CHOICE membership

Effects of climate change on the consumer


#120

I have several concerns.

Firstly, that this is another substitute for government action that is not costed in terms of what savings in GHG might be derived from it. There is the risk that it may do little or nothing but give people the feeling they are taking action, we don’t need any more distractions like that.

Secondly, the study purports to be by YouGov on behalf of Carbon Trust but I can’t find the original paper on either web site. YouGov is an international market research mob. Maybe somebody else can find it. Without seeing the original study how do we know what their motives are, what is really going on or the quality of the research? All we have is the same summary regurgitated in several places.

Thirdly, even if it could be shown it was potentially helpful unless it was compulsory we would be in the same position as with health stars, the bad performers will simply opt out and keep their secrets.

So far all I see is a thought bubble that may or may not go somewhere.


#121

I struggle with this as it seems to only relate to ‘commitments’ not actual meaures and also doesn’t include other significant energy sources of food such as in the transport of foods across the world (either efficiently or n inefficiently) or the storage of these goods (esp. refrigerated goods). Also packaging types and materials can significantly affect the embodied energy of a product.

Not including the whole supply chain may give customers a false belief that a product with a company CH commitment from say Sweden is better for CH than a locall grown and processed product without similar commitments. Or if both local and faraway products with the same labelling having equal CH footprints at point of purchase, which is not correct and could be a form of ‘green washing’.

It appears to be a marketing exercise to sway concerned consumers at the place of purchase, rather than real response to CH which would take in a product life cycle from cradle to grave.


#122

Thanks @BrendanMays, Two for the price of one!

Up Front (definitely Business Class, :roll_eyes:)
The web link looks most dubious in it’s objectives? A topic deserving it’s own space?

Kinder uses cookies on this website

The moment I go to the web link it wants to enable cookies for analytical purposes. Dead end for me, given what I could access suggests a lack of substance or value.

The same barrier appears when I try to get to the same web business directly.

Alternately, to make me feel just as uneasy.
Wikipedia thinks -
I am looking for a plastic toy with a bonus free chocolate?
Or the Kinder Foundation of Houstan Texas,
Or a Singapore based early learning education enterprise!

The second offering (back in cattle class where most conscious consumers are located),
A real topic on consumer interest in the footprint of products, and how to respond through branding/labelling?

Consumers want a climate label for products?

For an alternate link that might be more reliable and put to Wikipedia using the same proposition.

Here’s one result:

One interesting take out from the article:
Label trust is an issue for consumers because as manufacturers and manufacturing associations have set up “rubber stamp” labels to greenwash their products with fake ecolabels.

I’d note that nowhere in this space appears any evidence of repeated consumer calls for product labelling to rate the brands environmental ‘intention’. Perhaps if the brand owner does label accordingly it can be colour coordinated with the other product claims such as “NEW - includes 200% more fuzziness, FREE,”! :upside_down_face:


#123

Thanks for the comments, I share the sentiment around concerns of greenwashing, and we know first hand the challenges of labelling. Health stars is a perfect example @syncretic.

Would we agree that:

a) Certain foods and products produce more greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) than others
b) Certain foods cost more greenhouse gas emissions due to transport (i.e. I’m thinking of imported produce vs local)

If we do agree, what signal could we give to consumers to help inform purchases? What other government or market mechanisms would be potentially effective ways to address climate change, and would there be pros and cons for consumers? Would there be pros and cons as compared to other methods?

My initial questions related specifically to food production, but feel free to expand on this if it feels relevant to do so, effects of government regulation or efficiency ratings on electric transport (or claimed lack thereof) could be interesting discussion points.

I should add, I realise these are big hypotheticals, and I’ve asked a lot of questions. Don’t feel any need to respond, I was just interesting in the ideas on the table and thoughts from the Community .


#124

It is useful to state it like that. I am all for including the real costs and benefits in how we choose between goods and between services and make life decisions generally. We already have many products whose true cost is never dealt with adequately. For example, epidemiologists and ecologists tell us that pollution has costs in terms of morbidity and mortality of humans and risk to species but so often these warnings are ignored.

When looking to change behaviour governments often want to employ market forces rather than fiat. There are different levels of intervention that have various levels of effectiveness.

  • Allow the free market to run its course. As we have seen this approach to curtailing GHG is starting to have some effect now but we are running some 30 years too late. Many of those changes (eg PV solar power) have really only taken off once the price was right.
  • Manipulating the price directly (eg carbon tax or food-miles tax). This works quicker but it picks winners and losers and the losers don’t like it and few like rapid change.
  • Attempting to influence buying habits without directly affecting prices is the most subtle, you could also say the weakest. Only the most idealistic customers will alter their buying habits individually very much for an idea - especially if it costs more. If you can bring group pressure to bear you can get past that, so wearing fur is no longer fashionable. Some want to point out this as a success for ethical lobbying. It is also a matter of making a virtue of necessity by making much cheaper fake fur acceptable. Many more want to look glam than can afford conspicuous consumption, so just change the definition of glam.

Back to climate labelling. While the price remains the same, or imported asparagus is cheaper than local, I don’t think there is much chance of altering mass behaviour with labels alone as you will only grab the idealists. That’s why I want to see costings and predictions.


#125

I’ve been saying this for at least 20 years. Mandatory solar for water and electricity, mandatory rain tanks (not that they will be a vast amount of use as we get less and less rain) for all new builds. The problem is that politicians are not motivated by climate change, unless it hits them in the face. I see all of them being at the whims of Big Coal, Big Electricity, Big almost anything except Cimate Change, because theres no money in that.


#126

I watched a documentary a few years ago regarding food miles.

One segment was to do with sending UK caught scampi to Vietnem for processing and return to the UK in which they demonstrated that it had a lower GHG effect than if the scampi was processed in the UK.

Coles sells raw prawns in their delis which are Australian caught but peeled in Vietnam.

I wonder if it is the same as the scampi or purely cost and profit driven?

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#127

THis, I suspect. Everything in business is and will continue to be cost and profit driven. It has to be if businesses of whatever kind are to survive. The problem arises when cost and profit are at the expense of everything else.


#128

The Queensland state govt went down this path more than a decade ago.

The policies and legislation was derailed (wound back) with the election of the LNP Newman Govt, 2012-2015.

With 37% of the two party preferred vote the Qld electoral system smashed the ALP to hold only 7 seats out of a total of 89 seats in the Qld Parliament. There is no upper house. The current ALP government is gun shy of reverting to the previous policy in full.

It demonstrates why enforced change as discussed by @syncretic

is such a difficult path politically.

Product promotion (food products as @BrendanMays recently suggested) supported by reliable green labelling is a soft persuasive approach to the consumer.

Any system of green labelling will most likely need mandatory requirements and regulation to be reliable? This requires political initiative. If it is a significant vote catcher the counter argument is it is not required as those who care will already have made decisions on which products to avoid. So no need to legislate meaningfully.

Mandating at a higher level for greener food (lower environmental impact food production) or making less friendly food products more expensive may be even more difficult, likely effective, but high risk politically.

The outcome - political indecision is easy to defend, if it evades the difficult. Look to how the policy proposal to implement improved emissions standards on motor vehicles has been twisted to ‘my Ute or 4WD is going to be taken off me and I’ve been grounded’!

Fact vs Ignorance?
Community vs self interest?

Fortunately for vehicle emissions most of us are fully aware of the concerns and also the relative impacts of our decisions on which vehicle to use or purchase.

For food products, the environmental impacts are less evident.

Several are topical. Soil erosion, fertiliser in run off, agricultural spray drift, carbon loss in production and transport.

Soil biological degradation, chemical residue accumulation, processing carbon footprint, waste disposal, packaging etc are also important considerations.

Is how all of these factors are included in a reliable rating system, as critical to success as having support for any such system?

P.s.
The current iteration for RW tanks and HW systems.


#129

Wow. Whatever the cost benefit, this seems pretty far out to me.

It seems crazy to me that this isn’t the case, and thanks @mark_m for the info, it is quite enlightening. I’ve heard that councils will prevent the installation of tanks and so on, which seems equally ludicrous to me.


#130

You are welcome @BrendanMays.

If you like crazy, we are on rural with no town services, hence rainwater tanks.

When we prepared plans for an extension (Bedroom to replace one we converted to living space). The council and certifier insisted we add a 5kl RW tank to the plans. Perfect! Except we already have two Tanks the larger being 43kl.

On topic, for those of us not locked into the urban sprawl, there is a benefit in knowing first hand where and how some produce gets to us. If it is locally produced, the transport carbon footprint is direct from the farm gate?

For city purchased product, perhaps a simple measure is the number of miles the product has accrued from source to customer? For many products there is also much obscurity of the source. It might help a little to know just how many FF miles those prawns have racked up? :thinking:
Hopefully not in the sun.:mask:


#131

Further to my post on 13.03.2019 regarding electric HWS and incandescent light bulbs still being available, so are room (box) airconditioners.

A decade or so ago, it was announced that they would be phased out due to theit inefficienty and GHG contributions.

I was told by someone in the know that our illustrious electricity provider, Ergon Energy, had bough up big and had a shed full of them for replacements in their infrastructure in remote areas in regional Qld so as to avoid the expense of replacing old units with split systems.

They obviously need not have worried as they could now just buy current model box aircons complete with warranties.

So much for GHG concerns.


#132

A very interesting article regarding replacing conventional refrigerants with eco-friendly “solid state” materials.


#133

While some economists (such as the Chicago School) like to say that a ‘free market’ is the solution to everything, the evidence is well and truly in that ‘free market’ = monopolies, monopsonies and cartels. Think Facebook/Google/Microsoft/Apple, or Coles/Woolworths, or Australian (and for that matter most countries’) media.

Climate change is already affecting the Australian consumer; we are paying for old-fashioned electricity generation instead of moving to more efficient and cleaner options. Those who have had the foresight to install solar panels are gaining from feeding electricity back to the grid, but governments are increasingly reducing the benefit from this and thus removing the incentive to be green (along with removal of rebates for solar).

Finally, a spot of reality from XKCD, that I think I may have linked elsewhere in the Community.


#134

Are we about to hit a rechargable battery supply brick wall?

One cost of going greener may be about to go up contrary to the notion increased production and demand will drive battery prices down. Perhaps for some time to come? :cry:

Potential here also to adversely affect the availability and cost of every day stuff that uses rechargable technology as well as EVs and household power systems.

Perhaps there will be an overflow into other technology solutions taking up the slack. Fuel cell for your iPhone?

It is easy to suggest that there will be a risk of supply shortages leading into growth in the market. It’s the way free market economies work. In the interim there are excessive profits to be had for those first into a rapidly growing market?

P.s.
I noticed nickel is in the supply shortage list. You might add cobalt to that. It could explain CP’s renewed interest in his Qld Nickel Assets. Talking up the prospects while secretly hoping for a buyer?


#135

When the biggest economy in the world ‘leads’ like this we are doomed.


#136

An interesting article regarding research on feeding seaweed to livestock so as to reduce greenhouse gas emiissions.


#137

An article regarding Exxon scientists accurately predicting increasing CO2 levela and global warming some 37 years ago.

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#138

The actual report pdf mentioned in the article can be downloaded/read at this link:

https://insideclimatenews.org/sites/default/files/documents/1982 Exxon Primer on CO2 Greenhouse Effect.pdf


#139

Ok folks. Good news. We don’t need to worry about climate change anymore.

We will just move the planet further from the sun.

Too easy.

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