Carbon Sequestration

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Saturnine Pariah, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    Only in America.

    Most other places standards are based on absolute levels, not percentage removals. Thou shalt not exceed #### ppm.
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  3. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    I´ll just note that 40 or so years ago, the Rhine river was one of the most chemically polluted on earth. Germany did not pass regulations to clean it up to its current high quality with fish being caught and eaten year round and swimmers in summer. They simply charged per Kg (different for different substances) dumped in the river. The charge table make it more economical for companies to find other solutions to their toxic waste problems.

    Even the KD line cruse ships (and others, I assume), which is free (or was ~30 years ago) if you have a valid Euro-rail pass, did not dump it toilets, until it reached the Baltic sea. I have riddened down the Rhine at least three time on the KD line, and once switched to the KD´s ship going up the Mosel. - trains are faster so I never rode back up the Rhine.
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  5. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    Hate to break it to you, but this is actually passing a regulation. It's basically taxing companies for their discharges, although it won't have been couched in terms of tax law.
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  7. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    You have a strange concept about "regulation." I think regulation takes the form like: "release of more than X ppm of Y is illegal" Or in this stretch of road it is illegal to drive faster than 60mph, etc. The law, may or may not specifiy your fine for illegal behavior. Usually it does not, but lets the judge set the fine.

    Regulation makes doing something illegal.

    In Germany you are not illegal for dumping X ppm of Y. You just have to pay the specified fine for doing that. You can do it as often as you like and not be in contempt of court, sent to jail, etc. as you could be if you continually ignore some regulation.
  8. KitemanSA Registered Senior Member

    It is illegal not to pay the fine. Thus, by your definition, it is regulation.

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  9. billvon Valued Senior Member

    So a Wal-Mart sale is "regulation?" Interesting.
  10. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Well, perhaps, but the regulation is that fines must be paid. Nothing said about dumping toxin in the Rhine. That dumping is not regulated. It is "fee permited."
  11. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    Have I mentioned that my day job is environmental law enforcement (my co-workers are a former lawyer and a former police officer)?

    Addendum: The definition I'm using is the one from the dictionary, where government regulation is the act of regulating or a principle, rule, or law designed to control or govern conduct.

    That's one form it can take.

    Over here the Resource Management Act (1991) effectively states (among other things) that all discharges to land, air, or water are a breach of the act unless permitted by a resource consent or a rule in a relevant plan. This gives the Regional Councils (the level I work at) the power to set science based limits taking local factors into account.

    Not strictly true. Many laws set a maximum fine. The way it usually works is the defense lawyer and the lawyer acting for the informant argue over starting points for the fine, mitigating factors which offer discounts to the starting point, and exacerbating factors which make the fine worse, then makes his decision considering these things along with government intent and precendents set through case law.

    That's one thing that regulation does. But tell me. What do you think would happen if a company had dumped chemicals in the Rhine without paying the fee?

    A government does not just start charging people for some thing without first passing a law enabling them to do so. Passing a law that requires people to pay to do a thing is regulating that thing.

    Again. Think about your definition, and think about what would happen if a company dumped in the rhine and did not pay the fee for doing so.

    Addendum: While you're at it, you may want to look into the International COmmission for the Protection of the Rhine - a regulatory authority setup by the member nations of the European Union to protect the rhine after a chemical factory fire in... I think it was 1985.
  12. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    If the one remaining generator had broken down under the extraordinary four reactor demand placed upon it, and the wind had shifted to take the resultant Chernobyl into Tokyo, they would have had to evacuate Tokyo on about 24 hour notice.

    They gambled and won. It was a good bet, considering the weather forecast and the general reliability of such generators once running, and also considering they did not know for sure how bad it was in the reactors (another parallel with TMI).

    1)Those are the official numbers, from known liars. 2) Averaging them over the available landscape is invalid - the releases were in plumes and concentrations. 3) For pity's sake, that is hindsight - they were incredibly lucky at Fukushima, not only in having so many reactors already down for maintenance and the weather on their side, but in the aftershocks being moderate and a generator working and all four reactors being uncracked and tameable with seawater and so forth. That good news came long after the decision time for the disaster response - it is not overreaction and panic to have prepared for the easily possible and dangerous, regardless of the actual outcome.

    ? Deliberately obtuse is one of the rhetorical techniques nuke proponents use quite often - it preserves deniability for bullshit.

    I was of course describing the situation at Fukushima - the reason for the evacuation, and the goofy absurdity of your complaint that they took the old folks with them. What would you have them do, in meltdown kill zones with four reactors going spla?
    No, we were talking about your assertions of panic and overreaction in the wake of Fukushima. I was referring to one of my bases (there are many, but TMI is specifically documented for the curious) for my observation that lies and coverups and misinformation from the official sources - the nuke proponents, the people who talk like you and downplay disaster and risk like you and make bullshit excuses like you and blame the messengers for the bad news as you do - are normally responsible for the common panic and overreaction in the wake of nuke accidents, as they were in Fukushima.
    Note that in Kiteman's world the anti-nuke folks are unaware of the problem with cesium. "Both" are missing that issue. I mean, damn, what is that, the fourth or fifth example of complete cluelessness just on one thread? - why do we even take these people seriously?
    I wouldn't assume without evidence that situation he describes ever existed or any such event ever occured as presented there. Look at the track record, and the rhetorical approach complete with wingnut hostility and vocabulary (govnut etc) - I'd recommend getting a citation, a physically verifiable time and place, before responding as if to aspects of reality.
    Sure. In the US that would probably involve political rapprochement with Cuba, though, and a defiance of the agribusiness lobby (Monsanto, Cargill, all the big guys, heavily into beets and corn.
  13. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    Ordinarily I'd be inclined to agree with you, however, I'm 90% certain I have heard similar situations described elsewhere, and I have encountered similar inflexibility towards standards even within my job. Having said that, it's generally a problem with individuals, rather than an organizational problem.
  14. KitemanSA Registered Senior Member

    Originally Posted by KitemanSA
    It is illegal not to pay the fine. Thus, by your definition, it is regulation.
    Precisely what "fine" is involved with a Walmart sale? If you mean the sales tax, then for that part, yes, I agree with you. Sales taxes do constitute a degree of regulation.
  15. KitemanSA Registered Senior Member

    Yup, and the fee is an automatic regulation enforcement mechanism. The "fee" undoubtedly hurts the bottom line so it is in effect, a fine, one that is self calculated and paid. What happens f a company dumps with paying the fee?
  16. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    I assume than eventually some CEO will go to jail or the police will lock the company gates.

    I don´t want to continue discussing the definition of "regulation" but for me regulations, regulates behavior. (X you can legally do, but doing Y is illegal.) When there is only a cost for doing Y, (some activity the government wants to discourage), that is NOT regualtion as it is not illegal to do Y, but I agree there is regualtion about paying the cost / fee when you do Y and don´t pay the charge. Not paying the fee for doing Y is illegal, so paying fees is regulated behavior or it is a regulation that you MUST pay the fee for doing Y. Doing Y is not a regulated behavior - it is your free legal choce to do or not. I.e. it is "fee permited" not regulated behavior.
  17. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    So, for you reluation regulates behaviour and the objective was to stop people from dumping into the rhine (IE: Regulate their behaviour).
    You agree that dumping without paying the fee would land you in jail would land you in jail, and yet you think this is not the same thing as making it illegal, and therefore it is not regulation. Even though a government can not do this without passing some form of regulation.

    Unfortunately, I have been completely unable to verify this claim of yours, I haven't been able to find any information about it. You haven't provided any information to support your opinion, which has effectively shut down the conversation.

    The only thing I can really think of to suggest is to look a little more closely at what regulation actually means, the different regulatory tools that governments have available to them, and how it all relates back to this discussion. Also consider that your definition of what constitutes regulation is very sensitive to the wording of the law in question, which you have not provided for us and I have not been able to find for myself.

    For example, I might speculate that the framework around this scenario is that the government effectively makes available licenses to dump a quantity of a specific contaminant into the Rhine, then rules unlicensed dumping of material into the Rhine illegal. That's still regulation by your definition where x is licensed dumping, Y is unlicensed dumping, the only difference is the criteria for a legal activity. I also imagine there is probably a total annual cap as to how many kg of specific materials can be dumped, but again, I have been unable to find any information on this.

    The difference between our definitions of regulation is that I'm saying that any time the government uses the law to control the behaviour of individual or corporations, that is regulation and that this is an example of that.
  18. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    I guess there might be some semantic hair-splitting about whether a fine is equivalent to a regulation, but that's obviously secondary to your key point, which is that something heinous was going on and it needed to be stopped. And regulators stepped in and applied pressure to stop it.

    I am chiming in to say I'm glad to hear that you're involved in enforcing the laws that protect the environment. I sort of gathered something like that when you mentioned some time ago that you worked in waste disposal chemistry. But what a great way to apply the tedium of science to the very important issues of our day. So kudos for that. Hopefully we are grooming a lot of planet science folks at universities all over the world and this kind of discussion will mark the end of era. (Well, one can hope.)

    Your definition of regulation is sound. It also occurred to me that the word has a precise legal meaning until you consider the span of countries referred to here. As an American, I would tend to think of crossing the street in Germany as something that's well-regulated. Folks there would not think of jaywalking, for example, as cavalierly as we do it here in the states, and I suppose they fully expect to pay the consequences for other small infractions. I would imagine that the average German thinks of Germany as a well-regulated country, and that they broadly support such regulations. After all, in this day and age, who would not cringe at the thought of dumping in the Rhine or any other place? It's horrific, especially when there are plenty of good scientists to help them properly manage the waste disposal issues. Ironically, if Billy T were for some reason to abhor the use of environmental regulations, I'm sure he would still prove to be a valuable partner to you in solving a crisis if some bizarre scenario threw you two together tackling an environmental disaster of some kind. After all, he's obviously an accomplished scientist and capable of, well, who knows how much - to support the kind of goals you are advocating for. So I was kind of surprised that he seems to be against regulation. After all, wanton pollution is precisely what created the regulations that are in place today. There's no going back. No one in their right mind would ever advocate for letting industrial operators return to the laissez faire policies of the past.

    I was saying I agree with your discussion of regulation. From within the legal framework of the US, regulations are usually defined as rules drawn up by agencies of the executive branch of government, after being authorized by Congress to do so. The US tax code is a good example. A lot of regulating is done by rewarding desirable behavior with tax incentives, and by punishing bad or undesirable behavior by taxation. So, for example, there are various tax incentives for conducting business in such a way that energy is conserved, renewables are preferred and pollution is contained. Similarly our Environmental Protection Agency will assess penalties against states and municipalities for failing to meet aerosol and particle emission standards the Agency internally generates. Furthermore, some regulations are enforced simply by withholding Federal funds from offending states that would otherwise receive them. We generally think of rules that impose criminal penalties as statutes, not regulations, since they are explicitly spelled out in the legislation in such a way that gives the criminal courts jurisdiction. (Under the US legal framework, jurisdiction is the first barrier that must be overcome in order to prosecute, so it's vital to the question of whether to apply the rule by regulation or statute).

    It may seem like hubris but really this is central to the problem of managing global pollution. If we ever hope to seriously address environmental damage, there has to be tough regulation and a lot of folks like you willing to apply their skills to do something about it. If the truth be told, that day will come when folks with your background get to write the rules.
  19. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    In a sense, maybe, in another sense, I'm not so sure. The fine itself isn't the regulation. The fine is a consequence of the regulation. The regulation is the law which defines what is legal, what is not, and sets out the consequences.

    Consider driving as an example. I would argue that driving is regulated. I've looked into the situation in my jurisdiction, and every road rule is set out by an clause in a parlimentary act (although it calls itself a special rule). I can point you to the section of the act that tells you to keep left, for example. Now, I'll be the first to admit, I'm not well versed in American law, or German law, for that matter, but, the examples I have looked at have followed the same general format. They seek to regulate peoples behaviour by putting in place guidelines what can and can not be done, and specifying the consequences of failure to comply with that act.

    My core point is that governments don't just get to impose charges and consequences for existing activities without first passing a law to enable them to do so, but the passage of a law to control behaviour is, by definition regulation. There's just, seemingly, a disconnect between that idea, and what most people think of as regulation which are the more perscriptive laws such as "You shall not discharge more than 1ppm of ammoniacal nitrogen according to APHS standard methods."

    Thanks :*)

    Even here, there's a distinction to be made between whether or not something is regulated, and how successfully it is regulated. For example, as I understanding, jaywalking is something that is illegal in the US, and is something that potentially carries a fine. By definition, it's regulated. However, many laws also give enforcement officers a degree of discretion when it comes to enforcement of that regulation. Breaking the speedlimit by 5kph might not carry a fine on a freeway, but, doing so driving past a school is likely to get you pulled over. Why? Because of factors like public interest and because your more likely to hurt someone speeding past a school than you are speeding on a freeway.

    So while you might not get punished for jaywalking in the US even though there's a law on the matter (it's regulated), the only thing that neccessarily indicates is that it doesn't often, in the opinion of an enforcement officer, meet some criteria for persuing. On the other hand, if you're jaywalking, and you get hit by a car, that might be something that your insurance company, the drivers insurance company, and the judge prosecuting the driver all might take into consideration. While the driver should have been driving according to conditions, and should have been able to stop, you should not have been crossing there in the first place.

    You might be surprised. Even in the time I have been in my current job, I have encountered some interesting attitudes of entitlement when it comes to disposing of waste of various forms in fresh water.

    Quite. Industry has had a free range, and in return they've given us the likes of Bhopal and fish kills on 100km stretches of the Rhine. I'm a contradiction in this regard, in that I see environmental regulation as a neccessary evil. I'd much rather do without it. I'd much rather wake up tomorrow morning and find myself redundant because there's been a massive change in attitude. However, we're where we are now because non reggulation has been shown not to work.

    It's not too dissimilar here. Take the RMA which I mentioned earlier.
    The RMA says "All discharges, including the discharge of water to water, are considered a breach of this act, except were statutory defenses apply, or a relevant rule or consent exists".
    The regional councils are then free to manage their resources as they see fit, taking into account regional factors. For example, there's one area we're they're having some pretty bad problems with nitrogen loading in ground and surface waters, so, because they're free to, they've taken the approach of managing septic tank nitrogen discharges through their plans. Likewise, the region I am in faces some pretty unique issues around water right allocations and water usage. But when we infringe them, the infringement is for breaching the appropriate section of the RMA. The RMA is the regulatory framework which the regional councils use to manage and regulate resource usages.

    Truth be told, I have come to the same conclusion. Fortunately, I at least get some input in the regional rules. A report I have just recently finished writing (somewhere around 30 pages, including graphs and tables, with something like 50 pages worth of maps) is going to be used to 'inform' some of the next set of rules, and even though it hasn't been officially released yet, I've had people from other regional councils enquiring after my methodology, and the policy department is already considering my input (and really want to see my report). I may not be writing them, but my fingerprint is going to be all through them.
  20. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    No the object was to reduce the pollution of the Rhine. People´s behavior was not regulated. They were allowed to chose which of two behaviors they would do. (no regulation of behavior): Can dump in the Rhine if you want but then you must pay a fee. Or Alternatively, don´t dump in the Rhine. Your behavior is NOT regulated. You may or may not dump in the Rhine - You choose which way you behave.

    It is much like many things in life. For example, you can choose to sit in a theater and watch a movie or not, but if you choose to do that, you must pay the fee.
    Do you think attending movies is regulated, as a fee is charged for doing that?

    I admit that if you force your way into the movie with a gun, the police will soon take you out and then the court will fine you or send you to jail; same as if you dump in the Rhine and refuse to pay the fee.
  21. billvon Valued Senior Member

    If the government did that - and put regulations on your attendance (i.e. what you could bring in, what qualifications you needed for discount tickets) - and there were no other ways to go to the movies - then yes, movie going would be regulated.
  22. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    noun \ˈpē-pəl\
    plural people
    Definition of PEOPLE
    1 plural : human beings making up a group or assembly or linked by a common interest

    noun \bi-ˈhā-vyər, bē-\
    Definition of BEHAVIOR
    1 a : the manner of conducting oneself

    Both from Merriam-Webster. The action of operating a factory is a behaviour. The action of dumping waste generated by that factory into the rhine is behaviour.
    A corporation in most jurisdictions is a legal person. More than that, the owners and operators of the factory are people linked by a common interest.
    The objective was to reduce pollution in the rhine.
    The pollution was being caused by discharges from factories (among other sources).
    Operating a factory is a behaviour, discharging waste to the Rhine is a behaviour, factories are operated by people, stopping the pollution then neccessarily requires controling peoples behaviour.

    The point that this analysis misses is that before the law was introduced, there was a third option that is no longer legally available to them. Dumping in the rhine for free. The government has removed that option from people, therefore the government has regulated their behaviour.

    This is a poor example, in fact, I'd go as far as calling it a red herring.

    Disposing of waste is neccessary for the continued operation of a factory, going to a theater is not neccessary to my continued function. I have a third option available to me, not attending the theater, factories also have a third option available to them, not dumping in the rhine. The difference is that I don't need to go and find something equally expensive to do, whereas the factories must find some alternative method to dispose of their waste if they decide to not pay the governments fee (effectively a surcharge).

    On top of that, as Billvon said...
  23. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    To illuminate my point further.

    Focussing on the charge itself is a distraction, it's a red herring.

    It's not the charge itself that creates the regulation, that is never what I have said, nor was that ever my point.

    In order for the government to make the charge, there must first be a law, that law will have attached to it a fee schedule which lays out the fees on a per kg basis. That same law will make it an offense to violate that law (by discharging without paying the fee), and sets out the consequences of breaching that law.

    I am saying that any time a government passes a law, the passage of that law is regulation. In this specific instance, the charge (effectively a surcharge) is a regulatory tool.

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