Thursday, December 3, 2009

Distractions to a Carbon Solution

The latest video from the Story of Stuff team slams the ETS as a failure to reduce carbon emissions and a capitalist ploy to get rich. But is it really all that bad? Below is my reply to the video which you can see on here.

Dear Annie

Distraction? It appears your video is a distraction. For while you proceed to highlight all the possible negatives of an ETS, your solution (after nine minutes of watching) is an ETS.

And you have to listen closely to hear the solution because it is only quickly mentioned. The alternatives of solid caps, strong laws, citizen action, and carbon fees – sounds like a well designed ETS to me.

In a way you are right, like anything, the ETS must be well designed to work, but you could have said that in 30 seconds. And that would have just been repeating the work of Garnaut and Stern.

You are wrong in saying no ETS has worked. The EU ETS reduced carbon emissions by 3.1 per cent in 2008 while global levels increased 1.9 per cent. This is not made clear in the video and nor in the notes where Gar Lipow shrugs it off.

The UNFCCC created the CDM to give the developing world the same opportunities to grow that the developed world had without the carbon emissions. It helps drive research and investment in low-carbon solutions! The only way to a sustainable future.

Sure label me as a business man; the story seems to have it in for anyone in the business of carbon. But you are really pointing the finger at the wrong person. Business would not exist if customers were not there to buy. Yes, it is consumers who demand the cheap goods created by using fossil fuels. This is recognised by Climate Justice Action groups’ initiatives in the notes.

The real truth is that we have to change our lifestyle to reduce our consumption of energy. Unfortunately for a lot of people that doesn’t happen until the price of energy rises. Once it costs more, we make an effort to stop our energy bills from rising by reducing our energy demand.

The world has been working on a global solution for 17 years. We are almost there. A framework to reduce carbon is better than nothing. Because nothing is what we have if we do not find a solution quickly.

Australia has gone from a possible target of 25 per cent reduction by 2020 under the Rudd-Turnbull discussions to potentially no agreement whatsoever. In response to the rejected Australian ETS John Connor, chief executive of the Climate Institute said “It’s difficult to see what option there is to avoid another 12 months or more of political squabbling and scaremongering…”; Sydney Morning Herald, December 3, 2009, page 8.

We should balance all the shortcomings of the ETS with the benefits of a global initiative to reduce carbon emissions.

In fact Annie, like me some people may question your motivation and involvement with fossil fuel businesses that benefit from no carbon action – because your distraction from a solution benefits them most!

Michael Salvatico

No comments:

Post a Comment