Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Populist Solution to the Climate Crisis?

 This solution to climate change is right wing and populist. 


We can't save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed. Everything needs to change - and it has to start today.” - Greta Thunberg, TEDx Stockholm, December 2018

There is a scientific consensus that climate change is accelerating and poses an imminent threat to life on earth.  The climate change emergency must be tackled by radically altering our economies.

The current global climate responses will not correct our imbalance and mostly increase the rate of climate change through ineptness.  The UN is trying to impose a global climate cost and enact carbon cap production controls.  Carbon credits derived from arbitrary point spot reductions are being traded as an investment vehicle, even when the point reduction creates an overall global increase.  All of the current supposed solutions require increased government debt.
 

New thought needs to engage, because the only workable climate change solution is in truth small localised government. States stop socialising costs across the globe and instead expose capital to climate risk on a timescale that works.  Economies to be made responsive to climate change factors, by energising consumer responsibility at every expenditure.  Free individuals taking personal responsibility for the climate footprint of all their consumption will produce quick climate change action.  The climate change emergency requires total reform to free people, reducing government and letting people choose a better future.


How to make Individual Responsibility the Solution

The solution to climate change is to have individuals responsible for each carbon footprint through a carbon consumption tax. A carbon consumption tax allows individual consumers to make purchases where saving the planet and saving money align.  Carbon consumption tax differs from a supposed global carbon cost, by being progressively priced on the basis of individual markets or individual consumers.  A carbon consumption tax can align the cost with each consumer markets.

If we want to solve climate change we need to engage all consumers and especially the wealthy.  In a wealthy state the tax rate for carbon consumption to be set higher than the global carbon price, but in a poor state it might be only half the price.

Under a carbon consumption tax manufacturers shall be free to make anything, but if it is by a polluting process then the product will be highly taxed at point of consumption and unprofitable.  Imports get taxed on the basis of their production process and how they are imported. Exports shall not be carbon taxed.  Inward flights get taxed, outward flights do not.

One indirect benefit of carbon consumption tax is the imposition of higher taxation on multinational corporations.  Currently a critical multinational aspect is selling a product unprofitably in areas with high tax and profiting mostly in a low tax part of the corporation.  Under the carbon consumption tax the profit or loss of the sales will be irrelevant to the level of taxation and the existence of the tax mitigation structure will increase the carbon footprint of the production.  Multinational products will be taxed higher the more they offshore their profits. 

Carbon consumption tax is an information based tax, something that can be achieved only in our modern age.  We can now advance solutions where the consumer is informed completely, without the need for elaborate regulation by the state.  This is a good thing, because in this climate change crisis we need to have a smaller state. 


Emission Trading is Not Good

A carbon consumption tax is not the same as the currently proposed UN run global carbon cost to be imposed on emissions.  Global emission pricing is too exploitable in ways that increase pollution.  A global carbon price is an inequitable flat tax that impacts most on the poorest and is ineffective on the richest.  

The emission trading by carbon credits is exploitable in ways that can make increasing pollution profitable for some.  Carbon credits increase in value subject to their demand and as the degree of pollution increases they become more valuable.  The idea is that this will lead to people being innovative and creating new carbon credits.  However the holders of existing credits will profit if they can prevent other people from finding innovative solutions.  Large holders of existing carbon credits include mostly our too-big-to-fail financial institutions, which have proven very capable of putting profit first no matter the consequences.

A global carbon price is regressive and will hurt the poorest more than the wealthy.  This is grossly unfair and moreover ineffective as it is only the rich who are over consuming,  The global cost of carbon will by definition be set too high on the poor and too low on the rich. 

 

Eternal Sovereign Debt is Polluting

Government deficit spending is antithetic to the climate.  The climate maintains stability by inputs and outputs balancing across the planet.  A living climate acts in a system where life fails or prospers in response to the conditions.  When government debt is created by borrowing vast amounts of capital from the far future and spending it now, the climate is stressed beyond the balance.  Our forever deferred government debt creates perverse incentives to both over consume and prolong failing institutions.

Earth needs to end the socialism that supports failed institutions, as this socialism is killing the planet.  Instead of the state accruing debt and forever deferring the payment, we need to incorporate a Darwin-like approach into our economy.  We must place economics at the service of the planet, by keeping our debts in balance and allowing failing institutions to fail. 

To save the planet we need to realign our prevailing debt structures to shorter individualistic time frames, because living individuals reside within the time-frame of climate change.  Societies evolve much too slowly, with societal debts seemingly never to be paid off.  Individuals, not societies, need to be the central pillar of climate change response.  We need to make our financial systems mimic the living world and be naturally selective.  

 

Traditional Taxation is Problematic to the Climate

Income tax, company tax, value added tax to be reduced - when the carbon consumption tax is introduced.  This will allow more of the economy to be in the hands of consumers, with less interference from state institutions. Long lived state institutions are unresponsive to climate change pressures, consumers are much more responsive to price fluctuations.  In this time of crisis we need to enable individuals to make quick decision.

For example the Department of Education should create school vouchers for all students and lease out or sell schools so they all compete.  This will allow schools with a lower carbon footprint to out compete those with a higher carbon burden. Parents and children will be able to actively seek out places best for their education and the planet.

Taken a step further the voucher system could be applied universally, using a Universal Basic Carbon Credit set at 70% of current average carbon usage. This would afford people the finances to be more carbon aware, reward low carbon usage and punish the high consumption choices.

 

Time for Action

This is a climate crisis.  Old rules and old institutions must be allowed to fail.  To solve the climate problem we need everyone to have the individual power and responsibility to make change. 

To save the planet we must reduce government spending by at least 30% and free up consumer power to choose.



Monday, March 12, 2018

Auckland, the Great Leap Backwards.

Auckland has a silly problem.  Distance.


For the last 10 years Auckland Council has added distance into Auckland, building remote small cities isolated and apart.  Urban areas now being separated from each other by gaps of 5, 10 or 50 km.  This distance adding mode of development is incongruous with how cities work and causes problems. 

Throughout modern history people moved to cities to live in closer proximity.  It is a fundamental underpinning of modernity that cities can build faster, as they are places where biggest economies of scale exist.

Today in Auckland we have problems, because we are splitting our city apart.  High priced Auckland property mirrors homelessness.  Infrastructure costs have been forecast as crippling.  New taxes and government intervention are being advanced as the only solution. Auckland is the biggest and richest city in NZ, none of this should have happened.

Auckland is failing.

Environmental Failure - by splitting future suburbs apart Auckland Council adds about 3,000,000 kilometres per day of pointless travel. 

Economic Failure - splitting a city into small urban areas degrades the economy of scale a city can create.  Reducing the economy of scale inflates the cost of building, creating homelessness.

Homelessness - the cost of building rises as the cost of land increases, with the Council removing land supply from urban Auckland the cost of land has soared.

Destruction of Farms - the planned exurban developments are very big, their total area consumes about twice the amount of sprawl a normal city could use.

Congestion - urban dwellers use cars less than suburbanites; suburbanites use cars less than exurban residents.  Auckland favours exurban development and blocks suburban development.  Urban development reduces as land costs are inflated.  All things that result in a lot more cars.

Wastage of Infrastructure - in Swanson, Greenhithe, Albany and Ardmore there is existing transportation infrastructure to allow easy suburban growth.  Auckland Council has blocked this development from occurring.

Pointless Infrastructure - Auckland Council has decided that exurbs must expand at Pukekohe, Dairy Flat, Huapai and Warkworth.  Aside from being much further away these areas are all in need of massive infrastructure spends.

Costs - as the distances increase, so does the cost of infrastructure covering those distances.

There is no good reason for this plan to exist.  And there no positives to take as a result.

Auckland has a housing crisis, entirely due to Auckland Council. 

Monday, May 01, 2017

Auckland Urban Design

How can we describe the Auckland Planning Process:

Step Zero: Take bribes.

Step One: impose a restrictive urban growth limit around Auckland which saves money by eliminating this suburban sprawl, but elevates land prices in the city.

Step Two: plan sprawl around a succession of exurban towns that is cumulatively to be larger than the sprawl eliminated from Auckland.

Step Three: find the building of sprawl in Step Two means money to subsidise intensification as required by "Smart Growth" is difficult to achieve.

Step Four: eliminate restrictions on building in the City, but find that a high land cost and lack of subsidies makes Auckland an uncompetitive regional location for intensification. 

Step Five: realise the transportation costs of connecting the large area exurban sprawl to the City and other exurban sprawl will be very high. 

Step Six: watch as the price of property in Auckland soars to record after record, eclipsing the rate of growth in other regional markets

Step Seven: the Serious Fraud Office gains information regarding Step Zero. 

Step Eight: ask the NZ government to subsidise the transportation budget of Auckland as required to cope with the large sprawl over the wide area.

Step Nine: the NZ government notices the high land cost in Auckland and asks for more land to be opened up, but delegates the job to Nick Smith. 

Step Ten: the mayor wins re-election mostly on the basis of Step Seven, but is soon caught in bed with one of his underlings thus eliminating most mayoral oversight for the next 3 years.

Step Eleven: a tentative agreement is reached with the NZ government whereby Auckland plans will be reviewed to make more land available and tax-payers will pay for some large parts of urban growth subsidies.

Step Twelve: corruption charges are laid against 2 Auckland Transport officials (one of whom pleads guilty) and one company director - a trial commences against the two remaining defendants.

Step Thirteen: changes are made allowing foreign students to apply for residency and the Australian economy slows dramatically - immigration ramps up.

Step Fourteen: the agreement with the government is formalised.  Much more sprawl is to be added to all the exurbs and the government will pay for half the rail loop costs.

Step Fifteen: forecast costs of the new elevated levels of exurban sprawl are now higher again and subsidies for even existing planned urban development are at risk - shelving plans for multiple light rail lines. 

Step Sixteen: ask government for ability to charge congestion charges or a regional fuel tax to pay for subsidies for urban development that Auckland cannot afford, because Auckland is spending so much on exurban sprawl.

Step Seventeen: Nick Smith appears supportive, but the wider cabinet declines Step Sixteen requests.

Step Eighteen: the two corruption defendants are found guilty and imprisoned.  SFO evidence of wider possible corruption handed over to Auckland Council for further investigation.  Auckland Council delegates investigation to Auckland Transport which finds no further evidence of corruption - some low level officials leave their jobs. 

Step Nineteen: house prices continue to elevate and building remains slow - the term Auckland Housing Crisis gains wide public usage. 

Step Twenty: Auckland house prices peak and house price in surrounding areas surge.

Step Twenty One: surrounding regions have a building boom with much lower land prices and build homes up to twice as fast per capita as Auckland.  Labour costs increase in Auckland.

Step Twenty Two:  wrongly blaming immigrants and foreign capital in Auckland for the housing crisis, measures to reduce demand are sought.

Step Twenty Three: burdened with elevated spending requirements of a plan with approximately 70-100% larger than previously conceivable levels of sprawl, the credit rating of Auckland Council suffers a downgrade. 

Step Twenty Four: a new mayor is elected and proceeds to reissue the demands of Step Sixteen.  Commitment to the unprecedented levels of sprawl is retained, nothing changes as debt increases. 

Step Twenty Five: 2017 elections for NZ government are to be fought, Winston Peters will be central and rhetoric around immigration reaches new lows. 




Auckland Design is Neither Smart or Expansive

Two-Step Design.

The predominant schools of urban design - Smart or Expansive - are simple affordable modes of development that are used to grow cities across the world.   These are essentially both 2 step processes, that spend public funds:

Smart Design: private intensive growth exploits direct public subsidies.
Step 1 - spend less money on sprawl, which makes land costs escalate.
Step 2 - use the public money saved to subsidise upward growth of the city centre, mitigating the high land costs.

Expansive Design: private intensive growth exploits the indirectly subsidised lower land costs. 
Step A - spend more public money on subsidising sprawl to lower the cost of land.
Step B - eliminate planning restrictions from the central city and the low land costs make intensive development profitable.

Auckland does neither Smart nor Expansive Growth.   Auckland does the opposite of both systems. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Living with Len & Pen - Sprawland Auckland

Auckland Region is commencing an era of record breaking sprawl.  Expensive, wasteful, polluting, value destroying sprawl is being foisted upon Auckland by our council, 

Never in a 100 years did anyone expect Warkworth to triple in size - we are making it happen in 30 years.

We didn't expect Kumeu to quadruple in size before next century - our  council will make it happen before 2050. 

Silverdale is to double in size, Pukekohe is to grow 100%, Clarks Beach is to increase by 120%, Kingseat is to increase by 90%, Helensville is to spawl 20%.

Auckland meanwhile is to be restricted to 9%. 

Taken as a whole an additional 25% of urban area is to be added to the Auckland region.

If we did not follow the plans of this Lenny Penny council, if we didn't have their environmentally destructive RUB, Auckland would spread outwards by a mere 20%. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Auckland and the Opposion - now I'm more positive

Phil Twyford, well done sir.

Best news I've seen in a while.  Ending Len Brown's RUB is much better than keeping it.

Update: Unfortunately Phil Twyford (Lab) seems to be incapable of communicating his policy's merit to Phil Goff (Lab).  Phil Goff (Lab) is in favour of the sprawlfest, high rent, urban growth killing policies of Len Brown (Lab). 

Update: Phil Twyford has now broached the policy as part of the new government.  Expect Phil Goff to strenuously object and demand more money. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Auckland and the Government - a pessimistic prediction.

Nick Smith, Minister for Housing has just signaled that he is going to force council to open up more long-term land for housing supply.  On the face of it this should be great news for Auckland.

However I am a pessimist and a cynic.   Cynical zero sum politics say the Nats and the Council politics align around keeping land costs high. 

I believe Nick Smith is going to "force" our Lenny Penny council to open up even more exurbia.  

More exurban land is more sprawl and more cost.  It will suit both their cynical politics and screw over Auckland.  More exurban sprawl will not help Auckland. 

What is required is more land added to Auckland City.  Auckland City is the biggest city in NZ, it should be possible for our politicians to work out where it is and where it isn't.

Update - Called it. Nick Smith will make the restrictions on Auckland permanent and make the sprawl happen.  Only he wants this screwed up plan to occur even faster.

National Party - Cynical Party.