A Conservative Policy Solution to Slow Down Climate Change?

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Riggerjack
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Re: A Conservative Policy Solution to Slow Down Climate Change?

Post by Riggerjack »

@ Alphaville

Wow. Gel-mann amnesia. Did you read both sources? It's hard to even connect the article to the policy. In fact, it reads like a political move by political agents, considering that the "policy change" won't be published in the federal register until after the election, and then faces a 90 day review for commentary before being adopted or rejected.

So I really don't think this is real, in any governance sense, more as a propaganda piece, but you wanted the conservative thoughts.

There are many layers of bureaucracy to deal with between today and the first tree to be harvested. There is plenty of time for this to be reversed. Effectively years.

This is opening a new forest to logging. Now would be an excellent time to study environmentally friendly forestry practices.

Logging doesn't need to equal clear cut. Thinning to encourage growth is more labor intensive. That's a plus to the local economy. Restricting skidding to wintertime, when the ground is frozen. Restricting some areas to windfall and scavenge harvest only. Restricting harvest to X% of the canopy, in Y years. Holding individual loggers liable for damage to standing trees. Whatever restrictions you can justify.

Stud mills, (so called because they are sawmills optimized for turning young, small logs into 2x4's.) Have saturated the market in the lower 48. Canada is turning 100 year old forests into toilet paper at a truly industrial scale. These are not markets worth entering.

What this area should have is large to very large trees, by today's market standards. Cater to a premium market, with a premium product. Environmentally harvested, large logs. Everything has to be shipped out anyway, better to ship finished products.

Further south, the west coast caught fire last summer. This was blamed on not removing biomass, causing a build up of flammables to fuel those fires. The same changes in climate that affect the lower 48, and cause fires are happening here, too. Saving this forest may only be possible by good management, now.

Now would be the time to set up such programs, if you were so inclined. None of this was possible under the old policy.

There you go, and I'm not even a conservative. :twisted:

my experience with rural folk is that being at the forefront of natural depredation they tend to be for depredation—yes, some wise souls among them do see value in conservation (e.g. some smart ranchers i know work together with environmentalists) but others can’t see past the quick payoff, and damn what comes after. short-termism is universal.

suburban and city people on the other hand as you’ve pointed elsewhere tend to virtue signal more than reduce their actual demand for resources, which they don’t actually see mined or logged or farmed—nevertheless, some do make the effort, same as it happens among the rurals. unfortunately, just as elsewhere, they’re a minority.
To me, this looks like a sampling error.

Perhaps you should try to get to know wiser people, in general. CCCC, the lower the level one is operating at, the less interesting one's operations. I would suggest that more interesting people would give you more interesting results.

But yes, most folks are useless in this regard. :roll:

Hristo Botev
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Re: A Conservative Policy Solution to Slow Down Climate Change?

Post by Hristo Botev »

Alphaville wrote:
Thu Oct 29, 2020 8:38 am
which points to something i wanted to mention earlier: the broadness of the conservative label makes it impossible really to come up with a consistent position on the matter.
Labels aside, here's the question I originally posted to start this thread:
Hristo Botev wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:15 am
So, MY QUESTION: Are there any policies the federal government could put into place that: (a) could actually ameliorate the impact of climate change; AND ALSO (b) wouldn't require that we hand over yet more of our personal autonomy to bureaucrats in Washington, DC (or, worse, to the UN)?
At an individual, moral level, all of us of course should make decisions with how we live our lives that reduce our ecological footprints (including perhaps rethinking where your individual pension funds are invested, as you suggested previously in this thread). But my question for this thread is what (if anything) the US federal government can do, with the caveat provided in (b). At this point, 200 replies in, I tend to think the question has been exhausted. But if you've got an answer not previously posted here, I'm all ears.

jacob
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Re: A Conservative Policy Solution to Slow Down Climate Change?

Post by jacob »

Note that [my] calculation is just a back-of-the-envelope estimate of one's footprint based on consumer spending and "what it should be if everybody did it". Obviously it does not take such things as purchasing power parity (the $6700/year goes a lot farther in actual Egypt than in Egypt, AR), individual variation (your personal footprint depends on how you spend a given dollar), unaccounted ghost acreage (why the developed world magically became much greener after China joined the WTO), or the fact that "not everybody is doing it".

My point was to see if it is possible to live within the ballpark of the sustainable number, not to use it as metric to be gamed or optimized or to argue about taxes or the imputed cost of first world sewerage or pension plan liabilities.

In Wackernagel's original book, they did a detailed experiment tracking "everything" for a group of people and this is what it takes to actually know one's number. If you want to do something similar, just park all your inorganic trash that you normally throw out in bags in your living room for a year to get an idea of your personal impact. That'll drive the message home. Wackernagel actually did something like that. The zero-waste movement is based on this idea but they too are prone to "gaming" their metric by outsourcing their trash generation by e.g. leaving packaging at the point of sale instead of "owning" it.

Flurry
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Re: A Conservative Policy Solution to Slow Down Climate Change?

Post by Flurry »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Thu Oct 29, 2020 7:30 am
@Flurry:

Some of the calculators are harsher than the Jacob calculation because they automatically assign you fair pie share of government spending towards services/infrastructure in your region. So, whether or not this is more accurate than Jacob calculation would depend on whether your actual use of such services/infrastructure is proportional to your overall tax burden. For instance, your typical childless, car free, extreme early retiree might make more use of library and park services than average citizen, but less use of roads and schools.
Oh, that's true. Didn't think about it. The calculator also can't distinguish between taking a crowded urban subway which departs every few minutes (efficient) vs. a mostly half-empty train departing twice per day in a rural area (inefficient). I guess driving a car is more eco-efficient in the second scenario but surely not in the first one. So the calculator must assume the average.

Alphaville
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Re: A Conservative Policy Solution to Slow Down Climate Change?

Post by Alphaville »

Hristo Botev wrote:
Thu Oct 29, 2020 9:56 am
But my question for this thread is what (if anything) the US federal government can do, with the caveat provided in (b)
the pension bit wasn’t my suggestion exactly. i was reading about it on that week’s issue of a science journalism publication, and found it relevant to the subject. mere coincidence, not my proposal—but yeah it’s “market/choice based,” which fits some conservatisms.

you’re positing that a+b must be resolved simultaneously: a large authority doing something towards a large objective, but sparing individuals from governmental oppression. that seems to me is more of a specifically libertarian than a broadly conservative approach, given that there is such thing as authoritarian conservatism (“the king’s hunting preserves shall remain untouched by commoners”)

if so then, i think your question seems to be asking for some kind of deregulation, a la milton friedman. so, let’s say for example, stop subsidizing the oil and cattle industries.

of course this libertarian move would be perceived as infringing on the rights of various sectors—the driver who wants the “autonomy” of cheap fuel, the weekend griller who demands the right to innumerable burgers, the corporation that wants the freedom to pursue profits and the “free speech” to influence the government, the oil worker who demands the “right” to work, the cattle rancher who wants access to federal lands, etc. all invoking different kinds of conservative arguments for subsidies, but not honestly libertarian ones. then again a libertarian maybe would not have public lands.

i don’t think 200 answers are enough to solve this one, because these are massive and highly contested questions with innumerable implications. but i think narrowing down the ideological approach of the solutions would limit the scope towards a more answerable question.

e.g. the milton friedman approach would likely be to tax carbon and let the market figure out workarounds:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmaho ... 2aca86928c


of course some parties would find this tax oppressive, others would find it insufficient, others would find it a perverse incentive (i think a carbon dividend could be a perverse incentive), but in an unsolvable world you have to start somewhere and see how it works out.

Flurry
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Re: A Conservative Policy Solution to Slow Down Climate Change?

Post by Flurry »

Well, the amount of CO2 which can be released into the atmosphere without wreaking havoc is limited so it's a good idea to use a tax to materialize it as a limited resource. Of course it doesn't help if CO2 emissions are just outsourced, for example switching to hydrogen powered cars and importing hydrogen which was produced using fossile resources.

tonyedgecombe
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Re: A Conservative Policy Solution to Slow Down Climate Change?

Post by tonyedgecombe »

Hristo Botev wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:15 am
So, MY QUESTION: Are there any policies the federal government could put into place that: (a) could actually ameliorate the impact of climate change; AND ALSO (b) wouldn't require that we hand over yet more of our personal autonomy to bureaucrats in Washington, DC (or, worse, to the UN)?
The first thing they could do is stop those policies that make climate change worse. IE, building infrastructure that encourages fossil fuel consumption (roads, airports, etc). They could stop waging wars in the middle east. They could stop the campaign of dis-information on climate change. They could stop consuming fossil fuels as part of their day to day activities. They could remove any tax breaks that favour carbon intensive industries. None of that affects your personal autonomy, in fact quite the opposite.

It isn't enough to solve the problem though. And ultimately corporations will fill the vacuum and they will stomp all over your personal autonomy in the name of increasing their profits.

tonyedgecombe
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Re: A Conservative Policy Solution to Slow Down Climate Change?

Post by tonyedgecombe »

Of course the real issue is that climate change is a problem caused by the rich and they will use their money and influence to stop anything that might compromise their lifestyles. If that means co-opting conservative politics for their means then so be it. It wasn't that long ago that environmentalism was a conservative policy, it was Ulysses S. Grant, a Republican, who founded the national parks.

Hristo Botev
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Re: A Conservative Policy Solution to Slow Down Climate Change?

Post by Hristo Botev »

What's on one hand depressing the hell out of me but on the other liberating for me is the realization--that I've reached through this thread and the various offshoots it's inspired (e.g., Kingsnorth)--that the "answer" to stopping or slowing down climate change is for government to shift from using all of its various mechanisms for influencing individual and corporate behavior (taxes, regulations, subsidies/incentives) from encouraging economic progress to discouraging it. And that just isn't going to happen; ever. The US government (as the representative of the collective wishes of the US people) will always put in place policies that benefit its own citizens, even if that's to the very real detriment of citizens of other countries. And vice versa. And even if the US government really got on board with reducing its carbon emissions, does that mean clear cutting forestland for wind farms? (See the Kingsnorth documentary that's been posted here a couple times). Economic decline seems to me to be the only realistic resolution here, and no government is going to put in place policies with the intention of making that happen; it's just going to have to happen because of the effects of climate change (and resource depletion, generally)--as a society we're just never going to voluntarily (and collectively) agree to economic regression.

ETA: I guess this is Accelerationism?

7Wannabe5
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Re: A Conservative Policy Solution to Slow Down Climate Change?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

You could maybe sell reduction of standard work week to 20 hours combined with debt relief package. Not saying it is conservative, just policy that might sell.

Alphaville
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Re: A Conservative Policy Solution to Slow Down Climate Change?

Post by Alphaville »

increased energy efficiency and conservation does not necessarily mean economic decline.

“progress” is driven by consumer demand, which is mutable. capitalism operates by creative destruction. horse and buggy were replaced by the automobile, auto can be replaced by something else.

e.g. a tesla is valued higher than a gas-guzzler pickup, and shifting to an electric fleet (irl coal-powered, lol) would count as economic progress. a small beautiful car is more desirable than a clunker (to me anyway).

a couple of years ago (?) i read about a report that found that the outdoor recreation sector had grown bigger than the mining sector. if people demand (semi) pristine forests more than mining products, the accounting book value moves towards the (semi) pristine forests.

also the last couple of years we’ve heard the hype of “impossible burger” and other plant meats (and the possibility of vat-grown meats). i’ve seen the product at supermarkets, and ground beef is cheaper than this fake meat (i buy beef). shifting from beef to high-demand fake would nevertheless “grow the economy” and spare the environment.

same thing with bicycles—i think considering the price of hipster/desirable bicycles these days, they’re more profitable than cars, and use fewer resources. eg see: https://www.hummingbirdbike.com/shop-1/paul-smith-ss

also bike-friendly real estate has much higher value than exurban land. hence, more people moving into luxury energy-efficient microlofts in walkable neighborhoods of bikable cities would be “economic progress.”

economic progress is moving towards design-driven over resource-driven anyway.
Last edited by Alphaville on Thu Oct 29, 2020 12:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

classical_Liberal
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Re: A Conservative Policy Solution to Slow Down Climate Change?

Post by classical_Liberal »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Thu Oct 29, 2020 6:21 am
When calculating value of 1Jacob, if you use your own national GDP rather than planetary total, you will be ignoring boundary flows.
This is why I was surprised @Jacob had stated that individual country GDP per cap/population may be a better indicator.

The obvious example being how many here have learned the geoarbitrage game. Another being automation in the private sector. Automating jobs away is only effective if it makes the production cheaper based a) on US wages and b) other country wages plus the cost to ship finished product back to the US for sale. If only the first is satisfied, then production moves to Mexico or Indonesia. There is more than just infrastructure in play. As @Riggarjack pointed out, regulation is another. More lax regulations in one place can lead to cheaper, yet "dirtier" production. This cost reduction is passed along across boundaries, but the impact on CC remains within the ecosphere.

Since the whole chain needs to be included, I think world GDP per cap/Planets needed is a better overall measure. Although as taxes indicate, that number can also be skewed based on regional governments. A factory worker in Indonesia isn't paying the cost of US coal electric plant carbon recapture from which the ecosphere benefits, nor the salaries or pensions of the college professors that taught the US-based business person that established his/her place of employment. While high taxed city person in USA gets cheaper TV sets and Iphones thanks to Indonesian workers cheaper labor.

The whole thing is interconnected. While deviations may exist a bit from person to person, where it isn't "fair" in one particular area, a benefit is likely coming from another, more hidden, source.
Last edited by classical_Liberal on Thu Oct 29, 2020 12:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Hristo Botev
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Re: A Conservative Policy Solution to Slow Down Climate Change?

Post by Hristo Botev »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Thu Oct 29, 2020 12:02 pm
You could maybe sell reduction of standard work week to 20 hours combined with debt relief package. Not saying it is conservative, just policy that might sell.
What's funny, I was a raging opponent of the whole UBI thing as recently as a few weeks ago. But, for whatever reason, the idea of carbon dividends (i.e., a backdoor UBI) doesn't really bother me. If that means we all work a bit (or a lot) less and also reduce our impact on the environment a bit, great.

Alphaville
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Re: A Conservative Policy Solution to Slow Down Climate Change?

Post by Alphaville »

but carbon dividends could perversely incentivize carbon emissions by a public demanding “more dividend.”

Hristo Botev
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Re: A Conservative Policy Solution to Slow Down Climate Change?

Post by Hristo Botev »

Correct. Hence the backdoor UBI.

7Wannabe5
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Re: A Conservative Policy Solution to Slow Down Climate Change?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@Alphaville:

I agree. You could already design a very high quality, very low energy intensity lifestyle, if you assume trade within similar circle. For instance, ERE co-op in which nobody spends more than 1Jacob in outside-of-boundary fossil fuel intensive economy, but free trade for services/goods sustainably produced within co-op was allowed.

A more old school conservative example would be that the quality of life of a man who earns $2X might be worse than the quality of life of a man who only earns $X, depending on skills/thrift of his wife.
“c_L” wrote: The whole thing is interconnected. While deviations may exist a bit from person to person, where it isn't "fair" in one particular area, a benefit is likely coming from another, more hidden, source.
Right. As long as there is largely free trade across boundaries in a predominantly fossil fuel powered world economy, this will be true.

Alphaville
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Re: A Conservative Policy Solution to Slow Down Climate Change?

Post by Alphaville »

Hristo Botev wrote:
Thu Oct 29, 2020 12:43 pm
Correct. Hence the backdoor UBI.
that’s not what i mean though.

ubi income could come from something like a robotics/ai tax in any economic area which could be carbon agnostic.

but a carbon dividend would not end carbon emissions—it would perpetuate and enshrine them in public policy.

Hristo Botev
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Re: A Conservative Policy Solution to Slow Down Climate Change?

Post by Hristo Botev »

And that's not what I mean. A carbon tax/dividend system would theoretically reduce carbon emissions, thereby reducing carbon dividends; but once you start paying people money, it's not going away, so the carbon dividend morphs into UBI.

jacob
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Re: A Conservative Policy Solution to Slow Down Climate Change?

Post by jacob »

Alphaville wrote:
Thu Oct 29, 2020 12:56 pm
but a carbon dividend would not end carbon emissions—it would perpetuate and enshrine them in public policy.
Ah yes, unintentional side-effects / "you can never do just one thing".

This very real and practical problem appears when such Pigovian tax schemes eventually turn into revenue generators, whether for the government or individuals, as people get used to paying the sin tax, instead of its original intention of reducing consumption. One example would be taxes on tobacco or low-MPG cars. Eventually government (or individuals) begin to resist further reduction/improvement because it hurts their income. As such the government and consumers might not disavow say smoking or driving non-electric cars as much as they could because it would mean raising taxes or dividends elsewhere.

(Theoretically much of this comes about because the dollar-market for moral and/or sustainable behavior is both inefficient and irreversible, that is, it's both hard to put a price on something and the trade is irreversible which makes it a lot harder to price accurately.)

Alphaville
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Re: A Conservative Policy Solution to Slow Down Climate Change?

Post by Alphaville »

Hristo Botev wrote:
Thu Oct 29, 2020 12:58 pm
And that's not what I mean. A carbon tax/dividend system would theoretically reduce carbon emissions, thereby reducing carbon dividends; but once you start paying people money, it's not going away, so the carbon dividend morphs into UBI.
to me that’s a bit of a leap. once you hook people on carbon dividend, they’ll want more dividend, not less carbon. they’ll march in the streets saying “drill baby drill.” :mrgreen:
7Wannabe5 wrote:
Thu Oct 29, 2020 12:45 pm
@Alphaville:

I agree. You could already design a very high quality, very low energy intensity lifestyle, if you assume trade within similar circle.
we could even have global trade and travel, just by making better use of the free and virtually unlimited fusion reactor that has sustained us since forever. also we might want to travel less/closer by designing “more paradise” close to home. e.g. no need to go to tahiti if we just untrash florida :lol:

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