Friday, October 27, 2006

Urban worriers

The "Independent" has launched it's own green manifesto for tackling climate change. it's the usual garbage of leftist environmental nonsense and deserves a good trashing. I know there are better people than me to do this, but I'll have a go anyway.

Set annual targets for emission reductions
The Government's policy of setting ambitious long-term carbon emission reduction targets has failed. Britain's emissions have been rising every year since 2002. A binding carbon reduction target should be determined by Parliament every year and the Government's performance in delivering these reductions must be monitored by an independent body.

Actually, virtually everyone who signed up to the daft Kyoto protocol has seen their emissions rise rather than fall. Oddly enough, the USA - which has not signed up to Kyoto - DID reduce emissions. But it's all rather pointless because India and China are increasing their emissions faster than we could reduce them anyway. In case you haven't noticed "global warming" effects ALL of the planet, not just Islington.

Decentralise energy production
There must be generous grants for decentralised energy production (micro-generation). Local authorities should be given binding targets for reducing their carbon footprint.

I guess what they mean by this is to let everyone strap a windmill to the side of their house a la Cameron or carpet their roofs with solar panels. The fact that there wouldn't be enough wind or sun to recover the costs (economic or green) of producing the equipment for 10-15 years appears to be irrelevant. Giving local authorities binding targets to reduce their "carbon footprint" is pointless - because they don't know what their carbon footprint is! This comes from dappy Richmonds soppy Lib Dem council imposing greater costs on owners of bigger cars. The fact that anyone can drive through Richmond in whatever they want without any cost means that any efforts are utterly useless.

Rethink aviation policy
Unless action is taken to curb the rise in the number of flights, all other national efforts to reduce emissions will be cancelled out by 2050. The Government must commit itself to working towards a EU-wide tax on airline fuel. The present aviation tax (levied per passenger) should be replaced with a tax on each plane journey (to encourage airlines to fill planes to capacity). And there should be a presumption against airport expansion in planning decisions.

Crikey - I agree with the Independent -well, up to a point. I'm all for cutting flights (living on the Heathrow flight path tends to make you that way) and I'm opposed to further expansion of airports. But the Independent falls down by assuming that it has to be the EU to do it. Stuff the EU! Why can't we do it ourselves. We could if we were really Independent. I am, why aren't you?

Curb road pollution
The Government must unfreeze the fuel-tax escalator, cynically suspended six years ago, to discourage the second-biggest contributor to UK carbon emissions - car journeys. Road tax should be increased for fuel-inefficient cars.

Just the sort of bollocks you'd expect from the Islington Chronicle. The fact that the people who would be hit hardest by this - i.e. those people in rural areas - is irrelevant to these urban worriers. Country folk don't count - or they could always go back to horse and carts.

Step up the drive for renewable energy
Nuclear power is not the answer to our problems: investment in alternatives should be stepped up. There should be greater commercial incentives for wind-power companies. The renewables target for the national grid (currently 10 per cent by 2010) should double.

Wind power is not the answer and never ever will be. Because of the unreliability of the wind, we'd have to ensure we have adequate back up power from conventional power generation (or face regular black outs and shortages which would not just be inconvenient but seriously harm our economy). So why not just have the conventional plants and do away with wind farms which blot the landscape to an appalling degree (and produce energy at 2-3 times the cost of nuclear and around 4-5 time conventional).

Insist on greener homes
Statutory demands (rather than mere guidelines) are needed to ensure that all new houses meet strict energy-efficiency targets. There must also be council-tax discounts or grants for existing homes to increase energy efficiency.

Will not make a shred of difference. People use power according to requirement against cost. In other words, the more they can afford the more they will use. Energy efficient homes might save on heating costs, but the result will be an extra DVD player, more holidays abroad (on aeroplanes, naturally) and the washing machine going more often.

Fight inefficiency
Britain should push for EU-level regulations to discourage energy-wasting products and packaging. Car manufacturers should also be required to meet strict fuel-efficiency standards.

More EU guff. Aaprt from the fact it would take so long for the EU to reach an agreement for an agreement in principle to a framework agreement that climate change would have been and gone before the EU respond to this, why can't we do this ourselves? We could start by requiring all journalists to chuck away their laptops, mobile phones, PDAs and SAT Navs and go back to using manual typewriters, phone boxes, notebooks and maps.

Reduce industrial emissions
The Government's climate-change levy on industry has penalised energy use rather than emissions. This emphasis should be reversed. The Government should also sponsor more research into carbon sequestration techniques.

Better still, why not stop companies from lighting up their offices all hours of the day and night, lighting the outside with garish floodlights and leaving their computers on all the time. The Independent could take the lead and set an example. Even better - why not just shut the paper and save tons of emissions every day? When it comes to carbon sequestration, nowhere does this better than the USA. It is always labelled as the worlds biggest producer of carbon emissions, but the USA - through it's carbon sinks is a net user of CO2 rather than a net producer.

Invest in green transport
Britain needs far more investment in its cycle lane network and public transport infrastructure. All road-building projects should be reappraised.

Again, I largely agree on the public transport, but do they not realise that creating cycle lanes uses huge amounts of energy that will not be recouped by the savings for a long, long time.

When are these people going to understand that climate change is entirely natural and normal. There is NO evidence that it is anthropogenic. None at all. We will not stop it even if the whole world stopped emitting tomorrow.

What we need to do is start dealing with the consequences of an inevitable naturally occurring event instead of trying to stop it.

The first thing to do is stop referring to CO2 as a pollutant. It isn't. It is necessary for the existence of life on earth. It is a simple fact that the more CO2 in the atmosphere the more plant life thrives. High CO2 means higher food yields. We need that to feed the 6 billion people on this planet.

The second thing to do is to mitigate the consequences rather than prevent them. Possible consequences are ...

Flooding (from heavier, but less frequent downpours and storms - not from sea level rise)
Food shortages
Conflict (over water resources, land and energy)
Mass migration

So what we should do is improve flood defences, repair our water infrastructure (stop leakage) and devise systems to pump water around the country from wet areas to dry areas when needed. We should also look at alternative resources for water (like desalination plants, Ken).

We need to make sure we are as self-sufficient as it is possible to be in the areas of water, food and energy supply. It is essential that we are not reliant for foreign supply in any of these crucial resources.

Due to our location and geography (being an island) we are unlikely to be directly affected by climate change to any significant degree (contrary to the scaremongers, large areas of London and the coasts are not going to disappear under water - it doesn't work like that), but we will be very attractive to (potentially millions) refugees escaping from affected areas and very attractive to other nations who would like to get their hands on what we have. So we need strong borders and strong defence (self-reliant of course).

This is what we need to do. Around a 1000 years ago, King Canute proved that mere mortals can not play god and fight nature. Are we ever going to learn the lesson?


Blue Witch said...

"The fact that there wouldn't be enough wind or sun to recover the costs (economic or green) of producing the equipment for 10-15 years appears to be irrelevant."

Wrong. The only reason that this is the case is because there are currently a lot of small companies being greedy - and taking huge profits from those who wish to be greener.

We recently sourced and installed a very high-spec solar panel to heat water for £600, including plumbing. We were qouted between £6 and £12K for companies to install inferior products, but, with the help of the internet, were able to find an importer selling at cost plus just a little bit.

Our pay-back period is less than 3 years, and then it's free forever (or at least 25 years,which is the guaranteed lifetime).

I do agree with you that the 'Government' (sic) need to do more, and that the effects of legislation introduced needs to be monitored by independent bodies, but offering grants to householders to put up solar panels, so that entrepreneurs can get rich is not the answer.

The local building inspector recently told me that there were much more stringent measures for home energy efficiency in the pipeline.

Stan said...

Congratulations, but I pesonally would be surprised if you find the sun shines enough to keep your water hot enough all the time (assuming you are in the UK). It doesn't work in countries like Greece or Turkey and they get a lot more sun than we do.

Critically, though, you are also forgetting to include the green costs of producing the solar panel,importing it to the UK, marketing, sourcing, selling and transportation to your home. As well as the green costs of your internet searching for the product and everything else too.

Add that on to your economic costs and there is not a chance that you will get pay back (both economic AND green) inside 10-15 years. In other words, the emissions you save will not outweigh the emissions you expended for a long time to come. By the time they get close to doing so you will be needing to replace the panel - and the cycle begins again. The net result will probably be no dfference in the amount of emissions you would have expended without the panel.

At the same time, what money you save on heating water you will probably expend on soemthing else which will probably use energy and create emissions. So, overall, your emissions total will probably have increased rather than decreased.

My argument was that increasing home efficiency will not make a difference because whatever we save on our homes we will spend elsewhere - on cars, holidays, electrical equipment, day trips and so on - all of which will create emissions rapidly negate any savings made by having increased home efficiency.

My point was that The Independent was being incredibly naive in their "green manifesto". For a supposedy grown up newspaper they have an uncannily child like grasp of climate change and human nature.

So are the government - but one expects that of them these days. The fact that our press have dumbed down to such a ridiculous extent is more worrying.

Bill H. said...

Steady on, Stan. Considering the piss poor response you get to your rants you ought to show a bit more (Christian?) courtesy to the few people who do bother to reply.

What right do you have to presume that blue witch and his/her family spend the money they save on hot water heating on energy consuming activites that nullify their energy saving efforts, and on what grounds do you claim that the energy costs of installation, plus the energy-profligacy of, wait for it, ... an internet search wipe out any energy savings? Have you done the calculations? Do you know someone who has?

I'm certainly not competent to perform the sums myself, but the following sums do indicate just how improbable your assertion is:

For a payback time of less than three years Blue Witch must be saving more than £200 worth of energy per year on heating water. If you are correct and it will take more than 15 years to pay back the "embodied energy" of the panel the cost of this embodied energy will be at a first estimate well over £3000. Could you explain how the suppliers remain solvent if they sell panels on which more than £3000 worth of energy have been lavished for a mere £600? Are you assuming that the energy expended by Blue witch in the course of his/her internet search is in excess of £2400? Or is it all explained by what you refer to with your wonted razor sharp precision as "everything else"?

Stan said...

Sorry for the tardy response, bill, but I don't check comments on old posts that often.

Regardless of the "piss poor" responses I get to my rants, I actually get a surprising number of visitors to my blog. I don't really care much if they comment or not, because this blog exists for me to let off steam - not others.

Back to the point, though, Bill. You will - if you re-read the post, notice that I referred to the "green" costs. In other words, not what it costs to buy or make the panel, but what it costs in environmental terms to get it onto blue witches roof. Do you understand that, bill? It's not pounds sterling that bother the envrionazis, but pounds of CO2.

As for what they spend the "savings" on - it doesn't take a great deal to work it out, bill. What do you think blue witch is going to do with it - give it Greenpeace!? Even if they did, Greenpeace would spend it flying someone somewhere - and guess what, bill, that would rack up emissions.

Perhaps you think they'd buy a nice new bike? All clean and green, eh, Bill? But how do you think that bike got made? Do you think fairies make them from plants and dirt. No, bill, they're made in factories - you know factories, bill? Do they have them on your planet?

Just about the only thing that bluewitch could do with those savings that would not create emissions from someone somewhere, is shove it under the mattress of their bed! Do you think that's likely, bill?

Like a lot of people, bill, you're too busy being self-righteously smug to actual consider anything beyond what you read in "The Indie" - the newspaper for adolescents.