Thursday, June 12, 2008

Still want to sacrifice wealth for climate change policy?

Having recently returned from the United Arab Emirates, I have a few observations:

  • In the UAE everyone drives, big cars, even short distances because daytime temperatures get between 35 and 43 degrees. That means they use a lot of petrol, per capita, adding the air conditioning that is almost ubiquitous. You see it's highly subsidised there because the country is doing quite well thanks to record oil prices. There is very little public transport.
  • Buildings are almost all air conditioned, which in that heat isn't cheap. Except all of the electricity is generated from that subsidised oil.
  • Water is produced from desalination, the most energy intensive way, and per capita water consumption in the UAE is one of the highest in the world.
  • New Zealand's per capita GDP is around US$30,000 p.a. UAE's is over US$42,000. Even on a PPP (Purchasing power parity) basis NZ is at US$27,000 and UAE at least US$37,000.
The UAE is not doing a jot about reducing CO2 emissions. Indeed, it is making an enormous profit from those who DO emit, it is subsidising its own population burning fuel, and is an economy fueled on emitting CO2.

Now I'm not picking on the UAE, it is just one example - of a so-called "developing country" far wealthier on a per head of population basis that New Zealand. Yet so many New Zealand politicians would rather it lead the way, whilst the likes of the UAE is expected to do nothing. You see, even if you accept that there should be "action on climate change", why are there a fair number of countries that are considered to be "developing" yet have lower per capita GDP than NZ? (Bahrain, Brunei, Kuwait, Qatar,Singapore and Taiwan are others)

Still feel like engaging in austerity measures to save the planet, when many countries basking in oil wealth are doing the exact opposite?


ZenTiger said...

I'm not sure the "these people are idiots/bastards/murderers/whatever, so why can't we be too?" line of logic would be agreed by everyone.

It doesn't appeal to me at least.

That's not to say I'm wanting to commit economic suicide either, but my reasons for supporting or rejecting sustainability isn't based on what others want to do.

What others do about things certainly changes my strategies, but that it a different issue.

I take your point though. The whole Kyoto deal is plain stupid, and the pressures to meet a stupid plan for the wrong reasons is not going to help us use resources in a more sustainable fashion.

Having socialists around who think they can control the market in the ways they do doesn't help either.

ISeeRed said...

"....why are there a fair number of countries that are considered to be "developing" yet have lower per capita GDP than NZ?"

I think you mean "higher".

The Hairy Armpit said...

Scott is a moron and is full of kaka...

Anonymous said...

OH look it's hairy moron again. Get back to licking your arse.