 490,000 hopefuls over the next four years.

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  • 4. At 09:33am on 21 Oct 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    Do you remember when wealth redistribution used to be called climate change?

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  • 5. At 09:34am on 21 Oct 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 3
    completely agree
    "that sounds so convenient -- just throw loads of money at conservation and, bingo, magical results without our having to make any other changes"

    It's an attitude change needed at EVERY level, not a price tag.

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  • 6. At 09:49am on 21 Oct 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Are we witnessing the birth of a green bubble? The trouble with investing in concepts rather than products is knowing how to value them as a stock market asset. How would an investor know that he/she was going to get a good return from the concept of 'greener.' Will these green assets be only of value as long term share investments like the behaviour of the diamond, rare metals or property market or are they going to be more like 'futures' such as cocoa bean harvests? I don't suppose the investment will work as a 'quickie' eg. it is coming up for christmas..let's buy shares in cheap plastic goods manufacturers and make a quick profit. I suppose it will all come down to how the idea is marketed and how quickly the idea changes into something else if the idea proves unpopular.
    Me thinks, lots of new jobs for environmental scientists, inspectors and red tape manufacturers.

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  • 7. At 10:20am on 21 Oct 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Here is an idea free of charge
    Label all goods with green credentials, like supermarket food. The system for food is easy to understand and most people are now familiar with how to use the traffic light system to select healthier food choices. It will be the ordinary person who makes the changes necessary. There are more of us and we are more likely to change our consumer habits when given understandable information.

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  • 8. At 10:43am on 21 Oct 2010, SR wrote:

    I think what a lot of people tend to forget is that if it weren't for market mechanisms and the *generally* efficient allocation of scarce resources thereof, we would still be floundering in something resembling a Dicken's novel.

    Call me naive, but if the right framework is put in place, a system that demands a realistic value is placed on resources is far more powerful than one that relies only on the sentiment of nations and individuals.

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  • 9. At 10:44am on 21 Oct 2010, jon112dk wrote:

    "....safeguarding nature across the planet will cost between $30bn and $300bn per year."

    Remember when climate realists suggest 'environment' has been hijacked as one big money earning scam?

    This is what they are talking about.

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  • 10. At 12:22pm on 21 Oct 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    SR @#8 said “Call me naive, but if the right framework is put in place, a system that demands a realistic value is placed on resources is far more powerful than one that relies only on the sentiment of nations and individuals.”

    Agreed, governments are uninterested in addressing runaway population in many parts of the world where there is a sensitive environment, by putting a value on the environment governments will be motivated to take interest. Cash for population control?

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  • 11. At 12:40pm on 21 Oct 2010, indianblue wrote:

    BD conservation is very much the need of the hour. This step by the CBD goes a long way in asserting that. I for one am happy that the world recognizes the need for this. I am waiting for some folks here to call this one a global fraud as well. I only have one thing to tell such people, the day u forget your roots and your links to this world, you are no better than Wayne Rooney.

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  • 12. At 1:43pm on 21 Oct 2010, Lamna nasus wrote:

    I was intrigued to note that apparently 'environmental realists' have forgotten to advise the Chinese government that this planet has an unlimited supply of natural resources…
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11584229

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  • 13. At 2:59pm on 21 Oct 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    post 12 Lamna_nasus
    I have been predicting this for months and surely, everyone else knew this was coming. Maintaining supplies of critical resources has to have overriding priority if green technologies are to have a chance. However, if the raw resources needed for the green technologies are not green (just dug up somewhere else) then what happens? Do we get 'greenness' offsetting?

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  • 14. At 3:04pm on 21 Oct 2010, Wolfiewoods wrote:

    Another opportunity for the rich to get even richer whilst doing nothing to protect bio diversity, the fat cats must be thinking that it is almost too good to be true, (did you like that?). It really is about time that we abolished money, reduced industrial production and redirected people back to the earth in a programme or re-agriculturalisation.

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  • 15. At 3:19pm on 21 Oct 2010, earthling83 wrote:

    Economics is the mother-tongue of the world. Whether you belong to a small tribe in some remote part of the world or a large and growing modern population you understand the concept of economics.
    I think placing a monetary value on our ecosystem goods and services is necessary at this point. We have for too long depended on the "good" in humankind to make the difference - and look where that has landed us.

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  • 16. At 3:27pm on 21 Oct 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @14 and then presumably waitefor everyone to die for easily preventable diseases?
    That is after all the ultimate aim of your ilk.

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  • 17. At 3:47pm on 21 Oct 2010, Greenpa wrote:

    A couple of years ago, I got a nice lesson in reality. My very ugly truck was stolen.

    I'd bought the truck specifically as a farm-only vehicle; ugly but functional. Very ugly, rusty; but mechanically reliable, like a tractor. "Nobody in their right mind would steal it", was our firm belief, so it was left commonly in the field, in sight of the public road, where we were working. Everyone agreed- "nobody would ever steal that old piece of junk". We de-registered it; no license, since it never went off the farm.

    Guess what? Some people- who were NOT in their right mind, but hopped on meth - stole it, and wrecked it. Actually causing us substantial loss; it was a tool we needed.

    Now- I'm not considered a dumb person- but how did I forget that the world is teeming with people "not in their right mind"?

    Humans are outstanding at simultaneously believing two different things- which they know are mutually exclusive; "incompossible", as they used to say. First world farmers, for example know that if they don't produce as much food as possible, "the world will starve"; and simultaneously know that overproduction of food is responsible for their low prices and constant dance with bankruptcy. So they support burning the food they grow, and get very huffy about if you suggest that burning food is, um, questionable.

    SR wrote:
    "I think what a lot of people tend to forget is that if it weren't for market mechanisms and the *generally* efficient allocation of scarce resources thereof, we would still be floundering in something resembling a Dicken's novel."

    The concept that "markets efficiently allocate resources" is another one of these beguiling fantasies. I'm delighted to see the "generally" added- perhaps a bit of reality is slipping in.

    The illusion stems from an underlying and rarely stated part of the belief; which is that markets will, and do- operate "honestly".

    All of history- and blatantly all of very recent history- agrees that markets NEVER operate honestly. Never. It just doesn't happen. Never has. The Code of Hammurabi contains death penalties for people who cheat in business.

    Sure, there are plenty of plain honest business people who run beautifully honest operations (I'm one, in fact). And in case you hadn't noticed, they're the ones who wind up in the newspapers- for going bankrupt, after years of hard honest work. While the dishonest ones- wind up in the papers for mind-blowing bonuses; wrist-slap legal fines for their illegal operations; and the fact they resent being called dishonest.

    It has always been that way. Yes, indeed, markets allocate resources fairly; and if my Aunt had wheels, she'd be a Ferrari.

    Or we could always say, anyone in their right mind, will obviously conduct business honestly and fairly.

    That'll work.

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  • 18. At 3:54pm on 21 Oct 2010, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @14

    I understand the Khmer Rouge tried that version of social engineering in Cambodia.. apparently the model failed to produce tangible benefits.

    I think the biggest problem is that everyone seems to expect a solution yesterday, that it should reflect their own subjective interests and that the only sticking point is 'other people' (or the shapeshifting lizards controlling the New World Order, depending on who you read in the blogosphere).. this is clearly flawed since it is also precisely what 'other people' are thinking about you...

    The fact is that if all environmental solutions meant cheaper prices for consumer goods and lower taxes, all those 'environmental realists' who currently regard 'green' as a new word for Stalinism, would suddenly be calling 'green' the 'real libertarianism'.. everything has a cost, there is no such thing as a free lunch and the fact you hated tidying your room as a kid, didn't mean your parents were wrong when they said it was a mess...

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  • 19. At 4:10pm on 21 Oct 2010, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @17

    I would just like to say Grandpa, thank you for an awesome post.

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  • 20. At 4:25pm on 21 Oct 2010, axelfoley02 wrote:

    @ JR4412, smiffie, sensiblegrannie

    It's like this.

    When farmer A raises productivity through more intensive use of fertilisers, which run off into a nearby stream, are you better off for saving 10 cents on the kilo for his produce, or are you worse off because the government cops the bill for a new water filtration system that will cost you perhaps a hundred dollars in taxes?

    Unless you're buying a lot of this farmer's goods, you're probably not profiting as much as you think.

    This is a simplistic reduction of the problem, but there are many ways in which our economies are failing to take account of the inputs which nature provides us, and which could all save us a lot of money if we could find a way to include their true value in our economic models.

    Nice post Richard.

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  • 21. At 4:52pm on 21 Oct 2010, SR wrote:

    @17 Greenpa

    I disagree with you when you say the efficient allocation of resources by markets is a beguiling fantasy. Nobody is claiming it is optimal, but the evidence from 'sensible' capitalistic economies is inequivocally in favour of efficiently behaving markets with the caveat that externalities are properly priced, which actually is the topic of Richard's post.

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  • 22. At 5:13pm on 21 Oct 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    axelfoley02 at post 20
    Can you direct us to sites that give a breakdown of costs of producing a range of products with the added cost( of that product on the environment? Perhaps they could call it DRAT instead of VAT Depleting Resource Added Tax

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  • 23. At 5:16pm on 21 Oct 2010, Greenpa wrote:

    21. At 4:52pm on 21 Oct 2010, SR wrote:
    @17 Greenpa

    "I disagree with you when you say the efficient allocation of resources by markets is a beguiling fantasy. Nobody is claiming it is optimal, but the evidence from 'sensible' capitalistic economies is inequivocally in favour of efficiently behaving markets with the caveat that externalities are properly priced, which actually is the topic of Richard's post."

    We will I am sure, continue to disagree. It IS a fantasy; and all history is on my side. Your use of quotes around "sensible", and "generally" indicates your own knowledge that many instances where the market does NOT allocate fairly exist- in abundance.

    I stand by my statement that all history states- markets are always abused and used for theft of resources; until regulators can catch the thieves. All efforts to restrict regulation work only to benefit thieves.

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  • 24. At 5:34pm on 21 Oct 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    #23. Greenpa wrote:

    I stand by my statement that all history states- markets are always abused and used for theft of resources; until regulators can catch the thieves. All efforts to restrict regulation work only to benefit thieves.


    Ah, but this is an important distinction. Do you think capitalism works OK if it is properly regulated?

    Its easy to make a blanket criticism of a system. Far less easy to come up with a workable alternative

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  • 25. At 5:34pm on 21 Oct 2010, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @21 SR

    ..except part of Greenpa's (apologies for using 'Grandpa' last time) point about the 'honesty' or otherwise of markets is that externalities are almost never properly priced, indeed the market has a legal imperative (corporate directors can be sued for failing to maximise profits for shareholders) to create as many externalities as possible, this is a significant reason why prices frequently do not reflect 'true' costs..

    The 'sensible' capitalist economic model loosely follows a regular, roughly decade long boom/bust cycle, since that allows expansion and consolidation of markets within a corporate framework and the financial markets assist in providing working capital for this cycle.. the over extension of credit at the end of each cycle, merely reflects the unsustainable weakness of the model.. there are no infinite markets.. indeed an 'efficient' market does not automatically have to be 'sensible' or 'honest'.

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  • 26. At 6:15pm on 21 Oct 2010, ManmadeupGW wrote:

    mmmmmm

    Maybe Biopervisity would be a better word.

    The creation of false markets creates false outcomes, out of which Jo and Josephine public are the first to suffer when they collapse.

    The speculators in the false markets have long gone with their profits but for sure there's gold in them thar hills.

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  • 27. At 7:41pm on 21 Oct 2010, Greenpa wrote:

    Paul Butler: "Ah, but this is an important distinction. Do you think capitalism works OK if it is properly regulated?"

    Boy, can that discussion get long. :-) I'd prefer not to totally derail the conversation by going that way; just briefly, I'd love to try it once, and find out.


    "Its easy to make a blanket criticism of a system. Far less easy to come up with a workable alternative."

    Now there is something we can certainly agree on.

    I do actually have an alternative, however. One which has never, ever ever been tried.

    I call it "Experimentation."

    Our Western governmental processes at the moment operate by means of political brute force; I can force you to accept my opinions; therefore, we're gonna do this my way. (If you still believe in the Democracy Fairy, I hate to tell you....)

    What if- we actually said, to disagreeing parties; "Ok. Show me." And allowed them to - simultaneously - "do things their way"; in different geographical locations, for an agreed period of time. In the USA, for example; let one economic system operate in Massachusetts, and another in Florida; and another in Illinois - with the full cooperation of the citizens of each state- for an agreed period of time; say 15 years; said citizens being inveigled into cooperating by the understanding that in 15 years, the systems can be revised, if needed.

    Then have the Universities of New York, California, and Nebraska analyze the results.

    We might learn something. Otherwise, we're doomed to Aristotelian Divine Economics for all eternity.

    Alas- I don't see such a possibility on the discussion boards.

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  • 28. At 10:02pm on 21 Oct 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @Wolfiewoods #14
    @Smiffie
    @Lamna_nasus

    "about time that we abolished money, reduced industrial production and redirected people back to the earth in a programme or re-agriculturalisation"

    Whoa, Wolfie. Foul!

    To list one Khmer Rouge policy, Mr. Woods, may be regarded as a misfortune; to list three in one sentence looks like carelessness.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khmer_Rouge#The_Khmer_Rouge_in_power

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  • 29. At 11:13pm on 21 Oct 2010, Paul Butler wrote:

    #27. Greenpa wrote:
    I do actually have an alternative, however. One which has never, ever ever been tried.
    I call it "Experimentation."


    Interesting idea but, I'm sure you'll agree, far from practical.

    The problem, as has been mentioned upthread, is how we ensure that externalities are paid for in a globalised economic system where capital can always move to where it can make the maximum profit (which usually means minimum regulation).

    Pretty much by definition, this requires an international response.

    The issues that require such a response are (a) banking regulation (b) decarbonisation (c) biodiversity (d) marine protection (e) nuclear proliferation

    And the attempts that have been made so far (eg cap and trade) have not been very successful....

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  • 30. At 11:50pm on 21 Oct 2010, Greenpa wrote:

    "Interesting idea but, I'm sure you'll agree, far from practical."

    On the contrary- I think it's utterly practical. Difficult to be sure- when you tell dreamers to turn what may be fantasy into reality; but vastly more practical than what we currently indulge in: never finding out what truly works.

    Now- "realistic" - no, it's not realistic. The current mood of the world seems to be "ideology above all"; and to the death. Of the planet, most likely.

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  • 31. At 11:54pm on 21 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Paul Butler #29.

    "..system where capital can always move to where it can make the maximum profit.."

    do away with nation states and all capital stays put. ;)

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  • 32. At 08:05am on 22 Oct 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    "safeguarding nature across the planet will cost between $30bn and $300bn per year.

    That's between 10 and 100 times more than is spent on it at the moment."

    Ah yes. The Eco-Crisis Research-Industrial Complex, Biodiversity Division, pitches an offer they hope taxpayers can't refuse. Give us more money or the planet will die and/or everything will cost more. Protection money, to ensure "neutrality."

    We must do it for the children, apparently. When will we see the Biodiversity equivalent to Copenhagen's frightened child shock film?

    And quite the wide estimate. Makes 30 billion seem low. Yet for most developed and developing countries, what more would the taxpayers or the ecosystems gain from this expensive new layer of global bureaucratic fat?



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  • 33. At 09:16am on 22 Oct 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    33

    "We must do it for the children, apparently. When will we see the Biodiversity equivalent to Copenhagen's frightened child shock film?"

    I give it a month. Max.

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  • 34. At 12:16pm on 22 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #28.

    "Foul! ... Khmer Rouge.." policies.

    hm, I think that 'reduced industrial production' is something we should definitely consider.

    for example: I live in a (v nice) place surrounded by mature trees, and every autumn the contractors who maintain the grounds come round once or twice a month to remove the leaves. many years ago it used to be a gang of five or six men with rakes working all day, now it's a single bloke with one of these petrol-driven blower thingies doing the same job in half a day.

    the upshot is more profit for the contractor, the downside(s): four or five people on the dole, added emissions, added noise pollution. fwiw, that is one of many situations where an industrial approach is totally counter-productive.

    'abolishing money' is obviously not going to happen, but a single global curreny unit would ensure that human labour could be costed/paid for fairly around the world (quite apart from depriving (currency trading) speculators of one of their toys ;)).

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  • 35. At 12:38pm on 22 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    CanadianRockies #32.

    "Makes 30 billion seem low. Yet for most developed and developing countries, what more would the taxpayers or the ecosystems gain from this expensive new layer of global bureaucratic fat?"

    the US of A alone spent $661,000,000,000 on the means of killing and maiming last year, more than twice the $300bn top estimate.

    pray tell, CanadianRockies, what does the taxpayer or the ecosystem "gain" from this expensive, existing layer of expenditure? how much benefit could we derive from spending even one year's worth ($1,531bn, or five times the top estimate) of defense budget on environmental conservation?

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  • 36. At 1:18pm on 22 Oct 2010, SR wrote:

    @34

    If contractor profit is too high, they will be outbidded by a competitor willing to do the job cheaper. The net result of this kind of technologically driven efficiency is a lower price for the consumer.

    The point about all this is that if the petrol driven vehicle was forced to pay a true and proper price for the fuel, the gang of 5 or 6 may once again become the cheaper option, or, as I predict, electric vehicles would be developed. The way we have it at the moment is a portion of undeserved welfare being passed on to the consumer at the expense of the victims of the externality. The victims are probably going to be our children and grandchildren.

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  • 37. At 2:39pm on 22 Oct 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    If the governments were not so corrupt the areas could simply be protected by law. These latest proposals are another welfare scheme for banking and big business. One of the problems is calculating some economic value for everything as if that is the only value. Both human and natual value have been quantified and this is simply captialism gone mad. Wrong path, wrong solution, wrong policies. Outcome will be negative. This is like paying rapist not to rape.

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  • 38. At 3:11pm on 22 Oct 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @jr4412 #34

    I don't think you get it.

    Wolfiewoods is satirising environmentalists, in this instance by reminding people that along with the people hating, the mass murder and other general totalitarian unpleasantness, the Khmer Rouge were both environmentalists and economically extremely left wing.

    Only because Wolfie is being sneaky he is reminding us by collecting together some of the better known Khmer Rouge policies, rather than explicitly referring to the Khmer Rouge. He's trusting in us to get the reference to the Khmer Rouge.

    So before engaging with the surface level comments, you need to spot the Khmer Rouge reference and denounce that sort of vileness. Perhaps by pointing out that any half way successful political idea has a minority of extremists that make things unpleasant for everyone.

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  • 39. At 3:46pm on 22 Oct 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @jr4412 #34

    "a single global curreny unit would ensure that human labour could be costed/paid for fairly around the world"

    A single global currency would make money much more mobile. When money is mobile it means that money can go where labour is cheapest and most flexible. And you're right about fair. A single global currency would be extremely fair to billionaires who want full control of where they invest their billions.

    Maybe one day one of them will win the real life game of Monopoly and own everything.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly_%28game%29#History

    Are you sure you want money to be more mobile? Is this the sort of fairness you want?

    You may be interested in some of the successes in the opposite direction (note, local currencies at best complement rather than replace mainstream currencies)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_currency

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  • 40. At 4:16pm on 22 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #38.

    well, you get all hung up on the Khmer Rouge then, I'm simply making the point that our equally determined pursuit of a (admittedly different) ideology, ie capitalism, also leads to problems which could/should be avoided. (for instance, is it really better to have a larger 'reserve army of labour' simply to enable employers to take larger profits?)

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  • 41. At 4:23pm on 22 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #39.

    "You may be interested in some of the successes in the opposite direction (note, local currencies at best complement rather than replace mainstream currencies)"

    hurrah, and soon we'll get paid in tokens (as was legal until 1831) again which can only be redeemed in the employer's shop... progress, eh?

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  • 42. At 4:24pm on 22 Oct 2010, Greenpa wrote:

    "Ah yes. The Eco-Crisis Research-Industrial Complex, Biodiversity Division, pitches an offer they hope taxpayers can't refuse. Give us more money or the planet will die and/or everything will cost more. Protection money, to ensure 'neutrality.' "

    Ah, yes. The "Just Let Us Do Our Divine Works, And Everything Will Be Fine Corporation, International Headquarters" malarky.

    Do, please, show me some fat-cat environmentalists, lounging by their pools in the Cayman Islands.

    Sorry, but any weaseling here comes from fat cat corporate thieves co-opting a deadly serious major concern, to generate large pools of cash they can easily steal from. As they always have.

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  • 43. At 5:28pm on 22 Oct 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #35. jr4412 wrote:

    "the US of A alone spent $661,000,000,000 on the means of killing and maiming last year, more than twice the $300bn top estimate."

    You always bring up this point. But spending insane amounts of money on the Military-Industrial Complex is not a good reason for doing the same on the Eco-Crisis Industrial Complex.

    The latter has learned many lessons from the success of the former, notably the blatant use of fear and distortion to extort taxpayer funds.

    Do we we say or the 'enemy' will attack/the planet will die... etc.

    #42. Greenpa wrote:

    "Do, please, show me some fat-cat environmentalists, lounging by their pools in the Cayman Islands."

    How about Bali or Cancun? How about cocktails and a lavish buffet at this convention? How did Al Gore pay for his masseuses?

    Your vision of altruistic planet-savers versus the evil business types is childish, simplistic, and false. Big Green is now a Big Business. Just follow the money.




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  • 44. At 5:46pm on 22 Oct 2010, Greenpa wrote:

    "Your vision of altruistic planet-savers versus the evil business types is childish, simplistic, and false. Big Green is now a Big Business. Just follow the money."

    And a big "neener neener neener" to you too. Your attempt to paint those who actually care about the future as money-grubbers like those you know so well is disingenuous, patently deceitful propaganda; and proves you've never in your life met any of the workers involved.

    Yes, indeed, Big Greed is now big business, and will weasel its way in anywhere it can.

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  • 45. At 6:16pm on 22 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    CanadianRockies #43.

    "But spending insane amounts of money on the Military-Industrial Complex is not a good reason for doing the same on the Eco-Crisis Industrial Complex."

    the argument is to use some of those 'insane amounts' towards conservation, not add to them. but then, you knew that too.

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  • 46. At 6:35pm on 22 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    jr4412 #35 wrote:

    the US of A alone spent $661,000,000,000 on the means of killing and maiming last year, more than twice the $300bn top estimate.

    You've misunderstood what weapons are for. They're primarily for threatening people with killing and maiming, and to represent a credible threat they have to genuinely be able to kill and maim, and occasionally be used for that purpose.

    The USA spent a great deal on Europe after World War II, some of it on the Marshall Plan, some on what you call "the means for killing and maiming" -- and what I would call the means to keep Stalin out.

    In the event, Europe had a longer period of peace than at any time in history. I think the money was well-spent.

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  • 47. At 6:41pm on 22 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    #42 Greenpa wrote:

    Do, please, show me some fat-cat environmentalists, lounging by their pools in the Cayman Islands.

    There are also fat-cat environmentalists in Wales, Scotland, etc., driving their fat-cat SUVs to faraway places to buy their expensive wine and groceries, at the same time as actively preventing big supermarket chains to come anywhere near their quaint little villages. In effect, this means that the local poor people cannot afford wine, variety, etc..

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  • 48. At 6:44pm on 22 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    CanadianRockies #43 wrote:

    How did Al Gore pay for his masseuses?

    Surely the mere physical presence of such an enormously upright, moral man would have made them want to massage him for free?

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  • 49. At 7:11pm on 22 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    bowmanthebard #46.

    "You've misunderstood what weapons are for. They're primarily for threatening people with killing and maiming.."

    tell that to the families of:

    http://cursor.org/stories/civilian_deaths.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilian_casualties_of_the_War_in_Afghanistan_(2001%E2%80%93present)

    and that's civilan deaths in Afghanistan only.

    "I think the money was well-spent."

    sure, and you think gun ownership is mandatory in Switzerland!!

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  • 50. At 7:31pm on 22 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    bowmanthebard #46: You've misunderstood what weapons are for. They're primarily for threatening people with killing and maiming

    jr4412 #49: tell that to the families of

    The primary purpose of weapons is threat (i.e. a sort of coercion); that is why almost every country in the world has a "defence force". Weapons are occasionally used in violence to make that threat credible, but the "default" purpose of weapons remains threat, not actual violence.

    By the way, on a personal level I cannot stand weapons. They always make me think the person who holds one is an inadequate moron. But they are necessary, in the least bad hands, given the vileness of human nature.

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  • 51. At 7:32pm on 22 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    you think gun ownership is mandatory in Switzerland!!

    And you think it isn't?

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  • 52. At 7:46pm on 22 Oct 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @jr4412 #41

    Local/complementary currency isn't like that. Imagine an out of work plumber with an electrical problem and an out of work electrician with a plumbing problem. They live nearby but they don't know each other. A local currency can get them to sort each other's problems out. Not a panacea but you can see how it helps quality of life.

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  • 53. At 8:28pm on 22 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #52 wrote:

    Local/complementary currency isn't like that.

    That's right, and as someone who spends most of his time in Ireland, I can see a bitter regret all around me at the decision to join the Euro. I predict Ireland will pull out within a year.

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  • 54. At 9:33pm on 22 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #52.

    "Local/complementary currency isn't like that."

    yes, I'm aware of that, BBC South Today reported on local currencies in some Surrey (Kent?) town some time ago. basically I'm not in favour because I believe that a global currency unit would help to level the playing field; already we (as a people) are already too divided, keep culture and customs (and political power) as local as possible, but legislative rights and obligations, money, etc should be the same for all humans. barter and local exchange trading systems would serve well enough for the issues you touched on, IMO.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_Exchange_Trading_System



    bowmanthebard #50.

    "The primary purpose of weapons is threat ... the "default" purpose of weapons remains threat.."

    incorrect, I'd say. historically weapons served to kill prey and to kill other humans in territorial disputes; it may well be that you are right wrt recent history, where nuclear weapons have obsoleted chest beating.

    "By the way, on a personal level I cannot stand weapons. They always make me think the person who holds one is an inadequate moron."

    hunting aside, David & Goliath come to mind, and it is with good reason that our American cousins refer to guns as 'equalisers' (although they probably spell it with a 'z' :-)).


    #53 "I predict Ireland will pull out [from the Euro] within a year."

    interesting 'thought' and almost certainly wrong, would you like to place a wager?

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  • 55. At 9:46pm on 22 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    jr4412 #54 wrote:

    it is with good reason that our American cousins refer to guns as 'equalisers' (although they probably spell it with a 'z' :-)).

    From now on you may as well refer to me as an American. I prefer that spelling.

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  • 56. At 10:37pm on 22 Oct 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @jr4412 #40

    I'm not hung up on the Khmer Rouge. I'm trying to show how different people read Wolfiewood's posts in different ways. Wolfie's posts say things between the lines. Other people here, especially the climate sceptics, can only see the stuff between the lines. And they love Wolfie for proving their "environmentalists / lefties = fascists" point for them.

    As an example of the way that good and bad motives sometimes produce similar wording I suggest you re-read Animal Farm. And notice the way that the baddies like Napoleon and Squealer hijack the same language as the more noble characters.

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  • 57. At 10:47pm on 22 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #56.

    "Other people ... can only see the stuff between the lines. ... And notice the way that the baddies like Napoleon and Squealer hijack the same language as the more noble characters."

    exactly, hence my refusal to use "preferred terms" like 'one world dictatorship' and 'atheist'. :-)

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  • 58. At 10:59pm on 22 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    #57 cont'd (too cryptic, maybe)

    language shapes thinking, and by accepting the use of 'their' terms, we allow ourselves to be constrained in debates to the thrust of their arguments.

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  • 59. At 01:31am on 23 Oct 2010, Cariboo wrote:

    @7 sensiblegrannie

    Here is an idea free of charge
    Label all goods with green credentials



    Good idea. Expand that to include a healthy choice index as well.

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  • 60. At 01:43am on 23 Oct 2010, Cariboo wrote:

    "By the way, on a personal level I cannot stand weapons. They always make me think the person who holds one is an inadequate moron."

    I have several rifles and pistols but I do not have any weapons. I do not use my rifles and pistols to do any more than punch holes in paper much like a golfer tries to get better handicap, I try to be more accurate at shooting.

    So jr4412, because I have firearms that are not used for anything more than a paper punch, do you consider me a moron?

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  • 61. At 02:12am on 23 Oct 2010, Cariboo wrote:

    @46. bowmanthebard

    You've misunderstood what weapons are for. They're primarily for threatening people with killing and maiming, and to represent a credible threat they have to genuinely be able to kill and maim, and occasionally be used for that purpose.
    To further this line. The object of war is to diminish your enemies willingness and ability to wage war. Killing is not the prime objective. Demoralization and/or cutting off supplies is far more effective and affordable.

    This is old but as relevant as the day it was written. Upon reading one can see parallels with current and recent history.

    http://classics.mit.edu/Tzu/artwar.html

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  • 62. At 02:16am on 23 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Cariboo #60.

    "So jr4412, because I have firearms that are not used for anything more than a paper punch, do you consider me a moron?"

    no, how about 'sloppy' reader though? the sentence you quoted came from comment #50 by bowmanthe(American)bard.

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  • 63. At 02:28am on 23 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Cariboo #61.

    "The object of war is to diminish your enemies willingness and ability to wage war."

    convenient, I guess that's why we now do pre-emptive stikes.

    "This is old but as relevant as the day it was written."

    proof positive then that homo sapiens is still little more than an ape.

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  • 64. At 04:09am on 23 Oct 2010, HungeryWalleye wrote:

    93. At 09:01am on 21 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    "No, you have misunderstood the difference between "random" and "unpredictable in practice". Chaotic systems are wholly deterministic but unpredictable because of critical dependence on initial conditions."

    You don't understand that regardless of initial conditions chaotic systems tend to revert to similar patterns of variation. The Lorenz attractor gives a example for a simple system. The patterns change with changes in driving parameters. That is how periodic fluctuations in floods, typhoons and droughts are related to ENSO and longer term climate change is related to increasing temperatures due to increases in greenhouse gasses.

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  • 65. At 04:28am on 23 Oct 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #45. jr4412 wrote:

    "CanadianRockies #43.

    "But spending insane amounts of money on the Military-Industrial Complex is not a good reason for doing the same on the Eco-Crisis Industrial Complex."

    the argument is to use some of those 'insane amounts' towards conservation, not add to them. but then, you knew that too."

    The essential question is why shovel buckets of cash into either of these complexes without sober cost-benefit analysis of their results? The constant fearmongering that both enterprises depend effectively spooks the herd and paralyses objective thinking.

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  • 66. At 09:58am on 23 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    HungeryWalleye #64 wrote:

    You don't understand that regardless of initial conditions chaotic systems tend to revert to similar patterns of variation.

    The weather is unpredictable. That is why no one can reliably predict it. The climate is similarly unpredictable. Your "similar patterns of variation" count for nothing if no one can tell when they occur. Your appeal to the Lorenz attractor strikes me as a bit of theological jiggery-pokery, not intended to explain anything, but instead invoked to defend an ancient article of religious faith: that the world "cannot be chaotic" despite appearances to the contrary.

    Please make an effort to "know thyself". You're doing what religious philosophers have been doing for centuries: saying that the world is in fact predictable, and saying it in a way that you hope is "intellectually impressive" because of its technicality. The standard "technique" here is to make zero effort to explain yourself because that would expose the weakness of the argument. I assure you that appeals to technicality cut absolutely no ice with me!

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  • 67. At 10:05am on 23 Oct 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Getting a bit gun-ho are we not?
    jr4412 at post 63 commenting on Cariboo at post 61

    "The object of war is to diminish your enemies willingness and ability to wage war."

    Wot, you mean like flooding markets with impossibly cheap 'must have' goods which in turn diminishes home manufacturing because of inability to compete with labour and materials costs? Then, when the home manufacturers wake up and develop viable sustainable manufacturing. The suppliers of the cheap 'n'nasty goods cut off access to their supply of raw materials that will help develop the new technologies. B..... H... who needs guns?
    In between blogging, I am in the middle of processing apples from my apple tree to make various apple preserves. The jelly bag I am using is part of a useless piece of junk kit that falls apart, manufactured somewhere other than the UK. Bring back decent reliable manufacturing.

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  • 68. At 10:07am on 23 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    Cariboo #60 wrote:

    because I have firearms that are not used for anything more than a paper punch, do you consider me a moron?

    Well, er, assuming to mean to ask me that question, what makes you think you're only using them for punching holes in paper? It seems a laughably loud, showy, inaccurate, expensive, inefficient, and downright threatening way of punching holes in paper! I'll bet it doesn't do the desk underneath or wall behind much good either -- or do you take the bits of paper you want holes in to a rifle range?

    Oscar Wilde wrote that a gentleman is someone doesn't hurt anyone's feelings unintentionally. If anyone saw you "merely punching holes in paper" with a gun, I'd say you'd unintentionally frighten the life out of them!

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  • 69. At 10:50am on 23 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    CanadianRockies #65.

    "The essential question is why shovel buckets of cash into either of these complexes without sober cost-benefit analysis of their results?"

    sure, agree. in the absence of such a 'sober cost-benefit analysis' it wouldn't do any harm though to take money from one to spend on the other (ie no increase in spending)?



    sensiblegrannie #67.

    "Getting a bit gun-ho are we not?"

    agree, 'pinstripe suit and necktie ape' would have been less insulting to the other apes.


    the manufacturers' war, eh? death by innundation with substandard products, nice. ;)

    "The jelly bag I am using is part of a useless piece of junk kit that falls apart.."

    they're only a quid or so in 'In-Excess'-type stores, you pays your money...

    (also, I've only just noticed your 'rejuvenation' -- when did you drop the old?)

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  • 70. At 12:19pm on 23 Oct 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Have I ever been old?
    You only become 'old' when you stop thinking, stop questioning, stop exploring, stop learning, stop experimenting, stop attempting new ways of doing things.

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  • 71. At 3:09pm on 23 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    sensiblegrannie #70 wrote:

    You only become 'old' when you stop thinking, stop questioning, stop exploring, stop learning, stop experimenting, stop attempting new ways of doing things.

    Gee -- you're really making me feel old!

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  • 72. At 3:46pm on 23 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    jr4412 #54 wrote:

    our American cousins refer to guns as 'equalisers' (although they probably spell it with a 'z' :-)).

    The most authoritative reference work on British English spellings also spells it with a Z. The Oxford English Dictionary contains no word 'equalise' or 'equaliser' (or 'realise', or any of the other common "-ise" spellings, which are more characteristic of Australian than British English).

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  • 73. At 8:42pm on 23 Oct 2010, Ronald Duncan wrote:

    I was at the launch of the TEEB report for business this summer in London.

    We were launching BASDA Green XML and our analysis system GreenInsight. It was a strange bunch of massive polluters, accountants, lawyers, green charities and a few people trying to make sense of everything.

    I have been in regular contact with the authors of the TEEB report, and even this summer it was very difficult to decide what were the best things to measure. This is why in BASDA Green XML the bio-diversity section is still incomplete.

    We have nice concrete measures for Carbon Footprints and an e2class database with 3.6 million products and their carbon footprints.

    Embedded/Virtual water - how much water is required to produce some goods or service, is again straight forward in concept. Though a lot more difficult to track and trace since you are interested in water coming from arid regions, and the hills that divide the water, do not always follow nice political boundaries to make tracking easy.

    Bio-diversity - We know what it is the various forms of life on our planet, however the economics are still much more difficult.

    The best idea that I have heard is to tax the profits on all commodities that are derived from nature, and it sounds like this had met with fierce opposition.

    How can a poor country have the affront to ask a biotech giant that makes more per quarter than a poor countries GDP, just because the biotech giant makes its cash from products that are derived from species found in the poor country.

    Seems like a straightforward solution, a pity it will be western lawyers that get the bulk of the cash as they make claims against all the medical advances that are based on bio-diversity.

    It sounds like there were screams of pain from the rich world at the thought of a tax on the direct profits from nature. It is probably about time, there are huge taxes on Oil, and it is still being used.

    A tax on species for drugs, and other derived products would seem sensible, along with a GDP based tax for those countries whose population insist on trading in endangered species. e.g. Rhino/Tiger/etc for China.

    You could do some thing similar to narcotics. The countries that create the demand pay to suppress the trade.

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  • 74. At 8:47pm on 23 Oct 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @jr4412 #57 #58

    ""preferred terms" like 'one world dictatorship' and 'atheist'"

    Problem with that is that whatever term you use, unless you explicitly denounce dictatorships, will get "understood" as "one world dictatorship", or even "one world dictatorship reliant on crimes against humanity". So you will mean one thing. And they will think you mean something much nastier.

    Mutual misunderstanding. Not really dialogue under those circumstances is it?


    "language shapes thinking, and by accepting the use of 'their' terms, we allow ourselves to be constrained in debates to the thrust of their arguments."

    Language shapes thinking which is why both sides like thinking in their own language. For debate to function as debate, any relevant differences have to be flagged up, to prevent misunderstanding.

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  • 75. At 10:11pm on 23 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    @ jr4412
    @ JaneBasingstoke

    "Language shapes thinking"

    Just to get my oar in here... Current thinking is that language shapes thinking very much less than was previously thought. In the nineteenth century, people began to realize how similar thought and language are, and for one reason or another some people got the idea that language is the vehicle of thought -- that we need language for thought, or something like that.

    This idea reached industrial-academic proportions with the "Sapir-Whorf hypothesis" and hit a ridiculous peak with the (now notorious) academics' "invisible ships" -- the ludicrous idea being that native South Americans did not see Cortez's ships approaching, because they were literally invisible to them, because they didn't have the word 'ship'!

    Everyone is much more sensible nowadays... Nowadays the general feeling is that language captures thought and ordinary physical reality in very different ways. Language directly describes facts such as "grass is green", but indirectly mimics thoughts by having the same content: "he thinks grass is green".

    I strongly recommend Daniel Dennett on this sort of thing.

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  • 76. At 11:09pm on 23 Oct 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #75

    Actually it's the contribution to hidden assumptions by language, and by particular use of language, that concern me. Debate always benefits when hidden assumptions are dragged out of the shadows into the sunlight.

    (No disrespect to Dennett by the way.)

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  • 77. At 11:39pm on 23 Oct 2010, Cariboo wrote:

    @63 jr4412

    Cariboo #61.

    "The object of war is to diminish your enemies willingness and ability to wage war."

    convenient, I guess that's why we now do pre-emptive stikes.


    and the targets are?


    "This is old but as relevant as the day it was written."

    proof positive then that homo sapiens is still little more than an ape.


    Proof you did not even read the suggested text.

    According to Wikipedia I am an ape, "Homo, genus of bipedal primates in the great ape family". If you are not an ape please return to your stellar origin.

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  • 78. At 11:55pm on 23 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    bowmanthebard #72.

    "The Oxford English Dictionary.."

    apparently, you're an Oxford man while I've picked up Cambridge spelling.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_and_British_English_spelling_differences#Greek_spellings


    JaneBasingstoke
    bowmanthebard

    re Language shapes thinking

    regarding English, I'll have to read up on this a little more, and I agree with the hidden assumptions aspect. however, there's also the difference in thinking arising from speaking languages other than English, particularly, I feel, when English is not the mother tongue. maybe that leaves me at a disadvantage? (wrt #74 "mutual misunderstanding")

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  • 79. At 00:11am on 24 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Cariboo #77.

    "and the targets are?"

    most recent? Iraq & Afghanistan. of course, if you allow for 'mere' incursions you could add Somalia and all that too.

    "Proof you did not even read the suggested text."

    you're right, last time I looked at 'The Art of War', I was in my early twenties. vague memories, not interested in re-reading the book.

    "According to Wikipedia I am an ape.."

    and you're free to rise above the instinctive drives that come from that, in fact, claiming sapience necessitates it. my argument is that humans, particularly when in groups, don't on the whole.

    "..please return to your stellar origin."

    not a day goes by without wishing for it!!
    (do you per chance too feel a little homesick when viewing deep space images?)

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  • 80. At 00:51am on 24 Oct 2010, Cariboo wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 81. At 01:15am on 24 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #76 wrote:

    Actually it's the contribution to hidden assumptions by language, and by particular use of language, that concern me. Debate always benefits when hidden assumptions are dragged out of the shadows into the sunlight.

    I have no fault to find with that idea. Carry on!

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  • 82. At 01:30am on 24 Oct 2010, Cariboo wrote:

    @79. jr4412

    Cariboo #77.

    "and the targets are?"

    most recent? Iraq & Afghanistan. of course, if you allow for 'mere' incursions you could add Somalia and all that too.


    Pre emptive strike targets are not whole countries as you imply. Not even cities, perhaps bridges, radar sites, communications installations etc. I should not have to tell you this.

    "Proof you did not even read the suggested text."

    you're right, last time I looked at 'The Art of War', I was in my early twenties. vague memories, not interested in re-reading the book.


    Perhaps you should as this would let you understand things a little better.

    "According to Wikipedia I am an ape.."

    and you're free to rise above the instinctive drives that come from that, in fact,


    The two base drives are procurement of food and procreation, most everything else stems form these drives. You may rise above that if you wish, I choose to eat, procreate and all the other stuff that goes with it.

    claiming sapience necessitates it.
    I do not claim to be sapient, I am because of an accident of birth.

    my argument is that humans, particularly when in groups, don't on the whole.
    Humans in groups for the most part are a pretty decent bunch. Reading the news that only relays bad news may make some people think that only bad things happen when people are in groups. I suppose you are pessimist while my glass is half full.

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  • 83. At 01:39am on 24 Oct 2010, Cariboo wrote:

    @68 bowmanthebard

    Cariboo #60 wrote:

    because I have firearms that are not used for anything more than a paper punch, do you consider me a moron?


    Well, er, assuming to mean to ask me that question
    I guess I am as I miss read jr4412 post.

    what makes you think you're only using them for punching holes in paper?
    What kind of question is this. Is this supposed to be funny. Should I take it as an accusation of lying or an accusation mental incapacity.
    It seems a laughably loud
    You can laugh, while I wear hearing protection, after a while you will not hear a thing.
    showy
    Only in front of a (non shooter) audience, I prefer to shoot alone so there are no distractions.
    inaccurate
    Speak for your self. If I were to tell you what I can do it would be bragging.
    expensive
    Not when you make your own projectiles and reload the cartridge cases.
    inefficient
    It is a hobby for my enjoyment and thus efficiency is irrelevant.
    and downright threatening way of punching holes in paper!
    If you feel threatened because I or someone else somewhere in the world is shooting at paper targets, you should consider committing yourself to a mental institution.
    I'll bet it doesn't do the desk underneath or wall behind much good either -- or do you take the bits of paper you want holes in to a rifle range?
    A question that does not warrant an answer.
    If anyone saw you "merely punching holes in paper" with a gun, I'd say you'd unintentionally frighten the life out of them!
    Not where I live. Where you live you most likely you would be arrested.

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  • 84. At 03:16am on 24 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Cariboo #82.

    "Pre emptive strike targets are not whole countries as you imply."

    you added 'targets', I've used 'pre-emptive strike' in the sense defined in the following link (particularly the Examples section) although, on re-reading, 'preventive strike' might have been more accurate; in any case, the definition used was:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preemptive_war

    "The two base drives are procurement of food and procreation, most everything else stems form these drives. You may rise above that if you wish, I choose to eat, procreate and all the other stuff that goes with it."

    and if you're content with that, fine with me. I think humans (and aliens ;)) can do better, but I acknowledge that there's little incentive. (and, of course, there's safety in numbers!! LOL)

    "I suppose you are pessimist.."

    correct, which is why I disagree with "humans in groups for the most part are a pretty decent bunch". whether it's a stadium full of football fans, or a squad of soldiers, or a parliament of MPs, or a bunch of religious types -- en masse they're usually insufferable.

    "I am because of an accident of birth."

    hurrah, at last, something we have in common. :-)

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  • 85. At 09:14am on 24 Oct 2010, Cariboo wrote:

    @67 sensiblegrannie

    Bring back decent reliable manufacturing.


    Well made stuff is still available (some even made in China). The problem is that it is very very expensive. I have also found that the stuff that was good in the past (made in UK, Canada, USA) is now often very high priced while the Chinese stuff if much cheaper and nearly as good and sometimes better.

    The imported goods are made to a standard that the importer requires. The retailer (often the importer) brings in what the public wants to buy at a price the public will buy at. Something is worth what someone else will pay for it.

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  • 86. At 10:00am on 24 Oct 2010, Cariboo wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 87. At 8:56pm on 24 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Richard Black.

    "Conservation groups have expressed concern that a major UN conference on nature protection is stalling, with some governments accused of holding the process hostage to their own interest."

    understandably, developing nations "..want an equitable share..", but 'we' are not prepared to do so. instead the developed world uses this opportunity to point their collective finger at them accusingly ("We're particularly disappointed in Brazil.") and prepare to scupper the deal because we can't turn a profit.

    of course, in a world without nation states our 'leaders' wouldn't be able to get away with such a shameful display of self-serving smugness, and global needs could be addressed without nationalistic chest beating. detractors will of course be quick to point out that some Hitler or Stalin would benefit most, and the sheeple will nod sagely. sigh..

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