New Zealand "Gas tax"

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by yossim, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. Schtumple macrumors 601

    Schtumple

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    #2
    I do love when car manufacturers warble out this "fact", I really can't see how animals have the same/a sizeable amount of emissions when compared to cars...

    I think it's all a load of BS, I've found most governments tend to not give a crap about farmers, I really can't understand why... Maybe it's because they own vast amounts of land that could be sold for housing developments? We'll never know...
     
  2. yossim thread starter macrumors regular

    yossim

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    #3
    I think their government is just trying to see what they can get away with before the population revolts.
     
  3. Grey Beard macrumors 65816

    Grey Beard

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    #4
    A somewhat stale FART

    Yossim, you are quoting a BBC item from October of last year. Since then, there has been an election where the National (blue, Tory, etc) party replaced the NZ Labour Party. Regardless of the incumbent party's colour, the majority of s**t comes from the mouths of politicians. Should a method be found of harvesting the methane, then our energy worries would certainly be over.

    KGB
     
  4. yossim thread starter macrumors regular

    yossim

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    #5
    No, they'd somehow find out that harvesting methane is producing WAY to much co2 or something else really ridiculous.

    Actually, I read on another website that a law has been passed that is similar to what this article mentions. The article actually only addressed one aspect of the bill.

    I can't believe people are even getting concerned about emitting co2 in the first place. Plants breath co2 and convert it to oxygen. If we didn't have co2 we'd be dead!
     
  5. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #6
    Redesign cows/sheep?? Ludicrous.

    Reduce gasses, sure. Start with energy emissions.

    Reduce herds, reduce revenue, reduce the ability of the World to feed itself. Laughable.

    Let's just balance them out with the herbivore dinosaurs, and call it even.
     
  6. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #7
    Plants also consume oxygen when not photosynthesizing.

    Moreover, the world's forests are in retreat, so more CO2 is indeed problematic.

    This tax (and others like it) are targeting the wrong part of the business cycle. Instead of trying to tax farmers based on how much gas their animals produce, there should simply be a flat tax charged onto all meat products (on a gram basis of course, and based on the type of meat). Consumers will contract their meat spending (which they should regardless, because most of the developed world eats too much meat anyways), and farmers will gradually shrink their livestock populations.
     
  7. yossim thread starter macrumors regular

    yossim

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    #8
    Why not plant more trees?
     
  8. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #9
    Who do you propose pay for said trees? And on whose land?

    The article actually addresses this point, and farmers are indeed encouraged and compensated for planting trees. This is effective in conjunction with the tax, but alone the policy would not be effective.

    Besides, methane is the problem here, not carbon dioxide.
     
  9. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #10
    My, what a novel idea. ;)

    Rainforests are being chopped down far quicker than we can replace them. Planting a new tree today might not yield a replacement for one full forest tree for decades, as the mature trees of the rain forests are typically much larger and have far more toxin-flushing capabilities than new trees.

    Besides, where do you intend to put these new trees? Capitalism encourages the proliferation of private property, which makes it rather difficult to strong arm people into planting trees n'est-ce pas?

    How about you just consume less meat and be mindful of how destructive it is for the environment?
     
  10. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Harvesting methane and burning it does end up creating CO2, but releasing the methane into the atmosphere is much worse.

    In terms of Greenhouse Gases, 1 metric ton of Methane (CH4) is equivalent to 21 metric tons of CO2. If you burned the CH4 instead of releasing it, you would end up producing approximately 1 metric ton of CO2 for every metric ton of CH4, so by burning it instead of releasing it, you end up reducing your greenhouse gas emissions by 20 metric tons of CO2 (equivalent) per ton of methane burned.

    Also, if you allow the animal produced methane to escape into the air, you end up still having to burn some fuel to meet your energy needs (unless you use solar or wind). In addition, animal produced methane is considered a carbon neutral fuel, so you are only releasing CO2 that was absorbed by the plants that the animal consumed.
     
  11. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #12
    My understanding is that younger trees are better at transforming CO2 into O2 (aka carbon sequestration) than older trees.
     
  12. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #13
    Yes that's probably true enough because younger trees tend to respire less since they need more food for growth relative to already established larger trees.

    However, forest trees also serve as important purifiers in other ways. They typically prop up ecosystems that absorb other pollutants (the closest example I can think of is marshlands; chop down the trees in a marsh, and you can basically say goodbye to the marsh and all of its protective features). A younger tree isn't going to be as fully supportive of that ecosystem for many years, especially when we remember that deforestation usually involves hundreds of acres at a time.
     
  13. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #14
    Oh absolutely there are plenty of other benefits of old-growth trees (and biodiversity) beyond carbon sequestration ability -- and it's not like that ability vanishes either, it's just lesser. And yes, one of those benefits is the support of other ecosystems that provide purification functions as well.

    Just trying to keep the debate honest. ;)
     
  14. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #15
    Counterintuitively, one of the few ways to get more trees planted under the "privatize everything" philosophy is to use up a lot of paper and never to recycle it. Paper companies don't go out and chop down old growth forests to make paper. They farm pulp trees. Using more paper will force them to buy more land to farm more trees.

    I'm not really getting into the morality of that approach, and the point about differing behavior of mature trees versus young ones is well taken. Just making the observation.

    Actually, I wonder if a more effective way of "closing the circle" wouldn't be composting paper instead of recycling it and using the compost to fertilize new lots of pulp trees.
     
  15. Marble macrumors 6502a

    Marble

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    #16
    Is common paper easily compostable? That's not a half bad idea if it completely biodegrades in an acceptable amount of time.

    EDIT: I suppose the same needs to be asked of printer and pen ink, since used pages will probably be covered.
     
  16. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #17
    That's what I don't know, and I imagine that the answer for glossy magazine print is pretty surely "no," but it strikes me that this might be the sort of thing where a little research could be directed towards making sure disposable papers are easily compostable.

    As far as ink, that's a problem we've got either way. Recycling of printed paper already generates an enormous amount of concentrated toxic sludge from inks and coatings and whatnot.
     
  17. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    An interesting idea. Lets look at the two different scenarios:

    Scenario 1: A tree grows at a pulp farm and is turned into paper. That paper contains the carbon that the tree absorbed from our atmosphere. That paper is recycled into more paper which still contains the carbon the tree absorbed. Eventually the pulp from the original tree will break down and decompose releasing the carbon back into the atmosphere.

    Scenario 2: A tree grows at a pulp farm and is turned into paper. That paper contains the carbon that the tree absorbed from our atmosphere. That paper is never recycled and eventually decomposes releasing that carbon back into the enviroment. A new tree is planted which absorbs CO2 and is turned into paper.

    From what I see, both scenarios end up completely carbon neutral over the long term, but in the short term, scenario 2 would sequester more carbon into the form of paper if we decided to store the paper and not let it decompose. As soon as you start composting the paper, you are back to a completely carbon neutral process.
     
  18. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #19
    You're leaving out the carbon required in the manufacturing and recycling processes, not to mention the carbon required to prevent paper from decomposing (I would assume your storage suggestion would require transportation to a storage facility, as well as the construction and maintenance of said facility).
     
  19. John Jacob macrumors 6502a

    John Jacob

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    #20
    Why just meat? Aren't milk, butter and cheese even worse for the environment from a methane point of view? I'm not trying to be facetious, I really don't understand why more of an issue isn't made of this.
     
  20. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    You are right. In both scenarios, we have additional carbon requirements. I have no idea if cutting down trees and making them into paper uses more energy than recycling existing paper into new paper. I would assume that recycling is a bit more energy efficient, but I don't know. As for transportation... I assume that we would have to either transport used paper to a recycle facility, storage facility, or a disposal facility no matter what we decided to do with it, so the transportation is pretty much a wash.
     
  21. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #22
    Methane makes up an even smaller portion of greenhouse gases when compared to C02. CO2 only makes up what? 26-30%, and of that human contributions are only ~5%. :rolleyes:

    What the "green" movement doesn't understand is that when we hike regulations to be more green the prices go up, which means production gets shifted to someone who can do it cheaper without the regulations... lets just pick a country... oh I don't know.... CHINA. Their production ramps up and they pollute the crap out of the place, so in reality all you did was shift the pollution to another continent, and put your own businesses into borderline bankruptcy.

    Good show.

    Oh and before someone says "tax imports" or something crazy, its going to hurt our economy just as much if not more than everyone elses.
     
  22. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    Carbon Auditing and Reporting is big business in China right now. Hong Kong is the hottest place for training as Certified Carbon Reduction Managers. Any company that falls under the Kyoto Protocol is looking to places like China to perform various carbon trades. These companies are required to reduce their GHG emissions each year. If they are expanding and cannot reduce their emissions or if they already control their emissions fairly well, they can spend their money in developing countries helping businesses in those places reduce their carbon output and take credit for those reductions. It is cheap and easy to reduce carbon emissions in a Chinese plant that has very little emissions control. The Chinese Government sees this as a great opportunity for income and is investing heavily in carbon technologies.

    I would love to see where you are getting your only 5% of CO2 is related to human contributions. From what I have seen, the numbers are a lot higher than that. Methane might be a small percentage of GHG emissions but it is a lot more effective at creating a green house effect than CO2 is. One unit of Methane creates the same effect as 21 units of CO2.
     
  23. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #24
    I would have to find the articles I read last year sometime refuting human contributions being the majority cause to global warming. There is a lot of world out there, much of which is not populated by humans. Right now there is so much crap data on the web that its hard to find any valid sources, even some of the valid sources are biased because they are getting funded by the organizations that rely on the crisis to get money.

    Actually on days like this I wish global warming was real, I don't ever remember it being 40 degrees this near my birthday in spring. 2008 was the coolest global temp year since 2000, I imagine this year will be even cooler.
     
  24. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #25
    I'm not precisely sure of the greenhouse gas impact of dairy versus meat, but my whole point is about moderation. Americans don't drink enough lowfat milk these days (osteoporosis is around the corner for many Americans), but they grossly over consume meat.

    A standard serving of meat should be no larger than a deck of cards for a grown adult, and consumption should be limited to about 3-4 servings per week. However, most Americans consume more than the serving size seven days a week.

    Aside from that, meat only provides protein and some rare vitamins and minerals that are more difficult (but not impossible) to find in vegetables. Dairy products (lowfat milk in particular) are very high in calcium and because of our bovine-dependent heritage, our bodies have evolved to absorb calcium more effectively when lactose is present.
     

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