Such timidity

February 14th, 2007 at 7:45 am by David Farrar

The so called sustainability initiatives are so timid that they must have come from a brainstorming session of things which sound good but won’t actually achieve a thing. Let’s look at them:

* A one cent a kilo rubbish tax.
* A biofuels target of 3.4% by 2013 which will miss the Kyoto commitment period entirely
* A PR scam where six Govt Depts will plant trees to offset their carbon emmissions. This will represent (I guess – actual data welcome) less than 0.1% of emmissions I predict. At that rate by the year 3007 we may be carbon neutral.

This isn’t even tinkering at the margins. It’s less than that.

No tag for this post.

70 Responses to “Such timidity”

  1. insider () says:

    If you think getting 3.4% of biofuels by 2012 is timid you are in lala land. Europe has been workign on them for 20 years and are not getting close. THe US uses massive subisidies that have doubled grain prices to increase volumes. NZ has no biofuels industry, and limited scope with current technology and the Govt thinks it can click its fingers and imagine an industry into being.

    Just cos JK said it doesn;t make it so. He’s paid to oppose whether that opposition makes sense or not

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Ed Snack () says:

    Not to mention that it is doubtful if most biofuels are green except in a soundbite fashion. Ethanol production in most cases uses more energy to manufacture than is present in the eventual fuel. But then, environmental politics is purely gesture politics in its entirety, why would we be concerned with “meeting Kyoto targets” when in doing so we will have absolutely no measurable effect on anything except our economy ?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. tim barclay () says:

    Now that she has lost her majority this very modest effort is about convincing the Greens that the Labour Party is worth supporting. Of course she is playing up the climate change thing using odd weather to make people worried and then providing a statist solution to all you concerns.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. insider () says:

    I loved the Govt’s weasel words, that the decision is “likely to have little impact on price”.

    So let me understand this, you put a product in your tank that costs more to produce, more to handle and market, gives lower mpg (10-30%), might even damage your engine, and you increase the business risk by threatening massive fines if the oil industry doesn;t do it, and then say that is “likely to have little impact on price”.

    One thing JK was right on, these people are increasingly removed from reality.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Ray () says:

    David, you forgot the ministerial limos being down graded to diesel
    I would be impressed if they travelled less as a way of lowering their carbon foot print
    As in, stayed put and ran the country other than always being on the move or spending their holidays in Norway!!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Michael (The Right Wing One) () says:

    Biofuels hit the poor – older cars can’t be run on them.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Blair () says:

    …and we are unhappy about this because…?!!!!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. book'emDano () says:

    hmmm I have always wondered about planting trees to offset carbon emissions… they are only carbon sinks as long as they are growing, so what happens when you cut em down and burn em? are we to pay a ‘wood-fire’ tax as well? Who pays if there is an unplanned forest fire?? No wait- sudden brainstorm- we could cut them down (using axes only and solar powered blimps/airships to transport them) and bury them in old mines… then wait a few million years to get the naturally produced hydrocarbons out- gee a SUSTAINABLE circle…(with apologies to HC, as I know that the ‘S’ word belongs to her now….)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. gd () says:

    Sustainability is just a code word for more taxes new taxes and more command and control. We will now have a Socialist/Communist government hellbent on reliefing our hip pockets of our hard earned incomes so they can bribe the usual suspects to vote for them.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Murray () says:

    I’d rather the people whose salaries I help pay got on with their damn jobs and didn’t spend their afternoons arsing about with feel good druidic photo-ops of planting expensive nursery raised trees at the taxpayers expense and all back for tea and cakes before knocking off early because we’re not going to get any work done anyway.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. phil u () says:

    as for the claims we couldn’t even reach 3.4%..

    we could import from brazil ’till we got up to speed…

    older cars will run on the mix..

    some may just need a different type of fuel filter..

    and yeah..as far as producing/coming up with (the needed) coherent/solution-driven environmental policies…

    clark may as well have pissed into a ‘stiff southerly’..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Peter S () says:

    phil u,

    There is one REALLY big problem with the ethics of importing ethanol from Brazil.

    Where is the sugar cane grown, and where will the extra sugar cane going to be grown in Brazil?

    Its just the little matter of the rainforest being destroyed to make way for sugar cane plantations.

    I suppose we could plan one day on renaming the Amazon Basin, home of the world’s largest rain forest the Amazon Sugar Bowl, home of the world’s largest cane forest.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Taranaki () says:

    I’m impressed DPF. I never expected to read this blog and see you howling at the Government’s move towards sustainability as window dressing without enough substance.

    What bold initiative would get your backing?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Archon () says:

    “we could import from brazil ’till we got up to speed…”

    Isn’t this the Green equivalent of investing in a company that makes cluster bombs?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Bernard Darnton () says:

    Libertarianz heartily supports this bold initiative.

    The only real way to make a government department carbon-neutral is to close it down so that it doesn’t use any energy.

    I’m very pleased to see that Inland Revenue is on the list for the pilot :-)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Manolo () says:

    Bernard said “The only real way to make a government department carbon-neutral is to close it down”. I fully support that motion.

    We got so many government departments. ministries, commissions, and all sort of quangos that having quite a few less wouldn’t do any harm, and will benefit the country.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. insider () says:

    Here’s an interesting item. Labour friend and rich man Stepehn Tindall had press conference about the evil health affects of hydrocarbon emissions – the next asbestos apparantly. Flew a scientist all the way from Australia – they obviously don’t have a concern about the health affects of jet fumes.

    “It was timed to coincide with the Government’s announcements on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.”

    Well well, so Tindall knew in advance what the Govt was doing and when. He is an investor in ethanol, and the Govt has surprisingly changed their plans specifically to favour ethanol despite the reports saying ethanol is not a good investment for NZ. How curious.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. DavidW () says:

    Just musing about the departments selected to become “carbon neutral” about the only thing they can do is stop buying Staedtler HB pencils and start buying plastic bodied pencils as the biodegradability issue will ensure the plastic ones lock away some carbon for longer. Same for the disposable coffee cups, and disposable plates.
    Use more oil and save a tree? WTF?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Idiot/Savant () says:

    How typical of the former spindoctor to focus on the gloss and then claim it lacks substance. The real sustainability meat in the speech was the commitment to the energy strategy and its price on carbon, and the sustainable land management policy with its prices on nitrogen and deforestation. Biofuels are important, and the new policy is ambitious given the significant technological and infrastructure worries we have in this area (which I talk a little about here); its hardly a “timid” policy.

    I agree that a carbon-neutral public service is mostly a PR move – but the government has to lead by example. And its certainly not the be-all and end-all of government policy DPF tries to imply it is.

    As for waste, it is worth noting that this is the one area of climate change policy which has been enormously successful. Emissions have dropped by 25% since 1990 and look set to go much lower (unfortunately it is a miniscule part of our emissions profile). An escalating waste tax will add to this, while giving the public and market time to adjust to the idea that throwing stuff away has a cost.

    So, typically misleading, as usual. Old habits die hard again, it seems.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Sonic () says:

    What David says when a party is not “timid”

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2007/02/aussie_greens_go_bonkers.html#trackback

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. phil u () says:

    um..let’s not forget the elephant in the room..eh..?

    growing animals for food is one of the/our ‘big three’ polluters..

    (and getting worse all the time..)

    (aside from the obvious..going vegan..)

    any suggestions on what to do about that one..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. merc () says:

    Eat the rich! Sorry, just having a Lemmy moment, Phil you know.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. George Darroch () says:

    Nice spotting the blatant intellectual dishonesty there Sonic. These things are tinkering around the edges. But taking significant action that meant changes in behaviour, or was perceived to inconvenience the electorate would mean being assailed by DPF and god knows how many others. Do you think that this or any other New Zealand Government would do such a thing? Seriously? After the reaction to the possibility of putting a charge on floating mortgages?

    Much better to be seen to be doing something, than actually doing something.

    According to James Hansen we have 9 years before we reach a tipping point where runaway and disasterous climate change becomes inevitable. So phasing out coal within three years (although not the stated policy of the Australian Greens anyway) begins not to look so ridiculous, as do a raft of other policy initiatives (some radical things like greatly improved public transport figure on the list)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. merc () says:

    Go Nick and the Blue Greens!
    http://www.surfbreak.org.nz/modules/news/article.php?storyid=28

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Sam Dixon () says:

    This kind of bollocks: “A PR scam where six Govt Depts will plant trees to offset their carbon emmissions. This will represent (I guess – actual data welcome) less than 0.1% of emmissions I predict. At that rate by the year 3007 we may be carbon neutral” – is what seperates someone with a proper argument from you jokers on the right. You’ve got no idea what the impact of the program will be, you’re too lazy to find out, so you make arrogant and ignorant procalmations and duly become a laughing stock.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Jim () says:

    Surfbreak? Thanks for the non-sequitur.

    Back to the sustainability topic. How about this:

    1. Require all vehicles registered after 1 July 2006 to meet Euro IV.

    2. Add a ‘fuel inefficiency’ charge on to annual registration fees. No charge for cars more efficient than 6L / 100km, rising to $2000 for 15L / 100km. Proceeds of this charge used to directly subsidise public transport fares in and around the town of the vehicle’s owner.

    3. Congestion charging where traffic congestion is a problem.

    They sound sensible to me, and I’m not even a greenie. Too severe? Other countries have these measures already (Europe, UK). Actually, #2 (inefficiency charge) might be new – although some countries do charge a tax by engine size.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. Peter S () says:

    How about some measures that do not involve increasing taxes?

    That would show a really seriousa attitude.

    You could use some of Jim’s suggestions, but, instead of new charges offset increases on inneficient car chrges with reductions on econmical car charges (provides a double incentive to get an economical car).

    The country is running something like an 11bn tax surplus.

    Make installation of double glazing, insulation and solar pannels 100% tax deductible.

    Yes, sure, it would be the rich that would benefit- they could put them in all their rental properties for free- and the poorer renters would reap the benefits of lower heating costs for free too.

    You could cap the cost to the tax surplus by making the amount you spent on 100% tax refundable improvements a % of the total net tax (after benefits) that you pay.

    The beauty of these ideas is that they work on a double incentive- they help the environment whilst also saving the person money.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. side show bob () says:

    So government departments are to plant trees to offset their carbon emmissions, don’t you just love these clowns. Is this the same government that is making great haste in clearing crown land to establish dairy farms which come with evil carbon emmitting cows. If the were really serious they would be planting crops suitable for biofuels. WHAT A FUCKING CON

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. mikeymike () says:

    the greens brief press release last week shows whats needed re tax. reform.
    more tax is not accpetable. incentivising initiatives that improve our carbon profile is the only realistic option to reduce emissions (aside from simple old efficiency). so yes, peter s you’re on the mark.
    dpf you’re exceptionally selective in your criticism. is this post a criticism of three particular “things which sound good but won’t actually achieve a thing” or are all the initiatives “timid” in your analysis?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. Jim () says:

    Peter S, I agree. I’m not generally in favour of increasing taxes – and in fact I think overall they could be cut.

    I don’t mind so much where taxes are used as an incentive (or disincentive) to change behaviour. You could of course do the reverse of the charge and make it a tax credit. Downsize your car and get a $2k refund cheque from IRD each year. Lovely!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. Peter S () says:

    Jim,

    Exactly. Great idea.

    The thing I really, really like about my idea on the 100% tax deductible home improvements scheme is that it will stick in the true socialist’s craw so much. This is because giving the largest tax return to the rich (especially in this case multiple home owning landlords) would provide free benefit to low income renters.

    Returning money to the rich to help the poor. Arrrgh, surely there must be some better way, like punishing the rich to help the poor. It is just so Antisocialist.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. Jim () says:

    Tax deductible home improvements (energy efficiency) are suggested by the Greens in their press release (see mikeymikes post above).

    The problem with this is that it looks at the outset like a sensible idea – which means that the Labour govt will never do it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. Peter S () says:

    Jim,

    I hadn’t seen mikeymikes post. It is not often I find myself agreeing with the greens (except on the broad aspect that looking after the environment is a good idea), but credit where credit is due, the ideas that they put forward in that press release have merit.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. gd () says:

    I love the idea to tax higher fuel usage vehicles. The only problem for the Socialists is that will impact on their supporters more than the dreaded RW as we have the means to afford newer and more fuel efficent vehicles.

    Heh Why dont we try a really novel idea and ask the Gumint to let the citizens keep some more of the money they earn and let them decide the best option for them. Oh I forgot Nanny state has to decide when to wipe their botties for them cause poor things cant do that all on their own.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. phil u () says:

    ah yes..the blue-greens..the cutting-edge of national party thought..

    um..guys,,gals..(ahem..!..)..your website still has donny-boy as leader..

    (dosen’t that already seem like a long time ago ..eh../..another age..?..)

    better get that up to speed..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. Owen McShane () says:

    Media Release from the NZ Climate Science Coalition.
    Strong criticism of Prime Minister Helen Clark’s promotion of biofuels in Asia has been expressed by Bryan Leyland, the chairman of the economics panel of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition. A prominent energy consultant in Auckland, Mr Leyland said:
    “All the evidence points to the fact that growing crops to make biofuels is
    bad for the environment, deprives the local populations of much
    needed food and in most cases, does nothing to reduce carbon
    emissions. The only beneficiaries are those who grow rich on the
    billions of dollars in subsidies paid for biofuel production.

    “The sad this part of all this is, as Fred Pearce wrote in the New
    Scientist (23/9/06) ‘Biofuels will trash rainforest, suck water
    reserves dry, kill off species and, worst of all barely slow down
    global warming.’ He then goes on to say ‘Producing 10% of the world’s
    transport fuels from crops would require 9% of the planet’s
    agricultural land.’

    “Substituting biofuels for food crops has driven up the price of
    staple foods: the price of palm oil – a very important source of food
    and nutrition in Southeast Asia and in Africa – has increased by 50%
    in the last 12 months. In America and Europe, the price of corn has
    increased and grain reserves are lower than they have been for many
    years. Given that what we are told about global warming causing more
    severe droughts, a logical response would be to make sure that grain
    reserves are held at a safe level.

    “The subsidies based on scaremongering about dangerous man-made
    global warming have led to massive loss of tropical forest from clear
    felling for palm oil plantations in Malaya, Indonesia and Borneo.
    Since 1999, palm oil production has increased from 7 million to 14
    million tons. Clearing tropical forest for palm oil production is
    far worse than logging, because loggers at least leave the devastated
    forest to regrow. Palm oil plantations permanently destroy the
    habitats of Orang Utang and hundreds of other rare and endangered
    plants and animals. The clear felling and burning of forests for palm
    oil spews millions of tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse
    gases into the atmosphere and blankets large parts of SE Asia in a
    miasma of smog every year. It is tragic that our Prime Minister could
    allow her misguided belief that man-made global warming is real and
    dangerous to override these hugely important environmental and social
    considerations.

    “We acknowledge the Prime Minister’s concern for what she believes
    about man-made global warming, and emissions of carbon dioxide that,
    in reality, are shown by science to make little or no difference. It
    is unfortunate that she has been given totally misleading advice.
    But, given her belief that New Zealand cannot take advantage of our
    huge reserves of coal and lignite for the generation of electric
    power, and if she really wants to make a difference, she should
    endorse nuclear power, promote electric cars and advise against
    biofuels. New Zealand has the skills to help developing countries
    with hydropower development, with improving efficiency of existing
    fossil fuel fired power stations and making agriculture more energy
    efficient and environmentally friendly,” Mr Leyland concluded.
    ENDS
    Back to me.
    Other reports point out that New Zealand would have to import the biomass needed to produce most biofuels.

    A US report says that if you follow the whole process through, the production of a litre of biofuel from corn and the like requires the consumption of 5 litres of fossil fuel. Surely it is better to tip the five litres straight into the tank. Corn requires large amounts of fossil fuel based fertiliser, and there are large machines used in harvesting and transport, and the fermentation processes require large amounts of heat. The only benefit from biofuel is that the carbon is current cycle but if that current cycle carbon is outweighed by fossil carbon, what is the point.

    Some claim that the five to one ratio is far too high. But has anyone checked the equation here?

    I have no problems with someone developing technology which turns genuine waste materials into fuel of some kind. But forcing such fuels on the market by misinformed fiat generates major costs and few benefits.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. chiz () says:

    There have been various claims and counterclaims in the last year about the efficiency of bio-ethanol production but these are all based on current techniques. New techniques may improve things especially if we start using genetically modification – think oilcane instead of sugarcane.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. wayne mapp () says:

    Owen, That is a pretty big claim; that it takes 5 litres of fuel to produce 1 litre of ethanol. What is your source? Corn production surely would not take nearly a litre of deisel to produce 1 or 2 kg of corn as the feedstock for the ethanol (though I guess there is also the fertilizer). Wayne Mapp

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. uk_kiwi () says:

    Bio-butanol, produced from sugar beets, is a far more likely fuel to be grown here. While pretty toxic, it is a more practical biofuel given the NZ climate.

    Ethanol from corn is a loser energy-wise, ethanol from sugar cane (a la Brasil) is only possible in a tropical climate, which rules out NZ.

    Although I feel we should exhaust other options first- a 5c/litre tax on petrol to fund decent public transport in main centres for instance. An Underground for Auckland- why not?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. kisekiman () says:

    An Underground for Auckland- why not?

    You have to find people who can wade thru the red tape, build it and then pay for it. Most people with any clues are overseas having bailed on Labour’s socialist paradise.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. Fred () says:

    Bullshit for the masses.
    Poor and stupid? ….your path is mapped by hands you can’t understand.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. The Strategist () says:

    The government’s sustainability announcement is a start in the right direction. But as some people have pointed out, there’s a lot more sensible things that can and should be done quickly to move carbon neutrality from ‘aspiration’ to reality, e.g., congestion charging (Jim), 100% tax breaks for insulation and solar panels (Peter S) and decent public transport systems (uk_kiwi).

    Some people will bitch about the money, but it wasn’t long ago that this government was talking about pumping half a billion dollars into another glorified rugby field in Auckland.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. David Farrar () says:

    Idiot – not that I mind, but as it so happens I was never employed as a press secretary.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. Jim () says:

    What I find really rings hollow about the govt’s sustainability initiatives is that the much touted “Clean, green, 100% pure New Zealand” is peculiarly backwards in clean, green initiatives.

    Agriculture might be NZ’s biggest greenhouse problem, but cars are the fastest growing problem area.

    We may have a relatively high proportion of hydro generation but the RMA prefers small-footprint fossil-fuel plants (dams and wind farms seem to fall foul of the RMA – whereas fossil fuel generators can be hidden out of sight).

    In pure economic terms it is cheaper for a person to buy and run a smokey old import than a new low emissions vehicle. Most developed countries have laws that prevent this, but not clean green NZ.

    All of this adds up to a government that pays lip service to sustainabililty; a gutless govt hamstrung by its doctrine. It is more important to maintain cheap cars for the masses than protect the environment. In that sense NZ is third world.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  45. Duncan Bayne () says:

    > This isn’t even tinkering at the margins. It’s
    > less than that.

    Excellent :-)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  46. Owen McShane () says:

    Wayne,
    I thought I made it clear that in my opinion the five to one ratio is too high. But there is no doubt that the corn to fuel route is energy intensive. Most calculations leave out the actual heating costs involved with fermentation.
    But the ratio is not the issue. We know that the NZIE report to government was fulll of caveats and acknowledged that we would have to import the feedstock.

    There is the prospect of cellosic lignin based processes (which may well use our own extreme thermophiles from Rotorua) but these are a long way downstream.

    I would expect much more analysis before we decide to set up yet another subsidised energy source.

    There are good reasons to be less dependent of oil and other overseas sourced fuels. But biofuel at present depends on foreign sourced feedstock so seems a strange choice for spending tax payers money and imposing costs on the poor.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  47. Owen McShane () says:

    At present, moving people from private vehicles to public transport increases fossil fuel use – especially if moved to trains.
    Rubber on road systems get more efficient by the day while trains are in a rut. The most effective ways of reducing fuel use in tranpsort are to ease the congestion by building decent roads, and introducing HOT lanes, promoting telecommuting (hugely effective) and networking the car pool using the internet and cell phones.

    Public transport has no effect on the commercial fleet.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  48. Captain Crab () says:

    Bring back Project Aqua!!!!!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  49. Captain Crab () says:

    Groan, not the more roads = mores cars arguement.
    mikeymike, we can only drive one at a time. Just becasue you build a new road do you think an extra 100,000 cars comes out of the cosmos?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  50. The Strategist () says:

    Owen – yes, I’d be interested in an explanation about your odd claim that “moving people from private vehicles to public transport increases fossil fuel use”.

    Living in Wgton I go to work on an express bus, which carries approx. 40 people. If the bus wasn’t there, and those 40 people had to find some other way of getting to work, chances are they would drive. Stand at any corner during rush hour for 5 minutes and it quickly becomes clear that most cars carry one person. So, crudely, one bus replaces 30-40 cars on the road.

    I agree with you that car pooling and telecommunication are good ideas, and should be promoted as part of an integrated urban transport strategy. But having an effective mass transit system for Auckland must be top priority, not yet more roads.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  51. Peter S () says:

    The Strategist,

    There is a problem with public transport that affects its efficiency.

    When a person drives a car to work, the most common result is that they go from A to B and stop, the car remains idle till home time, when it gets driven from B to A where it remains idle.

    During the idle times the car is not consuming any resources or creating any emisions.

    The efficiency of public transport is lauded because, on a single trip from A to B, and back, a full bus or train transports large numbers of people for lower resuource and emission levels.

    The problem is that, in reality the bus/train is often not full,certainly not for the whole trip, and the bus does not stop at the end of the trip, it continues to circulate.

    Public transport is efficient at peak times, but, because there are peak times, the resource needed to cover the peak means that the rest of the day becomes extremely inefficient, but the resource still needs to be utilised to cover potential use as well as actual use.

    I a city like London it is not too much of a problem, because the population base is such that there are always enough people to make the efficency levels viable.

    A city like Auckland, with large distances & relatively low population means a different equation.

    Trains can be even worse, because, by nature, they are extremely heavy, so the energy required to start and stop them means that utilisation has to be much closer to peak levels to make them viable.

    It is something to think of next time you see a bus drive past with only 2-3 passengers in it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  52. The Strategist () says:

    Peter S – I take your point, but what you say amounts to an argument for better scheduling of off-peak bus services.

    In my area during off-peak several buses (on different routes) come through every 15 to 30 minutes, sometimes with, as you say, several people on board. It would be sensible to reduce the number of buses and their frequency during these times.

    Even so, one has to think of the total amount of people carried on the bus during its run – the bus that goes past me may have 2-3 people in it, but during the course of its 40 minute run may have carried 20 people. Again, crudely, that’s 20 cars off the road.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  53. Idiot/Savant () says:

    Jim: there are moves afoot to begin a feebate system. The cabinet paper is not on the web, but I got a copy through the OIA this month. The ref is POL (06) 367, and the title is “Climate Change Policy: Options for use of Economic Instruments to Reduce Transport CO2 Emissions and Work Programme Update”. if you write to the Minister of Transport and ask for it, they’ll send you a copy.

    Oh, and two points about bioethanol. Firstly, the key paper on the efficiency of US production has been widely debunked, and even its author admits it is horribly wrong (however, despite this, he refuses to resile from it. He’d fit in perfectly with the kooks in the Climate Science Coalition) – and in any case farming methods are rather different and less intensive here. And secondly, in New Zealand, we expect to be making our bioethanol from waste, not from purpose grown crops. ATM Fonterra produces ethanol as a way of cleaning the waste-stream from its whey plants, and their systems may be used to take waste fruit which would otherwise simply be dumped. But the real source will be waste wood from the forestry industry, which again would otherwise be discarded. The only real input here is transport.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  54. Peter S () says:

    The Strategist,

    You are correct about scheduling.

    The problem is that those different buses probably go to different areas, and you are in a convergence point. Also, reducing the availability in off peak hours also reduces the perception of Public transport as a viable option (people don’t want to get stuck somewhere in the middle of the day waiting for an hour for the next bus).

    Another problem is that 1 bus does not equal one car, a bus is not that efficient- so 40 people may mean 40 cars fewer, but it is not a 40 car saving. This is coupled with the fact that the bus route will almost certainly cover a longer route, which maximises passenger numbers, but still reduces the saving per passenger on the bus, and not every passenger will have travelled the same proportion of the journey.

    The bus also does not limit its self to a 40 minute run. To a bus company a bus sitting idle is a huge cost, so the aim is to have the bus running for 8+ hours a day. This means that the bus may well do 12+. times the mileage that a car would.

    I don’t have the figures that would allow an exact calculation, but, refined to its simplest form, the viability of public transport can be reduced to a calculation of whether or not you can achieve and average of x number of bums on seats per km for every km.

    As someone who works in the area of transport scheduling (though a different industry), my gut feeling is that the true level would be a fairly unrealistic target. But that is only a gut feeling, since I don’t have the actual figures upon which to make the calculations.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  55. insider () says:

    I/s

    You are not correct on the bioethanol. THe whole mandate is now dependent on the development of crop based ethanol. Fonterra’s production is very small – 15mla – and they would rather turn the weigh into sugar than ethanol given current sugar prices, anmd the other ethanol goes into alcohol which makes better money than fuel.

    Agree on the energy use issue. I think the US fuel mix is different too in that we use much more renewable electricity which would change the equation.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  56. Idiot/Savant () says:

    Insider: Actually, you’re right – they’re now talking about using maize as well. The other option, of course, is that if domestic supply fails to develop, they can import. But the government clearly thinks that providing a market will stimulate production to develop to meet it.

    I stand by my comments on wood waste though – this (and short-rotation wood) is where we’re headed in the long term. One group – BioJoule – expects to be producing by 2012, and if they are successful it would give us a realistic opportunity to move towards a 10% target.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  57. Owen McShane () says:

    RE: Moving to public transport.
    Last I gave a paper to a conference of transport advisers from all walks of live including ARC, govt etc, and when I made this claim no one challenged it. In later discussions there was widespread agreement.So it is a commonplace among transport experts.
    As well as the issues mentioned above people tend to forget that public transport trips often start with short vehicle trips.
    But mainly it is because of the rate of technical change. The rubber on road technology is advancing rapidly while steel on rail is in a rut -especially here were are stuck with heavy rail systems.
    You have to remember that a car is always 25% loaded – which is a good start.
    Finally public transport is insignificant in the scheme of fossil fuel consumption. We begin with “export” fuel, then fuel for energy, then other and then transport of which a big chunk is commercial transport.
    So we are now left with the private car fleet most of which is outside our major cities. So we are now left with the car users in Auckland, WEllington and Christchurch. OF them only about 15% of their trips are for commuting and of them only about 5% are for CBD commuting. And of them only a small percentage are able to transfer because (like many women) they have a multi trip day.
    So we are talking about a shift of the proverbial 3/5th of 5/8th of FA.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  58. insider () says:

    I?S

    Excuse me if I don’t get excited. Groups like biojoule have been promising much and delivering little – not their fault it’s just not as easy as they say. Jim Watson can call for ambitious targets but the fact is he has not produced a litre of fuel economically and expects us to trust him.

    I look at it this way – if cellulosic ethanol was that realistic and close, then ethanol manufacturers wouldn’t be backing maize farming and getting a special deal from the Govt as by the time they get up and running they wouldn’t have much payback time on their assets till cellulosic got on the market. That said I frankly doubt their ability to convert many farms and I really hope the govt is willing to beat them up when they don’t produce for selling them on hollow promises. Unfortunately we all know it will instead blame the oil industry becasue they are always going to be an easy target.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  59. Owen McShane () says:

    If we intend to get into biodfuels seriously and be competitive with our neighbours around the Pacific Basin then we shall have to genetically modify both the organisms (and or enzymes) which drive the fermentation and the plants which provide the feedstock. We know the metabolic pathways and the gains can be huge.
    BUT the Greens won’t allow it.
    This is a repeat of the Nuclear electrificiation of the vehicle fleet.
    The Greens won’t allow that either.

    Classic Marxist “contradictions”.
    Don’t you love it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  60. Anonymous () says:

    rulers Aleck Jobrel infidelity,pairings balk condescending!…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  61. Anonymous () says:

    rulers Aleck Jobrel infidelity,pairings balk condescending!…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  62. Anonymous () says:

    schooled worthiest manifested legislated allowable amassing retraced – Tons of interesdting stuff!!!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  63. Anonymous () says:

    cavalier Summers:rerun unbound brightly edition

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote