Joules and the Knowledge Economy
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Chapter Six - Land of the Lost Trace Gases-The Matter with Air.
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by Dave McArthur 17 Feb 2009
"These are extraordinary times demanding extraordinary measures." This is not true if you understand simple physics, as I attempt to explain in my submission to our parliament on the fatally flawed NZ Emissions Trading Scheme.
Our political and banking leaders are slowly waking up to the fact that we are experiencing something that has not occurred "in a century or more" - the wide-scale evaporation of “global wealth". Readers of my blogs over the years will know I accurately predicted years ago this implosion would be occurring on scale in 2008 when mineral oil would get to $US80 a barrel. Systems based on US20 would slam into the wall of the limits of this type of wealth growth. When people in these economies went to pick themselves up off the ground they would find it was not there. Their wealth was an illusion, a delusion.
All of which
occurred on cue in a way that is so horrifying and humbling that I
constantly have to pray for wisdom and strength.
The truth is there is nothing extraordinary about this - it is simply what happens when a civilisation confuses energy with one or two of the forms it can take. The collapse of credit systems and social order are just perfectly normal physics in action. Especially in Anglo Saxon countries we have based all our systems on a vast undervaluation of mineral oil/gas and now we are going to have to relearn the Conservation Principle of Energy if we are to survive. It means we just make a perfectly normal return back to basics of life or perish with our insane "Ponzi physics" economics.
Government in New Zealand is having a review of the Emissions Trading
Scheme. The ETS “Market” ethos has dominated our national policy for
two decades now. That policy is now in tatters and I have spent the last
couple of weeks writing a submission in which I attempt to explain why
ETS is bound to fail us and generate much more misery.
And while writing this submission first the Bulk-gen electricity system failed for the southern half of New Zealand's capital city (Wellington) then for the northern portion of our city, then for over half of Auckland city and to top it, today the system literally crashed when a 220kV line broke and fell onto a row of about 20 houses. This past week Aucklanders, and no doubt their air conditioners, had been struggling in a very humid atmosphere (100%) and temperatures at record levels. These failures are further reminders of how the new Electricity Market structure has gutted our electrical potential and our future prospects in the Post Cheap Oil/Gas Age.
The cartoon that
accompanies this blog is completely coincidental. It was first published
over five years ago. Our top educators and policy makers had argued to
me that in the education of our children of how our
atmosphere works there is no alternative to evoking images of the Earth’s
atmosphere as a greenhouse . Educators argued, “it is just a metaphor that
everyone understands” and policy makers and so-called “climate
scientists” argued “We have to use the metaphor because it is what
the media uses” while journalists argued, “We use it because
scientists use it”.
I sent the cartoon character Bonus Joules off to explore the
atmosphere and prove them wrong. I was becoming convinced that the
belief system of the above folk are not underpinned by science and their adherence to the
“greenhouse” model is just a convenient and unsustainable religion
to justify their high rate of destruction of Earth’s resources. My
hypothesis has had indirect support since, for instance, by
Frameworks Institute research in 2006.
Here is the draft submission to the Parliamentary review of the ETS:
Submission by Dave McArthur to the New Zealand Parliament ary Review of the
Emissions Trading Scheme. February 2009
ary Review of the Emissions Trading Scheme. February 2009
Please note I would like to make a personal submission.
My submission has particular relevance to the following considerations:
My name is Dave McArthur and I am a school janitor. I welcome this
review of the Emissions Trading Scheme as I believe it is fatally
I am making this submission because I have had a deep concern for over three
decades that our current use of our carbon, electrical and solar
potentials is so flawed that we are at high risk of destroying the
atmospheric, soil, ocean, mineral and other balances that sustain us. My
concern is such that, for instance, I have devoted perhaps as much as
150,000 largely unpaid hours this century to researching the science
underpinning the communication of climate processes and strategies for
conserving the climate balances that sustain us. If I had been paid even
$20 an hour for this work I
would be at least $200,000 wealthier i.e. my income would have been far
more than doubled this century. I might even have retained an extra
dozen teeth in my head.
I mention this to illustrate the critical importance I place on our need for
the communication of climate processes and strategies to be underpinned
My analysis is that if our current policies and behaviour persists then a
catastrophic collapse of our global systems and consequent war will occur soon –perhaps
as early as 2013. As early as 2004 I was predicting mineral oil prices
would be close to $US80 in 2008 and our credit systems would be
imploding as a result. This implosion is now occurring with a speed that few could
The fundamental reason behind this collapse is our abuse of our carbon,
electrical and solar potentials. Though these are profoundly linked at
every level I will largely restrict my self to discussion of our carbon
In brief my conclusion from my research is that there is a distinct lack of
science underpinning current communication and strategies of carbon use.
Indeed my analysis of our use of symbols reveals that our behaviour is
characterised by extensive denial of change and our roles as stewards
within change. This denial is manifest as very considerable dissonance
and confusion. The terms of reference of this review exhibit this
confusion and make it almost impossible to make a sane submission within
the review framework.
An quick example of this confusion is the statement:
“examine the relative merits of an
emissions trading scheme or a tax on carbon or energy as a New Zealand
response to climate change”
If carbon is not energy then what is it? Do we live in parallel universes – one of carbon and one of energy? Surely it is clear that the above statement is a gross violation of the great Principles of Energy and is complete non-science.
And how can one tax energy – the potential
of the universe(s) to exist? Or more pertinent – why would anyone even
contemplate taxing energy? And even if this impossible notion were not
so what would the point be?
Similarly the concept of a tax on carbon is
pointless except for those few who might benefit short term from such a
tax or “carbon trade”. It could well be our future lies in more
intelligent uses of our carbon potential e.g. for data storage and
transmission thereby reducing Trace Warmer Gas emissions such as carbon
dioxide a thousand fold while conserving remaining mineral oil/gas
Surely it makes far more sense to give a
value to every type of carbon form according to its perceived potential
to sustain human existence?
At first glance it may seem that I am being frivolous when I appear to make nonsense of these Review terms. Yes, there is a very funny aspect to them. We all laugh with King Canute (Knud) the Great that his silly flattering courtiers thought he could hold back the tides
and similarly it is exponentially more hilarious to observe
humans thinking they can circumvent and transcend the Conservation
Principle of Energy - as this review framework does.
My observation is also based in deep
psychology and in this “energy or carbon” example the Review’s use
of symbols represents one of the most fatal flaws a society can make,
which is to confuse energy with one of the forms it can be manifest in.
Great civilisations that committed this error have prematurely collapsed
in the past because they forgot simple physics.
Similarly the notion that we have to
“combat climate change” reveals great confusion and denial of change
Climate change is a healthy life-enabling process. It is a process that cannot be “combated”, “beaten” - or “stopped” as the likes of Greenpeace militate for.
A healthier response is to accept the fact that every action of humans affects
climate processes to some degree and it is more helpful that we accept
our role as stewards and we act to live in harmony with the climate
processes and balances that sustain us.
These comments about the Review framework
are relevant if members are to understand the psychology of the ETS and
the great risks of that psychology.
Here is a brief summary of my insights.
Issue – Our stewardship of carbon flows and balances.
Carbon is a common element in the universe
and is found in all living forms. We
are Carbon Beings and exist amidst and as part of a great carbon flux
and flow. In this context our activities can never be neutral and each
time we deny our roles as stewards of the balances of this flow we put
ourselves, especially our children at greater risk. (Witness our fossil
fuel wars and the growing billions of people on the brink of
starvation.) We also deny ourselves possibilities of greater wealth.
(Witness our failure to develop sustainable farming practices and how 5
out of every 6 calories required to put a calorie of food on the plate
of the average 6.7 billion human beings comes from mineral oil/gas now.)
The psychology of carbon
Over two and a half thousand years ago
students of psychology clearly identified the capacity of humans to
generate very sophisticated mechanisms for denying change and our roles
as stewards within change. They also clearly identified this denial as a
very high-risk activity and our greatest source of misery. This insight
can be detected at the heart of our most sustainable belief systems
All human beings have a psychopathic element
in their psyche, some more so than others. This is the element that has
no sense of morality/stewardship/love. It is characterised and manifest
as callousness, amorality and a lack of values. Collectively it is
manifest as belief systems in which the individual divests stewardship
to abstruse social constructs controlled by others.
An example I know well, being born and bred
a Roman Catholic, is the construct of penance whereby the individual
essentially divests stewardship to the Church. The Church is central to
the individual rather than the physics of the universe. Thus we have the
phenomenon historically whereby the Church can “absolve” or
individual of their “sins” as long as the individual pledges
allegiance to the Church and pays their tithe.
A contemporary example is the social
construct of “Market driven solutions” which now dominates our New
Zealand culture. In this situation the individual divests stewardship to
this psychopathic entity called “The Markets”. The individual puts
no value on resources and allows the price determined by “The
Markets” to drive their behaviour. Again it nullifies the need for a
relationship between the price and the physics of the value of the
History is now revealing the fatal flaws in
this behaviour and it was estimated at the recent meeting in Davos that
global wealth has shrunk by 40% in the last year or so. Where has this
wealth gone? Basically we are breathing it as carbon pollution now. We
have burned it.
The reality of “The Market” is that it
is a psychological mechanism that is devoid of values. It can put a
price on things but these bear no relationship to the value of them and
their role in sustaining human life.
An example is the trade of a particular
carbon form, mineral oil, which, you will note, “The Market” defines as
“energy”. We know at the primal level of our beings that energy is
as bounteous as the universe(s) and thus we use mineral oil as though it
is an almost limitless resource. Each 42 gallon barrel contains the
equivalent of nearly 25000 man-hours of labour and in recent decades
“the Market” has generated a price of about $US25 a barrel on this
extraordinary resource. Over 6 billion people are now heavily dependent
on credit and other systems based on this valuation – a valuation that
amounts to about 0.1 cent per man-hour of labour.
It is interesting to note that now the price
is $US40 the wealth generated by the systems based on $US25 is reduced
25/40 to 62.5% - which is remarkably similar to the Davos estimate.
It is also interesting to observe that
Market prices have fluctuated over 400% in the last year though the rate
of destruction of our mineral oil reserves has dropped by only 0.3% if I
heard Bloomberg News correctly.
The physics of the situation is that mineral oil is a very rare, limited and effectively non-renewable resource. It may only exist on Earth and similar new reserves may never occur on the planet again.
Stewards of it act with the knowledge that its value is many thousands
of dollars a barrel, once burned it is gone probably for the life of
this planet and it must be used with great care and moderation if
humanity is to transition successfully beyond the Cheap Mineral Oil/Gas
All systems based on vast undervaluations of
mineral oil and gas can expect to generate increasing wealth depletion.
For instance if we persist with our current systems and behaviour and
the price becomes $US100 a barrel I predict New Zealand’s wealth will be
25% of what it was when it was $US25 a barrel.
If instead we accept our roles as stewards
of carbon forms, sustain our sovereignty, remove the current massive
subsidies devoted to maintaining wasteful uses of carbon forms such as
mineral oil then we need not experience this wealth loss.
Our society’s equation of mineral oil with
energy is a classic illustration of our capacity to develop very
sophisticated psychological and social mechanisms of denial of change
(The Conservation Principle of Energy) and stewardship. Most New
Zealanders believe it their God-given right to drive cars and fly in
jets – even if they profess not to believe in God! Many believe they
can “neutralise” and “offset” their destruction of vital carbon
forms by virtue of the fact they are very important people and they
contemplate planting a tree or two. Physics is unforgiving of such
behaviour - especially in our bankers, politicians, media, economists and other
The Origins of “Carbon
Trading” or the Emissions Trading Scheme.
As discussed, the psychology of Carbon
Trading in the form of the ETS is an ancient and a high-risk element of
the human condition. The ETS had its modern genesis in the 1990s with
the now infamous Enron.
Enron had considerable mineral gas reserves
but few coal reserves and Enron executives realised they could profit
from a carbon trading scheme which put their coal burning competitors at
a relative disadvantage. They were also developing a company policy in
which they expected the vast bulk of their earnings would soon come from
profits generated from their control of the trade of commodities.
While it is
impossible to categorically identify the genesis of such a sophisticated
trading system it is certain is that Enron provided the first detailed
working model for the ETS. Enron’s trades of other commodities using
its global trading system (Enron Online http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enron#EnronOnline)
were exemplars of how carbon trading would work. In this system the
fundamental notion underpinning carbon trading is that it does not
matter what is traded or why it is traded or what impact the trade has.
The prime driver of the activity is maximising the number and quantity
of trades. The system is devoid of stewardship and morality. “The
Carbon trading is
simply derivatives trading by another name. And we are all learning now,
for example, that the trading of mortgage derivatives destroys wealth on a great
scale and leads to greater foreclosures and homelessness.
We use carbon in every major aspect of our lives – food, shelter, transport, keeping warm/cool etc. Enron executives realised that carbon trading offered them the prospect of comprehensive control of all our trades and most of human activity. The wealth destruction potential of the ETS is enormous.
The scenes in the
movie Enron the Smartest Guys in the Room offer valuable insight
into the psychopathy of their culture. We hear the glee with which its
traders played the US Electricity Market and stressed the entire
Californian main grid to the point of near collapse in 2000-2001. It is
apparent that the effects of their trades of their fellow human beings are inconsequential to the
traders. All that matters for them is that the maximum short-term profit
is made from the trades.
Note: The Enron
Online systems of commodity derivatives trading were extremely expensive
to establish and were among the reasons that Enron collapsed in 2001,
resulting in the extensive and continuing destruction of the wealth of
its staff, its small shareholders and the communities it served
–especially in California. Indeed Enron is a major contributor to the
reality that the State of California is now technically bankrupt and
people there are now subject to large–scale lay-offs and home
New Zealand has
been similarly impacted. We were subject to similar Electricity Industry
Reforms in the 1990s as those that enabled Enron. It is no mistake, for
instance, that the largest “energy trader” in New Zealand collapsed
within weeks of Enron. Both OnEnergy and Enron had the same architects
– namely the likes of the now equally infamous Arthur Andersen and Co.
The costs of the collapse of New Zealand’s largest self-styled
“energy company” are beginning to mount exponentially in the regions
most impacted such as Wellington.
The state of New Zealand's media and academia is so derelict I
cannot easily link to OnEnergy because the web has been largely stripped
of easy reference to the corporation's existence!
The state of New Zealand's media and academia is so derelict I cannot easily link to OnEnergy because the web has been largely stripped of easy reference to the corporation's existence!
Example of New Zealand's promotion of ETS ethos.
This history is
relevant because New Zealand has been at the forefront in promoting a
global Emissions Trading ethos, a strategy that has a common genesis
with and mirrors our contemporary Electricity trading ethos. At the same
time New Zealand worked to suppress the development of direct Emission tax policies
internationally. This is well documented. For instance as the British
Deputy Prime Minister said in 2001.
“Simon Upton, your
Environment Minister in the previous National Party Administration, was
a very active contributor to the historic agreement at Kyoto. He was a
voice of moderation and sense in what became known as the Umbrella
Group, and the UK and New Zealand worked closely together in forging
consensus between the European Union and our other OECD colleagues.”
I have read quotes
from one of President Clinton's senior personal negotiators at Kyoto stating that New
Zealand and Simon Upton were “pivotal” in the USA achieving its aims
Enron and US
Government documents detail how Enron worked directly and successfully
with Al Gore and Bill Clinton (CEO Ken Lay was a member of Clinton’s
Council on Sustainable Development). He also worked with, Sen Joseph Lieberman and also
so-called Green groups such as the Environmental Defence Fund, The
Nature Conservancy, et al to shape “climate policy”, especially
prior to Kyoto.
Here is a sample
Enron quote after Kyoto:
Trading Strategy and Sustainable Innovation.
I submit the
Ministry for the Environment New Zealand’s “greenhouse
gas inventory" 1990-2005 published in 2007. It is probably an
understatement of our emissions. For instance one of the fastest growing
sources of Warmer Trace Gas emissions is our use of jet trave. Also our
per capita dependence on shipping is high. These are not included.
I also submit the UN Climate Change Secretariat figures suggesting New Zealand’s emissions between 1990 and 2006 to be the sixth worst of the world’s industrialised nations.
Here is a
link to per capita emissions that illustrates our very high rate.
Our rapid increase in Warmer Trace Gas emissions per capita is no mistake. The ETS ethos has pervaded almost every sector of New Zealand society for over 15 years now. In the process it has:
* destroyed our sense of
I will provide
brief examples of each impact:
* Destruction of our stewardship ethos
Tree planting has made a drop of historic proportions this last decade with many groups stating their decision not to plant was determined by ETS considerations. They have been delaying investment so they could maximise their "carbon trades" in the ETS.
Note: The tree planting that did occur was continued by those
not influenced by such considerations and whose prime driver was their
sense of stewardship and consequent desire to conserve trees,
soils, fresh water and the atmosphere.
I discussed the
insane price variations of mineral oil. The recent fluctuations in
prices of another carbon form (milk) revealed very clearly our national
lack of stewardship. In response to "market signals" forests,
including Government owned forests, were ripped out and the land converted
The ETS teaches our children that they need not be stewards of their actions. It teaches that The Carbon Trading Market will care for them. The ETS allows them to “neutralise”, “offset” and “trade away” the consequences of their activity and they need have little or no consideration of physics.
* Suppression of Sustainable Innovation
New Zealand is
experiencing increasing divergence from the global trend to more
efficient dwelling, transportation and resource generation systems. Our
adoption of “market driven solutions” has resulted in our dwelling
stock now being some of the most wasteful of our resources of any in the
industrialised countries. This waste has proven significant health,
education and other costs. For instance http://www.otago.ac.nz/research/he_kitenga/pdfs/woodentents.pdf
I describe our dwellings as "thermal shacks".
1980-90s Electricity Reforms New Zealand communities were at the global forefront in developing
intelligent uses of our electrical potential. We now generate little
sustainable innovation in warming, cooling, load control and distributed
generation technologies. As a result we now have a profoundly stressed and
inefficient national electrical grid and we have to continually increase
our debt levels to import technology.
of innovation persist but the overall picture is one where “The
Market” stifles the development of distributed generation of resources.
The Electricity Industry Reform legislation has stripped communities of
their democratic right to own their local electrical grid AND use its intelligence. This is
reflected, for instance, in our increased reliance on Bulk-generated
electrical products and the large scale increases in Warmer Trace Gas
emissions from our dependence on fossil fuel burning plant to generate
I have witnessed the NZ Government handing out large carbon credits to corporations under “business as usual” conditions as they withheld innovation until they received the subsidies. On one occasion I asked officials what price of mineral oil constituted “business as usual”. They told me their calculation was $US19 a barrel. That day, the day the credits were announced, the price was over $US30. In Europe it is estimated citizens paid Bulk-gen electricity corporations 5 billion Euros in the first phase 2005-2007 and yet the sector's carbon emissions into the atmosphere increased. Few even got near their "carbon cap" levels
The ETS stifles innovation by rewarding the few people who dominate the trading patterns and prevents communities making intelligent use of local wealth distribution systems to generate appropriate and sustainable technologies and practices in their region.
The ETS regime promotes inequity and injustice.
Individuals who fly in jets destroy more mineral oil resources in an
hour than many people destroy in a year and, in some cases a lifetime.
The ETS enables them to “neutralise” their sense of stewardship of
this destruction by promising to “offset” negative impacts of their
behaviour by for instance investments in tree planting. This is
for instance, in the displacement of people from their traditional
forest areas and destroys their customary profound capacity to
conserve carbon balances. For example the continent of Africa is
responsible for just 4% of human generated carbon emissions and yet its
people are the ones who are being targeted by offsetting schemes used to
buy the ease of mind of the rich Europeans/Americans/Oceania elites who
burn hundreds of times as much fossil fuel per capita.
In New Zealand
already meat eaters, jet travellers and car users receive huge subsidies with a
disproportionate amount coming from those who do not indulge in this
behaviour. For instance it is estimated that car users receive at least
four dollars for every dollar they pay at the petrol pump with non
car-users paying for car parking, auto induced death and injury,
military costs, excess mortgage interest rates etc. Much of the
cost is being paid by our young people, many of whom are now born into
relative poverty, student loans and have diminishing prospects of owning
their own home.
(Thought: Witness the historic
halving of our road death rate in 2008 last year when global mineral oil was
priced at or over $US100 If we
put a life at the official $NZ2.6 million then in just two months we saved $NZ50
million – enough to install, in round figures, 10,000 solar water
heaters, which can generate the equivalent of 50 million kWh and reduce
CO2 emissions by 50,000 tons of carbon dioxide using conventional coal
burning Bulk-generation plant annually.)
secretive Meridian-Comalco deal, in which nearly half our nation’s
hydro-electrical product is committed to this single corporation,
illustrates the complete lack of public accountability of the ETS and
its inequity. Households will be penalised with higher Bulk-gen
electricity bills to pay the carbon debts incurred by our Bulk-gen
The ETS works
precisely to reinforce and justify this wasteful and destructive use of
carbon by undervaluing mineral oil. It enhances and obscures the vast subsidies and
costs involved in our current system.
The ETS promotes existing unsustainable behaviour by providing social and psychological mechanisms for denial of that the impacts of their unsustainable uses of resources. It is common to see statements such as this: “The (Emissions Trading) scheme sets limits on greenhouse gases, penalises those who emit clouds of them and rewards those who don't." (Sunday Star Times Nov 23 2008.) This statement lacks science and so far the overwhelming evidence of this and similar derivatives trading schemes is that the ETS tends to work to punish those who conserve carbon resources and rewards those who most pollute the atmosphere.
destruction of science
Perhaps the most
destructive impact of the ETS ethos is on levels of science in New
Zealand. It affects the wider population and is having a chronic affect
on our children. As mentioned the ethos is born of our capacity for
psychopathy and is a manifestation of our capacity for denial of change
and stewardship. This denial is manifest in our use of key symbols –
symbols that frame our worldview and ultimate responses to the universe.
With the growth
of the ETS ethos we have seen the growth of a whole PR industry
surrounding it, particularly in our education system. It extends into
our main media, political parties, a whole raft of Government
institutions under of the umbrella of the NZ Ministry for the
Environment/ Climate Change Office and NGOS such as Greenpeace, WWF, Royal Forest and Bird Protection society, the Royal Society etc.
At a general
level this ethos is characterised by the demonisation of “carbon”
and “climate change” and the denial of fundamental scientific
principles. We are exhorted to “decarbonise”, “become zero
carbon”, “become post carbon”, “fight climate change”, “stop
climate change” etc as part of a drive to convince us to adopt the
Emissions Trading Scheme.
are very funny if one has a basic knowledge of physics. They are also
very tragic because many very caring people become their own worst
agents in the process. They promote the destruction of science and the
balances of the atmosphere they care for. In the most tragic cases they deplore carbon trading
even as they endorse it. They call for change even as they deny it. They
despair at the public ignorance and dissonance of climate issues even as
they reflect and project it.
I will attempt to summarise the destructive impact of many
hundreds of articles and documents I have studied with a few examples from this
burgeoning literature. Understand that these symbol uses resonate with
and emanate from our deepest primal beings, reflecting the dissonance
between our actions and our talk:
Climate change = bad
Climate change is the natural order and enables life forms to exist.
Human-induced or anthropogenic climate change can abort the existence of
the vast majority of Homo sapiens. If we abuse the climate balances that
sustain us then we lose them.
both the climate and change symbols associated with
malevolence. Human activity is dissociated from the equation.
Global warming = bad
Global warming is the nature order and enables life forms to exist. It
is the relatively constant process whereby planet Earth is warmed at
approximately the same rate that it cools, thereby leading to relatively
constant net temperatures.
It is possible
human activities can induce a thermal build-up or Human-induced Global
Warm-Up that could abort the civilised existence of Homo sapiens. If we abuse the
thermal balances that sustain us then we risk losing them.
When warming =
cooling the net temperature remains unchanged.
cooling the net temperature changes.
Global warming is associated with malevolence. Here Human
activity is dissociated from equation. The equation Warming=
Warming Up (unchanged temperature = changed temperature) represents
a profound destruction of the science in our understanding of universal
thermodynamics and reveals a deep denial of change/stewardship.
Earth’s atmosphere =greenhouse / Earth =
Earth’s atmosphere = Earth’s atmosphere. It is characterised by the
powerful capacity of its gases to transfer thermal energy around
Earth’s surface by convection, thus moderating temperature extremes.
In particular a
subset of the trace gases in our atmosphere (in total constituting less
than 0.1% of the atmosphere) retain the bulk of the thermal energy in
our atmosphere. Their molecules are much warmer that most of the
molecules in our atmosphere and they act as warmers. Without the
existence of these Warmer Trace Gases the average temperature of
Earth’s surface would be 33ºC cooler and life, as we know it could
not exist on the planet. If additional thermal energy is retained in the
atmosphere it will tend to become more turbulent, resulting in the
increased risk of more extreme weather events.
A greenhouse is a
human construction that primarily works by suppressing the powerful
capacity of the atmosphere for thermal convection.
The advent of the equation Earth’s
atmosphere =greenhouse coincides with the Industrial
Revolution which in turn coincides with a rapid increased in the
combustion of carbon forms by humans. Our primal associations of
greenhouses are of the human dominion over processes, suppressed
convection and transcendence of seasons/weather. This use of the greenhouse
symbol in the above equation reveals a denial of the organic nature of
the thermodynamics of our atmosphere. In other words, it represents a
denial of our role of stewards within change.
greenhouse gases = carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and
A subset of the trace gases in our atmosphere has a powerful capacity to
retain thermal energy. As a result they are significantly warmer than
99.9% of the gases in the atmosphere and act as warmers of Earth's
surface. In their
absence the average temperature of Earth’s surface would be 33C cooler
and life, as we know it, could not exist on the planet. Comprehension of
their power involves the communication of the knowledge of their trace
qualities and their powers of leverage of thermal change.
The evocation of the greenhouse symbol generates associations
with the experience of greenhouses (see above) and thus learning
activities that associate the atmosphere with human constructs such as
the atmosphere = greenhouse/ closed window
car/room/ bottle etc and diverts from learning activities that
communicate Trace Theory (the comprehension of tiny proportions),
Leverage and Exponential theory. Hence the common lack of awareness of
the role of the Warmer Trace Gases –and very topical – our
devastating lack of comprehension of compounding interest rates and debt
Note: The use of
symbols such as atmospheric thermal
effect = greenhouse effect and Human-induced
thermal build-up = enhanced greenhouse effect evidence
similar denials of change/stewardship.
(The dominant/major) greenhouse gases =
carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.
Warmer Trace Gas that retains the bulk of the thermal energy in the
atmosphere is water vapour. It is impossible to put a simple figure on
its contribution to the thermal capacity of the atmosphere and estimates
vary from 35% to over 80%.
It is very potent
in that it changes state relatively fast –the average cycle of water
vapour in and out of the atmosphere is a matter of days whereas the
cycle of gases such as carbon dioxide is many decades long. The transformation
of water vapour into clouds, rain, snow, etc means it is capable of being
an agent of very rapid change – both as a very potent warmer and a
very potent cooler cooler.
The roles of
other Warmer Trace Gases cannot be understood without comprehension of
the prime role of water vapour in the atmospheric flows and balances
that enable life on Earth.
Denial: Human Beings are over 50% water and we are exquisitely conscious of variations in the water content of the atmosphere.
It is a major form of denial of
change to omit water vapour from the discussion of atmospheric
processes. It is now common to see Environmental Education materials in
our schools that make this omission. Then our well-meaning educators
wring their hands and wonder why they cannot communicate how the atmosphere works. What they are witnessing is their own lack
of science and their own denial of change reflected back from their
ETS ethos: ETS= good e.g.
The evidence supporting this statement is practically non-existent. The
bulk of the evidence from similar derivatives trading schemes is that
they promote inequity and destroy wealth. In particular they destroy
wealth by facilitating and promoting the wasteful and polluting
combustion of vital carbon forms such as mineral oil/gas, coal, corn
statement ETS= good is in denial of
our sophisticated capacity for denial of change/stewardship. It fails to
reflect the reality that the ETS is a product of our capacity for
psychopathy and is a manifestation of our lack of stewardship for
our use of our carbon potential with its probable negative impact on the
lives of our children.
On a general note: it is helpful to understand that these symbol uses are part of a much wider syndrome of symbol use in which our most potent symbols such as energy, power and electricity have been redefined by a handful of merchant bankers as the commodities they can control and trade. I surmise if they can find ways of trading water vapour so that they can extract the wealth out of communities around the world then suddenly it too would be defined as a menace to humanity and a movement will emerge to “Dry up water vapour now!”.
It is this
profound lack of science in countries like New Zealand, the USA,
Britain, Australia, Canada and others of the ETS ethos that makes us
such a threat to humanity and a source of great misery. I predict if our
countries continue our current uses of our carbon potential we
will go the way of Iceland.
The state of science is born of our capacity for compassion. The ETS ethos is devoid of this quality and thus it works to actively destroy science at every level.
The Review Framework
As mentioned I
have difficulty making sense of some of the Review questions and I find
it difficult to offer what I believe is a sane response.
I will briefly address its questions concerning risk analysis.
I believe no one can accurately predict medium-long term
changes in our climate. Something happened about 7-8 thousand years ago
that slowed the normal cooling down cycle that began about 11000 years
ago. About that time humans began deforestation and growing rice in
paddy fields on scale. I acknowledge the possibility of a correlation.
If this is true we are very stupid indeed to burn off our precious
fossil fuel reserves in a couple of generations as we are doing!
We have a vast ignorance of the role of water vapour and the risks involved. As I have mentioned, the literature in our schools and media minimises and even excludes the role of water vapour.
The literature of our leading climate experts
seems dissonant and in denial. For instance they argue that as human
activities have little direct impact on water vapour we should
concentrate on the gases that drive changes in water vapour circulation
– which usefully supports the ETS ethos of carbon trading.
There is little
science underpinning this focus and the vast amount of evidence is that
water vapour is the primary driver of our weather and is the most direct
driver of our behaviour. This should be reflected in the literature. I
hypothesise that then people will more understand how increasing the thermal capacity of
the atmosphere can lead to more extreme weather events such as droughts
and floods – a phenomenon we are painfully aware of, for as I write
half of Queensland is under flood waters and Victoria is burning in
record high temperatures.
There is growing
evidence that solar activity is implicated in water vapour
transformations and there is risk factor.
We do know enhanced solar activity can disrupt and even destroy our
modern industrial scale electrical grids and satellites. I suspect they
have not had a real test yet and must be considered very high-risk
activities. Our use of more sustainable uses of carbon would
significantly reduce those aggregated risks. Examples of risk reducing investment include self-sustaining
dwellings (including distributed generation of electrical products), increased localised food production and
community owned broadband networks.
countries like New Zealand that destroy more than 5 barrels of mineral
oil a day per 1000 people put humanity at great risk - which is about
what the rate the Chinese people destroy it. (We destroy about 38
barrels/1000). The risk comes from the combined affects of unsustainable
uses of carbon in our agriculture, trade, transport and daily lives.
Fundamentally the risk derives from our dangerous undervaluing of the
vital carbon forms. This abuse will be compounded by the fuller adoption
of the ETS ethos, which I hope I have illustrated, is a fatally flawed
With regards to
the question of trade risks it is essential that we as nation acknowledge and reject such
psychopathy. It is essential to avoid entering
into any international Emissions Trading Scheme if we wish to avoid
contributing the current downward spiral into poverty and war.
Ultimately the truth is out and the world will judge us for how we
conserve vital carbon balances. The ETS puts at risk both our civil reputation
and our sovereignty in the medium-long term.
response is for individuals and their communities to place a high value
on these vital carbon forms –especially mineral oil and gas. British
Colombia provides a carbon tax model for us.
In the short term
we may seem disadvantaged compared to nations that don’t correctly
value carbon forms. However as
we witness the US and the UK economies at risk of falling into critical
decline (the words of their leaders) it is now clear it is their
under-valuation of vital carbon resources has sent them bankrupt. In
particular their huge subsidies to the car, trucking, jet and
Bulk-generated electricity industries have resulted in unsustainable
uses of carbon and the debts will soon have to be paid. Their seeming
success was a giant Ponzi scheme mirage that makes Bernie Maddof’s
scheme a momentary blip of madness on the economic scene by comparison.
The sane response
is re-institute science in our culture so people can understand their
roles as stewards of our carbon, electrical and solar potentials and can
comprehend trace, exponential and leverage theory. Thus they can grasp
the severe risks involved of our current use of these potentials.
the economies that thrive will be those that conserve and develop their
solar potential in biomass and dwelling use, decentralize and
democratize the production of electrical products and develop
intelligent electrically driven transport systems, invest in community
controlled broadband/knowledge structures and remove all subsidies off
fossil fuel combustion. Norway is an example of the latter strategy and
though it has the largest mineral oil reserves in the world per capita
it also values petrol the most in the industrialized countries.
Each of these ideas is a submission in itself and I will conclude with a few quotes that summarise my position about the folly of the ETS and the wisdom of intelligent uses of valuation/taxation schemes.
Quote 1 -
“If we don’t do anything, we are going to be
importing 75 percent of our oil and I promise you, we are going to be
paying $200 to $300 a barrel for it” in 10 years.
A gas tax reduces gasoline demand and keeps dollars in
America, dries up funding for terrorists and reduces the clout of Iran
and Russia at a time when Obama will be looking for greater leverage
against petro-dictatorships. It reduces our current account deficit,
which strengthens the dollar. It reduces U.S. carbon emissions driving
climate change, which means more global respect for America. And it
increases the incentives for U.S. innovation on clean cars and
Which one of these
things wouldn’t we want? A gasoline tax “is not just win-win; it’s
win, win, win, win, win,” says the Johns Hopkins author and foreign
policy specialist Michael Mandelbaum. “A gasoline tax would do more
for American prosperity and strength than any other measure Obama could
Quote 4 –perhaps paraphrased
Chair in Public Policy and is the Director of the Institute of Policy
Studies, Victoria University, Wellington)
“I attended a
climate conference in Christchurch (NZ) last week attended by 600
delegates, some from overseas. I asked for a show of hands of those who
had done a carbon footprint analysis of their attendance. Just one hand
went up.” 2008
(Note: In 2008
the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education bi-annual
conference was held in Dunedin. This was attended by our most prominent
Environmental Educators with speakers from around the planet. Despite
requests for a carbon footprint analysis to be performed the Conference
was unable to present one.)
A huge new market designed to solve global warming seems
doomed to failure
We are witnessing the birth of the
greatest and most complex commodity market the world has seen…
The incongruity of proposing that a brand new financial market might be able
to save the world – when faith in every other kind of financial market
is tumbling – needs no underlining. But there are plenty of other
reasons for scepticism, too.
Hansen, director of the Nasa God-dard space centre and a renowned critic
of global measures to combat climate change, believes carbon trading is
a “terrible” approach. “Carbon trading does not solve the emission
problem at all,” he says. “In fact it gives industries a way to
avoid reducing their emissions. The rules are too complex and it creates
an entirely new class of lobbyists and fat cats.”…
EPA's first administrator is bullish on
Obama, but not cap-and-trade
29 Dec 2008
Bill Ruckelshaus has been advising
President-elect Obama's transition team on environmental policy, and
it's no wonder: He knows a fair bit about how to organize the
Environmental Protection Agency.
…"Essentially, what we're doing is
shouldering all the payment responsibility off on our children. We can't
do that forever."
Again I thank this Government for this review of the ETS. My hope is that it avoids our country down a path to certain misery.
In response to the question of
the need for additional regulatory interventions I suggest there are two
other critical actions required besides
the intelligent use of tax/valuation systems are required if we are to
avoid this path to misery.
We require a Ministry devoted to the
conserving our solar potential and maximising our intelligent use of it. Ancient Greek laws and 6th
Century Justinian Code can provide models of the "solar
rights" of individuals.
The fascist NZ Electricity Industry
Reform legislation must be repealed. Those who have had the opportunity
to experience first-hand the electricity trading scheme imposed on New
Zealand in the 1980’s-90s know the escalating costs of the Reforms
will have cost the nation hundreds of billions of dollars within the
next decade or so. We experienced the freehold local electrical grids
become gutted of their potential and loaded with debt, Bulk-gen
electricity prices and the general debt of households have already
doubled this decade and now the country is poorly positioned to transition beyond
the Cheap Mineral Oil/Gas Age now that it is over. I hope this
Administration has the integrity and fortitude to repeal this
legislation and allow democratically elected community groups to own and
use their electrical potential in intelligent ways again.
Labour Party leaders this last
decade have pleaded to me in a range of ways that they are helpless to
amend the Electricity Industry Reform legislation. This begs
Ruckelshaus's question: What is the proper role of Government?
The ETS and the Electricity Reform
legislation are born of the same psychopathic ethos. It has the same
architecture and same architects. CEO of Enron, Ken Lay – or “Kenny
Boy” as George W Bush fondly called him, was instrumental in getting
rid of James Watson, the founding chair of the IPCC because he dared to point
out that the USA was per capita the world’s major contributor to risky
carbon emissions and must act to reduce them. Ken rang George Bush and
told him they had to get rid of James Watson because “he is
badmouthing America”. State Department officials were sent around the
world to convince so-called Third World countries the chair should be
occupied by a person from one of them because their regions were most likely to be influenced
by any human-induced thermal build-up of the atmosphere. Thus James
Watson was dumped as chair. Such is the politics of the ETS.
Members of the Review have a
choice. The negative impacts of the Electricity Reforms are minor in
comparison to those that will occur under the ETS. If you do endorse the
ETS I see no use for any of you as leaders. If you do stay on as Members
of Parliament the odds are vastly increased that your administration
will be dominated by your rubberstamping plans to convert our young into
cannon fodder. I prefer to believe you have the courage and integrity to
admit that the ETS legislation was a major error and that you have a
real contribution to make ensuring we live in science and placing high
value on our carbon resources.
To those who say the ETS is better
than nothing and is a first step I have this response: this step you
speak of represents the dereliction of personal and community
stewardship. It is thus a negative step, a step that can only lead in
the ultimate to abject misery. Our children deserve better.
This submission can be found on my
where there is much supportive material. I hope to get time to add links
and examples of the ETS ethos in our schools. I look forward to
summarising the conclusions of this Parliamentary committee onto U-Tube
and hope they can be a source of pride and inspiration for us all.
Thank you very much
and report to the House accordingly.