Monday, 10 December 2007

Rudd Signs Kyoto

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, leaving the U.S. as the only country left out. I think this is a good move. Some people I talk to do not like it. Here are some of their arguments.

Big polluters China and India don't have to cut their emissions by much.
Climate change is like 200 kids urinating into a pool that they all eventually swim in. Each individual deciding not to pee in the pool isn't going to make much difference, but it is going to make the pool slightly cleaner. But if everyone has that attitude, no one is going to stop. Rich countries much stop first because developing countries will literally die if they stop. Most of the energy used in India and China is used for necessities like transport and food preparation. In Australia and America it is mainly used for luxuries. I think it is fair therefore to ask for higher reduction from richer countries.

I also think this should apply for individual within a country. That is, rich people within Australia should cut back more than poor people within Australia. For this to be achieved, I suggest the government tax all sources of energy, from natural gas to oil to coal, and then once this happens we all pay more for energy thereby forcing all of us to conserve energy. To stop poor people from paying too much, simply give them means-tested energy vouchers they can use to buy energy. For example, for every dollar you earn less than $30,000 per year you receive x kilojoules of free energy.

Australia is a small country. It won't make a difference.
It will make a difference. Even a small difference is a difference.

The economy will suffer because businesses will have to pay more for energy inputs.
The economy might slow down if we cut cardon emissions. But consider this. The economy will be boosted if we allow an Australian child sex industry to develop.

In fact, that is a good analogy. In many places all over the world the child sex industry is still going strong, but leaders of some countries have put their foot down and stopped it. It may not make that much of a big difference to stop child abuse in one small country if you consider child abuse all over the world, but it is a difference. These countries suffer economically from the lack of a child sex industry.

If I happen to save one child from sexual abuse, cynics may say that saving one child will make no difference because one child is abused every 13 minutes. If I save one child, another child will be abused 13 minutes later and so on ad infinitum. While this is true, I think it's better to save one child than to save no child.

I read in the news yesterday that, now that it is signed, the price of groceries, electricity and petrol are expected to go up dramatically.
Of course, that's expected. I would hope petrol prices go up because that will stop people from polluting too much.

I suggested vouchers for poor people who will be hit with higher energy bills. This will ensure that most of the cost burden will be on the rich.

Food prices going up may also be due to Americans producing less food to eat because they are instead using that food to make biofuels to run their cars. Apparently they want to rely less on Middle Eastern oil. The price hike may also be caused by instability in the Middle East, demand from Asia, and even the exchange rate. So don't blame everything on environmental regulation.

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