My mustard

A long distance relationship between Rome and Brussels – no problem – one can fly home almost every weekend. Having meat everyday, no problem whatsoever apart from obesity perhaps, buying clothes that might never be worn – normal – if they hardly cost anything. But, everything has a cost. We can’t afford any longer to act as if our actions did not have a price; they always have.

I come more and more to believe that only the (forced) awareness of those costs – environmental, social and long term often political – might lead to some change.  So, what about:

  • Limiting the flights / person / year; through a limited number of air-miles for instance. Unused air miles could be sold…
  • Consumption based taxes as opposed to work based – low taxes on environmentally friendly products – making it hell expensive to own a SUV for example
  • Taxes by driven kilometre as to be introduced in the Netherlands. Makes perfectly sense and is not going to happen any time soon in Germany.
  • Reduction of meat consumption esp. beef through increased taxes

One thing is for sure: It’s not going to be easy nor popular.

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17 responses to “My mustard

  1. I agree that we have to limit our consumption. But since mankind is egoistic, the only way is raising taxes on flights/energy etc. Limiting air miles is the wrong way IMO, because there are people who have to fly a lot. But increasing the price of flights (so that they are at least more expensive than the train) is the right way. Recently, I have bought two flight tickets instead of using the train (to London and to Munich), because the flight was half as expensive… (and I will not even use EasyCrap & co.)

  2. I normally vote for the left but I feel this environmental issue is being over hyped, consumption is the bigger problem I feel, maybe turning to nuclear power would be the best solution for the near future. How ever the oil we need to run our cars is a very big issue for the future we must do out best to secure supplies in Iraq and other countries most importantly Iran, a country with so much Oil and nuclear weapons does not sound good, lest secure out future oil supply then worry about the environment I for sure hate taking the bus.

  3. @ Uli H: I think people would have to travel generally a lot less if it were a lot more expensive. For most meetings, there could be alternatives, it is only too convenient to explore them. What about the creation of an air miles market? Everybody gets a certain amount and can either use it or sell it. The idea is actually a symbol for all the possibilities we haven’t explored yet.

    @ English friend: Environmental issues isn’t something left or right; at least not on the continent 🙂 But invading Iran to secure oil instead of building electric cars sounds definitely like a brilliant idea. Very colonialist.
    Why don’t you simply take a bike?

  4. I agree that we need to fly less. Multiplying the prices for a flight would be the easiest option. Companies such as RyanAir etc. should not exist any more. However, sometimes there are no alternatives to f2f meetings. I myself fly a lot (~ 45k air miles this year), mainly to meetings of the IETF with more than 1000 attendees. While certain of the meetings could be replaced by phone/video calls, this is not always possible. I do not know how to reduce this while keeping the IETF as productive as it is now (and thus assuring progress of the Internet).
    But increasing taxes and making trains cheaper could be a first step to at at least reduce short-haul flights. I heard that there are 19 low-cost airlines active in Germany… that means there are 19 too much.

  5. @ Uli: We agree perfecly on low-cost airlines and cheap train tickets. Though it makes less sense if these trains are powered by electricity coming from coal plants.

    But my point is that we have to go beyond this ‘inertia’ and not stop because we don’t know yet how to do this or that differently/better/just as good. It’s called innovation and Internet associated activities is the perfect place to start.

  6. I think what I was trying to explain is that the left have hijacked this issue and now slowly so have the right. My main problem is what if you don’t believe in global warming. I really do not think it is happening and but I do believe resources will run out, which for me is a bigger concern, hence why the invasion of Iran is coming soon, or so I hope.

  7. In addition so called electric cars have to of course be powered up with electricity something which at the moment is mainly from fossil fuels which begs the question what’s the point?, In fact research suggests if we changed all fuel cars to electric right now time, then more damage would be done to the environment from charging our cars with fossil burning electricity that of come from the power stations rather than the emissions from our oil powered cars.

  8. @ English friend: You could also chose not to believe in gravity. The scientific evidence (and this apple falling down) speaks against you.

    I agree with you on the electric cars – it all depends where the energy comes from. We will run out of oil sooner or later, no matter which countries you invade (why not Canada? there is plenty of tar sand) but we can start building electric cars and start diversifying the source of that electricity now.

  9. Comparing gravity is not really the same, gravity is a fact which really isnt that important and isnt goin to run out, global warming is how eva somthing we can argue and belive in or not. Well to be fair Canada is not goin be scared to share its resources and isnt calling for the end of israel, how eva iran is a threat to our security and they have oil and gas which we need more than them, so as we say in england 2 birds 1 STONE. theres no way this earth can support its growing population for eva and we as a species are not set to be in this planet till the end of time, so maybe its more of a case of every nation for its self, if we dont secure their oil some one else will, eat or be eaten. Join the dark side.

  10. @ English friend: 1) Let’s suppose that the scientific evidence ‘only’ suggests that climate change is happening right now. Even then, the potential costs linked to it will be much higher on the long term then the precautionary measures. It’s like treating a potentially dangerous disease – precaution is cheaper than to wait until it hits you.
    2) You build an excellent case for supporting Scotish and Welch independance. Already the UK is too small to lead a war independently from its big buddy but in the not too far future, it would even loose against Ireland. Well done!

  11. lol now we have enterd a discussion on WAR, which is a different point, at the moment the UK is known as the United Kingdom of great Britian and northern ireland, which of course means its still one union and the scots and the welsh may have certain powers on tax etc, but the true powers of a nation are those to issue a passport to have its own seat at the UN and to make its own defence. Which all of which scotland let alone wales do not have. We yes are a small nation, but last time i checked it was the UK who lead forces in bosnia and it was the UK who acted alone on the falklands and it was the UK who lead the war in afghanistan b4 the bush left office many other conflicts while europe waited back at for the main conflict to be ova b4 steeping in, the french being the best example of course and having a big buddy is sumthing i enjoy, its best explained like this:

    At skool u always had the BIG kid who would beat the others steal their money and their lunch, but this big kid had friends friends who would support him, that my friend is the UK. I would ratha be the friend of the big kids than have no lunch and money and waite in line 3 hours at the post office. GOD SAVE THE QUEEN

  12. Example from a so called united europe, Troop numbers in afghanistan:
    USA: 34,000
    UK: 10,000
    Sweden: 430

    But by far the best and my personnel best is that of Ireland with 7, and Austria send 4, YES 4.

  13. If my memory is right, the Falkland war took place before you were born…

    Last time I checked, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all had their football team. How many other countries do you know where ‘regions’ have their own international football (or rugby, or cricket) team?

  14. yes and so did WWI & WWII and many other conflicts but both those and other wars play an important part in the history of the winners, football even by my standards is not a measure of a nations ability to govern, they have their own team but yet in the olympics we play as one, yet at the UN we are setaed as the UK. Sport and politics are two different thigns which we cant compare. Times have come and gone and changed but the UK has neva lost its importance in the UN security council, im sorry but comparing the UK to Ireland as a force in security is not even a comparison. To go back to my first point, global warming is sumthign i do not belive in, and even it was true i think our greed and need for consumption is far to great to curb we as people want more and more, us alone useing this blog to discuss this has used up so much carbon, i think in the nicest way possible we are all part of the problem, unless we all lived in wood huts and lived as they did in the days b4 power then i suppose we could save the world.

  15. It’s strange how French you sound to me… They stopped being a ‘Grande Nation’ roughly 140 years ago and still haven’t got over it.
    But if my memory is right, getting angry is one of the five steps to get over a disappointment so maybe you are on a good way.

  16. LOL HOLD UP, after all our discussions on the EU, defence, wars etc etc my last comment was about my view on global warming, yet u still do resort back to the issue of defence, why is this? shall i tell u why CUZ once a german always a german. U think ur different to us brits cuz we live on a lonely island with bad food, but ur not really that different that german proud blood still runs strong in u, and u know it does, but thats what i love about the germans, the reserved calm yes us brits bomb the crap out of poor countrys with all guns blazing but hay we love it. But yet u germans have for eva found a way of keeping a lid on ur emotions. But as i said b4 this is a difference of opionon. But as person who extends his hand in peace i would like to say this has abeen a most informing discussion. P.S I DRAW THE LINE AT BEING CIMPARED TO THE FRENCH, UNLIKE THEM WE DONT SURRENDER. P.S.S In the words i always told u, U GERMANS WILL NEVA LEARN

  17. 😀 The one thing even a German can admit to the English: You have an unequalled sense of humour.

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