[Coral-List] What can SCIENTISTS do??
dfenner at blueskynet.as
Sat Dec 22 16:09:45 EST 2007
Just a few comments on Australia and AIMS. Although Australia's
previous PM refused to sign Kyoto and Australia has an even slightly higher
CO2 output per person than the US, they have elected a new government, and
the new PM signed Kyoto immediately, as was his pledge. And no doubt was
very supportive in Bali of proposals to work to solve the problem. My
understanding is the new govt has a very different view of envirnonmental
issues than the previous govt, especially on global warming, and the
prospects for improvement are very good.
My memory was that AIMS started in north Townsville, in an
un-airconditioned set of sheds with metal roofs- there are pictures of
Charlie Veron looking at hundreds of corals in one of those sheds (I don't
know how he could stand the heat). The move to south of Townsville was
prompted by both the need for a descent facility and for clean saltwater
intake for the lab saltwater system, so a need to get away from the city of
Townsville. Charlie Veron has written a book on the history of AIMS, he was
there for most of it, perhaps he could set us straight. Just a few years
ago they reevaluated the question of moving AIMS back into Townsville. They
found it would cost $40 million, much more than the cost of the commuter
cars for the entire expected life of the facility, so they decided not to
move it back to Townsville.
Yes, there are a fleet of commuter cars that wouldn't be there if the
govt hadn't bought them. If they hadn't bought them, everybody would be
driving their own cars, one person per car, producing far more CO2. Its not
how many cars there are that counts, its how many cars are used to transport
people to work. Buses might improve that further, I have no idea how
practical that might be.
I remind folks that the average French person produces one third the
amount of CO2 as the average American or Australian. It can be done.
People are now saying that it would only take 0.1% of global GNP to solve
this problem. We spend more than that on stuff we throw away. If society
wants to solve this problem, it can be solved. Let's get cracking.
I was just in New Caledonia, a French area, where gas costs about $6 a
gallon, most of the cars are small, and the car ads tout fuel economy of
about 47 miles to the gallon. And people live well, Noumea looks like the
French Riviera. Prosperity and lower carbon emissions are not incompatible,
in spite of what big corporations think. But we might have to rethink some
cherished practices, like cheap fuel. Cheap fuel in the US is a massive
subsidy for wasteful use of fossil fuel (and for producing subsidised goods
like farm products that can undercut products from other countries where
producers have to pay more of the true costs of production.). Someone said
they thought the true total price of gas in the states was about $17 a
gallon, when you add in all the subsidies like the gigantic military costs
of keeping the shipping lanes to the Persian Gulf safe for oil tankers. All
paid for by the US taxpayer, not the fuel consumer. Let's quit subsidizing
the destruction of our planet- perverse subsidies are starting to come back
to bite us hard. Let those who want to waste and pollute pay the true total
costs of their actions, and you'll see people and corporations scramble to
reduce waste and pollution fast. This could even be done without a net cost
to the economy- you cut other taxes like income taxes in an amount equal to
the increase on taxes on fuel needed to pay for the government's costs to
get that fuel to the consumer. Revenue neutral. Big oil companies wouldn't
get all the extra money from the higher price of the fuel, the taxpayer
does, in the form of relief from other taxes. But nobody wants to bite the
bullet and consider real fundamental changes that will solve this problem.
We'd rather go right ahead blindly driving our gas guzzling SUV's and giant
pickups (and planet) off the cliff. Let the next generation pay for our
excesses, what do we care?
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