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Kalbear

What shouldn't be done...about climate change

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This is the barrier to mass adoption of EVs. Kia just announced its new compact 2L SUV, selling in NZ for $25,000. The Hyundai Kona an EV SUV in more or less the same vehicle size is $73,000. Sure, you'll recover the almost $50K difference over 7 or 8 years, but for people with budgets $73K for a car is simply out of reach. You can't do much about climate change if only the wealthy can afford to have a conscience.

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6 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

This is the barrier to mass adoption of EVs. Kia just announced its new compact 2L SUV, selling in NZ for $25,000. The Hyundai Kona an EV SUV in more or less the same vehicle size is $73,000. Sure, you'll recover the almost $50K difference over 7 or 8 years, but for people with budgets $73K for a car is simply out of reach. You can't do much about climate change if only the wealthy can afford to have a conscience.

The last sentence is a good description of not only electric cars, but most actions that would mitigate climate change if they were taken by a sufficiently large fraction of humanity. Insulation costs money and so do solar panels. Even something like changing one's diet away from processed and packaged foods requires stores nearby that sells fresh ones and typically extra cash to buy them. And it's even worse in poorer countries.

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1 minute ago, Altherion said:

The last sentence is a good description of not only electric cars, but most actions that would mitigate climate change if they were taken by a sufficiently large fraction of humanity. Insulation costs money and so do solar panels. Even something like changing one's diet away from processed and packaged foods requires stores nearby that sells fresh ones and typically extra cash to buy them. And it's even worse in poorer countries.

I plagiarized it a bit, because I recall the president of a developing country once saying something along the lines of "sustainability is something you can think about with a full stomach." 

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Alterion and Anti-Targ make very interesting points. I believe when economy of scales are achieved with mass production and so forth were going to see the demand improve but paying $75,000 for a $25-35,000 car isn't going to cut it with wide swaths of the consumer market.

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4 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

I plagiarized it a bit, because I recall the president of a developing country once saying something along the lines of "sustainability is something you can think about with a full stomach." 

I think he should have said "sustainability is something you generally think about with a full stomach." 

Because as many have discovered, sustainability is something that developing countries need to think about all the time, otherwise they destroy resources that are required for the survival of millions. One could even say that sutainabilityoften turns out to be less of a luxury in developing countries...

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You wouldn't see such disparity in the cost of petrol vs electric cars if we stopped allowing the fossil fuel industry to externalise so much of the cost. But we show no inclination to change that at all

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This article is a few years old, and not specifically about climate change, although it does touch on it. I thought it was good at demonstrating how our current planning and distribution of resources leads to a great deal of a luxury for a few, but a deficit for most, at great expense. I also think it's a good counter to @Free Northman Reborn's assertion that environmental policy and a reduction in energy use must necessarily lead to a miserable world that no one would want to live in. Efficient allocation for public resources has the potential to increase the material welfare of most people. Public luxury, private sufficiency.

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19 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

This is the barrier to mass adoption of EVs. Kia just announced its new compact 2L SUV, selling in NZ for $25,000. The Hyundai Kona an EV SUV in more or less the same vehicle size is $73,000. Sure, you'll recover the almost $50K difference over 7 or 8 years, but for people with budgets $73K for a car is simply out of reach. You can't do much about climate change if only the wealthy can afford to have a conscience.

Lets take 100 months for examples sake, that's a bit over 8 yrs. To make up the 50,000 difference I would need to see 500 a month in savings from this SUV. That's over twice what I spend on gas and maintenance to operate my full size truck living 25 miles from my place of employment. That recoupment would never be realized for me under that example. You would need to extend the example out many, many years. Most consumers aren't going to be satisfied with an argument that they would break even in 20 years based on the vehicle becoming obsolete by then. The full size truck cost $28,000 which is close to the price in the original example.

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8 hours ago, karaddin said:

You wouldn't see such disparity in the cost of petrol vs electric cars if we stopped allowing the fossil fuel industry to externalise so much of the cost. But we show no inclination to change that at all

Interesting point, please explain further.

Edited by DireWolfSpirit

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3 hours ago, DireWolfSpirit said:

Interesting point, please explain further.

The externalised cost of the fossil fuel industry is pollution and climate change. Ie, effectively everything at current burn rates. Taxing fossil fuels at a rate which reflects their contribution to destroying the entire planetary economy (not to mention mass extinction) would make them... a bit more expensive.

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The typical price someone here in the UK will pay for a first car will be about £500, maybe a third (or fourth or fifth)-hand small vehicle. There's a huge number of people who will never pay more than £3-5,000 for a car in their entire lives.

We need an electrical car in that price range in the next couple of years for the field to start taking off as it needs to.

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3 hours ago, Werthead said:

The typical price someone here in the UK will pay for a first car will be about £500, maybe a third (or fourth or fifth)-hand small vehicle. There's a huge number of people who will never pay more than £3-5,000 for a car in their entire lives.

We need an electrical car in that price range in the next couple of years for the field to start taking off as it needs to.

That is the major problem currently.   There are over a 100 years of used cars available that run on gas for people to buy cheap and fix up well enough to use.  Electric cars aren't yet available in any quantity used, and the main reason people may be replacing their electric cars in the future is because of the batteries are losing the ability to hold a charge, limiting the car's range.  So with any used electric cars you might buy, you basically would need to replace the most expensive component in the car in order to make it worth having. 

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3 hours ago, Werthead said:

The typical price someone here in the UK will pay for a first car will be about £500, maybe a third (or fourth or fifth)-hand small vehicle. There's a huge number of people who will never pay more than £3-5,000 for a car in their entire lives.

We need an electrical car in that price range in the next couple of years for the field to start taking off as it needs to.

We (as in our govts and their hopefully competent science advisers) need to decide that mass electrification of the private vehicle fleet is a substantial and necessary part of climate change action, or not.

If it is we (as in our govts) can't be pissing about waiting for market-based solutions to sort things out. By the time the whole supply and demand, scale of production and cost of technology curve reaches the tipping point where an EV is truly accessible to everyone who want to replace their ICE car with an EV it'll be too little too late. Some people will never be able to, or want to, own a car, but they are not the people we need to worrry about wrt transport emissions.

govts do need to manage the transition, so that the infrastructure, and non / low-emissions electricity generation capacity can handle EVs becoming mass adopted. But those are not insurmountable challenges.

FNR wasn't wrong when he suggested a WWI / II roll up your sleeves and get shit done attitude was needed. The requested motivating influences were questionable (even so, if we have to massage egos and help snowflakes not to get offended to get things moving then so be it), but the need for a fundamental attitudinal change is not in question. When war comes to our doorstep govts and the people don't just say, "Eh, we'll let the market sort it out". Govts go into a war footing, they go into deficit spending mode and simply pay what it takes to get shit done, and worry about what to do with the debt later. That does tend to line the pockets of war profiteering arseholes who don't actually contribute anything to the war effort, but despite that wasted cost the war footing still gets shit done quickly.

 

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6 hours ago, felice said:

The externalised cost of the fossil fuel industry is pollution and climate change. Ie, effectively everything at current burn rates. Taxing fossil fuels at a rate which reflects their contribution to destroying the entire planetary economy (not to mention mass extinction) would make them... a bit more expensive.

Thanks, I couldn't have answered that better. 

Yes its going to cost money to fix this, but not as much money as it will cost the future to deal with the consequences of ignoring it. Even if you're a selfish callous fuck that doesn't judge mass deaths in other parts of the world as a problem, it's still going to cost you monetarily in the long term.

The problem there is all the people that think they'll be dead before it happens and don't actually care enough about their kids to spend a cent changing it. 

Taxing petrol to a level that actually reflected the true cost to the world of its use would have a significant short term impact, but it should also be earmarked for spending on alternative energy and transport options to bring down the costs of those alternatives.

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8 hours ago, karaddin said:

Thanks, I couldn't have answered that better. 

Yes its going to cost money to fix this, but not as much money as it will cost the future to deal with the consequences of ignoring it. Even if you're a selfish callous fuck that doesn't judge mass deaths in other parts of the world as a problem, it's still going to cost you monetarily in the long term.

The problem there is all the people that think they'll be dead before it happens and don't actually care enough about their kids to spend a cent changing it. 

Taxing petrol to a level that actually reflected the true cost to the world of its use would have a significant short term impact, but it should also be earmarked for spending on alternative energy and transport options to bring down the costs of those alternatives.

The problem with taxing petrol to the high heavens is that it really only hurts the poor. The rich will either just pay the extra or buy the $150K Tesla and drive away laughing. And if there aren't alternatives accessible to the poor their lives just become even more miserable, for a problem not of their making. And because fossil fuels are integral to all the basic goods people need to buy to live it has a knock on effect to the price of all things the poor will purchase. So their basement levels of purchasing power drops away even more. Consumption taxes are always regressive and always hit the poor hardest.

I'm getting to the point where govts just have to get into purely deficit spending to move things along and not look to tax the shit out of polluty stuff to be able to afford the move to clean energy and low emissions technologies and keep the books balanced.

So, in answer to the question in the thread title: what shouldn't be done about climate change? Don't pile even more suffering on the poor.

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And that's a fair point and definitely something that should be a consideration. I don't object to deficit spending and the solutions need to be large scale not individual. Its a separate point to the fact that petrol is cheap because its subsidized via externality, but its not a point that should be neglected. If we want to level the playing field then non polluty stuff needs to have equivalent subsidies in 1 way or another.

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One constant problem with talking about climate change is that people seem to think that it is always 30 or 50 or 100 years away.  I'm not talking about people on this thread, but just in general, so many people have this attitude of "oh, that's my grandkids problem.  And by then they'll have robots to fix it." 

The argument that this is just the future generation's problem is ridiculous when climate change has been noticeably happening for over a decade.  But in terms of genuinely changing people's lives, it is coming and right soon.  Unless you're planning to die in the next 5-8 years, it's going to effect you too, regardless of where you live. 

Very frustrating.  It's like people's opinions of climate change calcified in the 90s and now they can't accept that the situation today is dramatically different. 

Edited by Maithanet

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In Germany, petrol is almost twice as expensive as in the US (and has been for decades), mostly because of taxes. Regardless of this the number of cars doubled in the last 35 years or so (admittedly I cannot figure out the effect of the union with the Eastern part on this). In all countries that are fairly densely populated and have at least in most regions decent train/tram/metro public transport, we need to get rid of most cars. Not replace petrol cars by e-cars that are marginally (if at all) better for the environment. And the private cars that are still needed in rural regions should mostly be more like covered e-motorcycles, i.e. small and light, not like typical petrol cars of today.

But again, this is socially and economically impossible in the current framework and conditions. Not gonna happen. Instead engineering ingenuity yields something like this, simply pure madness and therefore a valid symbol for our situation:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porsche_Taycan

 

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7 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

So, in answer to the question in the thread title: what shouldn't be done about climate change? Don't pile even more suffering on the poor.

Oh, that's simple; just abolish poverty. Which we should obviously be doing anyway. Use the petrol tax income and massively increased tax on the rich to fund higher benefits and public sector pay rates as well as greatly improving public transport.

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2 hours ago, felice said:

Oh, that's simple; just abolish poverty. Which we should obviously be doing anyway. Use the petrol tax income and massively increased tax on the rich to fund higher benefits and public sector pay rates as well as greatly improving public transport.

You can't eliminate poverty by ramping up the price of things upon which the currently poor rely. You're giving with one hand and taking with the other, its a zero sum game. All that does is raise the poverty line to a higher income level.

Climate change action probably can't be paid for through the market doing its thing and by taxation. So I guess that's another shouldn't. We shouldn't be looking to tax the shit out of things in order to be able to pay for necessary climate change actions. Paying for climate change actions just needs to happen regardless of govt revenues.

We can tax the shit out of things in order to drive behaviour, but only if people can be driven to choose viable alternatives. Make petrol $20/gallon, sure, but only once everyone can get an EV if they choose without it driving them to loan sharks, or having to choose whether or not to eat that year, and with the infrastructure and electricity generation capacity to cope with a large, sudden increase in EVs, and and with a comprehensive and affordable public transport system for those who would rather just not have personal transport.

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