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Whales v. Trees as Carbon Sinks

 
 
Reply Sat 23 Nov, 2019 03:56 pm
This article says that whales are better than trees at absorbing carbon
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-20/one-whale-is-worth-thousands-of-trees-in-helping-save-the-planet

But can whales actually compete with trees using the same resources when whales live in the oceans and trees grow on land? Of course not, but why can humans be tricked into this kind of thinking?

Economic logic tells us that anything can be exchanged for anything else of equal value, but that is the reason many people are thinking in terms of buying carbon offsets and whales v. trees instead of thinking in real terms of how ecosystems work.

Whales may be good at absorbing carbon in the oceans, but trees are good at doing so on land; so why not allow both types of organisms to do their carbon-absorbing jobs using the resources available to them?

Greenlighting development, infrastructure, and land use/management practices that displace and/or impede growth/spread of trees 'because whales' is a propagandistic sleight of hand.

Humans have the ability to reform our activities so that both trees and whales are allowed to reach their full potential as carbon-absorbers, so stop talking about offsets and comparing radically different organisms and start practicing sustainable economic reform instead.
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Nov, 2019 04:13 pm
@livinglava,
Quote:
Economic logic tells us that anything can be exchanged for anything else of equal value


This is incorrect. The rest of it doesn't make much sense.
InfraBlue
 
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Reply Sat 23 Nov, 2019 04:59 pm
The IMF is in the business of, among other things, financing the deforestation of land in developing countries for the sake of agriculture. I'd be skeptical of any study funded by this fund.
0 Replies
 
livinglava
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Nov, 2019 05:53 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Quote:
Economic logic tells us that anything can be exchanged for anything else of equal value


This is incorrect. The rest of it doesn't make much sense.

Maybe I didn't phrase it exactly right, but that's not the point.

The point is it's silly to compare whales with trees as carbon sinks when they operate in totally different ecosystems.

Economic logic puts things next to each other on a balance sheet in abstraction from the broader ecosystem and/or supply-chain in which they actually exist/occur.

You can't just decide that whales are better at absorbing carbon than trees so invest more money in whales.

If you did that, you'd get a lot more people studying marine biology and less in forestry, for example; but the bigger issues of land-use would be the same.

There's not much you can do to influence the whale population besides not hunting them, poisoning them with pollution, and/or depleting their food supply.

Let the trees grow and the whales eat, and find a way for humans to work around both to fulfill their/our needs.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Nov, 2019 07:37 pm
@livinglava,
We can do quite a bit to increase the whale population. As you say we can "not hunt them" (i.e. enforcing international ban on whale hunting) address pollution and help protect their food supply. We can also invest in science to create policy on shipping and pollution.

The point of the article is that given a finite amount of money to spend on ecology, we should focus our investment on the areas where the greatest good can be done.

Your point isn't too clear.



livinglava
 
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Reply Sat 23 Nov, 2019 08:42 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

We can do quite a bit to increase the whale population. As you say we can "not hunt them" (i.e. enforcing international ban on whale hunting) address pollution and help protect their food supply. We can also invest in science to create policy on shipping and pollution.

The point of the article is that given a finite amount of money to spend on ecology, we should focus our investment on the areas where the greatest good can be done.

Your point isn't too clear.

It doesn't take money to change these things. It takes behavioral change.

When you spend money to induce behavioral change, it doesn't work because the people who get paid can spend their income on the things that should change; e.g. they will just keep buying cars and driving instead of taking transit and that will induce investors to keep investing in the industries that support driving and marginalize transit.

When you assume it takes money to induce change, what you are assuming is that there is an economic mandate to do things a certain way, when there actually isn't.

We don't NEED to build/develop/use land and infrastructure in the ways that we do. It's just a habit based on behavioral patterns; patterns that can change if people accept that they must.

Don't hunt whales and don't use land in ways that prevents optimum tree growth. Don't clear land for new development, and when you redevelop existing developments, rebuild and repave in a way that adds trees and restores the soil to its naturally fertile state.

In short, reform human activities to support carbon ecology instead of displacing it.

The whales are just a distraction. Leave them alone and they'll be fine. It doesn't take money; only good behavior.
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Sat 23 Nov, 2019 11:08 pm
@livinglava,
Quote:
It doesn't take money to change these things. It takes behavioral change.

When you spend money to induce behavioral change, it doesn't work because the people who get paid can spend their income on the things that should change; e.g. they will just keep buying cars and driving instead of taking transit and that will induce investors to keep investing in the industries that support driving and marginalize transit.


Nonsense. Putting police on streets lowers crime. Of course police cost money. But a proven way to lower crime is to spend money.

If you want to stop hunting of whales, you need enforcement. This costs money. If you want to limit shipping routes through whale breeding grounds, you need enforcement too... and there is an economic cost to shipping companies.

If you want to stop people from polluting you need enforcement (you get the idea).

And... scientists need to be paid too.

Social reform of any kind takes money. It always has and always will.

livinglava
 
  0  
Reply Sun 24 Nov, 2019 07:58 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Nonsense. Putting police on streets lowers crime. Of course police cost money. But a proven way to lower crime is to spend money.

It's a bad way, like paying ransom for hostages. You might get the hostages back initially, but you're simultaneously encouraging more hostage-taking; by setting an example for criminal organizations that hostage-taking is a lucrative operation.

Quote:
If you want to stop hunting of whales, you need enforcement. This costs money. If you want to limit shipping routes through whale breeding grounds, you need enforcement too... and there is an economic cost to shipping companies.

If you start putting money into stopping whale-hunting, you will get more whale-hunting. There are people who understand they can trigger funding-increases by stimulating the things their funding is meant to reduce.

Look at what has happened in the rain-forests. A few decades ago, WWF put massive funding into 'save the rainforest' campaign. It helped for a while but then people wanted to keep the campaign (funding) going, so now we are back to the same old story of rain-forests being burnt and mined and logged, i.e. because it stimulates donations to save the forests.

Quote:
If you want to stop people from polluting you need enforcement (you get the idea).

You just need to keep showing the results of pollution and say it needs to stop. Eventually the people doing it will stop and/or those who fund them will pull their funding/investment. If it doesn't, they will destroy the planet for future generations. They may not care, but they will pay and/or their descendants will pay; i.e. because everyone's descendants will be paying (and I don't mean paying money, btw).

Quote:
And... scientists need to be paid too.

Social reform of any kind takes money. It always has and always will.

Nothing 'takes money.' Money is just how we exchange commodities in order to live. We have to produce things and exchange them in order to live, and that is what 'takes money.'

The challenge is preventing the practice of hostage-taking by people who don't want to engage in positive economic activity, e.g. by doing things that stimulate protection-spending.

Protection-spending can be for human hostages, preserved land, to save whales, etc. but the logic is always the same: "give money or the thing you care about will by harmed/destroyed."

Protection-spending must stop because it stimulates harm/threats against the things people are willing to spend money to protect.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Nov, 2019 09:49 am
@livinglava,
You are saying that paying police officers a fair salary is "a bad way" because it is "like paying ransom for hostages?

Should the police officers work for free?
livinglava
 
  0  
Reply Sun 24 Nov, 2019 10:33 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

You are saying that paying police officers a fair salary is "a bad way" because it is "like paying ransom for hostages?

Should the police officers work for free?

No, of course everyone needs economic access, but the problem is that we currently have an economy where people take economic privileges for granted that result in unsustainability.

E.g. if you pay people to buy and drive cars and thus fund infrastructure and development that is unsustainable, then you are contributing to unsustainability just by paying people to live and do their jobs.

As for whether to pay police officers, sure we should pay everyone as long as they spend their pay in a sustainable way. The problems come when the police officers, teachers, fire fighters, health care professionals, and every other person working in the economy is dismissing the need to reform economic behavior. At that point you are dealing with an army of anti-sustainability agents, and yes when you don't pay them, they will allow criminals such as drug dealers to have their ways with your communities and thus punish you for not paying them to drive around and fund anti-sustainability economic development.

If the war against sustainability would stop, it would be a lot easier to pay everyone a living wage without having to worry about the resulting economy causing problems.
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