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Monday Message Board

December 15th, 2003

It’s time for your comments on any topic (civilised discussion and no coarse language please). I’ve already posted briefly on today’s big news, the capture of Saddam Hussein, and will probably post again, so comments on that topic might best be placed in those threads.

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  1. Grant
    December 15th, 2003 at 10:41 | #1

    Kyoto seems to have passed away and rumours now are that “Contraction and Convergence” is the preferred way to go.

    C&C appears to be the brainchild of Aubrey Meyer, a classical musician, possibly South African (or so it appears).

    I came across the idea earlier this year but could not quite see how it is meant to work – other than as a way of transferring wealth so that everyone in the world is, theoretically, equally “wealthy”.

    Can anyone explain the idea in a way that is understandable?

  2. observa
    December 15th, 2003 at 14:12 | #2

    Not necessarily equally wealthy but according to this link http://www.gci.org.uk/contconv/cc.html “This means devising and implementing a programme for convergence at equitable and sustainable levels for consumption of fossil fuels on a per capita basis globally.”

    Whilst there probably is a strong correlation between wealth and fossil fuel use the link is probably more accurately attributed to- More fossil fuel use=more output=more savings=more wealth accumulation. This could be put down to the physics of work where work = force overcome times distance divided by time. Since the force overcome is mainly gravity, the product of fossil fuels is to move more mountains in shorter time than picks and shovels. Clearly the equalisation of fossil fuel use has income and ultimately wealth effects. Hence the developed world’s reluctance to ratify Kyoto, whatever the restrictions on fossil fuel use are labelled.

  3. Grant
    December 17th, 2003 at 16:21 | #3

    Observa,

    Thanks for the response. Between us we seem to have cancelled the Monday message board for the week – or can we blame that on Saddam?

    I read the stuff on the GCI web site earlier in the year. That’s why I asked the question.

    From an ecological view point I can see how people might see a contraction scheme working in theory. That part seems quite simple though maybe not so simple to actually implement. Of course such a statement also assumes that the objectives are indeed necessary.

    I’m not sure how convergence fits in to be part of the contraction idea. It looks like something added to prsecute an altogether different agenda. It also seems to be dependent upon a commitment to certain beliefs for existence.

    One of the beliefs may well be related to the potential for supplies of fossil fuels to expire a few decades from now. In that case the entire concept seems to offer little long term scope no matter how much it is promoted at those expensive and fuel-consuming conferences where these things are, allegedly, discussed.

    The concept of convergence would surely take some decades to fully implement, even assuming it such an idea is economically workable. It would be highly ironic if the process of carbon rights apportionment was to mature over 40 or 50 years just in time for the source fuels to run out. Even worse if the process of transfer distracted everyone froom the investment required to develop alternative realistic power generation capabilities in that sort of timescale.

    On the other hand, if developments for non-carbon-based power sources were successful, fossil fuel usage rights would become obsolete over the same sort of period.

    So convergence appears to be some sort of idea for making everyone ‘more equal’ but in a way that sounds a little draconian and that may be economically flawed to attempt in the timescale to which it has potential relevance.

    Or, to return to my original query, am I missing something?

    Grant

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