This Valuable Earth

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COPENHAGEN
Creative Commons License photo credit: marc kjerland

Renegade Economists Podcast 118

As broadcast on 3CR on 09/12/09
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Show Notes
This Valueable Earth: Gary Flomenhoft discusses his exciting new report quantifying the value of Vermont’s minerals, forestry, fisheries, internet, EMS & Land amongst many other resources. Arm yourself with these vital stats!

Valuing Common Assets Report – Get your $1972 citizen’s dividend here.

The 2004 Green Tax Shift report, chock full of stats and graphs

Tony O’brien’s Total Resource Rents: Australia

Valuing Common Assets in the media:
Radical Overhaul – An article on Gary’s presentation to the Blue Ribbon Tax Structure Commission (the day after our interview)
Resources for Rent?
Reclaim Vermont’s Resource Sovereignty

Verisign – monopolists of .com and .net

VeriSign has also faced some public scrutiny regarding its relationship with ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and DNS. In September 2003, VeriSign introduced a service called Site Finder, which redirected Web browsers to a search service when users attempted to go to nonexistent .com or .net domain names.

– cyber squatting anyone?

New America Foundation’s work on the EMS

Music

Dj Spooky – Pax Per Fidem

Bernarditas Muller, the lead Phillipino negotiator and also for the 130 G77 developing countries was dropped from Philippines team by Philippines President after pressure from the US, but the Sudanese delegation welcome her onboard to bolster the G77 position.

Push for emission loophole alleged
AUSTRALIA and other industrialised countries have been accused of pushing for the introduction of a loophole in greenhouse accounting that would ”hide” millions of tonnes of emissions released during plantation and other forestry.

Under the Kyoto Protocol the so-called ”Australia clause” allowed Canberra to earn credits for the massive drop in emissions from land-clearing after 1990.

Also:
US EPA declares that greenhouses gases endanger health – could regulate heavy industry without congressional approval

CLIMATE GATE
Clive Hamilton in crikey:

Yesterday we learnt what we already knew — that the hackers were professionals. What we don’t yet know is who organised and paid for the hack. No doubt the money trail is well-hidden, so we must ask who benefits most. Cui bono? The finger points unwaveringly in one direction, the fossil fuel industry’s think tanks in Washington.

Aviation policy? Rip it up, start again
Even with generous assumptions about increases in fuel efficiency and the use of tele-conferencing, high-speed rail and biofuels, the CCC’s work makes plain that in order to keep aviation emissions at 2005 levels, there can be expansion at no more than a handful of these airports. So what about the other 27?

Microwave factory to act as carbon sink
The world’s first commercial plant that uses microwave technology to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to help reduce the effects of global warming has started operating in New Zealand.

One way to sequester this carbon before it’s released is to turn plant waste into charcoal. “It’s a stable form of carbon and can last tens of thousands of years,” says Chris Turney of the University of Exeter, UK.
Carbonscape, based in Blenheim, New Zealand, has developed technology that turns organic waste, such as wood and wood chips, into charcoal using microwaves. Turney, who advises Carbonscape, says that at full capacity the plant can produce a tonne of charcoal a day. And even when the plant is using electricity generated by conventional non-renewable sources, the process will result in a net reduction of one tonne of CO2 in the atmosphere every day, claims Turney.

“The application of microwaves to charcoal making is new,” says Tim Flannery of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, an expert on climate change and not associated with Carbonscape. “If it increases efficiency in the charcoal-making process it could prove to be a real winner.”

Carbon trading could be worth twice that of oil in next decade
Market could be worth $3tn a year but enthusiasm to place it at heart of Copenhagen is matched by growing criticism of concept

The ETS market may see $3tn (£1.8tn) worth of transactions a year in the next decade or two, according to Andrew Ager, head of emissions trading at Bache Commodities in London, with it even being used as a hedge against falling equities or rising inflation. “It is still a relatively new industry with annual trades of around €300bn every year. But this could grow to around $3tn compared to the $1.5tn market there is for oil,” says Ager, who used to be a foreign currencies trader.


(Re ETS)
The criticisms of environmentalists such as James Lovelock and Friends of the Earth (FoE) are far more fundamental. The basic charge is that the market has put millions of pounds into the pockets of some without making any real impact on carbon emissions.

Wish We Could Have Covered

ABS New Housing stats
– Drop in purchase of new homes – less and less people want to live in mcmansions
-3.9% over the last year
– In seasonally adjusted terms, the total value of dwelling finance commitments excluding alterations and additions decreased 1.4%.
– In original terms, the number of first home buyer commitments as a percentage of total owner occupied housing finance commitments fell slightly, decreasing from 26.1% in September 2009 to 26.0% in October 2009.

Mortgage pain in Port Melbourne
MELBOURNE has a new epicentre for households having mortgage trouble. Port Melbourne now has the state’s highest rate of mortgage defaults, with 4 per cent of its homebuyers behind in their payments, global ratings agency Fitch reports.

In Victoria, by and large, the biggest problems are in outer suburbs. Oak Park, Mornington, Hoppers Crossing, Melton and Boronia all have more than 2 per cent of mortgages in default.

Business profits soar in slump
IN THE middle of the worst global slump since the Great Depression, the profits of Australian business soared to record highs in 2008-09 – while wages fell to near-record lows.
In the past, profits used to fall in recessions. In the recession of the ’70s, the Bureau of Statistics estimates that they fell from 20.5 per cent of national income to 17 per cent. In the ’90s recession, they fell from 24 per cent to 22 per cent. But this one has been something different.
Corporate profits, which have been on a roll all through this decade, kept rolling serenely on through the recession, climbing from 27.4 per cent of national income to a record 27.7 per cent.

A decade ago, the share of wages was 56.7 per cent and profits 22.5 per cent, both roughly in line with the long-term average. But since then the shares of wages and small business income have fallen sharply, while the share of the cake going to corporate profits has soared.
Much of the profit growth over the decade has been in finance and mining – both of which suffered little damage in the 2008-09 slowdown.

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