Searching \ for '[EE]:: "Walking does more than driving to cause gl' in subject line. ()
Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure! Help us get a faster server
FAQ page: www.piclist.com/techref/index.htm?key=walking+does+more
Search entire site for: ': "Walking does more than driving to cause gl'.

Exact match. Not showing close matches.
PICList Thread
'[EE]:: "Walking does more than driving to cause gl'
2007\08\20@080157 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
face
A certain PICLister (who lives in Auckland, NZ and who has the same
initials as the Messiah (no relation)) who shall remain anomalous sent
me this reference and basic summary but seems not to have posted it to
list. I can only conclude that he is rifle loading and hoped to get me
into trouble as I am naturally honour bound to post it.

The interesting thing about this article is that it makes some
stunningly unintuitive and downright apparently non-PC claims about
the "carbon footprint" effects of various activities and lifestyle
choices *but* the information was researched by and provided by a
person who is a UK Green Party parliamentary candidate and who is
apparently a promoter of all things clean and green.

The key points are that many choices which people may make to attempt
to achieve a "low carbon" result do just the opposite.

The referred article references an apparently reputable source and
cites examples from this source but does not provide any direct
references itself. Anyone who cares will be easily able to Gaggle up
related references.

       http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article2195538.ece

In the following I have used the term "bad" loosely - generally as an
indication that the activity contributes more substantially to carbon
dioxide or methane production and/or energy use.

Their examples include

- Paper bags are worse than plastic bags.

- Travelling by diesel train is twice as bad as travelling by car for
an average family.

- Organic beef is worse than non-organic beef.

- Burning wood is better than recycling it.

- Driving to get food is about 4 times better than walking the same
distance.

- Freezing food after preparation largely negates gains in other
areas.

- Cloth and disposable nappies (diapers) are about equally bad.

- SUV's with a single person in each are better than lightly loaded
trains.

- Trees may be net bad, not net good as believed. [At best a tree is
net good only if it lives forever or if another replaces it when it
dies.]

- Don't buy anything from the supermarket *OR* anything that has
travelled "too far".


While all the above is somewhat funny it is (or should be) somewhat
thought provoking. Even if one distances oneself from the flavour of
the year mindless rush to a "low carbon footprint", but is seeking a
meaningful way to reduce one's ecological impact, these conclusions
suggest that attempting to make the choices oneself in relative
isolation is an almost impossible task. To give up car for train or
car for bike or walking and to then find the overall ecological result
is worse is a bit sobering. The fact that this *may* be true is
annoying. There is no certainty that this one researcher has 'got it
right', considered all aspects or been able to deal with a 'bi enough
picture' to properly analyse the problem. But this is a superb
demonstration that if we are serious about doing something useful then
it needs to be done by using the best available scientific resources
to guide our actions. As long as the societally preferred choices are
driven by fad, political expediency or financial gain by some members
of society then the chances of us doing anything meaningfully useful
is severely hampered. Alas, there seems little hope in the near term
that this won't be the way that things continue to be done.



           Russell
















{Original Message removed}

2007\08\20@102830 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face

Russell McMahon wrote:

> http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article2195538.ece

Has been posted a few days ago here, including a response from me :)

> To give up car for train or car for bike or walking and to then find the
> overall ecological result is worse is a bit sobering. The fact that this
> *may* be true is annoying. There is no certainty that this one
> researcher has 'got it right', considered all aspects or been able to
> deal with a 'bi enough picture' to properly analyse the problem.

You don't need to dig deep to see what he did with the walking vs driving
comparison. According to the article, he compared the CO2 created by the
fuel burned in a car (apparently without considering the resources
necessary to put the fuel into the tank, much less the resources necessary
to put the car in front of your house -- you won't find that in "the
Government¢s official fuel emission figures" which he used as base) with an
estimate of the /total/ of the energy resources necessary to create food --
and all based on the assumption that we eat only what we need. Show me one
piclister who does that :)

To make a more reasonable comparison, one would have to consider also the
resources necessary to put the fuel into the tank and to produce the
vehicle (of course spread out over the lifetime km or miles). Then one
would have to see whether we don't eat so much that a few km of walking are
not really that visible in our food intake. And of course CO2 is something,
but not everything. They didn't do anything of this, so whatever...


"Eating less and driving to save energy would be better."

This main argument is pretty much failed from the start, and there is
little reason to assume that more thought went into the others. Eating less
(and not necessarily from the supermarket) and driving less is certainly
still much better.

Not everything that sounds provocative has the depth to really get
anywhere... unless the desired goal is sales figures, of course (of the
newspaper, or of the book, or of whatever :)

Gerhard

2007\08\20@132038 by Chris McSweeny

picon face
How spurious the calculations are is obvious from the fact that he feels the
need to suggest you get your calories from beef in order to make the
comparison as biased in one direction as possible. I'd love to see the
figures for getting the calories from grain or cereals, as surely most
people who walk or cycle do get their extra calories.

2007\08\20@143242 by James Newtons Massmind

face picon face
> > http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article2195538.ece

This is utter tripe and I'm amazed that anyone with an ounce of critical
thinking in their head can't pick out the fallacies at once. The very first
example compares CO2 emissions of a car with that of a man walking the same
distance. The trick is that he using only steak as the mans source of
energy. Steak is one of the LEAST efficient sources of energy in terms of
how much CO2 it produces. That same human, if I wanted to take the opposite
bent, could be fed on veggies grown in his own back yard and therefore have
actually released NO net CO2. The plants he grew having consumed more CO2
than he released.

Not to mention (thank you Gerhard) that:

{Quote hidden}

It just amazes me what the human mind will do to hold on to it's desire for
a fast car, cheap (toxic) food, and the chance to damage the world a bit
more for everyone else.

---
James Newton, massmind.org Knowledge Archiver
spam_OUTjamesTakeThisOuTspammassmind.org 1-619-652-0593 fax:1-208-279-8767
http://www.massmind.org Saving what YOU know.

2007\08\20@210244 by Neil Cherry
picon face
James Newtons Massmind wrote:
>>> www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article2195538.ece
>
> This is utter tripe and I'm amazed that anyone with an ounce of critical
> thinking in their head can't pick out the fallacies at once.

Critical thinking? ;-) Like choosing between Wheel of Fortune, a
sitcom, a reality show and one of those talent shows? :-)

Sorry I don't know what's on TV anymore also I found that first
statement really funny (in a really sad way). And before anyone
gets the idea that I'm arguing with James. I'm a cyclist whose
idea of a Saturday ride is 70 - 120 miles. Right now I'm off the
bike with a leg injury but I'm chomping at the bit to get back
on my bike.

--
Linux Home Automation         Neil Cherry       .....ncherryKILLspamspam@spam@linuxha.com
http://www.linuxha.com/                         Main site
http://linuxha.blogspot.com/                    My HA Blog
Author of:            Linux Smart Homes For Dummies

2007\08\20@210549 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
face
> ... I'm amazed that anyone with an ounce of critical thinking in
> their head ...

:-)

I'm amazed, on many occasions, that people with, presumably, an ounce
of critical thinking in their head will examine an argument to
discover its failings (which all arguments conveniently have),  and
then reject its conclusions outright, usually adding a pejorative
label to help seal the process, instead of taking it all on board as
grist for the mill in order to enrich their grasp of a complex subject
and allowing them to grow in understanding of the many aspects
involved.

And, in that vein -

> It just amazes me what the human mind will do to hold on to it's
> desire for
> a fast car, cheap (toxic) food, and the chance to damage the world a
> bit
> more for everyone else.

Given the rapporteur's general role in the order of things (Green
politician etc etc), which I noted in passing, and his general
apparent focus, he doesn't *seem* to qualify for that convenient
pejorative label set.

Your criticism is re one side of an equation which carries a similar
"risk" for both "sides" (not that there should ideally be 'sides', but
there are.).

ie One needs to be aware of the risk (for oneself and in others) of
being so bent on demanding that one's way of doing things is the most
right or beneficial or prettiest, or most meritorious or (dare I say)
divinely sanctioned, or ... that you/they will do almost anything to
ignore arguments which suggest or 'prove' (always with varying degrees
of merit) otherwise. I'm certainly not saying that this is more than
peripherally the case here, but it is certainly very often so in the
wider Global warming / climate change area, which this topic is a
subset of.

As a small but apposite example consider

       http://www.dailytech.com/Blogger+finds+Y2K+bug+in+NASA+Climate+Data/article8383.htm

which I understand has already been posted to this list but which I
( mercifully :-) ) missed due to a recent absence (did anyone notice?
:-) ).
Here a major step in apparent temperatures occurred due to a change in
data sources in 2000, but the main thing here to me is not that there
was a data sourcing error but that the means of producing the results
was kept secret.

This whole "arena" is awash with people doing data manipulation and
improvement and subsetting but without revealing what they have done
or why. It *may* be unfair in any given instant to accuse a closet
data manipulator of trying to make the data better fit their desired
conclusions, but the results of such manipulations, somewhat
suspiciously, all too often seem to achieve this result. In the case
above it's fairly likely that the result was an entirely accidental
one, but the result of the secrecy of method means that the gross
error would have been much less likely to have occurred.

What we *should* (IMHO) be aiming at is an accurate understanding of
reality - not attempting to manipulate results so we can have

EITHER
   fast cars and , [emotive label warning] toxic [/emotive label
warning] food
OR
   natural / sustainable / [even] divinely_ordained  lifestyles.

When we have measured reality and understood it as well as we are able
given the "real" information available, we can THEN proceed to beat
each others' heads in over what is the right way to deal with the
reality that we have discovered. But, if we attempt to meld the
reality in the very process of discovery by fudging the data or
rejecting out of hand, arguments whose conclusions we do not approve
of, then we are liable to be in a very sorry state. This outcome seems
to fit observations to date in the world at large quite well :-).




           Russell






2007\08\20@214731 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Russell McMahon wrote:

> I'm amazed, on many occasions, that people with, presumably, an ounce
> of critical thinking in their head will examine an argument to
> discover its failings (which all arguments conveniently have),  and
> then reject its conclusions outright,

Well, this is such a typical case of "apples and oranges" that the
intelligence (or the intent, of course :) must be doubted.

When someone compares the effect of mere burning of some gas with the whole
infrastructure behind industrially creating some luxury food and
conveniently seems to forget to consider the resources necessary to create
the gas... What do /you/ think when you see this?

This is the third time I'm writing this, and it seems you just don't see
it.

> What we *should* (IMHO) be aiming at is an accurate understanding of
> reality - not attempting to manipulate results so we can have

Right. My point from the first time on. Compare apples with apples.

> EITHER
>     fast cars and , [emotive label warning] toxic [/emotive label
> warning] food
> OR
>     natural / sustainable / [even] divinely_ordained  lifestyles.

Not for me. In this case it could look more like

EITHER
Compare digesting the steak at hand with burning the gas at hand (don't
know what that would be good for though)
OR
Compare the whole infrastructure behind creating and using both (which
probably gets us quite different results), and then also think a bit about
why one would need a steak more just because of some walking. (Focus on
"think".)

Life is too short to spend it with stuff that doesn't meet the first simple
test of reality. And that's one of them. Your comments, while as usual
thoughtful in a general sense, don't really address the lack of reality in
that article.

Gerhard

2007\08\21@020850 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
face
> When someone compares the effect of mere burning of some gas with
> the whole
> infrastructure behind industrially creating some luxury food and
> conveniently seems to forget to consider the resources necessary to
> create
> the gas... What do /you/ think when you see this?

> This is the third time I'm writing this, and it seems you just don't
> see
> it.

I assume that you are referring to similar comments on a related but
different item on a prior occasion. I'm not aware of having left such
questions unanswered - I don't read everything on list and perhaps I
saw them and considered them rhetorical. And it's not at all unknown
for me to have wandered off and be smelling some other flowers by the
time that someone comes upon my prior bouquet and seeks to discourse
upon its blooms and fragrances.

I think that almost nothing I see or read or hear from other people
makes perfect sense. I think that one can find flaws and errors in
most ideas or opinions. I only sometimes make this perception apparent
to the person concerned and I think that the world would be an even
more peaceful place if I did so even less than I do :-). A friend once
titled me "blunt axe". I try to learn. I sometimes succeed. When I
pass on a reference it's seldom because I consider it holy writ or
inspired utterance or inviolate truth. Sometimes I may consider some
or all of these to apply :-) - but it's rare. I pass on things because
I consider that they may be of interest to others and may advance to
the sum total of peoples' knowledge and experience and maybe even
wisdom. But I'm not surprised if this is variably the case or even not
the case at all.

In this case I think the man may have been "flying a kite" / "setting
up a straw man" / trolling / ... BUT I'm also aware that reports of
what someone said and did are often enough less than fully correct. In
this case I didn't go past the initial article so I can't say whether
his analyses are as shonky as others have suggested. They may be.

I note only in passing that it can be legitimate to compare
incremental costs of two systems. For example, if one were to already
possess a motor vehicle and a pair of legs then it may in some
instances be reasonable to compare the incremental cost and cost
benefit of using each of them to perform a given task - such as going
down the road for fish and chips. If the argument was about owning or
not owning a car at all then the calculations may well be different. I
suspect that a substantial majority of western "greenies"* who walk,
bicycle or publicly transport, also own or use a motor vehicle when
occasion seems to merit. In such cases the differential cost of use
may well be a valid basis for comparison.



           Russell


* I gain the impression that a number of people who comment adversely
when I discuss environmental issues assume that I am anti-green. This
is far from the case.

2007\08\21@070036 by Peter Todd

picon face
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

On Mon, Aug 20, 2007 at 09:09:46AM -0700, James Newtons Massmind wrote:
{Quote hidden}

Interestingly his 180 calories figure is rather off... It's actually closer
to 300-400 calories for the given distance. It depends on the persons
weight, but interestingly, the speed at which you walk, or run, doesn't
change things very much. Google for sources. Maybe bad reporting, I
can't imagine him using a lower wrong number.

His figure for the amount of beef you'd need is a bit high, but close
enough.

It's also unclear in that article (and his website) if he's strictly
counting CO2 or he's also including methane as an "adjusted" CO2 total.
If it's the latter, it'd be heavilly skewed due to how much methane cows
release. And methane, while a warming gas, is *not* at all significant
in the long run, it stays it the atmosphere for roughly 10 years at
which point it turns into regular carbon and water vapour. The idea of
methane being a major issue was likely concoted due to some Kyoto type
thing I suspect, but that's another rant.

Plenty of other things to critisize of course. For one, if you can get
people walking, then they need their car less, which if you can get to
the point of them getting rid of thier car it's a major win. I'm sure
health care ends up using more energy as well, and most people eat more
than they need besides.

> It just amazes me what the human mind will do to hold on to it's desire for
> a fast car, cheap (toxic) food, and the chance to damage the world a bit
> more for everyone else.

It doesn't amaze me what a guy selling a book will do to generate some
PR...

- --
http://petertodd.org
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (GNU/Linux)

iD8DBQFGyr2s3bMhDbI9xWQRAjDXAKCd4Ez3yUcZOo74JlgEA/iR0lcV0gCghB7H
JWPh0MnVBrcrViEhQyS+r5k=
=rbY0
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

2007\08\21@070036 by Peter Todd

picon face
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

On Mon, Aug 20, 2007 at 11:31:50PM +1200, Russell McMahon wrote:
> - Paper bags are worse than plastic bags.

Nothing surprising there, anything that cheap can't have much of an
effect due to how expensive energy is.

> - Travelling by diesel train is twice as bad as travelling by car for
> an average family.

Well I know in the case of the local GO Transit system, a plush
diesel-electric, that was true initially until they upgraded to double
decker trains. Now however, especially with it's popularity and nearly
full capacity, fuel consumption is about 10x less than cars. Not to
mention it's saved a *lot* of money in new road construction that hasn't
had to happen.

His specific example is not surprising at all, I bet it hinges on low
ridership... Diesel-electric trains have a very large overhead due to
how much steel they have to lug around. People just weigh so little
compared to the train itself. Obviously electric trains are different
though, no big diesel engines and fuel.

> - Organic beef is worse than non-organic beef.

His specific example is BS as he's counting methane, however for the
environment in general there's lots of reasons for organic to be
generally worse.

I'll have to dig it up again, but I saw a really neat, and very
detailed, analysis of how it actually uses less carbon to ship produce
from califonia to downtown toronto ontario on efficient industrial
scales than it does to have little farmers markets served by local
farms.

Planes and trucks are amazingly good compared to individuals in their
cars...

> - Burning wood is better than recycling it.

Not surprising at all, wood is a renewable resource, and harvesting it
doesn't take that much energy, mostly done by big efficient trucks and
with relatively little labor. In britain especially it'd be efficient as
their woodlots tend to be fairly flat, BC might be different due to the
hills/mountains.

> - Driving to get food is about 4 times better than walking the same
> distance.

See other posts, likely naive.

> - Cloth and disposable nappies (diapers) are about equally bad.

Waste of clean water 'eh? Big hint, clean water is a *renewable* thing,
which takes very little energy to make. It's not going to run out either
with well designed water systems, where sewage gets turned back into
drinking water eventually. Only irrigation water is really an issue.


He could still be right of course, plastic isn't very damaging either,
nor are landfills, especially at 0.1% used.

> - SUV's with a single person in each are better than lightly loaded
> trains.

Explained above.

Heavilly loaded trains are a huge win though. All public transit suffers
from network effects, it's not valuable until it's all encompasing. But
the end result is, look how little carbon New Yorkers use with all those
electric subways. Given more nuclear power/wind/solar/hydro they'll use
no carbon.

> - Trees may be net bad, not net good as believed. [At best a tree is
> net good only if it lives forever or if another replaces it when it
> dies.]

Trees are easilly made into a net good, cut 'em down, and put 'em into
landfills. Ideally using them to build stuff or write on first...

Just make sure your local ecology can actually support forestry, not all
can.

> - Don't buy anything from the supermarket *OR* anything that has
> travelled "too far".

I'm actually really skeptical about that one, fuel-costs are already
such a big part of produce prices anyway, why not simply buy what's
cheapest?

To optimize it a bit, allow for easy importing of cheap labor to make
sure that the second major part of produce costs is equalized to imports
and you're set.

Keeping agricultural land prices low by making sure they will *never* be
able to be used for any other purpose will again help keep out any
distortion. It's good for the environment, and food security to boot.

{Quote hidden}

The whole thing is a big waste of energy studying all these little
effects.

Tax carbon and be done with it. It's stupidly easy, if it came out of
the ground, figure out how many kg of carbon's in it, and slap a tax on
it before it gets burned. Plastics get a credit, because they don't rot.
Lower other taxes while you're at it, do the usual phase in over x years
stuff.

Of course, actually implementing such a scheme politically is up to
you... Have fun watching imports suddenly get a lot cheaper, relatively
speaking...

- --
http://petertodd.org
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (GNU/Linux)

iD8DBQFGysVU3bMhDbI9xWQRAu0MAKCSGe0yZWyHN9Ef6VSyWDafEpFz/ACgi/6Q
ONXpcbq2QnWkzs8eGMY++aY=
=Jhwu
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

2007\08\21@071727 by Howard Winter

face
flavicon
picon face
Peter,

Your proposal has one flaw...

On Tue, 21 Aug 2007 06:58:29 -0400, Peter Todd wrote:

> Lower other taxes while you're at it

* THIS NEVER HAPPENS! *   :-)

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


2007\08\21@072003 by peter green

flavicon
face

> Of course, actually implementing such a scheme politically is up to
> you... Have fun watching imports suddenly get a lot cheaper, relatively
> speaking...
>  
This is the big problem, taxing carbon emmision will simply drive carbon
producing industries offshore where they can avoid the tax.

Taxing carbon extraction will simply mean that extraction is performed
in other parts of the world and the results imported (afaict most carbon
based fuels are not extracted in the west anyway).

2007\08\21@074153 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
face
> Trees are easilly made into a net good, cut 'em down, and put 'em
> into
> landfills. Ideally using them to build stuff or write on first...

Only works if the landfill traps the decay products. If you get CO2 or
Methane (subject to your prior discussion) escaping then the tree (or
part of it) has "escaped" its landfill.


       R




2007\08\21@080438 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>I'll have to dig it up again, but I saw a really neat, and very
>detailed, analysis of how it actually uses less carbon to ship
>produce from califonia to downtown toronto ontario on efficient
>industrial scales than it does to have little farmers markets
>served by local farms.

This is a problem I have with the 'food miles' argument used here in the UK>
They fail to consider that they should be considering 'food-ton miles'.

2007\08\21@081544 by Peter Todd

picon face
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

On Tue, Aug 21, 2007 at 11:40:03PM +1200, Russell McMahon wrote:
> > Trees are easilly made into a net good, cut 'em down, and put 'em
> > into
> > landfills. Ideally using them to build stuff or write on first...
>
> Only works if the landfill traps the decay products. If you get CO2 or
> Methane (subject to your prior discussion) escaping then the tree (or
> part of it) has "escaped" its landfill.

It's not a major problem. Burning landfill gas for energy is pretty
common, so you get a nice secondary usage, and without that we already
know that a decent percentage of the carbon simply never decays. It
depends on a *lot* of factors, like water content, but I've seen
landfill dig reports saying that quite possibly nearly %100 of the total
carbon ends up staying in place. It's guaranteed that at least some
will.

Carbon sequesteration schemes, like injection into oil fields, aren't
never 100% anyway.

- --
http://petertodd.org
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (GNU/Linux)

iD8DBQFGytJV3bMhDbI9xWQRAuxXAJ9CWnS/z0riA4wPQKafmykaXIMjQwCfYAjt
tTwk9V2L84p4Wp1qKhD0yVU=
=tA5j
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

2007\08\21@081603 by Peter Todd

picon face
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

On Tue, Aug 21, 2007 at 12:20:01PM +0100, peter green wrote:
{Quote hidden}

Looking into the future "not-west" countries have roughly two-thirds of
all proven oil reserves. But that figure is way off due to stuff like
the Canadian oil sands. Actually if there isn't major development of
stuff like artic oil/gas reserves Canada will become the next
Middle-East, with the second largest reserves after Saudi Arabia. Much
of that possible artic oil/gas could end up in Canada's claim to the
arctic as well.

Politically though I'd be surprised if much could be done to slow down
the tar sands developments, the politics of it in Alberta are
unstoppable. Arctic oil would be the exact same thing, as that could end
up in the domain of northern canada, where the politics are of course
controlled by the natives living there and they don't give a damn about
environmental issues in comparison to actually having a livelyhood in
the future.

Not that I've said anything about coal...


BTW My dad is an economist working in economic development for the
government up north... So take all the above with a pinch of seeing the
forest for the trees. Maybe all too literally, he's got a forestry
degree... :)

- --
http://petertodd.org
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (GNU/Linux)

iD8DBQFGytch3bMhDbI9xWQRAhjzAJwLg0SC1j/HToBeEl+eo0oxNp39VwCfaXq8
GTaGiHsLv1I8XPTJar4QrJg=
=U0ru
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

2007\08\21@084728 by wouter van ooijen

face picon face
> This is the big problem, taxing carbon emmision will simply
> drive carbon
> producing industries offshore where they can avoid the tax.

The same problem is faced by for instance patent law, but it does not
seem to cause too much problems. If all else fails there is still the
option of inport taxes.

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu



2007\08\21@095414 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Russell McMahon wrote:

>> When someone compares the effect of mere burning of some gas with the
>> whole infrastructure behind industrially creating some luxury food and
>> conveniently seems to forget to consider the resources necessary to
>> create the gas... What do /you/ think when you see this?
>
>> This is the third time I'm writing this, and it seems you just don't see
>> it.
>
> I assume that you are referring to similar comments on a related but
> different item on a prior occasion.

No. One on this thread (before the above cited one, cited by James's reply
to which you responded) and one a day or so before when Jinx (IIRC) posted
the link to that same article.

> In this case I think the man may have been "flying a kite" / "setting up
> a straw man" / trolling / ... BUT I'm also aware that reports of what
> someone said and did are often enough less than fully correct. In this
> case I didn't go past the initial article so I can't say whether his
> analyses are as shonky as others have suggested. They may be.

I don't know either. I commented on the claims as stated in the newspaper
article. That was the posted link.

> I note only in passing that it can be legitimate to compare incremental
> costs of two systems. For example, if one were to already possess a
> motor vehicle and a pair of legs then it may in some instances be
> reasonable to compare the incremental cost and cost benefit of using
> each of them to perform a given task - such as going down the road for
> fish and chips.

If this were what they had written about in the article, I wouldn't have
commented. But this is not what they wrote about...

They compared the CO2 released by burning the gas (assuming the gas comes
out of nowhere, is "just there") with the total CO2 released not by
digesting the 100g of beef but by putting it on the table (and digesting
it). A more realistic approach would be to include the CO2 released along
the way of bringing the gas to the table, so to speak; don't you think?
(That's now the 4th time I'm writing this :)

The second faux-pas is that they assumed that we only eat (in terms of food
energy) what we need. I don't think that this is anywhere near reality.

And the third blunder they made is the conclusion. Assuming that their
previous results showed in fact something, there is a number of conclusions
you could take from that: eat less meat, for example, is one. Drive less,
another one. But drive more? Give me a break. How is driving more reducing
anything?

(And before you say that they said "drive more, walk less, and therefore
eat less meat" -- I don't think I have to show you the fallacies in that
conclusion chain, right? :)


> If the argument was about owning or not owning a car at all

It is not. That's just a side aspect. You can ignore it (or consider it
irrelevant for the issue of the article), and there's still everything else
(what I wrote above and the preceding 3 times :).

But since this is the only argument you're bringing (funnily though, not
relevant to the article :) ...

> I suspect that a substantial majority of western "greenies"* who walk,
> bicycle or publicly transport, also own or use a motor vehicle when
> occasion seems to merit. In such cases the differential cost of use may
> well be a valid basis for comparison.

Now come on, we are engineers, aren't we? We calculate lifetime figures. A
car mostly gets "spent" when driven. The lifespan of a car is generally
measured in distance driven. While the distance driven is not the only
dependency, it's the major contributor. You talked about incremental cost.
If I drive 40Mm per year and the lifespan of my car is 400Mm at that rate
(and the roads I drive, my driving style, my maintenance efforts etc),
that's 10 years. Over my active lifetime of 60 years, that's 6 cars I go
through. If I drive 20Mm/y, that's probably 4 or so (considering that time
without distance also has a lifetime cost). All approximately, to
illustrate that in driving a car there is an incremental (differential)
cost involved with distance driven that goes far beyond gasoline, even if
you already own a car.

You may not see your car age with each km you drive, but it /does/. And you
know it... :)

> * I gain the impression that a number of people who comment adversely
> when I discuss environmental issues assume that I am anti-green. This is
> far from the case.

This is not about green or anti-green. (What is "green"? :) This is about
reason and reality.

I agree with you that many things are not as they appear, and when thinking
about resource usage and side effects of policies, we're pretty much
tapping in the dark -- still. But that article... it does a disservice to
any reader, I think. It annoys the ones who can reason about its claims,
and it misleads the ones who can't.

Gerhard

2007\08\21@145853 by James Newtons Massmind

face picon face

> I agree with you that many things are not as they appear, and
> when thinking about resource usage and side effects of
> policies, we're pretty much tapping in the dark -- still. But
> that article... it does a disservice to any reader, I think.
> It annoys the ones who can reason about its claims, and it
> misleads the ones who can't.


That was well enough said that it bears repeating....

> It annoys the ones who can reason about its claims, and it
> misleads the ones who can't.


---
James.


2007\08\21@194038 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Peter Todd wrote:

> The whole thing is a big waste of energy studying all these little
> effects.
>
> Tax carbon and be done with it. It's stupidly easy, [...]

This might be too stupidly easy :)

I don't think that "all these little effects" are a waste of energy to
study. I don't think that the carbon cycle is our only resource or
environment or health or happiness problem, even though it seems to get the
most media these days.

Gerhard

2007\08\21@203220 by Peter Todd

picon face
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

On Tue, Aug 21, 2007 at 08:40:20PM -0300, Gerhard Fiedler wrote:
{Quote hidden}

I'm really refering to the concept of externalities as a whole. If you
haven't heard of the idea, read up on it:

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

Polution in general is one big externality, and time and time again it's
been shown that free market systems are the best way to allocate
resources in the general case.

The whole point is that studying these effects, on a case by case basis,
is rediculously inefficient. It's bad for the exact same reasons that
Soviet-style communism, with it's attempts to figure out pricing via
top-down analysis, never worked.


But, there are obvious political realities to taxing externialites. Why
do you think the Kyoto agreement talks about carbon *credits*?

- --
http://petertodd.org
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (GNU/Linux)

iD8DBQFGy4Cq3bMhDbI9xWQRAlxLAJ41DtpV6rBXT2z6sry5wm6B9mkEtACfWm3U
/E3R2AIuR8MLzSyuPHh4gaI=
=2uon
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

2007\08\21@203222 by Peter Todd

picon face
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

On Tue, Aug 21, 2007 at 02:47:13PM +0200, wouter van ooijen wrote:
> > This is the big problem, taxing carbon emmision will simply
> > drive carbon
> > producing industries offshore where they can avoid the tax.
>
> The same problem is faced by for instance patent law, but it does not
> seem to cause too much problems. If all else fails there is still the
> option of inport taxes.

I half remember seeing a global energy usage graph once, showing that
most energy is used domestically for things like transportation and
heating/cooling. I can't seem to find anything like it with google.

But that gives some hope... If, say, 75% of energy is used locally then
taxing it will work out just fine, especially with how in the future
carbon energy production will shift to more western countries.


Speaking of tar sands like I said in another post... Look up tar
*shales*, turns out the US, in the long run, may be the biggest oil
producer again if oil prices rise enough. Even more difficult to exploit
than tar sands, but the amounts the us has are huge.

- --
http://petertodd.org
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (GNU/Linux)

iD8DBQFGy4Hv3bMhDbI9xWQRAsrJAJ0RqaQow+7kXrClm5iNGACDeEP5gQCgpt6C
aguRmEhT+sPg3s6qhQuL1rg=
=UF+n
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

2007\08\21@214058 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
face
> ... time and time again it's been shown that free market systems are
> the best way to allocate
>     resources in the general case. ...


Sounds like a troll to me :-)


                   Russell


2007\08\21@221033 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Peter Todd wrote:

> I'm really refering to the concept of externalities as a whole. If you
> haven't heard of the idea, read up on it:
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Externality

I've commented on this concept before :)

> The whole point is that studying these effects, on a case by case basis,
> is rediculously inefficient. It's bad for the exact same reasons that
> Soviet-style communism, with it's attempts to figure out pricing via
> top-down analysis, never worked.

You need to study a bit to know which ones are important, no? For example
CO2... why would you tax it, and how high?

Also, taxing is not free; it costs a lot of resources. There's not much of
a point in taxing something (with the goal of lowering resource usage) if
the taxing process consumes more resources than the original consumption.
Then, the relative weight of the taxes on different resource usages is an
important criterion in such a scenario, influencing where things will be
headed. Just finding out everything after the fact may not be that
desirable; coming up with policies with a bit of knowledge may be better
than just blindly slapping taxes on everything, throwing nickels for the
rate...

Gerhard

2007\08\22@014544 by Peter Todd

picon face
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

On Wed, Aug 22, 2007 at 01:16:08PM +1200, Russell McMahon wrote:
> > ... time and time again it's been shown that free market systems are
> > the best way to allocate
> >     resources in the general case. ...
>
>
> Sounds like a troll to me :-)

You're right, and a circular argument too.

Like I'm some young punk who think's 360 sounds awesome... :P

- --
http://petertodd.org
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (GNU/Linux)

iD8DBQFGy81h3bMhDbI9xWQRAsMvAKCOfunTiFf+QGxuwjSbzEQ0h06KRACfcT8A
nI3R/571PXttTPphsaTDJs0=
=f9Uu
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

More... (looser matching)
- Last day of these posts
- In 2007 , 2008 only
- Today
- New search...