We have no choice when it comes to Tier 4 compliance. This is something we have to do, and the better we plan for it, the better off we will be.
The next time a “climate change” acolyte starts spouting off his or her religious beliefs (and it IS a religion, just a secular one), ask them three questions and see the response: 1) what is the earth’s temperature; 2) what did the earth’s temperature used to be and 3) how do they know?
I have yet to get any answers to these questions. You will often hear that “a majority of scientists agree” that global warming is man-made—but science is not a vote, it is a method. And the scientific method has not proved that global warming is man-made.
It will be interesting to see how the law on carbon-dioxide emissions will be followed. It seems the EPA and the Supreme Court (which allowed it to be called a pollutant) think CO2 is one of the causes of greenhouse gas emissions.
I wonder, then—does that mean that every time we exhale that we are polluting, and that photosynthesis is irrelevant? (For those of us who have forgotten high school biology, including me, this is the process of green plants turning carbon dioxide into oxygen.)
What will happen to the green plants, or the supply of oxygen on earth, if carbon dioxide is reduced? It is a silly question on my part, but no sillier than some of the rules themselves and the beliefs behind them.
Why am I writing an editorial about this, and how is it relevant to our industry? Because Tier 4 rules on diesel emissions are due to come into effect in 2013, and we have to be ready for them. Having read about the rules, I can’t say they are necessarily bad. They were layered in, and industry was given time to adjust, both on the manufacturing and consumer side.
The new emission rules will reduce the amount of particulate matter in the atmosphere and the amount of Nitrogen Oxide (NOx), which I will grant is a good thing. It is expected that Tier 4 compliance will bring about a 90% reduction of those pollutants from current levels.
But what exactly is Tier 4 and what does it mean to our industry?
At its most elemental level, it means that all off-road diesel equipment (including our turf equipment) that is between 25 and 74hp must comply with the new emission standards. This has led to significant research and manufacturing adjustments by our turf equipment suppliers, and they will be ready.
The question is, will we, the course operators, also be ready? Will our capital budgets take into account the necessary higher cost of designing and manufacturing Tier-4 compliant equipment? Most learned estimates are that compliance will add about 20% to the cost of the equipment provided. So essentially, we have three choices:
• Buy as much used equipment as possible, but recognize many will be trying the same thing, and eventually the supply will run out. You will also add to your maintenance costs, which may equal what new equipment would cost.
• If you are planning to buy equipment that falls into the Tier 4 category, it may make sense to buy it this year and delay the cost of 2013-compliant equipment for a few years. And remember, new equipment bought this year is grandfathered in, so it will be compliant until it wears out. And, you will save about 20% against next year’s cost.
• Embrace all things green and explain to your membership why you care about the environment and are taking proactive steps to protect it. And make sure you remind your members of this when your dues have to go up.
Whatever your choice, we have no choice when it comes to compliance. This is something we have to do, and the better we plan for it, the better off we will be.