Friday, February 25, 2011

Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant and labelling it for taxation won't work

Grand ambitions to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels have blinded many to the unworkable idea of trying to tax a element that moves in enormous and complex cycles. 
And if your not a scientist,  and i just lost you there , here's one example of a tax return on offer that just won't work Labor is desperate enough to try anything to try and bolster up their brilliance. 

Soil sequestration is touted by some as a means of helping farmers avoid taxation for "carbon polllution" -As soils all have their own natural limits ( and then re-export products to carbon dioxide) that expectation is a largely vain hope . ( this statement first appears here after it was sent in a letter to the leader of the opposition on the 14th February 2011) 
Soils in warm areas will  self limit the amount of carbon they absorb as humus,  returning excess to carbon dioxide at a rate dependant largely on soil temperature . 

Agricultural productivity and sustainability is dependant on a wise and close choice on the level that suits the soil  . Because of soil variability and sensitivity only local accountability for carbon levels should be given . ( ie  maths or figures  could be used to create distorted views of a very dynamic system ) 
Excess carbon in soils can and often does produce soil and water degradation through higher acidity.( mainly cool climates )   

The only place where carbon can be stored in growing amounts is in anaerobic ( low oxygen) environments and low temperatures . Cool cold soils environments can be considered to suffer from degradation themselves reminding all scientists and practical people that there is an ideal RANGE for carbon in soils that is soil and site dependant.

Conclusions :  releases of carbon dioxide from degrading organic matter ( the excess grass now spread from the bottom of Australia to the top ) will occur . Unless we convert it to beef ,grain or harvest the wattles/ whatever  to create fuel/ store in carbon chains . Either way the result is inevitable - Carbon stored in soils and vegetation after the recent rains will eventually be largely returned to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide from whence it came .( co2 is not a pollutant )     

I trust you are also aware that the concentration of carbon dioxide is rate limiting the rate of photosynthesis providing powerful resistance to any panic about its levels in the atmosphere . .As does the effect of a lot of rain on the natural but temporary sequestration of carbon dioxide on the earth 

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Dam stupid

Its time , as thankfully Tony Abott has said , to wean the environmentally naive off their paranoia over some words like the word " dam ".

There are different species of dams, and lumping them all into one big fat evil category is irrational and stupid. Thinking environmentalists need to protect the country from those who would simply label an idea evil  and thereby completely avoid any discussion of the biodiversity within that word.
Nature creates its own dams with natural erosion , siltation ,  fault movement and geological flows . While  our old and relatively landscape tends to obliterate lots of them , or keep them ephemeral ,  flood flows in rivers and channels ( Like the beavers in America ) years of red gum ageing, siltation and erosion leads to damming and course changes . Is it the channel Wong wants us to protect or the machinery of nature ?  Many naturalists will be dissapointed that even dams die ,evolve and can't be put in a musuem , or a "list of eternal worship "relevance as they like to do - "endangered dams" ??? .
The famous narrow  focus of one paranoid poly named Wong was wrong (L Alexandrina is a dam - a  natural dam) . We too create dams with roads and bridges,  levies and weirs . Do we really think these works are wrong ?
We better stop driving cars across our landscapes if we want to avoid "unnatural "dams .
I am not saying all types of dams should be supported as OK . Design and respect for nature means we support things to be where they should/can be ' where , when and how.
As a a competent earth and ecosystems planner  its much  harder to justify a huge wall in the headwaters of  river system where complex issues of natural resource protection can be impacted - if they will be impacted permanently - i would want to be the first to know  . Our Country however clearly needs more offstream storages ( dams !)_to be built .The right time place and design .
Finally,  we seem to have weaned ourselves off the simple talk of good and evil actions and started talking about diversity. Finally there is some recognition that there are different species of dams .
Dams aren't dammed;  it just depends where, when and how we build and support them. Design with nature -----not design against nature .