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An older model home which has gone energy-efficient conversion into a green alter-ego.  (Source: University of Oxford)
One of the oldest and most venerable universities in the world is looking to help homeowners take a chunk out of a very new problem

The University of Oxford is helping households both reduce their energy bills and reduce the CO2 needed to generate their energy, by as much as 80%.  Oxford revealed the framework of the plan to the public, and it is already creating much excitement and interest.

Central to the plan are Oxford's suggestions of government financial incentives for homeowners and higher efficiency standards on household appliances.

Brenda Boardman, a senior research fellow at Oxford University, authored the report and points that homeowners choosing to adopt the plan wouldn't just be acting altruistically -- they would be saving £425 each year -- enough say, buy that new iPhone, pick up a PS3, or snag a couple of Wiis (if you could find any!).

DailyTech recently reported that UK legislators had adopted the ambitious drive for emissions to be cut by 60% of 1990 levels by 2050.  Oxford's plan is even more ambitious.  Ms. Boardman states, "The bill calls for at least a 60% reduction, which is great, but this report shows that you can get an 80% cut in the domestic sector by 2050."

The UK government has stated its intention of making every new home zero-carbon emissions by 2016, even promising to possibly ban energy-hungry plasma TVs.  However, even if this is accomplished, Boardman points out, in 2050 over 80% of people will be living in homes in homes that had already been built, so the need for reform in existing housing is essential.

Ms. Boardman went on to state that if the government wants any hope of reaching its emissions goals, then changing and modernizing home usage was an essential step.  She explains, "It is crucial because it is large. Depending on what year's measurements you use, it accounts for about 25-27% of all the UK's carbon emissions."

The precise details of the plan are as follows:

  1. The housing sector would be legal bound to cut emissions by 3.8% a year, starting in 2008 (if adopted).
  2. Build more densely concentrated homes, chiefly in urban areas, to cut car use and increase adoption of micro-generator systems.
  3. A large program of tax breaks, including taxes for installing energy efficient insulation and reduced taxes on energy efficient goods and appliances.
  4. Develop a database to track fuel efficiency across the UK and target poverty afflicted areas with additional financial assistance.
  5. Have government sponsored home analysis program which delivers efficiency certificates to homeowners looking to make improvements and gives them suggestions for various potential activities to improve the property.

In an interview with BBC News, Ms. Boardman explained the practicality of the plan, saying, "The technologies are already there.  People know about cavity wall insulation, double glazing and more efficient boilers and lighting.  We are trying to give a framework to government policy so everybody will realize this is important and what we have to do in our homes to help with climate change mitigation."

One promising idea discussed in the report is micro generation.  The concept, which can be applied equally well to businesses and large homes involves using small electric generators and heaters, typically combined to local power and heat production and take stress of the power and gas grids.  By making the production local, energy use can be cut nearly 20%.

Carbon Trust, an environmental analyst has done a study on currently implementations and after exhaustive research feels that there is definitive evidence that this local production delivers tremendous benefits.  Their representative stated, "Our analysis of more than 30,000 days worth of data shows that micro CHP can deliver significant CO2 savings for small businesses and certain types of housing. However, if the market for this exciting technology is to develop, it needs a policy framework which provides appropriate incentives to target applications which offer worthwhile carbon savings."

A recent study showed the majority of people worldwide were willing to make lifestyle changes to help the environment -- so Oxford's plan just might work.  While Britain's emissions goals seem lofty, perhaps with Oxford University's plan, the nation will have a shot of reaching them, and even put a few dollars back into homeowners' pockets in the process.

Ms. Boardman's main study can be viewed here (PDF) and an additional paper by her released this year on energy efficiency and emissions achievability can be viewed here (PDF).



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CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By TomZ on 11/29/2007 11:25:06 AM , Rating: 1
So basically we're talking about improving the CO2 efficiency of homes even though we don't know if CO2 is actually a real problem that needs to be solved. Sounds like a huge waste of precious human effort for nothing.




RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By Grast on 11/29/2007 11:39:10 AM , Rating: 2
Tom,

It sounds like to me that Britian is going to finally up-date their building codes to include modern technology. Insulation in wall cavities is manditory in the U.S. However, we do not have a large amount of buildings which are over 500 years old either.

You know the U.S. motto. If it is run down, tear it down and build it new.

Later...


By martinrichards23 on 12/2/2007 6:06:21 AM , Rating: 2
Britain's building regulations (for new builds) are well ahead of those in the many other countries, likely including the US. Heavy cavity wall insulation, for example, has been a requirement for ages.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By clovell on 11/29/2007 12:26:19 PM , Rating: 1
I agree. And they're using taxpayers' money to do it. Why do people continue to single out CO2? Why not have a 'renewable energy initiative'?


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By JasonMick (blog) on 11/29/2007 12:41:17 PM , Rating: 3
Tom, no matter where you rest on the global warming debate, more energy efficiency translates into both consumer savings, as pointed to by Oxford and the article (see the headline) and reduced energy useage. Aside from CO2 cuts, reduced energy useage will cut a broad array of industrial contaminates, such as sulfides/etc., which I'm sure you can appreciate as a good thing.

Global warming may be an issue open to debate but the hazards of industrial pollution is certainly a harsh reality, particularly in the UK.

So again consumer savings (check), less pollution in general (check) -- why complain?? Its better than useless government pork like building bridges to nowhere or something...


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By clovell on 11/29/2007 1:35:05 PM , Rating: 1
We complain because we're being lied to when tax dollars are at stake. I'm all for saving money and using renewable energy, but I don't appreciate being fleeced. Save the 'Ends justify the means' crap for a real problem.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By diablofish on 11/29/2007 2:36:43 PM , Rating: 3
I work in the building design industry and have spent a good amount of time doing cost and payback analysis on many design options for buildings of all shapes, sizes, and uses. The cost savings of these technologies over the long term are real. A typical payback period for LEED Silver or Gold is anywhere from 6-8 years, after which point you are saving money (not to mention energy, water, and resources).

Since a typical commercial building is occupied for decades, it makes sense to take a serious look at LEED and other design philosophies which advocate sustainability.

One of LEED's credits includes cogeneration and microgeneration.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By clovell on 11/29/2007 3:12:23 PM , Rating: 2
That sounds pretty neat - is there anyplace on the web you can recommend where folks wanting to learn more about that can go?


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By diablofish on 11/29/2007 4:19:59 PM , Rating: 2
www.usgbc.org for starters. www.doe2.com is another good one. The Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory is yet another.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By arazok on 11/29/2007 12:51:48 PM , Rating: 2
If you're doing it only to reduce CO2 emissions, I'd agree it's an unworthy exercise. However, if you are doing it to improve energy efficiency then I'd say all the better.

I'm looking at buying an Energy Star home in the next year or two. They consume up to 30% less energy then a normal home and only cost about 3% more to build. I'm only interested in it because of the lower utilities, and not because of some environmental fantasy of mine. Plus my current home (only 8 years old!) is drafty as hell, and I'm sick of being cold all the time. I look at energy star as a certification that a home is properly built.

A 30% reduction in energy consumption for a 3% increase in upfront costs is a small price to pay. All new homes should be energy star rated IMO.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By AlexWade on 11/29/2007 12:57:54 PM , Rating: 2
This isn't a bad idea. It saves money in the long run and helps the environment. It doesn't harm people in any way, just helps.

The problem with eco-nuts is they want to cut CO2 no matter what the cost. Some of these are on record expressing utter hate for human beings as a whole. I bet they would love to be like the guy in Indonesia (I think it was Indonesia) who had a rare skin disease and grew roots like a tree.

People first, then conservation.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By JasonMick (blog) on 11/29/2007 2:17:53 PM , Rating: 2
You mean this?
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/ne...

Thats actually really sad, I wouldn't joke about it. I know what you mean about people put conservation ahead of human life, but its kinda in bad taste.

Anyhow, the roots guy had HPV, but based on the immuno-deficiency genetic disorder it spiralled out of control and he grew roots.

They think that giving him Vitamin A will cure him as it halts wart growth. Fascinating medical case, though.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By AlexWade on 11/30/2007 3:00:25 PM , Rating: 2
I wasn't joking. I'm serious about the eco-nuts. They are just crazy enough to want to be like that poor man.

And the man is getting help. He won't ever be problem free, but life will be better for him.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By AnnihilatorX on 11/29/2007 2:21:50 PM , Rating: 3
As the other replies had mentioned, it isn't only about CO2 but also for energy savings as well.

But your argument is flawed. There is virtue in preparing for uncertainties. It's like you don't know if your trip will go well so you buy travel insurances.

In addition, human efforts are hardly precious. More human effort requirement = more jobs. There are unemployment problems everywhere. More jobs are always better.

Lastly, I don't agree with others about wasting tax payer's money. The article mentions you get large tax cuts/breaks with a energy efficient home.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By Aarnando on 11/29/2007 3:03:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
even promising to possibly ban energy-hungry plasma TVs.


Any government that will dictate what type of TV you are allowed to own will probably be less than likely to give up its control on where a citizen's money goes (i.e. tax dollars). If they offer tax breaks for energy efficient homes, they'll probably make up for it by grabbing more taxes from somewhere, or someone, else.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By TomZ on 11/29/2007 3:33:58 PM , Rating: 3
Hopefully Ringold will come along and explain it better than I can, but in the meantime...
quote:
There is virtue in preparing for uncertainties.

Yes, true, but dollars you spend in preparing for problems that are unlikely can't be spent on problems that are more certain. For example, if I spend a certain amount of money to reduce CO2, that is less money I can save for retirement.
quote:
In addition, human efforts are hardly precious. More human effort requirement = more jobs. There are unemployment problems everywhere. More jobs are always better.

I disagree - what you are advocating is economic inefficiency, and I don't understand how that can raise the standard of living. Imagine a country that employs a team of workers that digs ditches and another that fills them in. Sure, both teams are getting paid, but where is the value that is creating that can pay for the salaries? Someone's got to pay for that.
quote:
Lastly, I don't agree with others about wasting tax payer's money. The article mentions you get large tax cuts/breaks with a energy efficient home.

If the government gives a tax break, where does that money come from? Other taxpayers, of course! All you're doing is taking dollars out of one taxpayer's pocket to put it into another. No thanks!


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By diablofish on 11/29/2007 4:28:49 PM , Rating: 2
If you use energy-efficient equipment you reduce CO2 AND you save yourself money. Therefore, you have MORE money to invest in retirement AND you've also worked to reduce CO2 loading to the atmosphere. So why not do it?


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By Ringold on 11/29/2007 5:03:49 PM , Rating: 3
You did a good job, don't need me here. I blew all my energy in a different thread :P

quote:
I disagree - what you are advocating is economic inefficiency, and I don't understand how that can raise the standard of living. Imagine a country that employs a team of workers that digs ditches and another that fills them in. Sure, both teams are getting paid, but where is the value that is creating that can pay for the salaries? Someone's got to pay for that.


That's what I heard from him too, and it's entirely wrong. The way to create jobs, and wealth, is to increase the productivity of labor by getting more work done (or making work easier for an equivalent unit of output), not less. More goods can then be supplied at a given price level, making everybody better off, and firms can afford to pay their employees more to reward this higher productivity. With more cash in their pockets, they can then, of course, buy more goods, and a more varied basket of goods, thereby creating jobs.

Example:
A community of 100 people, all subsistence farmers.

Fred figures out how to improve the plough such that it breaks the dirt easier, allowing oxen to work faster.

At first, Fred can only afford to quit farming himself, selling his land to another farmer. Before long, Fred hires a couple fellow farmers to help manufacture these ploughs for everyone else.

Now 5 people are, lets say, are now decently paid industrial workers, 95 are farmers, and everybody is able to eat more with increased crop yields.

One of the farmers now see's an opportunity; he got lucky, bought a plough, has more excess profits, but sees other farmers can't afford to buy a plough. Jake opens the Bank of Example.

Before long, Jake is taking so many deposits, he hires a couple hands..

Fast forward 200 years, and you've got about what America looks like; 95 post-industrial age workers and 5 farmers, everybody living fantastically well by comparison.

One can also see this happening in slow motion globally by looking at the productivity of an American farmer compared to farmers in, say, Africa. American farmers are probably about 100 times more productive at a minimum compared to most of Africa, where most people toil in the fields, though I'd have to drag out statistics to be exact.

On the other hand, lowering productivity of labor across an economy lowers the output of the economy (that should be straightforward); goods are more expensive and supplied at lower quantities, making workers worse off. As productivity drops off, firms lay off workers as profit turns toward loss, and unemployed workers consume even less then the employed ones, exacerbating the downturn. This is why recessions are self-sustaining to a degree; the loss of one highly-paid job can mean the loss of 2 - 3 more lower paying service jobs in a local community.

If I haven't explained it enough for the OP now then I give up, time for a sandwich.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By smitty3268 on 11/30/2007 2:06:41 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
TextIf the government gives a tax break, where does that money come from? Other taxpayers, of course!


Not according to Republicans. Tax breaks pay for themselves, by increasing the amount of revenue being taxed. :)


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By diablofish on 11/29/2007 2:28:56 PM , Rating: 2
As Jason has said, the benefits of using more energy-efficient and less carbon-intensive energy sources is beneficial to everyone. Even if (and I mean IF) pouring billions upon billions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere has absolutely no effect on the climate, the fact is that extracting oil, coal, and other fuel sources from below the ground and the ocean is becoming more and more costly. In addition, there is a finite amount of these resources (although no one really knows what that finite limit truly is). While I can't provide a link, there were articles in both the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post about the phenomenon of projected cost per barrel of oil in the past couple of weeks. In essence, just because we can find the oil/coal/whatever doesn't mean it's possible to extract it and make a profit from extracting it. A few weeks back Schlaumberger posted a loss and blamed its loss partly on increasing costs of extracting materials from the earth.

Developing technology to do the same job in a more efficient/effective/better way is innovation. And when there is a market that can appreciate and use this innovation it makes sense to develop the technology necessary to achieve the goal.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By TomZ on 11/29/07, Rating: 0
RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By JasonMick (blog) on 11/29/2007 3:58:18 PM , Rating: 4
Was it a bad thing that the printing press was invented and only was subsidized because of its potential as a tool for proselytizing for many years?

Often times good things come along for mankind under less than spectacular auspices ie some catchy policy that isn't necessarily a good thing, yet the device/program turns out to be beneficial.

If it is generally beneficial they could tell people it was going to turn them purple for all I care. If they'll believe it, let people think what they want. If it really saves them money, and cuts pollution in general, it will be good for them.

If you care to debate the benefits though go right ahead.

And ps im not comparing this to the printing press, just giving a practical example of a counter argument.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By TomZ on 11/29/07, Rating: -1
RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By diablofish on 11/29/2007 4:17:50 PM , Rating: 3
I don't think this is bait and switch; it's a mutually beneficial arrangement. It helps lower energy costs for consumers AND it helps the environmentalists feel better about themselves as well.

It's not an either/or situation so I wouldn't qualify this as "bait and switch".

That's what this is all about: innovating the technology and innovating in the market to accept the technology as economically valid.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By clovell on 11/29/2007 5:16:12 PM , Rating: 2
> I don't think this is bait and switch; it's a mutually beneficial arrangement. It helps lower energy costs for consumers AND it helps the environmentalists feel better about themselves as well.

All while begging the question of whether CO2 is actually pollution. I'm for efficiency, and I'm for folks feeling better about themselves. But FFS, people, call a spade a spade - CO2 emission reduction is an ancillary benefit of this program, so let's quit parading it around like it means something and get on with improving our efficiency.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By diablofish on 11/30/2007 11:43:13 AM , Rating: 2
Again, to be "bait and switch", you'd have to offer one thing and deliver something else. That's not the case with energy efficient equipment and building. It offers two things: energy savings which is real in BTU's, watts, and dollars and it offers a reduced carbon footprint, which is also real and can be determined.

Whether or not CO2 is a pollutant is an entirely separate debate. But I don't see any harm in reducing CO2 emissions regardless of whether it's a pollutant or not. If it is harmful to the environment to reduce CO2 emissions, please explain why and provide some documentation.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By mdogs444 on 11/30/2007 12:00:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But I don't see any harm in reducing CO2 emissions regardless of whether it's a pollutant or not. If it is harmful to the environment to reduce CO2 emissions, please explain why and provide some documentation.

Technically, there have been many debates by scientists about reduce CO2 emissions - remember that CO2 fuels plant life. Michael Asher would be better served to address this topic though, as I am not much of a environmental science follower.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By diablofish on 11/30/2007 12:07:49 PM , Rating: 2
OK, but aren't CO2 levels at all-time highs? From all the research I've seen, there's never been more C02 in the atmosphere than there is today, so reducing it to the levels of 50 years ago when plants were doing just fine wouldn't hurt them, would it?


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By mdogs444 on 11/30/2007 12:17:03 PM , Rating: 2
Actually no, thats incorrect. CO2 levels have been as high as 10x greater than are are currently. CO2 has naturally gone into a cycle that has high and low points - we are by no means anywhere close to either extreme.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By diablofish on 11/30/2007 12:33:04 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the information. But they are higher than they were 50 years ago, right? And 50 years ago plant life was doing just fine, right? So if we reduced our CO2 output to 50 years ago levels, plants would likely live along with everything else currently living on the plant, right?


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By mdogs444 on 11/30/2007 12:44:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But they are higher than they were 50 years ago, right?

That I honestly do not know - as far as exactly fifty years - however, we are lower in CO2 than we have been in the past 20 years as well.

quote:
And 50 years ago plant life was doing just fine, right?

And plant life is still doing just fine today, right?

quote:
? So if we reduced our CO2 output to 50 years ago levels, plants would likely live along with everything else currently living on the plant, right?

Hold your horses, not so easy. You need to understand that the overwhelmingly majority of CO2 in relation to earth is not in earths atmosphere, its in the oceans. By decreasing the CO2 output, you may then mess up a cycle of life in the oceans.

So I ask you the same question I ask everyone else - given the fact that there are scientists on both sides of the equation arguing about whether man contributed to global warming, or whether it even exists at all, because there is nothing to show besides a "theory" - and that plant life is going just as fine today as it has 50 years ago, what is your rush to change our entire way of life - for something that we do not understand, cannot prove, and cannot even begin to estimate the disaster it could have by expanding or reducing emmissions (or whether it would change at all)?

People always complain that we are too patient, until we want to go to war....so what is the rush to go to war with the people and the planet over something that you have no idea if it even is a problem?


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By diablofish on 11/30/2007 1:54:17 PM , Rating: 2
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4467420....

This indicates that CO2 levels today are higher than they have been in hundreds of thousands of years.

Regardless, let's keep this in context. The original concern you had about lowering CO2 was that low levels of CO2 could harm plant life. I agree with that assessment, but the CO2 levels would have to be MUCH lower than they are today or were 50 or 100 years ago when plants were thriving, just as they are today. Since plants have lived with levels of CO2 lower than they are today, we can probably assume that lowering CO2 levels to what they were 50 years ago would have no harm since 50 years ago people, plants, and animals all lived just fine.

My point was that energy efficient equipment and construction has two benefits: lowering energy usage and costs and lowering carbon output.

The environment has more CO2 in it today than in the past 650,000 years, according to the research above. Reducing the level we put into the environment isn't likely to harm plants, agree? And since animals respirate CO2 into the environment naturally, as long as animals keep reproducing, there should be plants to use the CO2.

Frankly, I don't know whether or not CO2 is a pollutant and contributes to AGW - I'm not a climatologist or an expert on the matter. Clearly, there is a consensus among some and strong disagreement among some others as to whether AGW is real - and that's a whole different discussion from the context of what I'm discussing.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By Spuke on 11/30/2007 4:41:30 PM , Rating: 2
The problem I have with that data is one of the scientists reports that they'll be studying the data for years yet he's already come to the conclusion that man has created this "excess" amount of CO2. If you have years of data to study, how can you come to any conclusion right after you've collected the data?


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By clovell on 11/30/2007 4:34:26 PM , Rating: 2
I'm talking about begging the question, not baiting and switching. Let's be real, politicians are slapping a 'CO2 Friendly' smiley-face gold star on an otherwise good idea in an effort to push the 'Carbon is Pollution' agenda.

I call shenanigans. Carry on.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By Ringold on 11/29/2007 5:36:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That's what this is all about: innovating the technology and innovating in the market to accept the technology as economically valid.


Here is where we have problems, though.

If it is economically valid, it wouldn't need government subsidies to be accepted in the market. Plain and simple.

Upgrades to a home, for example, and especially comparing lighting systems, that's easy to do. If a consumer wanted a compact fluorescent, they would buy one; the packaging often contains the cost savings information right on the back, it's well known in society they draw less energy, and their are compactable with the sockets used by traditional bulbs. When people buy traditional bulbs of CFL's, they do so, therefore, knowing they're buying an inferior product from the cost perspective. Money, however, is not what economic decisions are entirely based upon; there is happiness, aka utility or utils. An example here would be light bulbs meant for a stair case; lighting is needed immediately, not after a 20 second warm up period. Consumers, therefore, view the CFL as significantly less valuable in that particular role. Other people are annoyed by the quality of light. Different people, different reasons.

Regardless of their reasons, at least for appliances, light bulbs and so forth, the overall consumer market isn't acting irrationally. Any description of the slow uptake of CFLs would therefore not be a "market failure" as some would like to say, but rather a case of the market giving the people what the people want, not what environmentalists with an agenda desire the people to want.

The real solution, going back to the article, shouldn't be government tax breaks. Anything with an internal rate of return over 10 years that would beat 10 - 20% or so should need no such incentive; money flows naturally to where it can earn a high return. If analysis really shows that consumers aren't demanding it on their own, then we should then look at why not rather than coercing them.

And finally if the answer was they were just being irrational, and their are big gains to be had in financial terms, then could cut right to the chase and mandate it with regulation.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By diablofish on 11/30/2007 8:52:54 AM , Rating: 3
I don't call it a subsidy; I call it an incentive to the consumer to adopt new (better) technology. You write ad nauseum about how the free market works. Yet if the government didn't "subsidize" many technology projects over the years, where would innovation lie? Would we have entered the nuclear age? Space exploration? AIDS research? Where would computer research be if not for the government funding development of computers for the Navy? There are countless examples over the years of where government has subsidized technologies - some of them useful and some of them dubious.

Even private businesses have subsidized energy efficient technology. For example, Xcel energy offers rebates to customers who buy energy efficient appliances and air conditioners.

And there is regulation. Lots of it. For example, refrigerants are regulated because they might contribute to global warming. More efficient refrigerants (R-12, even R-22) are being replaced with less efficient (R-134A, et al) refrigerants because of the potential effects that they have on the atmosphere. This causes manufacturing costs to rise, equipment sizes and weights to generally increase, and doesn't easily enable increased energy efficiency. But regulation does force more innovation, to a degree. You can see this in the ever-increasing efficiency ratings on such equipment despite the less efficient refrigerants that are required to be used. In a true free market, there would be no regulation.

Everyone has an agenda, not just environmentalists. To single out environmentalists as "having an agenda" ignores the agenda of everyone else which may or may not be in the best interest of something other than their pocketbook.

Quote:
"If analysis really shows that consumers aren't demanding it on their own, then we should then look at why not rather than coercing them."

I guess this is where we disagree fundamentally. I don't think consumers truly make choices: marketing "coerces" (I think provides an incentive might be a better way to put it) people into making choices and believing they made a choice. If that weren't at least partially true, no one would care whether you wore Prada or Wal-Mart jeans and all jeans would cost the same since they are all made in essentially the same manner. And no one would want to hire Michael Jordan or Peyton Manning to pitch their products.

Tax breaks to spur innovation and develop technologies that are ultimately beneficial to the consumer (and possibly to the environment) are a good means to achieve the goal: lowering energy consumption. But I do agree that it shouldn't be the singular approach to solving the problem.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By diablofish on 11/30/2007 9:12:17 AM , Rating: 2
I'd just like to add that consumers are "demanding" green technologies:

http://twincities.bizjournals.com/twincities/stori...


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By mdogs444 on 11/30/2007 9:29:56 AM , Rating: 2
Technically, that article was about builders who build & promote "green" giving their opinion on what the market will want in 5-10yrs.

In no way does that give any concrete statistics of what the consumer actually wants right now.

Im not trying to discredit your promotion of "green" building, beecause im sure in some ways its useful - only if it can be obtained cheaper than the current methods - but the fact is that article did nothing to show viable consumer statistics, but rather estimated consumer statistics for 5-10 yrs down the road by the people who are trying to sell them "green". Seems the people giving their opinions have an awful good reason to be biased.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By diablofish on 11/30/2007 9:50:34 AM , Rating: 2
No, the article is by a business journal that identifies new trends in many marketplaces. I work in the industry, and many of my clients are asking for green design.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By mdogs444 on 11/30/2007 9:55:36 AM , Rating: 2
I understand that - but the article was based on a council for green builders - not actual consumers. The statistics shown are a hypothetical estimate for future trends - not a current trend in the marketplace.

Because man of your clients are asking for a green design, does not mean that consumers as a whole are requesting a green design. Thats all im trying to say.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By diablofish on 11/30/2007 10:01:00 AM , Rating: 2
So my clients aren't consumers? I'm confused.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By mdogs444 on 11/30/2007 10:03:30 AM , Rating: 2
I didnt say that, so stop the spin.

What I'm saying is its not accurate to take a small segment of people, and turn them into the word "Consumers" as suggesting that this is nationwide, and that most people are building "greener" homes.

Its fine to label a small group as a small group...but to spin a small group, into "consumers" as a whole, is inaccurate.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By diablofish on 11/30/2007 10:16:03 AM , Rating: 2
OK, so the rapid acceleration and acceptance of programs like LEED doesn't indicate rapid growth? More and more people and businesses (consumers) asking for green buildings doesn't indicate growth? To me, it does. The fact that we're constantly hiring new people here because of the overwhelming interest in green design is another indicator that the market is demanding more green and sustainable design. It also tells me that going green doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to cost jobs; it can, and does, create them.

Here's some more statistics that show a 1 year growth of LEED projects of 50%:

http://www.usgbc.org/News/PressReleaseDetails.aspx...

In addition, 75% of AIA members have been at least trained in LEED. Why would architecture firms go through the expense of training their employees (these classes cost hundreds of dollars and the exam is $300 to take) if there were not growing interest in green design?

Would you agree that a 50% increase in LEED projects in one year indicates significant growth and growing interest in building green? To me, it certainly shows that there is a growing interest in green design practices.

Consumers come in all quantities, shapes, and sizes; I'm not spinning anything so please stop accusing me of that. I didn't say an overwhelming majority of consumers, I said my clients are consumers. That's it.

I'm trying to understand why you don't think green design is rapidly expanding. I've given some evidence (from business journals and my own experience as a design professional) and directed people to other websites in other posts, yet you offer nothing to suggest that green design isn't growing in popularity and expanding rapidly.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By mdogs444 on 11/30/2007 11:37:11 AM , Rating: 2
I understand that its expanding, and I think thats great. Im just indicating that the rate of growth is not comprable to the majority of consumers.

Typically when people use plain words to simulate statistics, they are doing so by popular majority. For example, if you were to say that "voters are against the XXXX bill", it would be assumed that a poll of all voters were taken and popular majority are against the bill. Now, if they were to change that and say "1000 voters in the Minneapolis area are against the bill", it would in no way indicate that the popular majority of all voters are against the bill, but rather a small group of voters.

So in response to your questions in the final paragraph, I am not questioning that green practices are expanding rapidly in many areas, and are growing in popularity - I am not in this field, so I am not here to justify your statistics. All I am saying is that the groups in your first article were biased in saying that 50% of consumers will be green in 5-10 years, but im not saying they may not be right...but what i am saying is not right is your broad statement that "consumers are demanding green" because that it not necessarily the case. Certain people may be demanding green, and other people may be going green without really caring one way or the other. Either way, it does not provide numbers, but generalizations, and the level of demand cannot be proven.

Im not questioning your expertise or knowledge of green, but as a business analyst, I am questioning the statistics, biases, and general wording often used in stating your claim.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By diablofish on 11/30/2007 11:59:33 AM , Rating: 2
The rate of growth in the past year has been 50%! I'm pretty sure AMD or any other company would LOVE to achieve a growth rate of 50%!

And yes, consumers (maybe not all of them, but more and more of them) are certainly demanding green. I've just illustrated that more and more of them are, in fact, demanding green. And the marketplace is responding in kind by providing more and more green products.

And I did provide numbers: go to www.usgbc.org and look at the number of buildings that were LEED certified, silver, gold, or platinum in 2002 compared to today. Then think about the hundreds of manufacturers who supplied materials that are green to each of those projects. Then consider the billions of dollars in wages that were paid out to the contractors who built them green. The market for green has exploded in the past five years.

Five years ago, very few of the big manufacturer's offered "green" equipment. Now, I'm constantly inundated with marketing brochures advocating new products that save energy, are manufactured in ways to earn LEED points.

Majorities are not typically created overnight. But given how the market has exploded and continues to grow it's going to be the majority in a relatively short amount of time.

Remember at one time very few people had a PC. Now, many, many, many more have one. But the demand for them in the first years was there and grew from there. It's the same trend in green design: a few people wanted it at first. But as the benefits of energy and cost savings become more and more apparent, more and more people want it.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By diablofish on 11/30/2007 12:06:00 PM , Rating: 2
As someone who has an MBA, I'm familiar with statistics as well. I don't recall ever posting that X number of people or X percentage of people wanted green. What I posted, rather clearly I thought, was that the market is expanding and what is driving the market expansion is the desires of the consumer.

I can't speak to the predictions they've made because I wasn't in the room when they made them, but knowing how USGBC operates, I'm sure those numbers weren't pulled from thin air: they are in all likelihood based on numbers and trending from those numbers.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By Spuke on 11/30/2007 4:46:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
but knowing how USGBC operates, I'm sure those numbers weren't pulled from thin air: they are in all likelihood based on numbers and trending from those numbers.
He didn't say or imply the numbers were false go back and reread. Try taking some deep breaths this time.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By howtochooseausername on 11/29/2007 6:50:10 PM , Rating: 2
Tom,

You seem to have really bought into the GW/CO2 denier's propaganda.

CO2 is a leading contributor to Global Warming. Global Warming is real. The overwhelming majority of scientists agree with this. Yes there are a few scientists who disagree, but the vast majority do agree. I know that Michael Asher likes to cherry pick articles that sound as if there is no consensus. As if IPCC members themselves doubt the final conclusion, when in fact most panel members wanted stronger wording and it was the UN (mostly Saudis and China) that watered down the final document.

Sure there will always be descent, that's just human nature, heck, there are still people who deny that the holocaust took place.

I've noticed that prior to Michael's postings you actually believed in GW, and then slowly you started doubting it, to now when you don't believe it.

Go to your local university or collage and speak to some teachers/professors. Understand this thing before you take a side. It's much too important an issue for you to take any one else's word for it.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By Ringold on 11/29/2007 7:15:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Go to your local university or collage and speak to some teachers/professors.


Wow. Probably one of the most uniformly liberal demographics in the nation. They wouldn't be biased at all.

The same goes for the UN.

Either way, using the IPCC's own data, the long term economic costs are so small as to be easily ignored even under a worst case scenario.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By howtochooseausername on 11/29/2007 10:09:46 PM , Rating: 2
Where else would independent research come from if not universities?

So don't believe scientific research from universities or collages, GE, Royal Dutch, BP. All of these corporations have made statements saying that they believe in Global Warming and are building/investing in green technologies.

If you don't believe that, then are you looking for something from God? In that case, Pope Benedict XVI has asked Christians to help reduce Global Warming. Same with the Church of England.

Also, what is with all of this labeling? A Liberal is a liar? Only a Liberal believes in Global Warming? Everyone in a University/Collage is a Liberal? Is that how you keep "them" away from "us"?


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By mdogs444 on 11/29/2007 11:08:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Where else would independent research come from if not universities?

Technically, a university research project would not be considered independant - you have to consider the source of the grant.

quote:
Also, what is with all of this labeling? A Liberal is a liar?

Well, when you tell a liberally biased statement to a conservative, then yes that would be a correct assessment....dont forget that liberals take the same stance on this.

quote:
Only a Liberal believes in Global Warming?

Global warming is a completely one-sided issue that is being politiced from the left, that goes without saying. You will be hard pressed to find any conservative or republican who truly believes that Global Warming has any negative effects, is man made, or even exists at all. The problem with it is not just that the left is taking a stance on global warming as if we should take precautions for the environment, its also that they are using it as political leverage for their agendas - as recently as the mockery of statements by Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Barbara Boxer. All three proceeded to make a linkage between global warming and the california fires - then linking that to what they claimed as a shortage of national guardsmen to fight the fires. When that backfired, they accused global warming of "fueling" the fires. Not long ago, the same type of accusation was used by the left to link global warming to Katrina - in an effort to discredit the republicans and the president about the clean up efforts - while linking that if we cared for the global warming, that Katrina may not have happened.

So in result, it's not so much that people are saying that certain pieces of evidence don't exist for a conclusion of global warming - even though there is not any concrete scientific evidence to say without a doubt that it does - its actually just a theory. But when the left uses it as political fuel for their agendas and to promote their party - like Al Gores movie, as it was proven to be more political than science - it discredits the theory based on its motive.

quote:
Everyone in a University/Collage is a Liberal? Is that how you keep "them" away from "us"?

Not every person who goes to college or a University are liberal. However, it is a well known fact that an overwhelming majority of teachers are democrat or liberal biased. We see this every day in America from the types of issues that they preach to our kids from elementary school up through college political science classes. Its not a secret. Many professors give class lectures not based solely on the book, but out of their own opinions, and that is biased. But to teach them as facts, when they are opinions...and politically motivated opinions at that....then TomZ definately does have a point. The answer you receive from someone is only as good as the stance they take on the subject.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By mdogs444 on 11/29/2007 11:10:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
....then TomZ definately does have a point

Whoops, I meant to credit Ringold. TomZ was the OP of the thread.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By howtochooseausername on 11/29/2007 11:31:57 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not going to dispute that some people are using GW for political means.

In regards to GW being one sided. 13% of Republicans believe that GW is caused by human activity. Down from 22% a few years ago.
http://thinkprogress.org/2007/02/05/warming-13-per...

Although small, it is not a "completely one-sided issue".

Al Gore's documentary was not more political than science. Just because other people are using it for political goals, does not change the factual content of the documentary.

I don't dispute that scientists have biases and personal beleiefs. But research has been peer reviewed. What is the threshold for someone to accept a theory? There is just way too much evidence to support GW


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By Ringold on 11/29/2007 11:40:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In regards to GW being one sided. 13% of Republicans believe that GW is caused by human activity.


I bet 13% of Democrats think George Bush is cute, too. :P

If that were 40-50%, I'd be impressed. 13% is such a tiny portion of what is a truly big-tent party as to simply reinforce the idea that at present its a one-sided issue. I'm actually surprised it's that low. Restores my faith in the party! Three cheers for independent thought!


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By mdogs444 on 11/29/2007 11:53:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Although small, it is not a "completely one-sided issue".

When 81% of democrats beleive in global warming and 13% of republicans believe in global warming - I would say thats about as one sided as you are going to get in the political world.

quote:
Al Gore's documentary was not more political than science.

Actually, it was even ruled as such in the UK High Court. Not only was it found to be partisan and include extreme political biases, it was also found to contain the following errors, misrepresentations, and exaggerations:

The film claims that melting snows on Mount Kilimanjaro evidence global warming. The Government's expert was forced to concede that this is not correct.

The film suggests that evidence from ice cores proves that rising CO2 causes temperature increases over 650,000 years. The Court found that the film was misleading: over that period the rises in CO2 lagged behind the temperature rises by 800-2000 years.

The film uses emotive images of Hurricane Katrina and suggests that this has been caused by global warming. The Government's expert had to accept that it was "not possible" to attribute one-off events to global warming.

The film shows the drying up of Lake Chad and claims that this was caused by global warming. The Government's expert had to accept that this was not the case.

The film claims that a study showed that polar bears had drowned due to disappearing arctic ice. It turned out that Mr Gore had misread the study: in fact four polar bears drowned and this was because of a particularly violent storm.

The film threatens that global warming could stop the Gulf Stream throwing Europe into an ice age: the Claimant's evidence was that this was a scientific impossibility.
The film blames global warming for species losses including coral reef bleaching. The Government could not find any evidence to support this claim.

The film suggests that the Greenland ice covering could melt causing sea levels to rise dangerously. The evidence is that Greenland will not melt for millennia.

The film suggests that the Antarctic ice covering is melting, the evidence was that it is in fact increasing.

The film suggests that sea levels could rise by 7m causing the displacement of millions of people. In fact the evidence is that sea levels are expected to rise by about 40cm over the next hundred years and that there is no such threat of massive migration.

The film claims that rising sea levels has caused the evacuation of certain Pacific islands to New Zealand. The Government are unable to substantiate this and the Court observed that this appears to be a false claim.

quote:
Just because other people are using it for political goals, does not change the factual content of the documentary

Al Gore is a liberal and former Vice President. Its his movie, and his political agenda for the democratic party. The only people using it for political goals are the democrats. The other problem is actually the lack of factual material and misrepresentation of the material used.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By howtochooseausername on 11/30/2007 4:05:43 PM , Rating: 2
Judge Burton agreed with the basic premise of Al Gore's movie. There were 9 items that he took exception with, but said that the movie could be shown if they were addressed.

Out of the hundreds of facts and issues covered in the documentary there were only 9 that Judge Burton could not find sufficient evidence to support. And let me state again, he agreed with the basic premise of the film.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By clovell on 11/30/2007 4:39:20 PM , Rating: 2
He agreed that raising awareness on the issue was a good thing. He did not agree that spouting FUD and doomsday scenarios camoflauged between factoids was the proper way to do it.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By mdogs444 on 11/30/2007 12:07:27 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
What is the threshold for someone to accept a theory?

The point is not when can a theory be considered fact, the point is that a theory is not fact...its nothing more than a theory.

The definition of theory is: a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact; guess; conjecture.

We have a theory of evolution that man is derived from apes - go ask a religious person why that isnt accepted. We have the big bang theory - another great theory with many possibilities, yet with no way to prove.

A theory is no more than a educated guess - which very well may be true - however it is not proven beyone a reasonable doubt to be true.

People need a 100% assurance before making life altering changes. Its like getting married when you're only 80% sure that you want to get married.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By Ringold on 11/29/2007 11:13:43 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't say liberals are liars. Liberals are liberals. Conservatives are conservatives.

Would you consult only a large group of warhawk's to try to formulate an opinion of a war? Of course not. They, as a group, have various agendas to serve, certain ideologies they may be beholden to, and so forth. What about going to a Libertarian Party meeting to get opinion on tax policy? Unless the answer you want is slashing taxes and spending by half, same idea. What about looking for information on non-white ethnic groups, going to visit a Neo-Nazi website?

Likewise, also being mere humans, liberals have their own unique set of ideologies that, collectively as a group, they tend to toe.

Therefore, no, I don't give much credence to a bunch of professors who have, as a profession, been collectively pissed off since Vietnam, and liberal. They're just human.

Same goes for the UN; a long institutional history of, asides from weakness and corruption, being something of a left wing social group.

Oh, and no, not everyone at a university is liberal. I get a message every few days from the College Republican's, and they think global warming is a bunch of BS as well, and the Republican professors I know think this buzzword "sustainability" is ridiculous. Of course, the college of business is but a small redoubt of conservative thought on most campuses.

And when did I bring up god? Did Vishnu opine on carbon dioxide? Muhammed, perhaps? You're showing your own bias there, assuming a position of mine that I don't actually have.

I just pointed out that the primary source you suggested for global warming information is as an institution heavily subject to bias. There presently is no respected institution I'm aware of that doesn't share this bias, and no conservative insitutions or think-tanks I'm aware of have given much credence to this whole scare. The lack of objective data from them that supports the ideas coming from the left keeps me on the sidelines; Admiral Ackbar says it could be a trap. The ardent, but relatively small perhaps, number of respected scientists that rail against the apparent majority (at least in the share of news coverage) then moves me from the sidelines to a position of scepticism.

Again, based on the economic facts based on the IPCC's own data, we can easily afford to wait it out. Personally, I predict this will fizzle over a decade or so; the next crop of outrage has already had its seeds planted and watered with "nano particles". But if you're right, again, we've got time. Focusing instead on encouraging good governance, foreign direct investment, free trade and export-driven growth in the developing countries of the world can help the billion-plus living in extreme poverty, and in contrast, yield improvements in the lives of hundreds of millions in a much, much smaller time frame than IPCC's general projections. Not to mention, the above wouldn't cost us money; it would save us money. Possibly trillions by keeping global inflation low for another entire generation.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By Ringold on 11/29/2007 11:18:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Liberals are liberals. Conservatives are conservatives.


That might've sounded wrong, as if the latter are somehow more pure on balance; I meant to construct some context around my whole first four mini-paragraphs to suggest they're all equal in bias, as they're all human, all flawed, and all with their own world views that influence everything. Consider the context now provided. My central argument, again, was that thus far all the information has come from an ideological homogenous set of institutions, and therefore isn't credible. Sorry. I wander when I'm tired, and I've slept around 5 hours a night for a month. I need at least 6 to be pithy.

If I got 8 hours, well, I'd master the universe.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By Spuke on 11/29/2007 9:12:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The overwhelming majority of scientists agree with this.
People keep "saying" that there's this majority of scientists that believe this but I have yet to see any facts to support this claim. I mean NO ONE has ever presented any facts! I do know for a fact that I'll get a reply and that reply will have no facts to support these claims. I also know that the reply will simply restate what was said before as if that will magically make previous post a fact.

Or he'll just insult me. Waiting patiently.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By howtochooseausername on 11/29/2007 9:58:56 PM , Rating: 2
The following link contains specific references that you should check.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on...


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By mdogs444 on 11/29/2007 11:19:18 PM , Rating: 2
And all over that document, you will find the phrases "very likely" and "we believe" and "with 90% certainty".

The point is, you do not make major economic changes to the entire system based on a hunch, a belief, or something you cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

The only thing you will certainly, beyond a reasonable doubt, do is decrease manufacturing, lose jobs, and take a possible hit to the economy....just so people can feel good that they are fighting a problem which may not even exist.


RE: CO2 Cart Before the Horse
By Ringold on 11/29/2007 11:36:01 PM , Rating: 2
I agree.

quote:
do is decrease manufacturing, lose jobs, and take a possible hit to the economy....


Correction: A definite, potentially massive if ill-managed, hit to the economy. :)

Meanwhile, if it's already partially unstoppable, and this hurricane season is any indication of things to come, why not wait 10 years? 20 years?

Oh, and I won't note this and last years hurricane season if environmentalists promise to never say the word Katrina again in regards to GW. Yeah. That'll happen.

To put it another way: When a small child makes you angry, you just don't spank it immediately, right? In a heated moment, we know we could psychologically damage a child that way, may not be fair -- might even hurt him or her physically. So what do we do? We wait until the moment passes and reasonable minds can prevail.

Right now, passions are high, the need doesn't appear to be urgent, and giving the global economy a spanking essentially condemns millions to premature death in Africa while hundreds of millions continue to starve and live short, brutish, pained existences because the developed world is too busy dismantling itself to have a need to send them factory jobs for cheap labor. Not to mention the hit to our own standard of living, but activists like to talk about poverty so I can play the same game.

When did patience ever hurt, except for in war, anyway?


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