Notices
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Enviromentalism more about politics than enviroment?

  1. #1 Enviromentalism more about politics than enviroment? 
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    85
    Environmentalism is said to be about 'looking after nature' or 'saving the planet', but I find the study, dedication, or/and active work on environmental causes to be more for political means, than about the actual natural world around us. I was wondering on your thoughts?


    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
    Posts
    4,439
    I would class myself as an "environmentalist" and worked as an environmental/atmospheric scientist for a number of years. I can say politics was never mentioned in any of my work and politics had no influence on what I studied and researched over the years or how I reported my data. IMO science, which I appreciate should be used to make informed policy decisions, is often hijacked by hacks (usually politicians, economists or journalists who don't understand it) and used as a political tool (by both "environmentalists" and their opponents) but the science is (or should be) apolitical. You may have a point for "environmentalism" that is not part of the hard sciences but that is outside my direct experience so I won't comment on that.


    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Forum Sophomore pineapple007's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    118
    It would depend on who signs your pay check.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,046
    Environmentalism is getting an increased amount of corporate funding these days. It seems paradoxical, because environmental legislation increases the costs of production, right?

    Except businesses are in competition. If a new law increases your own production costs a little, but increases your competitor's production costs a lot, then you just might spend political money getting it passed for that reason.

    However, there is a real dark side. Sometimes a business lobbies to get laws passed because it holds the patent on a new environmental tech. And if the law is passed, their competition won't just be at a disadvantage. Their competition will be totally unable to compete at all. If your new patented invention is the only way to meet the new restrictions, then your opponent must simply get out of the industry, or hope you're feeling generous enough to sell them a license.

    An example in the trucking industry would be Pacar. They make the only DPF that is capable of meeting current emissions standards for trucks. In the years since the legislation was passed setting the allowed NoX emissions to the present levels (which just so happen to exactly match the specs of Pacar's machine), the price of semi trucks has very nearly doubled. But why are the emission standards not at zero? Because nobody has tech that can reach that. The law keeps getting more strict every time a new tech is invented that can bring the levels down - which means whoever holds the patent gains a monopoly over a whole industry, instead of just one device, because all members of that industry are legally obligated to buy their machine.

    Basically, people's good intentions (wanting to save the environment) is being used by businesses to manipulate the market, and give themselves sweetheart deals where they can overcharge for their services. The choice is either

    A) - Pay Paccar whatever they want.

    or

    B) - You can't operate a truck.

    If you're a trucking company, that means Paccar can gouge the price however high they want.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    1,972
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    An example in the trucking industry would be Pacar. They make the only DPF that is capable of meeting current emissions standards for trucks. In the years since the legislation was passed setting the allowed NoX emissions to the present levels (which just so happen to exactly match the specs of Pacar's machine), the price of semi trucks has very nearly doubled. But why are the emission standards not at zero? Because nobody has tech that can reach that. The law keeps getting more strict every time a new tech is invented that can bring the levels down - which means whoever holds the patent gains a monopoly over a whole industry, instead of just one device, because all members of that industry are legally obligated to buy their machine.
    That level of technology is called BACT (best available commercial technology) and is a standard method of setting emissions limits.
    The choice is either
    A) - Pay Paccar whatever they want.
    B) - You can't operate a truck.
    Or c) pay the next company who develops better technology. And if at that point Paccar doesn't drop their price, then _they_ go out of business.

    A good example of this is the Honda CVCC engine. When California first set emissions standards in the 1970's, it was "well known" that you needed a catalytic converter to meet them. Catalytic converter suppliers charged a lot for this for the reasons you mentioned above. Then Honda built an engine (the CVCC engine) that met the emissions standards _without_ a catalytic converter. Thus they could undercut everyone else on the market, and did tremendously well.

    Did Honda then take over the entire market? Nope. Emissions limits kept getting stricter, and they eventually had to add the same EGR valve and catalytic converter that everyone else did. The same will happen with Paccar.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,046
    It seems that I am wrong and it is not Paccar that holds the patent. They lease it from Peugot Citroen. So Peugot Citroen is ultimately the company being granted an artificial monopoly, and therefore essentially the power to shut down any company they want by refusing to let them be compliant.


    DPF diesel, DPF system : diesel particulate filter additive

    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    An example in the trucking industry would be Pacar. They make the only DPF that is capable of meeting current emissions standards for trucks. In the years since the legislation was passed setting the allowed NoX emissions to the present levels (which just so happen to exactly match the specs of Pacar's machine), the price of semi trucks has very nearly doubled. But why are the emission standards not at zero? Because nobody has tech that can reach that. The law keeps getting more strict every time a new tech is invented that can bring the levels down - which means whoever holds the patent gains a monopoly over a whole industry, instead of just one device, because all members of that industry are legally obligated to buy their machine.
    That level of technology is called BACT (best available commercial technology) and is a standard method of setting emissions limits.
    The choice is either
    A) - Pay Paccar whatever they want.
    B) - You can't operate a truck.
    Or c) pay the next company who develops better technology. And if at that point Paccar doesn't drop their price, then _they_ go out of business.

    A good example of this is the Honda CVCC engine. When California first set emissions standards in the 1970's, it was "well known" that you needed a catalytic converter to meet them. Catalytic converter suppliers charged a lot for this for the reasons you mentioned above. Then Honda built an engine (the CVCC engine) that met the emissions standards _without_ a catalytic converter. Thus they could undercut everyone else on the market, and did tremendously well.
    Notice you said "suppliers" not "supplier".

    It's not an issue if the price goes up due to increased material costs, but in a monopoly the price goes up due to price gouging. The issue here is the creation of an artificial monopoly. As if naturally forming monopolies weren't enough.

    The problem with price gouging is that it eliminates the incentive to try and earn a profit. In a monopoly situation the price is set on the basis of "ability to pay". If profits go up, then "ability to pay" goes up, so actually there is no way to win. An individual company can win by out competing the others, but the industry cannot ever become more profitable than it is right now.

    It's like the classic case of a drug company that invents a cure for a deadly disease. Absent any regulation, the price they charge for that drug would be "however much the customer will pay to go on living." In the trucking industry, Pugeot is now free to charge "however much the customer will pay not to get shut down and go out of business."

    If at least two companies could make DPF filters, then Pugeot would also base their price on what their competitor is charging - which would make the price base on material costs instead of price gouging costs.

    Did Honda then take over the entire market? Nope. Emissions limits kept getting stricter, and they eventually had to add the same EGR valve and catalytic converter that everyone else did. The same will happen with Paccar.
    Unlike Honda, Pugeot did take over the entire market. Their nearest competitor, Navistar-International, tried unsuccessfully to develop an alternative technology, but ultimately fell short of EPA standards. They're not allowed to sell their engines, despite spending over 700 million developing them.

    Years Later, Navistar Is Haunted by a Big Engine Blunder - Businessweek


    If instead of setting the standard according to "best available", they were to set it according to "second best available" then we'd still get decent air pollution reduction without creating a monopoly.

    Or the best would be to simply wait to legislate anything until after the patent expires. It feels a little bit unjust to be legally forced to buy a patented item.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7  
    exchemist
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    London
    Posts
    2,542
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    It seems that I am wrong and it is not Paccar that holds the patent. They lease it from Peugot Citroen. So Peugot Citroen is ultimately the company being granted an artificial monopoly, and therefore essentially the power to shut down any company they want by refusing to let them be compliant.


    DPF diesel, DPF system : diesel particulate filter additive

    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    An example in the trucking industry would be Pacar. They make the only DPF that is capable of meeting current emissions standards for trucks. In the years since the legislation was passed setting the allowed NoX emissions to the present levels (which just so happen to exactly match the specs of Pacar's machine), the price of semi trucks has very nearly doubled. But why are the emission standards not at zero? Because nobody has tech that can reach that. The law keeps getting more strict every time a new tech is invented that can bring the levels down - which means whoever holds the patent gains a monopoly over a whole industry, instead of just one device, because all members of that industry are legally obligated to buy their machine.
    That level of technology is called BACT (best available commercial technology) and is a standard method of setting emissions limits.
    The choice is either
    A) - Pay Paccar whatever they want.
    B) - You can't operate a truck.
    Or c) pay the next company who develops better technology. And if at that point Paccar doesn't drop their price, then _they_ go out of business.

    A good example of this is the Honda CVCC engine. When California first set emissions standards in the 1970's, it was "well known" that you needed a catalytic converter to meet them. Catalytic converter suppliers charged a lot for this for the reasons you mentioned above. Then Honda built an engine (the CVCC engine) that met the emissions standards _without_ a catalytic converter. Thus they could undercut everyone else on the market, and did tremendously well.
    Notice you said "suppliers" not "supplier".

    It's not an issue if the price goes up due to increased material costs, but in a monopoly the price goes up due to price gouging. The issue here is the creation of an artificial monopoly. As if naturally forming monopolies weren't enough.

    The problem with price gouging is that it eliminates the incentive to try and earn a profit. In a monopoly situation the price is set on the basis of "ability to pay". If profits go up, then "ability to pay" goes up, so actually there is no way to win. An individual company can win by out competing the others, but the industry cannot ever become more profitable than it is right now.

    It's like the classic case of a drug company that invents a cure for a deadly disease. Absent any regulation, the price they charge for that drug would be "however much the customer will pay to go on living." In the trucking industry, Pugeot is now free to charge "however much the customer will pay not to get shut down and go out of business."

    If at least two companies could make DPF filters, then Pugeot would also base their price on what their competitor is charging - which would make the price base on material costs instead of price gouging costs.

    Did Honda then take over the entire market? Nope. Emissions limits kept getting stricter, and they eventually had to add the same EGR valve and catalytic converter that everyone else did. The same will happen with Paccar.
    Unlike Honda, Pugeot did take over the entire market. Their nearest competitor, Navistar-International, tried unsuccessfully to develop an alternative technology, but ultimately fell short of EPA standards. They're not allowed to sell their engines, despite spending over 700 million developing them.

    Years Later, Navistar Is Haunted by a Big Engine Blunder - Businessweek


    If instead of setting the standard according to "best available", they were to set it according to "second best available" then we'd still get decent air pollution reduction without creating a monopoly.

    Or the best would be to simply wait to legislate anything until after the patent expires. It feels a little bit unjust to be legally forced to buy a patented item.
    But by doing this, there is powerful incentive for a second player to come up with something that matches or surpasses it. History shows this is generally what happens, within a few years.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #8  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    1,972
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    It seems that I am wrong and it is not Paccar that holds the patent. They lease it from Peugot Citroen. So Peugot Citroen is ultimately the company being granted an artificial monopoly, and therefore essentially the power to shut down any company they want by refusing to let them be compliant.
    Or another company could build a better, cheaper one.

    It's not an issue if the price goes up due to increased material costs, but in a monopoly the price goes up due to price gouging. The issue here is the creation of an artificial monopoly. As if naturally forming monopolies weren't enough.
    That's sorta silly. That's like saying that Microsoft has a monopoly on operating systems because theirs is so good that everyone uses it. A good solution for a person who dislikes this is to use Linux or Android.

    The problem with price gouging is that it eliminates the incentive to try and earn a profit. In a monopoly situation the price is set on the basis of "ability to pay". If profits go up, then "ability to pay" goes up, so actually there is no way to win. An individual company can win by out competing the others, but the industry cannot ever become more profitable than it is right now.
    Of course it can. A new company can come up with a cheaper, easier way to meet the requirements. Thus by merely getting the same price, they become more profitable. Again there are numerous examples in the automotive industry of this happening.

    It's like the classic case of a drug company that invents a cure for a deadly disease. Absent any regulation, the price they charge for that drug would be "however much the customer will pay to go on living."
    Exactly. And if they charge $100 a pill - and get it - that is the best possible incentive for all their competitors to get into that market and make a better, cheaper pill to out-compete them.
    If instead of setting the standard according to "best available", they were to set it according to "second best available" then we'd still get decent air pollution reduction without creating a monopoly.
    Why not use a stochiometric combustion diesel rather than having to use filters?
    Or the best would be to simply wait to legislate anything until after the patent expires. It feels a little bit unjust to be legally forced to buy a patented item.
    Almost everything you buy is a patented item. Without patents, companies would not bother developing CDMA, or IC's, or lithium ion batteries, or OLED screens - they'd never make their development money back.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #9  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,046
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    It seems that I am wrong and it is not Paccar that holds the patent. They lease it from Peugot Citroen. So Peugot Citroen is ultimately the company being granted an artificial monopoly, and therefore essentially the power to shut down any company they want by refusing to let them be compliant.
    Or another company could build a better, cheaper one.
    Which means that, if you consider risk as a part of a cost-benefit calculation, even Peugot isn't in a very good place. They might get the monopoly for 5 months only to lose it immediately to another company.

    But once you've reduced the likely pay off for a given avenue of research down the a bare casino crap shoot - with a high possible payoff, but a low probability of actually paying out - only a very foolish businessperson would take the bet.

    Navistar-International is surely regretting the 700 million dollar bet they made on that roulette wheel. Do you think others who see that example are likely going to risk millions trying to improve the current state of DPF technology? Or do you think they'll back out, and just let Peugot keep their monopoly?

    If the EPA used slightly more relaxed restrictions, they could reduce a lot of that risk, which would make environmental tech research more attractive to investors.


    It's not an issue if the price goes up due to increased material costs, but in a monopoly the price goes up due to price gouging. The issue here is the creation of an artificial monopoly. As if naturally forming monopolies weren't enough.
    That's sorta silly. That's like saying that Microsoft has a monopoly on operating systems because theirs is so good that everyone uses it. A good solution for a person who dislikes this is to use Linux or Android.
    Exactly. Consumers who don't like microsoft have a choice to use other optioins.

    However trucking companies that don't like Peugot do not. They are legally obligated to buy from Peugot and only Peugot, because the EPA demands that only the single best performing tech can be used.

    That's not like a regular market, because in a regular market the best tech charges the highest price, but the second best tech is still an option for consumers if they don't like the price of the best tech. So some computer users have linux instead of Windows, or Openoffice instead of Microsoft Works.


    The problem with price gouging is that it eliminates the incentive to try and earn a profit. In a monopoly situation the price is set on the basis of "ability to pay". If profits go up, then "ability to pay" goes up, so actually there is no way to win. An individual company can win by out competing the others, but the industry cannot ever become more profitable than it is right now.
    Of course it can. A new company can come up with a cheaper, easier way to meet the requirements. Thus by merely getting the same price, they become more profitable. Again there are numerous examples in the automotive industry of this happening.
    Did you not read about what happened to the last company to try that?

    The problem with cutting edge patented technologies is that there is no guarantee that another way even exists, or can ever be developed. DPF might be the best option humanity will ever discover until the end of time for all we know.


    It's like the classic case of a drug company that invents a cure for a deadly disease. Absent any regulation, the price they charge for that drug would be "however much the customer will pay to go on living."
    Exactly. And if they charge $100 a pill - and get it - that is the best possible incentive for all their competitors to get into that market and make a better, cheaper pill to out-compete them.
    100 dollars a pill only happens if the government steps in and regulates it.

    100 thousand dollars a pill is more likely, absent regulation.

    If instead of setting the standard according to "best available", they were to set it according to "second best available" then we'd still get decent air pollution reduction without creating a monopoly.
    Why not use a stochiometric combustion diesel rather than having to use filters?
    We're talking about semi trucks here. You need to be able to produce quite a lot of power quickly. Even with current engines, if you are climbing a steep hill while carrying the legal limit of 36,287 Kilograms (80,000 pounds), with a 10 speed transmission, you'll be moving about 48 kilometers per hour max, full throttle in 7th gear.

    On the downhill side you need that same engine to give you engine braking power, because your brakes will burn out if you rely entirely on them. And also the engine needs to be pumping air to power the brakes.




    Or the best would be to simply wait to legislate anything until after the patent expires. It feels a little bit unjust to be legally forced to buy a patented item.
    Almost everything you buy is a patented item. Without patents, companies would not bother developing CDMA, or IC's, or lithium ion batteries, or OLED screens - they'd never make their development money back.
    Yes, but none of those items are mandated by law. You always have the option to reject those products if you don't want them.

    The problem here is that what a trucking company is buying is compliance with the law. They are buying the right not to shut their doors and stop doing business.

    If one, and only one, seller can sell that compliance, and they are allowed to charge however much they want for that compliance, then a trucking company quickly finds there is no way to win. The compliance seller has absolute power over pricing.

    If a trucking company were to come up with a new, innovative, shipping process that doubles their profits, and then sells that process to their competitors - leading to a doubling in productivity throughout the entire industry - and thereby makes the industry profitable again - what do you think would happen next?

    I'll tell you what: If Peugot is serving the interests of its stockholders, then it would increase the price of compliance, and immediately claim all of those profits for themselves. That's what happens in a free market with a monopoly in it. All profit incentive is removed for everyone except the monopolist.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
    Reply With Quote  
     

Similar Threads

  1. An Inventor in an insecure enviroment.....
    By RedRanger444 in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: May 10th, 2013, 07:53 PM
  2. politics
    By allenyuang in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: June 20th, 2010, 11:22 AM
  3. Politics??
    By glaucon in forum Site Feedback
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: November 24th, 2005, 01:04 PM
  4. politics, etc.
    By Mathwiz8390 in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: October 12th, 2005, 10:30 AM
Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •