CHOICE membership

Effects of climate change on the consumer


#21

Until the drover’s dog eats blind Freddy (or perhaps until blind Freddy finds nothing left to eat but the drover’s dog), I fear.


And yes, this too is a potential impact of climate change.


#22

Sadly, this strikes a chord. But I’m reluctant to give you a “like”. It just doesn’t seem right.


#23

Very good points. Governments need to push a ‘mind’ change so that people live again responsibly and apply common sense. In 1994 we e.g. built an architect designed solar passive house on our hobby farm and installed a wind turbine with batteries. Everyone thought us to be mad. Since then we added solar panels, grow our own vegies, citrus, fruits, olives, (olive oil), have chooks, bees and enjoy our homebrewed beer. Unfortunately we still need to do some shopping but we choose our purchases carefully with an emphasis on locally or Aussie grown or made. Ahh, the good old days… :slight_smile:


#24

Or do the people need to change government to one with a different ‘mind’?

The problem may be the suggested solution.


#25

Well said, that’s exactly why people nowadays abandon the major political parties and choose independents or single focused parties: no long term vision, no action on climate change and no action on lots of other important matters until it’s either too late or people revolt.


#26

With particular relevance to the costs of owning and running an EV or hybrid compared to a normal ICE vehicle.


BMW i3 electric vehicle, $76k on road, $15,339.50 pa running costs. Based on 15,000km per year for 5 years.

Note this cost excludes any future road user tax for EVs that may replace the fuel excise not collected. Typically equivalent to $0.03 to $0.04 per km.

The AAA have joined the lobbying to have fuel exercise scrapped and the $15B+ Federal Govt revenue stream replaced with a new and fairer tax on road use.


And the prior AAA release.

https://www.aaa.asn.au/2018/07/13/running-out-of-road/

The ABC provided an informed article that shows road funding revenue falling, due mainly to the effect of the uptake of more fuel efficient, lower CO2 emission vehicles.

The consumer is faced with the dual impacts of premium ownership costs for going greener, and an uncertain future added cost/tax for road use?


#27

In brief and in general, we will be paying the price of costs evaded by past generations. The challenge for Choice will be ensuring that the price we pay is cost-effective (that it doesn’t just profit some corporation).


#28

This does show why EV companies lobby government hard to get subsidies for their vehicles, as purely on financial cost, their vehicles are significantly more expensive than a lot of other vehicles they compete with.

Should the government cave in and effect have every taxpayer subsidising those who chose to purchase EV vehicles, especially when these vehicles in Australia indirectly have lifecycle CO2 higher than many other vehicle purchase options. I not sure if I would like my taxes diverted from education, health, social security (or increase debt) to instead to provide EV subsidies. Not sure that this is a justifiable use of taxpayers money.


#29

I want to have another go at this one with more emphasis on consumer issues, however it is hard to separate these from life in general.

In broad climate change will bring changes to weather patterns. We have stupid straw man arguments going on where north America has a freeze and the intelligentsia (The Donald) says ‘global warming where are you’. This is a willful misrepresentation of expert opinion. While overall temperatures will rise the major effect will be pattern changes. Both heat and cold events will get more extreme. Monsoons may move or alter timing and intensity. Some areas will get drier, others wetter.

We have spoken about bushfires, cyclones and floods getting more frequent or more intense and the effect on home ownership and insurance. There are other consequences of pattern changes.

  • Changes in land use: some marginal areas may become impossible to crop. The crops that are now economic may cease to be so. In some cases new crops will be possible but not always. The mix of foods that we currently enjoy may be impossible to support and prices may go wild in some cases.
  • Pests and diseases will move and alter their intensity. We may see, for example in Australia, mosquito-borne human diseases move south from their present range. Insect crop pests may move. These problems may affect crops and human living conditions. Not all changes will be bad but many will be. For example ‘Queensland itch’ which harms horses (due to a reaction to insect bites) may be reduced if areas that are currently favourable to the insect dry out. But reduced rainfall there may not be worth it. Public health costs may skyrocket.
  • Where food production or livability are reduced we will see people abandon regions. As usual the poor will suffer much more than the rich. In Oz we will be able to adapt because we can apply discretionary spending to help people relocate and we are a net food exporter but it will not be pretty. Other countries will not be so lucky, mass migration will produce political instability on a huge scale. The current steady background level of wars over resources will come to the boil. The ranks of boat people will swell alarmingly. Populists will promote some ‘ism’ that promises a quick fix while doing nothing useful. While the poorest countries will be crying out for more aid than ever the rich countries will be pulling back funds because they prefer to spend their money dealing with their own problems. International travel may be restricted. Global markets will be damaged and cheap overseas manufacturing may falter.

The world will change. We don’t know by how much. There will probably be winners and losers, on the other hand there could be losers and really big losers. Gambling that we can get away with doing little is not very smart.


#30

Your comments on pests, diseases and the livability of certain regions raise some interesting challenges from a consumer perspective. Will this have an effect on our hospitals and related health insurance? What about cost of living in certain areas - will we be building bigger air conditioners or spending the money to refabricate/redesign homes to make them safer or more livable? Very interesting thoughts, thanks for sharing them @syncretic.


#31

Qld’s summer of disasters.


#32

Brendan
As far as I can ascertain no one has looked at the “benefits” that may occur because of climate change! I don’t believe it will be all doom and gloom, but that some “benefits” may accrue from such a change. Yes there will me widespread misery, but who knows - climate change may benefit us all in the long run. Will these “benefits” affect consumers as much as the negatives? Only time will tell!
pH


#33

You must have something in mind, what is it?

An aspect that has not been mentioned much is the pace of change. Some people like to tell us that the earth’s climate has changed many times in the past (true) therefore we have no worries (false). The problem is that with the exception of minor temporary local changes like the Medieval Warm Period global changes took many thousands or millions of years. Life had time to adapt, to migrate, in some cases to evolve. Little of that can happen in 100 years.

If there are beneficial outcomes they will probably be the phoenix rising from the ashes type, much will be destroyed by the pace of change during the transition regardless of the final situation.

I don’t see this as a possible extinction event for humanity though we will erase (are erasing) many other species along the way. If your long run is (say) 300 years then you may be right, some benefits may be apparent by then. Whether there is a net benefit is another matter. The question is how much human misery will it take to get there? How many millions will starve or die of preventable diseases on closed borders during the first 100 years?


#34

Syncretic
It was just a thought everyone is looking at the negatives and overlooking the possibility that there might also be some benefits. We need to look at all scenarios that may affect consumers, not just the perceived negative ones. I was really using Newton’s 3rd Law (very loosely), " For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction", which may or may not apply here.
pH


#35

Maybe not.

There is a lot of research being done on the minor increase in CO2 levels in atmospheric gases on food production, especially plant crops.

As we move forward with an every increasing population (yes, humans are in plaque proportions), one thing which will be under pressure will be providing foods for the increase population. It has been shown that the increases in atmosphere CO2 can increase plant biomass and also production rates. The impacts on the higher CO2 levels may in fact benefit the feeding of the increasing population if this occurs within existing food production areas.

Like any catastrophe (volcanoes, floods. fires etc), there a can be benefits which are not focused on as reporting on the the dire consequences of the catastrophe make better ‘news’.


#36

The downsides are such that emphasising perceived benefits is redolent of deceit.

Be careful about linking to Google searches @phb. Google tailors results according to what it knows about the user. What it shows others is not necessarily what it shows you.

Overall impacts of global warming on food production are evidently negative:

A recent study of global vegetable and legume production concluded that if greenhouse gas emissions continue on their current trajectory, yields could fall by 35 percent by 2100 due to water scarcity and increased salinity and ozone.

Another new study found that U.S. production of corn (a.k.a. maize), much of which is used to feed livestock and make biofuel, could be cut in half by a 4˚C increase in global temperatures—which could happen by 2100


#37

Perhaps. It may also be that faster or better growth from higher levels of CO2 would also require higher levels of water and nutrients which will not be available.

True. We also get much misreporting in the form of rosy pictures from those wanting to minimise the risks.


#38

Not all from google searches…these are examples of some of the emerging research.

I have a good friend researching in the field and it is often something we discuss. The constraints and opportunities (advantages and disadvantageous) of climate change and natural disasters (his research locale also includes things like post eruption, post flood, post tectonic movement agriculture adaptation).

He carries out climate adaption research (and lectures) in developing countries (Africa and Asia) and is on top of current modelling outcomes and research of climate change impacts. He needs to in order to provide outcomes for local agribusiness.

He is of the view that in general, an increase in CO2 will increase food production assuming that area available for planting (due to weather, inputs etc) remain similar.

It is also worth noting, and he also recognises, that there are a number of major non-climate change challenges with long term food production, such as ‘peak phosphorus’, which could have a greater impact on long term production levels.

Something we have also discussed which has been interesting is adaption (to changing agriculture). He uses the definition that adaptation is exploiting what is available as a result of change. This is an interesting concept and applies to anything.

Yes, this assumes that rainfall will change enormously. While locally there may be variations to historical rainfall, this can be overcome with land manage practices and planting if and where the rain falls.Most of the world’s agricultural and are marginal due to high weather variability (rainfall, low temperatures, temporary inundation etc), and their status could change if currently rainfall is the limiting factor and due to climate change, rainfall increases. This may compensate for those areas where rainfall variability increases or total average seasonal rainfalls decrease.

It is also likely that due to greater energy in the atmosphere and the atmosphere being able to hold more water, that average rainfall totals may increase. There is also modelling showing that this increase in total rainfalls may also have a greater variability (wide variance on a bell curve, along with broader bell curve).

Unfortunately the media and popular science publishers often portray the worst and extreme case scenarios which are usually not what will happen in reality. For example, there was a famous Australian who said that many of the eastern seaboard water reservoirs will never fill again, panicking government into building expensive back up water systems, This was later to be proven to be a extreme opinion rather than based on realistic modelling and/or evidence.

With models there are probabilities that some even will occur…this is how models work. If a model indicates that 1% chance of all land areas now being subject to long term droughts, it does not mean that it is fact. There is a 1% confidence that it will occur…with higher confidences other outcomes will eventuate.

Climate change will cause impacts, some which will be negative and some positive. It appears that there is a reluctance worldwide to prevent any CO2 rises, so one needs to also look at the positives with the negatives as this will lead to better adaption, if and when the predicted consequences of climate change arrive.


#39

This is quite interesting. Not necessarily the case. If CO2 is limiting in the photosynthetic processes, increasing CO2 can increase the efficiency and use of water and nutrients…and growth will be constrained by the next limiting factor (which could be the new CO2 level, water, light, nutrients).

Very true…and what is concerning about current reporting. If one speaks publicly about climate adaptation (or even about some positive impacts of climate change), they are given labels and denounced.

Unfortunately getting a balanced view of climate change (both its impacts and opportunities of climate adaption) is very difficult as the agenda as been dominated by one side.


split this topic #40

3 posts were merged into an existing topic: Scientific research