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Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



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Money will save the planet

3 May 2022

Now I realise that I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer but I have to admit that I'm a little confused.

Our environment is under threat from all sorts of factors and if we don't act then our grandchildren and their grandchildren face living on a very different planet to the one we've enjoyed to date.

Global warming, aka: climate change, aka: climate disruption, is dramatically changing the delicate balance of our ecosphere to the point where "once in 100 year" events are now occurring every few years. Floods, drought, storms and other symptoms of this change are becoming more frequent and severe.

What are we doing to try and mitigate the causes of these changes?

Well it seems to me that we're simply saying "pay someone some money and your abuse of the environment will be inconsequential".

Yes, this whole nonsense started with carbon credits, aka: carbon offsets.

It seems that if you're a big emitter of CO2 then you can completely negate the effect of those emissions by simply buying some carbon offsets.

How clever is that?

Likewise, if you've just planted a forest you magically create these carbon offsets that can then be sold to the guy down the road with the steel mill -- and the planet is saved!

But wait... there's more!

This morning I was reading this advertisement road test of the C8 Corvette and was reminded that if you're buying a car that emits too much CO2 you must now pay the clean car fee as a kind of planet-saving tax, on top of the list price.

Yes, that's right... all it takes for the effects of nasty CO2 emissions to be completely negated is... the payment of your hard-earned cash!

International air travel is one of the biggest contributors to the erosion of our ecosphere so naturally most airlines offer you a way to assuage your guilt by paying a little more to eliminate the effect of your jet-setting lifestyle. Fantastic!

Who would have thought that simply handing over more money was all we need do to save the planet from all the negative effects of carbon emissions?

The worrying thing however, is trying to figure out exactly how this really works.

Planting a forest is a pretty transient thing because trees eventually die and during the decay process, release their sequestered CO2 back into the ecosphere -- so even if all the money paid in carbon taxes/offsets/feelgoods were spent on trees there's not going to be any long-term benefit.

So exactly how does that money save our planet?

Surely, if big V8 cars, the local steel mill or those 757s scorching across the sky are emitting toxic levels of damaging carbon into the atmosphere, no amount of feelgood cash contributions are going to change that fact.

Perhaps this is more about creating a new industry and new ways to make money than it is about really saving the planet.

Let's hear from the floor... surely there has to be a better way to address the challenges that face us than to simply pretend that paying a sin-tax will fix everything.

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