Law of unintended consequences – fuel tax designed to lower air pollution actually creates more air pollution

Another application of the Grecian government formula blows up in their faces.

Thick smog covers the city of Athens on June 19, 2008. (AFP)

From EuroNews:

Smog hits Athens as cash-strapped residents choose fire over fuel

Bad news for austerity-stricken Greeks is also proving to be bad news for the environment – specifically the air quality in Athens.

Wood has soared in popularity, with many of the city’s residents using it to heat their houses, after an increase in duty has seen the price of heating oil double in two years.

====================================

Also, via The Raw Story:

Air pollution in Athens has surged in recent days because of people choosing wood over more expensive fuels to heat their homes in the grips of a continuing economic crisis, the environment ministry said Friday.

Particulate matter has been measured at 150 milligrammes per cubic metre, or three times the danger level, especially in the northern and western suburbs of the Greek capital, the ministry said.

The visible smog is reminiscent of that which cloaked the mountain-ringed city before it modernised its cars and buses.

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99 thoughts on “Law of unintended consequences – fuel tax designed to lower air pollution actually creates more air pollution

  1. Power plants work hard to reduce their pollution levels, and of course regulators in North America insist that they do so.

    Greece doesn’t have the manpower to police all the homeowners who choose to pollute.

  2. Carbon-neutral too. Help Greece hit their CO2 reductions. Wood isn’t “fossil fuel” you know — a little/sarc

  3. It is so sad, decades of lying to the public are bearing poisonous fruit.
    The poorer we are, the more we pollute, but the warmists solution is more poverty.
    Truly, this is a fight well-worth fighting.

  4. Thank you for bringing this to the forefront. If they get their way, the enviro-nuts will have half of New England burning firewood for heat.

  5. Supply of low-cost electricity to South Africa’s historically Black segregated townships has resulted in an unbelievable improvement in the quality of the air, especially in winter. I remember many evenings in the mid-1990’s driving into Kathlehong when visibility was as low as a hundred yards. Respiratory diseases in children have dropped by nine tenths.

  6. Depends on what kind of pollution was the tax supposed to diminish. If it was about decreasing “fossil CO2 pollution” then it’s a clear success. And everybody knows that global warming-related policies are not healthy.

  7. Andres Valencia says:
    January 2, 2013 at 12:36 pm
    The poorer we are, the more we pollute, but the warmists solution is more poverty.
    ………………………
    And this, in a nutshell, encompasses the lunacy of the eco-fascists. Well stated. The eco-loons’ warmist agenda is little more than a war on prosperity that must be resisted.

  8. @ glynMhor. An unfortunate turn of phrase. The Athenians are not choosing to pollute, they are choosing to keep warm, hygenic and eat hot food. Your statement shows little idea that you appreciate just how bad things are for the Athenian man in the street. When you are poor, survival takes precedence over ideology.

  9. I am burning wood for heat about half the time in Oklahoma because wood is a lot cheaper than anything else. Thank the chicken littles for their ingnorance of the scientific method and their wild scare mongering. A real scientist will produce all original data, records of where the data came from, what time periods of the station data was used, the methods were used to ‘cook’ the data, the finalized dataset, and then that real scientist would DARE anyone to find a flaw. However the ‘climate scientists’ refuse to provide the original data, the records of the stations used, the time periods of those stations, or the methods used to cook the data. The only thing the chicken little charlatans will provide is end result dataset and they demand you accept it. They are more like like stage magicians than scientists.

    There has been no measurable warming since 1997. THAT is a fact.

  10. /sarc on
    Wood is renewable energy.
    Just plant a lots of tree’s. Less fosil fuel and you get a CO2 capture for free.
    Our ancestors used wood and did’t cause AGW.
    /sarc off

    Btw.: I’ve seen on German TV a report that people just go out and cut tree’s and the government is controlling this. Job creation? They listen out for chainsaws as this is the only way to capture them.
    The wood sellers have also multiplied. Job creation?

  11. GlynnMhor says:
    January 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Using wood because you can no longer afford fuel oil is now “choosing to pollute”?
    Talk about blaming the victim.

  12. Not a big surprise. I use fuel oil here in Ontario, and am paying $1.04/L($3.90/gal), wasn’t more than last year I was paying $0.84/L($3.15/Gal). I’ve noticed a massive increase in the number of people who’ve added wood burning stoves or fire places to their houses this year even in Canada.

  13. Same thing is true of diesel vehicles in Europe. Tax policy favors diesel vehicles, but the comparatively lax European emissions standards and densely populated cities means that people are exposed to elevated ground level PM.

  14. The increase in fuel taxes has nothing to do with lowering air pollution but is one of the many measures to reduce the national debt of Greece.

  15. The obvious answer is to cut down all the trees so they have no wood to burn–You just wait and see.

  16. As usual the Warmista Grennie policies lead to deterioration in health, civilisation and an increase in old fashioned pollution. The sins of the fascist controllers fall upon the poor as a retribution for their innocence.

  17. This lunacy has progressed to the point that a fellow just got a govt timber grant, to cut down trees and turn them into pellets, here is northern Canada.
    To reduce co2 emissions of course.
    Never underestimate the stupidity of politicians and bureaucrats.

    It seems to escape their comprehension that burning trees as firewood is the least oil consuming option , and their fix is the most wasteful of oil based energy

  18. I’ve noticed the same sort of haze in New England, on mornings where the air is still. I have supposed people are dusting off the wood stoves, which became less popular when the economy was better, back before the economy crashed back in 2008. Who wants the bother of all the ashes, and the crawling bugs and critters that come indoors with the wood? However there’s a heck of a lot of wood laying around in the woods up here, and all it takes is excursive to get it, for lots of landowners appreciate having the deadwood cleaned out, especially since a bad ice-storm we had four years ago broke down big limbs and entire trees.

    The pity is, if you build a good fire there shouldn’t be so much smoke. (Indians tried to avoid the smoke, because it gave away the whereabouts of where they were camping.) What smoke amounts to is: Flame that didn’t ignite.

    I imagine the government regulators will come waltzing in and tax stoves, require licenses and inspections, and even make cutting a tree on your own property illegal. That will make you a sort of outlaw for having a warm home…. but might turn out to be fun: Behaving in a way that made you an old-fashioned, old anachronism in 2008 could become the behavior of a glamorous Robin Hood-like character, who poaches wood from the Sherriff of Nottingham and builds smoke-free blazes for poor, old widows. I can see the movie now: “Chainsaws Under The Moon.”

  19. Unintended? Or just plain stupid? It does not take an historian or economist to see what happens when you make something more expensive.

    Insanity – trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time.

  20. GlynnMhor says:
    January 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm
    Greece doesn’t have the manpower to police all the homeowners who choose to pollute.

    Is it a choice when taxes went up, your salary went down (before taxes), half your famíly is unemployed and heating fuel costs 1,5 euros a litre? For a bill of about 3000 euros for the winter in an average house? And you can have the wood to burn for less than a third? And maybe you still eat and those trifles?

  21. Andres Valencia says:
    January 2, 2013 at 12:36 pm
    It is so sad, decades of lying to the public are bearing poisonous fruit.
    The poorer we are, the more we pollute, but the warmists solution is more poverty.
    Truly, this is a fight well-worth fighting.

    Oh yes. As current statistics show 20% of the energy obtained currently is actually renewable… from dung burning in 3rd countries…
    And besides:
    “Burning wood is the worst thing you can do for carbon dioxide emissions”

    http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/britain%27s-mad-biomass-dash.aspx

    But try to convince a fanatic…

  22. As I’ve always said… it’s not the “suggestion of unintended consequences”, or even the “possibility of unintended consequences”. Just like Gravity, IT’S THE LAW, and around here we obey the law, mister.

    Here in winter climate Calgary the vast majority of heating is by Natural Gas, which is probably about as clean burning as you’ll get. Wood smoke is definitely a rarity, so much so that when someone has their fireplace going it stands out through the neighborhood.

    Also as I keep pointing out, “environmentalists” are completely blind to reality, somehow picturing everything humanity does as “polluting”. They all seem to have this image in their heads of toxic sludge dumped into every river, power plants spewing black palls of mercury laden soot across a thousand miles creating acid rain to kill the lake fish and destroy the trees, and the general death of nature everywhere humans go.

    Then again, I have little faith that that picture is completely representative. Every once in a while we get an inversion layer here that makes Calgary look the same, but eventually the wind shifts and the smoke (which often comes from forest fires hundreds of miles away) gets dispersed. And as all Canadians should know, you can’t trust smoke that comes from BC…

  23. more soylent green! says:
    January 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm
    The obvious answer is to cut down all the trees so they have no wood to burn–You just wait and see.

    They’re importing it from Bulgaria :-) not even good for the trade balance. Next they’ll have to smuggle it.

  24. Here in California, in the central valley, wood smoke coming out of your chimney on a ‘Spare the Air’ day will get you a fine.

  25. A double whammy…the burned wood comes from trees, which would otherwise be busy lowering CO2 levels.

  26. I don’t understand why they would need heat anyway, on average Athens has a fairly comfortable 65 °F temperature.

    /sarc

  27. MORROW’S MAXIM: Don’t be surprised or blame people when they behave according to the incentives under which they are placed!

  28. The US is now averaging <10 micrograms/m3 for small particles, 60 micrograms/m3 for larger ones, so if Athens is actually at 150 milligrams, it's more than a thousand times worse.

    http://www.epa.gov/airtrends/pm.html

    Still, there are campaigns to make the US absolutely pristine, which will only cost us the entire GDP – but it will be worth it!

  29. Well all, the future has come to a geographical region right here in the good ol’ US of A. Not so much of a tax, as a restriction of personal useage of fireplaces and wood stoves used to supplement heating systems in private residences. This is in the city of Tacoma in Pierce County, WA, USA. All well and good, as the county is listed as being an EPA “non-attainment” locale (for acheiving compliance with the EPA PM 2.5 requirements). The problem with this, is the city topography is very non-uniform (sea-level to over 450′ ASL) and the local Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) bases their declarations of “Burn Bans” for the city and county on a very limited number of air monitoring stations (in the City proper, it is one (1) monitoring station for a city that encompasses over 23 square miles!), as well as meteorilogical condtions (usually winter high-pressure, cold air conditions – just when you need to burn wood to supplement heat! – these conditions tend to trap particulates at ground level – thus the burn ban). But it gets better. What good is a burn ban without enforcement? PSCAA has newly hired nearly 75 (seventy-five) new burn ban enforcement personnel, equipped with infra-red equipment and tasked to drive around, shining these devices at (into?) citizens’ homes, looking for cold, impoverished (sorry, that would be scofflaw) citizens polluting the environment via a heat signature from chimneys. First offense comes with a $1,000.00 (US) fine. And you never see the enforcer – the fine comes in the mail. If you find this interesting, I’ll list the PSCAA web page and you can find out all about it…

    http://www.pscleanair.org/airq/burnban/faqs.aspx#BBPenalty

    I guess my point is that the reach of the EPA is moving to regulate the activities inside of your home……so the mechanisms are in-place to begin the regulation of wood burning devices, Tacoma is a bit ahead of the iron-fist…wood collection regulation is probably right around the corner…

    Michael C. Roberts

  30. CodeTech says:
    January 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm
    And as all Canadians should know, you can’t trust smoke that comes from BC…
    Too funny Bud!

  31. The shortsightedness of some so-called conservationists is mind boggling. This is hardly the first such instance. Remember when plastic grocery bags were going to save the planet by saving our trees?

  32. GlynnMhor
    January 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Greece doesn’t have the manpower to police all the homeowners who choose to pollute.
    ###
    How about “…choose to stay warm.”

  33. Markw complains of “… blaming the victim.”

    Well, when the blameworthy include the victims, then that’s what needs to be done.

    Being a victim does not automatically absolve one of guilt.

  34. MattN
    January 2, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    The shortsightedness of some so-called conservationists is mind boggling.

    ###

    The architects of this mess are neither shortsighted nor conservationist. They are Marxist out to destroy capitalism, and they know exactly what they are doing. Using the guise of solving a problem to do something evil is an ancient technique that is most useful if the problem never really goes away.

  35. Bryan A says:
    January 2, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    So apparently Greece Fires cause smog
    ***************

    LOL that was awesome :)

  36. Living in the socialist republic of Los Angeles California I am not permitted to add a fireplace capable of burning wood to my house. That’s evil. If I freeze to death because I can’t pay the gas bill then I will have sequestered some co2 in my grave. That seems to be OK with the greenies.

  37. Tax is the applicable word here. Revenue enhancement. Money for the government. The word ‘fuel’ is the excuse. The politicians could give a damn less about the environment. Gimme money is the deal.

  38. Michael C. Roberts and others have put their finger on it. The catastrophists don’t care about this “unintended” consequence of increased fuel prices. They fully intend to tax or ban wood and every other means of cheap comfort in the winter. But snow-covered solar panels in cloudy areas will have healthy subsidies and you will get your 100W allotment of heat. Maybe some sort of heat pump blowing cold air at your body.

  39. Reminds me of what happened in Mexico City a few years back. Someone had the great idea to only allow cars be driven on alternate days, using a digit on the license plate (even cars on one day, odd the next). Well, the people needed to get to work somehow so many purchased a second cheap car and got a license plate that would allow them to drive every day. Well, you know what happened, air pollution really ballooned.

  40. Marinus says:
    January 2, 2013 at 1:19 pm
    The increase in fuel taxes has nothing to do with lowering air pollution but is one of the many measures to reduce the national debt of Greece.
    ======================================
    Um, how’s that working, given that folks are burning wood in order to use less taxable fuel? Guess they’ll have to raise the tax rates again to compensate for the lower consumption.

  41. Where I live in Australia, people love their wood-burning stoves and fires for winter heating. Of course we are also told all the BS about this being the clean green way to heat.

    Trouble is, the smell from a slow-combustion stove is terrible, and there are some winter nights when it is nearly impossible to walk outside because of the thick smoke and stink.

    Reverse cycle heating has a typical efficiency of about 350% to 400% because of how heat pumps work, yet try explaining this to some idiot who thinks burning wood is both more efficient, and cleaner, and greener, and cheaper. They are all nuts.

  42. Juergen Uhlemann says:
    January 2, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    …..They listen out for chainsaws as this is the only way to capture them….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Time for the two man saw Sounds like a business opportunity.

  43. “What say you now, all you carbon taxers? Next a chimney tax?”

    Don’t give them any ideas, mpainter. :-(

  44. I’ve heated my house solely by wood for twenty three years now and wouldn’t have it any other way. Well, I would go to NG if it was available where I live and was cheap enough…

  45. “Reverse cycle heating has a typical efficiency of about 350% to 400% because of how heat pumps work, yet try explaining this to some idiot who thinks burning wood is both more efficient, and cleaner, and greener, and cheaper.”

    Wood is more efficient because it is radiant heat. The BR in my house is 57F which feels delightfully cool after relaxing by the stove. I have propane forced hot air as a backup which I rarely use. Takes more fuel for the same comfort. The forced air from a heat pump is much cooler and requires even an higher ambient temperature for comfort. That higher temperature translates into greater heat loss, dryness and overall discomfort.

  46. This article does not address another problem that is being mentioned elsewhere. Trees, under-forest and habitat that was tripped bare for over two thousand years, painfully and slowly restored in recent years, is being stripped again. In huge swathes. And houses built in the last 40 years simply are not equipped to deal with wood fires.

  47. If Statist governments and enviro-wackos continue on their current path of economic and environmental destruction through: overregulation, massive sovereign debt, perpetual budget deficits, “stimulus” programs, burgeoning unproductive bureaucracies, bailouts, subsidies, runaway entitlement programs, insane monetary policies (zero interest rates, money printing, intential inflation, currency devaluation, fiat currencies, etc.), the next fuel source won’t be solar, wind, Thorium, bio-fuels or geothermal…. It’ll be furniture….

  48. GlynnMhor says:
    January 2, 2013 at 3:44 pm
    Markw complains of “… blaming the victim.”

    Well, when the blameworthy include the victims, then that’s what needs to be done.

    Being a victim does not automatically absolve one of guilt.
    ================================================================
    I agree. They should just die and decrease the surplus population. /Sarc off

  49. Ahh…..a bonfire of the vanities?

    If only every Greek household had a James Hansen, then their plight would be less sorrowful.
    It wouldn’t actually make them warmer, of course, but some of them might believe themselves to be warmer.

  50. Reduced aerosol and particulate pollution since the 1960s has been a significant factor causing increasing surface temperatures. Specifically, decreased low level aerosols/particulates and low level seeded clouds have increased early morning solar insolation, increasing minimum temperatures.

    I predict decreasing winter minimum temperatures in Athens and Greece generally, begining in 2008.

  51. There may be a little too much being attributed to the wood burning here, I could not know for sure. I used to visit Athens a lot, especially in the 80’s. it’s never had good air quality and I’ve been there some summers when the air was thick with particulates and the temps were 105 F. People were dropping dead in the streets from heat exhaustion and respiratory problems.

    Sure, Athens like California and much of the Western world have solved a lot of their particulate emission problems and so they should but I think some of this is attributable to geographic conditions and local weather patterns. Some days the air just won’t move and Athens is a very uncomfortable place to be then.

    Greece is still a very rural country on the whole and it’s no surprise to see people resorting to wood burning in times of fuel poverty but those blaming the people doing so for polluting as opposed to dying ought to be ashamed.

    Don’t be confused about Greece being a warm country, after November and at night it gets bitterly cold.

  52. Philip Bradley says: January 2, 2013 at 8:16 pm
    Specifically, decreased low level aerosols/particulates and low level seeded clouds have increased early morning solar insolation, increasing minimum temperatures.
    ================================
    any links/references?

  53. GlynnMhor says:
    January 2, 2013 at 3:44 pm
    Well, when the blameworthy include the victims, then that’s what needs to be done.
    Being a victim does not automatically absolve one of guilt.
    ……………….

    Say that to the rape victim who was wearing a mini-skirt, tough guy. Doubling down on stupid, GlynnMhor? /sarcgolfclap

  54. 1980’s EPA assessment of “Brown Cloud” over Denver Valley –

    1/3 Industrial
    1/3 Automobiles
    1/3 from the 10% of people heating homes with WOOD!

    Also, there are some early 20’s photos by Ansel Adams which show the “Brown Cloud” over the Denver Valley…100,000 population..almost exclusively caused by wood burning for heat!!! (National Geographic, if I recall correctly.)

  55. True story:

    About 5 years ago, I was traveling around the gorgeous city of Thessaloniki, Greece, where I noticed hundreds of rusting tractors parked Helter Skelter along virtually every street and intersection in and around the city.

    After awhile, I asked my driver about this strange situation, and was advised that farmers just leave their farm equipment exposed to the elements like that because it makes it easier to block traffic when they decide to strike for higher crop subsidies….

    I knew then and there I would not do business in Greece as it would be too risky.

    Any country where its people view capital equipment as a means of extortion rather than means of production will not survive.

    It turns out I made a wise decision not to do business with Greece.

    Greece is the portent of things to come for all countries that forfeit individual freedom and industriousness for a false and temporary illusion of State largess.

  56. The figure 150 is micrograms not milligrams. If it is mostly wood smoke it is <PM1.0 which, like diesel particulates, is respirable. Wood can be burned extremely cleanly but often is not because of primitive "stoves" which are little more than a box with a chimney. Modern wood burners can operate across a range of power levels and produce profoundly low levels of CO, VOC's, PAH's and PM.

    I noticed a reference to New Zealand and wood stoves. NZ is a good example of how to stimulate invention. They have performance based standards which allow any new ultra clean technology to be used. Most countries have an prescriptive rules that stifle innovation. The EPA uses test methods so prescriptive that manufacturers do not make clean burning stoves, they make products that 'test well' when operated according to the prescribed method.

    The consequence is of course smoky stoves in the real world. NZ stoves are much cleaner burning than US stoves.

    The improvement in air quality in the South African highveld is from a combination of electrification, switching to Handigas and the use of the top-lighting technique known as Basa Njengo Magogo which reduces coal smoke by 80%. Poor people with 50 kWh free per month still do not cook with electricity – too expensive.

    As a rule, don't blame a fuel for something caused by the lousy combustor. Almost all fuels can be burned very cleanly using simple, appropriate equipment. But beware the charlatanry in the stove sector. There are carbon cowboys lurking in them thar woods.

  57. Wood, schmood. Fossil fuel is no excuse for poverty.

    The world is burning more cheap fossil energy than ever before so there should not be any poverty in Athens or anywhere else.

  58. John W. Garrett says: Thank you for bringing this to the forefront. If they get their way, the enviro-nuts will have half of New England burning firewood for heat.

    No they won’t–In Utah, you are not allowed to burn anything but wood (no home trash including newspapers, cardboard, construciton leftovers) or you will be fined–they are trying to get wood outlawed (which it is in many cities in the US now). The enviro-nuts will have many people without the ability to heat at all. And then congress will pass bills to pay for the “clean?” electricity heat and all of us will be paying for heat in all the areas where they have managed to get wood and other incineraters outlawed and our trash will be burined in landfills rather than keeping us warm. Then the landfills fillup and the taxpayers have to foot the bill for more clean up…the enviro-nuts don’t think past the energy in their personal illumination.

  59. SAMURAI says:
    January 2, 2013 at 6:54 pm
    If Statist governments and enviro-wackos continue on their current path of economic and environmental destruction through: overregulation, [...] etc.), the next fuel source won’t be solar, wind, Thorium, bio-fuels or geothermal…. It’ll be furniture.
    ====================================

    And after the furniture is nearly gone, we can revert to burning witches. There’s a large supply of them working at high-levels in environmental regulatory bureaucracies and NGO advocacies, A little seasoning outdoors and they won’t be too green to set alight and burn brightly. Renewable, too, with so many control-driven acolyte women aspiring to be their replacements.

  60. The sad fact is that the Law of Unintended Consequences has kicked in big time. These lovely “Carbon” taxes the Greens think will drive down consumption of “fossil” fuels hits the poorest hardest, so they switch to alternatives, like wood. This is why in Africa deserts are advancing so fast. Anything the goats don’t destroy is burned as fuel for cooking and heating.

    A major reason, in my view, the CO2 levels keep rising.

  61. Wood-burning stoves don’t have to be polluting. Ours burns really clean and provides us with plenty of heat. More likely the Greeks are using open grates which are awful in comparison — little heat, lots of soot both in the room and up the chimney, piles of ash to clean up. I feel sorry for them but it’s not burning wood which is the problem, it’s the way it’s burned.

  62. Wood has soared in popularity, with many of the city’s residents using it to heat their houses, after an increase in duty has seen the price of heating oil double in two years.

    On a similar vein I pointed out to Warmists at the Guardian that if you deprive say Africans of cheap oil and coal they will cut down every tree in every forest, resulting in loss of forest, wildlife and not dent co2 output one iota. Greens should really think through where we are headed.

  63. Electricity in Nova Scotia just went up 3% January 1st and will go up another 3% next January 1st……. and we are building wind mills like crazy. Crazy or stupid is the operative word.

  64. @The Gray Monk says:

    “…This is why in Africa deserts are advancing so fast. Anything the goats don’t destroy is burned as fuel for cooking and heating.”

    Not to put too fine a point on it but the deserts in Africa are shrinking and have been for about 30 years. (It is a big secret so keep it under your hat, but even National Geographic noticed! http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090731-green-sahara.html )

    This dis-desertification is apparently caused by…. you guessed it! Anthropogenic Global Warming!

    Who’d-a-thunk. It is amazing stuff, that AG CO2. Causes deserts and greening at the same time in the same place!

  65. Juergen Uhlemann says:
    January 2, 2013 at 1:10 pm
    “/sarc on
    Wood is renewable energy.
    Just plant a lots of tree’s. Less fosil fuel and you get a CO2 capture for free.
    Our ancestors used wood and did’t cause AGW.
    /sarc off ”

    Mankind still uses, I think two cubic miles of wood a year for all purposes including burning it.
    And one cubic mile of coal. No need to talk of ancestors; wood use has never been greater.

    “Btw.: I’ve seen on German TV a report that people just go out and cut tree’s and the government is controlling this. Job creation? They listen out for chainsaws as this is the only way to capture them.”

    Germans, especially Greens, have installed millions of wood fueled heatings. Wood theft is rampant; foresters have been listening for the sound of illegal logging with chainsaws for years.

    “The wood sellers have also multiplied. Job creation?”

    Wood pellet prices have doubled over the past few years; it is now becoming impossible for makers of plywood in Germany to buy scrap wood as every scrap is pressed into pellets and burned.

    We should replace plywood with plastic panels or sheet metal.

  66. Crispin in Waterloo says: January 3, 2013 at 6:59 am

    This dis-desertification is apparently caused by…. you guessed it! Anthropogenic Global Warming!
    ========================

    Yes, yes, a warmer world shrinks deserts. This is confirmed by paleo-climate studies. At the height of the Holocene Optimum, aka Climatic Optimum, the Sahara was a verdant plain with rivers and lakes, some 4,000-7000 ya. This has to do with increased SST, however, not AGW, which is a fallacious doctrine.

  67. To Jimbo:

    You wrote:

    On a similar vein I pointed out to Warmists at the Guardian that if you deprive say Africans of cheap oil and coal they will cut down every tree in every forest, resulting in loss of forest, wildlife and not dent co2 output one iota. Greens should really think through where we are headed.

    If you really want to hammer home your point, remind them that all those cut-down trees
    are now no longer absorbing CO^2, thus increasing the content of the “EVIL GREENHOUSE
    GAS” in our atmosphere.

  68. GlynnMhor says:
    January 2, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Markw complains of “… blaming the victim.”

    Well, when the blameworthy include the victims, then that’s what needs to be done.

    Being a victim does not automatically absolve one of guilt.
    ——————————————————————————
    Oh, it’s the Greek people’s fault, I get it. They’re lazy, tax avoiding, early retiring, layabouts, is that it? Adopt media stereotypes much?

    Nothing to do with the bankster derivative traders in cahoots with corrupt politicians who have sold the people down the river and are currently relieving them of everything they own?

    I get where you coming from: a point of wilful, probably invincible ignorance.

    Churchill said, after the battle for Crete (I think) – “Greeks do not fight like heroes – heroes fight like Greeks”. I believe the Greek defence of Crete delayed Hitler invading Russia and so helped turn the tide of the war. See Mr. Panos explain it here (please be aware there is a loud expletive very near the start)

    (It is a HUMOROUS video – a joke. What is happening in Greece now is VERY far from a joke):

  69. THIS is the point I have made SEVERAL YEARS IN A ROW NOW in comments as the air here in our little suburb has become FOULED with smoke in the evening hours when ostensibly wood (and other combustible materials!!!!) are ‘fed’ into fireplaces in the neighborhood for heat:

    Wood has soared in popularity, with many of the city’s residents using it to heat their houses, after an increase in duty has seen the price of heating oil double in two years.

    EPA ARE YOU LISTENING?

    .

  70. Peter Ward says January 3, 2013 at 1:45 am

    Wood-burning stoves don’t have to be polluting. Ours burns really clean and …

    THAT’S IF they are burning wood … NOT EVERYBODY APPEARS TO BE BURNING JUST WOOD!

    .

  71. Wally says January 2, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Where I live in Australia, people love their wood-burning stoves and fires for winter heating. Of course we are also told all the BS about this being the clean green way to heat.

    Trouble is, the smell from a slow-combustion stove is terrible, and there are some winter nights when it is nearly impossible to walk outside because of the thick smoke and stink.

    Bingo!

    Confirmation of what I am seeing/smelling! (I came in from outdoors just last week and could smell it on my sweatshirt!)

    And to think these/this neighborhood was adverted as having “Clean all-electric heat” once upon a time …

    EPA ARE YOU LISTENING?

    .

  72. ZootCadillac says January 2, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    There may be a little too much being attributed to the wood burning here, I …

    I will gladly mail you an article of clothing (of your choice) juiced-up with the smoke from one of these evenings as proof of what is taking place …

    .

  73. Caleb says January 2, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    The pity is, if you build a good fire there shouldn’t be so much smoke. (Indians tried to avoid the smoke, because it gave away the whereabouts of where they were camping.) What smoke amounts to is: Flame that didn’t ignite.

    Today’s made-to-be-throttled (by restricting the air intake) wood-burning heat-producing stove won’t last an hour wide-open-throttle much less 5 hours through the night w/o throttling it back …

    Have you ever seen one of these stoves; do you understand their operation?

    .

  74. _Jim, Caleb, etc.

    What is happening in Greece is an example of the unfortunate environmental consequences which inevitably result when fuel prices are forced high or people are otherwise impoverished.

    Downdraft stoves which consume their own smoke were developed by the UK’s Coal Research Establishment (CRE) in the 1980s and have been commercially available from a variety of suppliers since then.
    But so what?
    People lack the money to buy such stoves when they have to resort to wood-burning because they cannot afford other heating fuel.

    Richard

  75. Does Greece have much wood?

    As for stove efficiencies, Grecians could seek out those small cheap stoves poor people use, chronicled here several months ago. ;-)

  76. Well they reduced measurable co2 emission this way…

    Plus with 400M less revenue. The government will have less to spend so reducing c02 even more.

    As any added bonus any sane tourist probably wont hang around in a smog filled city for too long. Meaning less tourist income and less revenue.

    The bonus is less co2 again.

    These guys are like genuis to come up increasing taxes on heating oils

  77. @ KiteFreak You are right, to an extent. It is the bankers and the funds who are starving Greece, making sure they get paid back by European taxpayers for the impossible loans they made to a Greek state that never had any hope of paying them back.

    But Greek politicians were complicit in this, and have become very wealthy from it all. Also, the bloated and hugely corrupt Greek civil service, who keeps voting in the same thieving politicians, is also complicit. It is not so much laziness, or early retirement, that has caused the problems in Greece. It is massive and endemic corruption, where the private sector work as serfs to feed the public sector middle class and the neo-aristocratic/oligarchic political class.

  78. Isabelle says: January 4, 2013 at 1:48 am

    It is massive and endemic corruption

    ==============================
    Indeed, that was the very reason given by the German Government for their refusal to participate in a proposed bailout of Greece some months back.

  79. Chris R. says:
    January 3, 2013 at 8:36 am
    ………………………………..
    If you really want to hammer home your point, remind them that all those cut-down trees
    are now no longer absorbing CO^2, thus increasing the content of the “EVIL GREENHOUSE
    GAS” in our atmosphere.

    And the really funny thing is that burning coal and oil helps vegetation. Higher levels of atmospheric Co2 has never failed in at least the last 100 million years.

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1193833

  80. @ mapainter Germany was involved in the corruption too. If I was a German taxpayer, I would be asking my government very intense questions about why part of the bailout terms offered to Greece was that the Greeks continue to buy overpriced and faulty German military hardware with the newly borrowed money. Why should the German taxpayer bail out the Greek tax payer to pay the German industrialist? Or Frendh for that matter, Dassault were involved in this. I would also ask my government why German, US and French firms are at the forefront of opening up the new oil and gas resources in Greek territorial waters, with income from those fields to go directly to the companies and shareholders rather than being earmarked to pay back the German taxpayer. Make no mistake, I don’t blame the Germans, I still blame my fellow Greeks, but the Germans aren’t totally innocent and their pretence at dislike of Greek corruption is pure hypocrisy.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/greece/9129234/EU-accused-of-hypocrisy-for-1-billion-in-arms-sales-to-Greece.html

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/france-and-germany-to-blame-for-greece-crisis-7218923.html

    http://www.zeit.de/2012/02/Ruestung-Griechenland

  81. Well, I thought I would have seen this in the comments, but I don’t:

    Doesn’t anyone appreciate the irony of people suffering freezing temps in an effort to keep the earth from warming? Sounds like candidates for the Darwin Award to me.

  82. Isabelle says: January 5, 2013 at 3:41 am
    ====================
    Sounds like fertile soil for a revolutionof some kind. Form a Jacobin society.

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