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Blog 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. 

The new 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 Parliamentary 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: 

  • identify the central/benchmark projections which are being used as the motivation for international agreements to combat climate change; and consider the uncertainties and risks surrounding these projections
  • consider the impact on the New Zealand economy and New Zealand households of any climate change policies, having regard to the weak state of the economy, the need to safeguard New Zealand’s international competitiveness, the position of trade-exposed industries, and the actions of competing countries
  • examine the relative merits of an emissions trading scheme or a tax on carbon or energy as a New Zealand response to climate change
  • consider the need for any additional regulatory interventions to combat climate change if a price mechanism (an ETS or a tax) is introduced


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 flawed.  

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 by science.  

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 believe possible. 

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 potential.  

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 reserves.

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 and stewardship.

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.

The 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.) Read example of USA.

The psychology of carbon trading.

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 throughout history.

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 "offset" an 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 resource.

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 Age.
Note: $US500 a barrel is a value of only 2 cents per manhour of labour equivalent.

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 leaders.

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 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 Market” rules!

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 foreclosures.

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!

Carbon News
Intelligence for the Carbon Market

Will the new carbon regime make or break you? Untangling truth from fiction. Click here for your 7 day FREE trial. Now!

(sample top headlines 17 Feb 09 )

Carbon follows weakening gas price

Current carbon credits available

Latest strip of CERs  2009-2012 vintage -indicative mid prices

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 at Kyoto.

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:
Enron Said The Final Gore Global Warming Treaty Was "Another Victory For Us."
An internal Enron memo about the Kyoto Protocol said, '"[i]f implemented, this agreement will do more to promote Enron's business than will almost any other regulatory initiative outside of restructuring the energy and natural gas industries in Europe and the United States. . . This agreement will be good for Enron stock!!' Drafted by Enron's Kyoto emissary immediately upon his return from Japan, it praises individual Kyoto features with 'we won,' 'another victory for us,' and 'exactly what I have been lobbying for.'"
(Christopher Horner, "Outside View: Caught En Flagrente Kyoto," United Press International, January 31, 2002)

The Emissions 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 stewardship; 
* suppressed sustainable innovation;
* punished those who conserve vital carbon resources;
* and destroyed science generally.  

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 to dairy farming. 
It is easy to see how the manipulation of global carbon trades will lead to vast, unjust and environmentally damaging capital flows.

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  I describe our dwellings as "thermal shacks". 

Until the 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.  

Certainly pockets 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 these products. 

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.

 Examples: 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 resulting, 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.) 

Similarly the 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 electricity system. 

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. 


* The 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.   

Such exhortations 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: 

ETS ethos: Climate change = bad

Science: 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.

Denial: both the climate and change symbols associated with malevolence. Human activity is dissociated from the equation. 

ETS ethos: Global warming = bad

Science: 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.

When warming> cooling the net temperature changes.

Denial: 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. 

ETS ethos: Earth’s atmosphere =greenhouse / Earth = Greenhouse World  

Chapter 3.1  Bonus Joules and the Knowledge Economy

Science: 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.

Denial: 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. 

ETS ethos: greenhouse gases = carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and the CFCs  

Click here to enlarge and see examples of 
how the NZ Government educates our children.

Science: 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.

Denial: 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 accumulation! 

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. 

ETS ethos: (The dominant/major) greenhouse gases = carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

Science: The 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.

Click to enlarge Click browser Return to return


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 audience.  

ETS ethos:  ETS= good e.g.

 NZ Sunday Star Times Nov 23 2008


          "The (Emissions Trading) scheme sets limits on greenhouse gases, penalises those who emit clouds of them and rewards those who don't."


Science: 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 etc.

Denial: The 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. 

In summary 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 psychology.  

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. 

The sustainable 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.

In brief 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.
T. Boone Pickens, CEO investment management firm



Quote 2
Senator Richard Lugar’s comments on a gasoline tax (Wash. Post op-ed 2/1/09, quotes)
“One of the simplest and most effective means available for strengthening U.S. national security is to dramatically reduce our oil dependence. A gas tax that returns money to Americans would take us a long way toward that goal…”
“A gasoline tax is transparent, easy to administer and targeted at the one sector that burns most of our oil. We know it would cut imports. When gasoline prices topped $4 a gallon last year, Americans chose to use less, leading to a major drop in gasoline consumption. The gains from accurately priced gasoline would grow as Americans demanded more fuel-efficient vehicles, chose non-petroleum alternatives to power them and found public transit options that work. Pricing gasoline to reflect its true cost to the nation would help spur a vast market in which oil alternatives such as advanced biofuels would become competitive and innovation would flourish…
“Adjusting Americans' tax burden to put more spending power into their own hands makes sense when household budgets are squeezed. A revenue-neutral oil security tax would take every penny collected at the pump and put it right back into the pockets of consumers. Options for doing so include cutting the payroll tax, which disproportionately affects the lowest-paid employees, so
workers would see extra money every payday. Alternatively, the government could regularly send a check to everyone over 18.”


Quote 3

Win Win Win Win Win


Published: December 27, 2008

 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 clean-tech.

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 propose….”


Quote 4 –perhaps paraphrased

Jonathon Boston  (Personal 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.)


Quote 5

November 30, 2008

The fool’s gold of carbon trading


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.

Jim 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.”…


 Obama's Preferred Bill?

EPA's first administrator is bullish on Obama, but not cap-and-trade

By Jonathan Hiskes

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.

Not only did he preside over the agency's founding under President Nixon, but he also returned to do salvage work after the disastrous tenure of Anne Gorsuch, Ronald Reagan's first EPA administrator, who more or less openly tried to dismantle the agency she was charged with leading.

In 1983 Reagan persuaded the well-regarded Ruckelshaus to return to Washington for a second stint atop the EPA. He confronted an exodus of disgruntled career scientists, a budget that had been cut by more than 22 percent, and a toxic political atmosphere in which many Republicans were using the EPA as a convenient bogeyman in their "get the government off our backs" campaign.

So Ruckelshaus, 76, can relate with the next EPA administrator, who must clean up after the George W. Bush administration. …
Ruckelshaus predicted the incoming EPA leadership will face many of the same challenges he confronted in 1983, with a few key differences. First, he had to convince EPA employees and potential recruits that his boss, Reagan, supported their mission. Under Obama, that shouldn't be a problem.

"We've got a new president who's obviously excited a lot of people in society," he said. "Particularly young people, but a lot of people, and they'll be able to attract first-rate people at the EPA."

Second, none of the environmental problems he faced in the early 1980s matched the scale and complexity of global warming. There's been recent discussion about whether the Obama administration has the authority to address this through a carbon cap-and-trade program under the Clean Air Act, avoiding the need for new legislation. Ruckelshaus said he doubts the courts would uphold this interpretation.

He also questioned whether the EPA -- or any other government entity -- is up to administering such a complex plan.

"Making [a cap-and-trade program] both effective and simple enough to implement is not going to be itself simple," he said.

He cited last year's Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade bill (America's Climate Security Act), a 492-page plan that died in the Senate in June. "It was unbelievably complex," he said. "I defy anybody to figure out what that meant."

Instead of a cap-and-trade plan, Ruckelshaus favors a tax on carbon emissions. Such a move would still let the market decide where reductions should happen, but it would be much simpler for the government to administer, he said.

"It has the desired effect," he said. "It moves consumption toward less carbon-intensive activities. It does everything a cap-and-trade system does, but it's about ten times simpler. And about one-tenth as popular, which is why we don't have it."

"Presidential candidates, and others, have to promise they won't raise taxes," he said. "Cap-and-trade is a form of tax, but it's not as overtly a tax as a straight tax on carbon."

Ruckelshaus said a cap-and-trade program would carry too many "unintended consequences." Those are inevitable in any large government program, he said, though he believes climate change compels the U.S. government to play a leading role.

The proper role of government has been a constant question in Ruckelshaus's career…

…"Essentially, what we're doing is shouldering all the payment responsibility off on our children. We can't do that forever."

Summary Concluding Comments

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.  

Click for brief article


The great playwright Aeschylus went so far as to assert that only primitives and barbarians "lacked knowledge of houses turned to face the winter sun, dwelling beneath the ground like swarming ants in sunless caves."


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 website 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

Dave McArthur
85 Houghton Bay Road 
Wellington 6023


Terms of reference

·     hear views from trade and diplomatic experts on the international relations aspects of this issue

·     consider the prospects for an international agreement on climate change post Kyoto 1, and the form such an agreement might take

·     require a high quality, quantified regulatory impact analysis to be produced to identify the net benefits or costs to New Zealand of any policy action, including international relations and commercial benefits and costs

·     identify the central/benchmark projections which are being used as the motivation for international agreements to combat climate change; and consider the uncertainties and risks surrounding these projections

·     consider the impact on the New Zealand economy and New Zealand households of any climate change policies, having regard to the weak state of the economy, the need to safeguard New Zealand’s international competitiveness, the position of trade-exposed industries, and the actions of competing countries

·     examine the relative merits of a mitigation or adaptation approach to climate change for New Zealand

·     consider the case for increasing resources devoted to New Zealand-specific climate change research

·     examine the relative merits of an emissions trading scheme or a tax on carbon or energy as a New Zealand response to climate change

·     consider the need for any additional regulatory interventions to combat climate change if a price mechanism (an ETS or a tax) is introduced

·     consider the timing of introduction of any New Zealand measures, with particular reference to the outcome of the December 2009 Copenhagen meeting, the position of the United States, and the timetable for decisions and their implementation of the Australian government

and report to the House accordingly.

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