oa Clean Air Journal = Tydskrif vir Skoon Lug - Not any simpler : key concepts for air pollution offsetting : commentary

Volume 24, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1017-1703



The recent, long awaited, presentations on air pollution offsetting by Dr Thulie Mdluli, Ms Elizabeth Masekoameng and Mr Peter Lukey at the National Business Initiative (NBI), the Air Quality Lekgotla, IUAPPA and Kempton Park and the subsequent discussion focused the attention on the prospect of an air pollution offset dispensation in South Africa. In the presentations themselves and discussion that followed the presentations, the idea of simplicity was mentioned more than once. In what follows, I will discuss the idea of simplicity within the context of air quality offsets. I will argue that to establish an offset dispensation one needs to formulate a small set of principles or axioms on which an offset dispensation is based. One can view simplicity as a system with few axioms or as a system with a small number of propositions following from the axioms - lets call them implications. A system with few implications can certainly be simple but it is also information-poor. A system with a small number of axioms may, on the other hand, be rich in information (meaning that there is a large number of true propositions that follow from its axioms) depending on how fertile the axioms are in creating meaning within the system. I propose that we explore the possibility of finding a limited number of principles to form the basis of an offset dispensation that is deeply simple - i.e. that it has small number of principles but can generate consistent guidelines for complex cases.

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