Wednesday, 28 April 2010

It seems we are not going to get an ETS

or Emissions Trading Scheme or a CPRS or Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme either. This does not particularly bother me.
Of course our Revered Leader was quick to blame the Leader of the Opposition for the failure of the ETS. It was, he declared, the failure of the Opposition to support the scheme which caused it to fail in the Senate. The Revered Leader carefully did not mention that the Greens did not support the proposal either.
Australia's contribution to atmospheric and other pollution is considerable per head of population but small in global terms. An ETS or CPRS would make no impact on the problem. It would also cost more than it would recover. I am not sure we can afford to do it.
What we could afford to do would be something much simpler and yet much more difficult. We could set an example to the rest in the way we live.
Early settlers used to build houses with wide verandahs. It is a good idea. It keeps houses cooler in summer and saves on the airconditioning we now believe we need. Now we know how to build houses in such a way that we can have those verandahs and still benefit from the sun in winter. We do not do it. Instead we want bigger houses with no eaves. We rely on airconditioning to keep use cool or warm. There is no need to own woollen clothing or a winter coat. We step from airconditioned housing to an airconditioned car.
Oh yes, we use or abuse car travel too. It is simpler and faster to get in a car and head for the shops. There is no time for anything else and that sort of pollution still has not been addressed by the government. Our economy is car dependent.
But...but....but what if we built houses with eaves and wore another layer of clothing in winter? What if we used public transport to get to work or school and rode a bicycle at least some of the time.
I can remember reading a short article several years ago about the success of a campaign in the United States. All it did was something quite simple. It encouraged people to turn out the light when they left a room. Electricity consumption dropped to a point where the power companies were saying, "People need to use more power." That was all it took.
I wonder then if we are not starting at the wrong end. If everyone used a little less energy then the impact might be greater. Is it really what the government wants though? I doubt it. It would not be as dramatic. It might have a negative economic impact because we would not be using as much power or buying as many new cars. Our houses could not be quite so big. We would not appear to be quite so wealthy.
Most of all - it would not win an election. We want the problem to be solved elsewhere and not by our own efforts.


Sheep Rustler said...

We are considering knocking down our (crumbling and non energy efficient) house and rebuilding. WE have been looking at many display homes to get ideas. When we mention eaves to a lot of developers they all say oh, eaves are extra. WE are disgusted with a lot of the modern boxes that are built today (not that boxes themselves are necessarily bad - we lived in one in England with eaves and double glazing that was the most energy efficient house I have ever lived in). Every builder boasts the star rating of the energy efficiency of their houses these days but you quickly find out that most of it involves 'extras'. Personal energy efficiency in design is something I am rapidly becoming quite an expert on and quite passionate about.

catdownunder said...

Ours was built to be as environmentally sound as my parents could afford - and even now Dad really regrets not doing a couple of things but people are still amazed at what they did on a budget to a kit home. The builders were puzzled - but they later put a couple of the ideas into their other kit homes.