A wet argument for expensive water

My friend Chris James, a regular spokesman for the Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry, drew the short straw today when he had to defend customers in cafes being charged for tap water.

One person who called 3AW claimed to have had to pay 40c for water, which on the water prices quoted in The Age article is at least 500 times the cost even for large glass. Extreme capitalism!

According to Chris, it is a voluntary charge and the money is to be used for water-saving measures. But when interviewed on radio he could not explain how we could be sure that the money would be spent this way, or why if water-saving measures are necessary they should be be paid for via a levy on water. Indeed, a shift in relative prices against water would lead to more consumption of other drinks that use far more water in their production than tap water does.
Continue reading “A wet argument for expensive water”

Australian teens not so NIMBY as The Age suggests

Australian environmental polling consistently finds young people to be greener than old people, but according to an article in Monday’s Education Age Australian 15 year olds deserve a place on the NIMBY list.

Drawing on results from the 2006 OECD PISA survey, the article says that

only one in 10 Australian teens strongly support the regulation of factory emissions that could lead to product price rises, less than a quarter strongly supported emission checks on vehicles as a condition of use and one in seven strongly supported cutting back on unnecessary use of electrical appliances.

But on looking at the OECD report, the key word in that paragraph is ‘strongly’. It lists agree or strongly agree in a single figure, and on that Australian 15 year olds start to look less NIMBYish. The one in ten wanting regulation of factory emissions increases to five in 10 when those who just agree, rather than strongly agree, are included (this is less than the 69% OECD average, but the question wording is vague in not specifying what the emissions are). Nine in ten want emissions checks on vehicles, and six in 10 claim to be disturbed by the waste of electricity in applicances.

Eight in 10 favour electricity being being produced from renewable sources, even if this increases the price.
Continue reading “Australian teens not so NIMBY as The Age suggests”