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Perfect Storm 2030: Public attitudes

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Mark Easton | 12:48 UK time, Tuesday, 25 August 2009

rising populationThis post is part of the BBC's Perfect Storm 2030 coverage, where correspondents explore the forecast by UK chief scientist John Beddington, of a "perfect storm" of food, water and energy shortages in 2030.

Ed Miliband says he is in "the persuasion business". So how do you persuade people when research suggests that many of them don't trust your message?

The secretary of state for energy and climate change told the BBC recently that his job is to convince people "to make big changes" in their lives. Unless that happens, he warns, the planet and our way of life will be damaged for generations to come.

But Whitehall research reveals that:

"[M]istrust is a critical issue which is potentially a major barrier to people becoming more pro-environmental".

Government is suspected of "using" the environment to increase taxes. What's more, people don't like politicians telling them how to lead their lives.

There is still deep scepticism. Despite virtually unanimous academic opinion, half of us still believe science is divided on whether mankind's activities contribute to climate change.

And more than a quarter of us don't think our individual behaviour makes any difference to the environmental crisis.

So Mr Miliband needs a much more subtle approach. He hopes to "nudge" us into going green, to change the way we behave without ever realising that we are being coaxed and cajoled by central government.

The starting point for the strategy is a document published at the beginning of last year entitled A Framework for Pro-Environmental Behaviours [678KB PDF]. It advises ministers to:

"[U]se 'opinion leaders' and trusted intermediaries to reach your audience".

If people won't listen to elected politicians, get someone more plausible to deliver the message.

The most convincing messengers are not boffins or journalists, local councillors or civil servants - we are most likely to believe our next door neighbour.

So projects like Low Carbon West Oxford (LCWO) are held up as models of how to change behaviour.

The scheme, inspired in part by the extraordinary summer floods which hit their neighbourhood in 2007, sees residents challenge each other to change their ways:

• homes are undergoing eco-makeovers
• solar panels are being fixed to roofs
• five families have given up their car and use a pool vehicle when they cannot walk ,cycle or use public transport
• some have agreed to give up foreign holidays
• others have pledged only to eat local, seasonal food

You can meet some of LCWO's recruits in this short film I made for the television news.

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It all fits neatly with the government's aims for behaviour change.

headline behaviour goals

Rather than simply beseeching us to "save the planet", ministers hope they can convince us in other ways.

"Use non-environmental motivations," their advisors recommend.

"Recognise the role of social norms, identity, and status for moving towards greater adoption of pro-environmental behaviours."

In other words, appeal to the things that matter to people right now - their wallet and their self-esteem.

That's why much of the Act on CO2 campaign is built on the idea that saving the planet equals saving money.

Ministers are told:

"There is no single solution that will motivate a mainstream audience to live a greener life."

In fact, the government's experts have identified seven distinct types of people:

"[S]even clusters each sharing a distinct set of attitudes and beliefs towards the environment".

Are you a "positive green" or a "stalled starter", a "waste watcher" or a "sidelined supporter"? When it comes to climate change, we have all been categorised.

segmented strategy

This chart shows where each cluster fits in terms of our ability and willingness to get greener. And there is a sophisticated strategy associated with each group. So, the toughest nuts to crack ("stalled starters" and "honestly disengaged") will need to be forced to act.

Segments 6 and 7 are generally less willing to act and are less likely to be open to voluntary engagement or exemplification by others; the emphasis here is likely to have to be on interventions that enable and encourage, for example choice editing in product availability or, where necessary, regulation

The translation of "choice editing" means, for example, making it impossible for people to buy anything but environmentally-friendly light-bulbs.

It might also mean trying to make people feel guilty about buying South American green beans in mid-winter or serving strawberries at Christmas.

"Positive greens" and "concerned consumers", on the other hand, need practical support rather than new laws.

It might be about simplifying the systems for selling self-generated electricity or providing intelligent grants for home insulation.

Behind the scenes in Whitehall, committees are constantly assessing how successful they are in getting us to change.

This memo illustrates how the Department for Transport measures progress.

We share the results of research with key stakeholders as campaigns are in development, through

With their thought-showers and their segmentation models, government ministers are trying to alter the social weather, attempting to create the right environmental conditions so we will see climate change as a reason for changing the way we live.

PS You might be interested in my report from last night's Ten O'Clock news.

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  • 1. At 1:27pm on 25 Aug 2009, The_Hess wrote:

    As long as the government doesn't simply add another tax and tell us what to do in every aspect of our lives, people will generally shift to more environmentally friendly lifestyles. However, instead of just subsidising technologies seen as green, and basing everything on 'carbon footprints' more in depth analysis by experts into each area is needed.

    In terms of cars, this means stop simply turning to hybrids (which are less environmentally friendly than small, eco-diesels such as the Polo Bluemotion).

    In terms of power generation this would mean realistically looking at new coal fired powerstations with biomass firing and carbon capture. If you can combine these two well, you can end up with carbon negative power generation! Wind farms are not the be all and end all.

    Public transport needs to be better (overcrowded trains spring to mind) and cheaper. This will encourage more people to leave the car at home.

    The UK's motorways need to be widened, city centres need to be designed to allow greater traffic flow (bus lanes don't help here) so that less time is spent idling.

    Home insulation is important. All new built houses should have a minimum level of insulation, including on pipes.

    Food packaging needs to be reduced or made more easily recycleable.

    Local authorities need to recycle more materials (more of the plastics which they currently do not accept)

    Run of adverts advising consumers to cut down on food waste.

    If all of this were to happen, and taxpayers saw a good return for their investment, then the schemes will be viewed as successful. However, if it is wasted on quangos and lost in the bureaucracy then taxpayers will simply reject proposals. The one fault with cyclic government is the fact that all plans are designed around election cycles and long term planning is ineffective.

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  • 2. At 1:31pm on 25 Aug 2009, afcone wrote:

    I think the government would do better to focus more on explaining the problems of energy security than climate change, given that the solutions (energy conservation, renewables and nuclear power) are similar, and the end of cheap oil and gas is likely to affect the UK much more directly and quickly than climate change. Climate change always seems quite far off to the general population (and most of the worst effects will not fall on the UK), so it is hard to get people motivated. The government needs to be honest, explain that energy is going to get more and more expensive in future, and that we need to act now.

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  • 3. At 1:51pm on 25 Aug 2009, Rob wrote:

    I honestly think we are all in a state of denial about this planet we live on. We assume our population can go on growing without there being an impact. Either that or we just don't care? I think I am between a Concerned Consumer and a Sideline Supporter on the chart. I would like all products to carry accurate information on just how much the product impacts the environment. All people to make the choices. More tax should be applied to goods that damage the environment (like cars). I do not drive, yet I will get on a plane. I do not buy newspapers, yet I use a lot of electricity. Sometimes I feel bad about it. I think we as humans, our generation, we betray our ancestors who struggled to get us to where we are now. And not only that but we disregard our descendants.

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  • 4. At 2:13pm on 25 Aug 2009, MK_Steve wrote:

    For many unfortunate individuals, voicing a conspiracy theory is the only way they can feel empowered; it's more to do with their lack of achievement than anything else.

    There's also a problem with our level of understanding. it's well known that we tend to over-simplify and 'mis-attribute' evidence (there's a lot of excellent psychological research that shows how and why). The oft quoted idea that the 'ice-age' is evidence against human induced global warming is a good example.

    I even once overheard someone authoritatively 'arguing' that scraping ice off his car that morning was proof that global warming was a myth! Where do you start with people who are that intellectually vunerable?

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  • 5. At 2:16pm on 25 Aug 2009, virtualsilverlady wrote:

    This si now so complicated it is becoming the most boring subject on earth.

    It is basically so simple. There are too many people on this earth chasing too few resources.

    If we restored everything we've destroyed like the rainforests and stopped poluting everything in sight the earth would be able to adjust naturally as it has done for billions of years.

    A bit here and a bit there will make absolutely no difference whatsoever while we continue to plunder what is left of the earth's resources to make stuff we don't need.

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  • 6. At 3:11pm on 25 Aug 2009, mikemadf wrote:

    We need to be green and waste less energy? Yes.
    No-one trusts the Government? yes.

    The Government is serious about this and means it? Yes

    So why is it allowing a new terminal to be built at Heathrow?

    The words "set your own house in order first before preaching to us . You are hypocrites" appear apposite.

    Has the Government met its own in house energy savings? No.

    No wonder we treat what they say with contempt: they deserve it.

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  • 7. At 4:06pm on 25 Aug 2009, calmandhope wrote:

    @4 Steve

    Unfortunatly for people like that who argue about scraping ice off their car theres no hope. I'm far from a green fanatic, but everyone should do little bits to make things better for everyone.
    Global warming may or may not exist, theres no way to tell for sure sadly. All you can do is be cautious and try and help things along with bits of recycling etc so that we don't destroy what we don't need to.

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  • 8. At 4:07pm on 25 Aug 2009, stanilic wrote:

    Speaking as one of the early greenies back in the late Sixties I cannot help but start laughing. In those days we argued for better public transport and fewer cars. It was the state that ploughed us to one side with their fiddled public enquiries, roads before homes, bigger and better airports and quite awful public transport. If you weren't into all that you were maginalised socially, politically and economically. So many like me compromised so that we could just survive.

    Now the state tells us that we must change. No Mr.State you must change. We are where we are because of you so don't come and tell me that I am wrong when it was you who was wrong all along. It was and is you, Mr. State, who is doing most of the damage. So change yourself before you expect us to change. Try setting an example for once!

    For years now there have been those of us who have been laughed at by our social betters for driving small economical cars, making journeys by bike and Shank's pony, growing as much of our own vegetables and fruit as we can, making compost, avoiding flying, recycling as much as possible and leaving as small a footprint on the soil as possible.

    We would also like to generate our own electricity but we have been prevented by regulations. I would also like a well, but I can't have one as it is against regulations. Isn't it funny how these regulations benefit certain interests?

    In return I have come to laugh at what I now call the environment industry. Just ask a green campaigner for details and you get referred to a website. No: I need electricity for a website and that means power stations. Can't I have a book or a pamphlet that I can read by a guttering candle? I don't want to be told frightening tales about melting ice-caps as I have the imagination to do that for myself. I want to know will there be enough clean, fresh water and sufficient land and labour to put food on the table? Is our future viable just ten years from now?

    Then there are these big conferences going on where all these pious people from all over the world fly in and hang around in huge air-conditioned conference centres so they can then tell me what I should do. My attitude to such is contemptible. They are the problem pretending to be the solution!

    The problem the environmental argument has experienced all the way through is that it is not an argument that The State can resolve. Only ordinary people can resolve these pressing matters. We don't need taxes we need encouragement to become more environmentally conscious. We don't need laws and tin Hitlers telling us how to manage our wheelie-bins. We just need to be treated intelligently.

    The State is by definition unable to treat its citizens as sensible people so it has to lecture, harangue and impose. Not surprising as it is the sum of all the vested interests in the world. The best way for the State to contribute to a greener future is for it to go away, get off our backs, become a whole lot smaller and lets us alone to deal with this difficult matter ourselves. That way we will very quickly have the low energy ecologically beneficial economy as we will live and work in the same place, eating local produce just like we used to.

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  • 9. At 4:12pm on 25 Aug 2009, Forthview wrote:

    With the best will in the world, this is the sort of story which is simply going to fuel the conspiracy theorists. The DECC paper (I assume it's from that Department) comes over like an internal briefing note from one of Orwell's Ministries blended with a hefty does of Packard's "Hidden Persuaders" and just a whiff of an environmentally oriented cousin to the GDR's Ministry of State Security (all these "normal folk" busily influencing their neighbours at the behest of the state- are they going to be expected to feed back on those who fail to respond appropriately to their blandishments so that "appropriate action" can be taken?). If the masses don't play ball, what happens next? If anything was calculated to reinforce a suspicion that global warming/climate change is an issue of questionable validity being spun for all its worth to allow the political establishment to impose its control over every detail of the lives of ordinary people, this is it.

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  • 10. At 4:15pm on 25 Aug 2009, HardWorkingHobbes wrote:

    I think they've missed out a box on the Segmented Strategy graph.

    I would consider myself in the lower-right quadrant. Willing to do more but unable to act.

    I would love to fit solar panels, rain-water butts, home insulation etc.
    Alas as I can't afford a home of my own (even after the downturn in the market) and I have to rent all of this is down to my landlord who refuses to do anything except the bare minimum to make the house rentable.

    Stricter laws on landlords would make a lot of difference to the environmental impact of housing with the added benifit that some of them would decide it's to much effort and would sell up to families wanting to buy the houses to live in and would be willing to make the improvements.

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  • 11. At 4:47pm on 25 Aug 2009, Prof John Locke wrote:

    Which ministry is least green? the Department for Energy and Climate Change The one that runs climate change.... the DoE which only managed a G rating, the lowest classification, is one of the worst offenders.One in three government buildings has a G rating for energy efficiency.....

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  • 12. At 5:32pm on 25 Aug 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:

    They can have as much segmentation and as many focus groups as they like. I doubt it will make any difference.

    I suspect the real reason that people don't trust the government on climate change (apart from the obvious reason that most people don't trust the government on anything, as they've shown themselves time and again to be totally untrustworthy) is that there is such a huge disconnect between the rhetoric and the policies.

    Air travel is bad, we are told.
    So they go and approve a third runway at Heathrow.

    Train travel is better than car travel, we are told.
    So they let train companies provide a shoddy service at astronomical prices, while not daring to put petrol duty up too much in case it upsets motorists.

    Put less into landfill and recycle more, we are told.
    We recycle nothing at my place of work, because our local council would charge us extra if we did.

    I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

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  • 13. At 5:34pm on 25 Aug 2009, Joan Olivares wrote:

    I agree with MikemadF. Congress just bought a jet to ferry Pelosi back and forth from Northern California to Washington. The whole green solution loses credibility when politicians as usual, speak from both sides of their mouth. So that tells average citizens the war was contrived, imploding the economy was contrived and the green revolution is contrived or at least another money making bubble scheme by the government.
    I think this time we've had it with all of the contrived schemes. People will just take their marbles home and refuse to play the game anymore.

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  • 14. At 5:42pm on 25 Aug 2009, Returnee wrote:


    I am waiting for the Government to make any positive moves on water consumption. We have one (yes one) residential development in the UK which uses grey water recycling. ZedBed was opened in 1996. Since then nothing and no regulations or planning guidance of any sort designed to drive down water usage, encourage water efficiency and use what we've gor better.

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  • 15. At 5:59pm on 25 Aug 2009, spectrum wrote:

    Very few people nowadays live under the illusion that the government acts on behalf of its citizens. I can assure you that I will be following none of this social engineering 'persuasion'.
    As for the 'forecast'. it was only a couple of months ago that the Met office predicted the hottest summer in some time. It was nonsense as is ever other climatic prophecy.

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  • 16. At 6:00pm on 25 Aug 2009, raul202 wrote:

    #8 Stanilic: That's about the best comment I've read on the entire BBC messageboards; I only wish Mr State would read it and act on it.

    #10 HardWorkingHobbes: Thoroughly agree with you! Landlords need to do a whole lot more for the environment, but successive governments have insisted on making it far too easy and profitable to be a landlord...

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  • 17. At 6:25pm on 25 Aug 2009, galvinPdiggity wrote:

    One word from this article sticks out immediately. What exactly is a boffin? I'm not a scientist but I still find this word actually quite offensive. Unless we can brutally whittle down the world population by three quarters and go back to some agrarian lifestyle then scientists will play a key part in transitioning us from where we are now to 2030, its also worth remembering that it was scientists that started waving the flag in the first place.

    Perhaps people reluctance to trust scientists has been nurtured by the media in the first place (MMR etc). I think its time we drop this disparaging word boffin and then perhaps science might stand a chance against such things as well crafted opinion and articulate hearsay.

    I also wonder, if the environment is going to be the big issue for the next couple of decades, how are the political parties going to differentiate themselves?

    While recent political idealogies took a century to expire, contemporary environmental idealogies, for example the nuclear debate, given the write forum of debate will take less time to resolve themselves. I don't see how conventional party politics can survive for much longer.

    If things are a serious as the scientists are suggesting then we havent got time for cozy consensus building. Science will not arrive at a suite of proposals from which different societies will be able to pick and mix. The reponse to the environmental challenges we face will only work at a global level and it seems that governments are even less able to take action at a global level than whatever they are capable of doing at home.

    My own suggestion is for some kind of global entity than will form from todays key players. Activists groups, a global legislature, a scientific brains trust and at some stage I fear a police force.

    Politicians will at some point have have the issue taken from them.

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  • 18. At 6:26pm on 25 Aug 2009, JRWoodman wrote:

    There are several things that the government need to encourage us all to do. For instance...

    1) Reduce our commuting by car to a minimum (move nearer work or get a job nearer home).
    2) Stop flying on holiday or business.
    3) Insulate our homes to the highest level possible.
    4) Change outdated boilers and refrigerators with new, more efficient appliances.
    5) Grow your own and try to avoid buying non-UK-grown food.
    6) Think carefully before buying non-essential 'stuff'.

    The government should use a system of taxes and subsidies -- in balanced measures -- to change the public's attitude, while explaining in clear language why these actions are necessary. Politicians and civil servants should also lead by example; at which, as individuals and in their official capacities, most of them are appalling.

    The approaching cataclysm of population, energy, resources, pollution, food and climate-change is really, really serious; it's about time, through their actions, our leaders really demonstrated their concern.

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  • 19. At 6:51pm on 25 Aug 2009, Marian Van Eyk McCain wrote:

    I'm a 'positive green' and have been for several decades. But I totally agree with 'mikemadf' that mistrust is inevitable if a government does not walk its talk. Even if our Government were only to:
    - Cancel all plans for airport expansion
    - Start handing out huge subsidies for home power generation, and
    - Fund efficient, cheap public transport instead of more roads, then
    they might start to win back some of that trust. But they would still have a long way to go, even then. As long as they remain lackeys of Big Business instead of true representatives of the people we shall remain a nation of cynics.

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  • 20. At 7:12pm on 25 Aug 2009, mancbranch wrote:

    I'll change when I see others do so as well.

    E.g. WH Smiths want to charge me 2p for a plastic carrier bag, yet everyone of their stores are usually air conditioned to 23/24c. Far too warm even in the winter. What is likely to make more difference, turning off the A/C and 24hr lighting, or charging for a carrier bag that has been produced regardless?

    Same with Tesco, they reward me for "reusing" a bag with points that I can redeem again *airmiles*. Where is the sense in that?

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  • 21. At 7:13pm on 25 Aug 2009, Steamdrivenandy wrote:

    I'm a bit worried about all the 'free' roof insulation the government is promoting. They bring the insulation up to todays standard for new homes. Having looked at new homes recently they have central heating systems with no tanks or pipes in the loft. Otherwise they'd freeze up because the loft gets so cold because of all the insulation.
    Nobody tells the people who are blithely having their loft insulation upgraded that the next cold snap will result in a pipe freeze in their roof and damage to ceilings and furnishings etc.
    It's one more tick in a box for the government but could cost a pensioner their life savings. Not nice.

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  • 22. At 7:33pm on 25 Aug 2009, Dave H wrote:

    Given all the vested interests and greenwash, it's no wonder we distrust the government on green issues.

    Domestic wind turbines are unlikely to repay investment in much of the UK, and the environmental cost of manufacturing and installing them makes them less of a good deal. The same is true of many things, by the time the full lifecycle cost is added in, the benefits are dubious. Cleaner vehicle exhausts undoubtedly contribute to global warming; when nature has a good conflagration, as well as all the CO2, there's a lot of ash and larger particles thrown into the atmosphere. These cut out the sunlight and help keep the planet cool, compensating to some extent for the CO2 released (when Mount St Helens erupted, it put a huge amount of dust into the atmosphere and cooled the world a bit). So, plenty of bad science is mixed in with the good, which is why there are plenty of sceptics.

    From the science side, remember history when we've had periods where the Thames froze, and when East Anglia was warm enough to be a malarial swap. This sort of thing goes in cycles, so any evidence of it continuing in a straight line to Thermageddon is always going to be suspect because we haven't been keeping records for long enough. The Sun is a mildly variable star, so the energy received from it will vary up and down.

    Yes, I'm somewhere down in bubble number 7. My only incentives to save resources are financial - no point in working hard to waste it all. I don't believe in green taxes because I've never seen the government spend the money raised on implementing workable and beneficial green solutions, so it's just another way to screw money from the taxpayers.

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  • 23. At 7:46pm on 25 Aug 2009, UnHappyPerson wrote:

    One of the major obstacles to so called green moves is that many of them do not work. Low energy bulbs are often of such poor quality that they only save money by not working. Recent purchases have had a half life (by which point half have failed) of the order of 7 months, while less than half of traditional bulbs in use in this house since 1992 have failed. I have recently bought some new low energy bulbs but the cost has been eye watering at over £12 per unit, (the £6 per unit items had an almost instant failure rate). So called high efficiency boilers fail in less than ten years and have to be dumped, less lauded units keep working at efficiency levels close to more modern units but without constant breakdowns and unbearable reliability levels.
    I am all for saving money but so far the efficiency drive appears to result in spending money to, well spend even more money. Do not forget the petrol used to purchase the spare parts that so called energy efficient units constantly demand.
    The one energy efficient effort that has worked is careful driving; my larger family car can often get close to 40 mpg and the smaller run about can at times better 60 mpg.

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  • 24. At 8:32pm on 25 Aug 2009, victormeldrewgroupie wrote:

    Mr Milliband's recipe for changing opinion reminds me of the old joke about " boiling a frog" - drop it in cold water and gently warm: the frog doesn't realise there's a problem until it explodes. This seems to me a far more important issue than individual aspects of policy. I subscribe to the belief that this government is incapable of long-term policy[because I've seen some of its workings from close range], but even if I didn't, I would be far more worried about civil liberties now than climate change issues in the medium term.
    Remember that we live in a parliamentary democracy. The government proposes a strategy, consults (remember that?), enacts and lives with the consequences.
    The alternative is living in a very green police state.

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  • 25. At 8:49pm on 25 Aug 2009, curiousman wrote:

    How many more of us must tell the politians that unless the government leads by example and treats us as reasonably intelligent beings they will not get any cooperation from us?
    For example:
    (1) Set examples in government departments by generating their own power (haven't noticed a windmill on top of No 10!)
    (2) Reverse the expenses for use of civil servants' personal vehicles by ensuring bikes are paid more per mile than large capacity cars
    (3) Buy nuclear power stations from France (oh, shock horror, but theirs work!)
    (4) Tax advertising to reduce demand - you know it makes sense
    (5) Ensure rubbish collections are more efficient (Germany and Holland have a 'Big rubbish day' once a month - we have to carry ours to the tip and may get fined if we take too much)
    (6) Encourage more vegetables to be eaten (cows produce methane, far worse than CO2, and less efficient energy conversion too)
    I don't see any of these recommendations and those of other sensible folks on this blog being taken up by government so I will remain cynical - our attitude to global warming is rubbish. It has always happened. Just look at a cliff face; every change in the strata is the result of global (or local) warming or cooling. There was a mini heatwave in the 1400s and a mini ice age in the 1800s when the Thames froze. This current "frightener" is just about preventing the emergent nations from getting too powerful, coupled with less reliance on oil from politically unstable areas of the world.

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  • 26. At 9:35pm on 25 Aug 2009, leanomist wrote:

    Following on from post 25's latter comments I would also recommend reading this

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  • 27. At 10:09pm on 25 Aug 2009, novemberreign wrote:

    I walk and take public transportation. I recycle everything my local council can sell (which isn't everything that's recyclable). I use less than 3kw per day in power, buy only energy efficient appliances and I'm saving to have my roof tiles replaced with solar shingles.

    I'm also vegan for animal cruelty reasons.

    However, I smoke and take a long-haul holiday every 4-6 years.

    The government would like to call someone like me as 'Waste Watcher' or 'Concerned Consumer' when the truth is I don't buy the flannel and hype of Man Made Climate Change. I simply recognise that we're living on a finitely resourced rock and when it's gone, it's gone and so is the human species. Man Made Climate Change is a vanity to persuade, coerce and guilt those who think themselves ethical and 'sharing' when they won't lift their noses from the trough as there's plenty for 'now'.

    Tell these people we're in the natural cyclic preamble to the thaw-freeze that started the last Ice Age and they won't listen. However, telling them their cars, tropical fruit salad in January, Sunday roasts and power-hungry gadgets caused it - they will kneel obediently and say 'Yessir'. Government telling scientists that their mortgages for the next five years will be paid if they count carbon particles and reinforce the William Morris school of industrial thought is NOT impartial science.

    Man Made Climate Change is the new religion and, like its predecessors, it's not followed by those in power who wish to foist it on the majority ("There's plenty for 'now'" will always be the mantra of elected officials and civil servants who skim the cream). It also makes an icon of Mankind's greatest vanity that nothing is more powerful than Mankind.

    Climate Change, however, is very real and will shave a few billion off the world population totals. But that doesn't matter as the media, scientists and politicians only have an interest in apportioning blame on the species while population growth goes unchecked and industry, housing and food needs expand.

    They aren't shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. The new puritan society weeps for the tree that was cut down to make the stable door.

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  • 28. At 10:34pm on 25 Aug 2009, Todaymueller - wrote:

    I just dont see the human race doing anything about this , until it is too late to prevent major damage to our planets well being . Are we still looking for more oil and coal ? yes of course . Would giving up my car mean that oilfields would be closed down with oil still in the ground ? no chance . Do we want the economy to pick up ? yes we do . When it does , it will be built on the back of more consumption .Consumption = pollution . Capitalism itself would appear , to my eyes , to be founded on exploiting the earths resorces .
    I do not see anybody trying to curb capitalism . I do not see anybody stopping population growth .
    Sorry to be so pessimistic , but humans are just not capable of being so unselfish .

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  • 29. At 11:09pm on 25 Aug 2009, CopperShip wrote:

    Good Evening!
    I have heard various people talk about ‘change’; political, economic, social and other types of change. It makes me smile when I then hear talk about trying to reduce or even prevent climate change.
    The message seems to be that change created by politicians is good whereas natural change is probably going to be bad. In a sense this is true. We do occasionally have some influence over human induced change whereas natural change is completely beyond our control.
    Our planet is still emerging from the last Ice age – that’s why there is retreating ice at the poles. Human activity may well have increased it slightly but the only way to reduce, not prevent, the impact of human activity is to stop doing what we do. That is not going to happen.
    It could be that industrialisation is mankind’s shortcut to the inevitable – extinction.
    If, thousands of years ago, humans hadn’t moved away from the ice-free areas close to the equator we would not now be burning fuel to enable habitation of the cooler latitudes. The fact is that, for reasons known only to our ancestors, we did move and we did learn how to survive the cold by burning vegetables and then minerals.
    Burning gas in my central heating boiler means I don’t have to spend half the year gathering twigs to heat my house. Metered water means I get an excellent product delivered to anywhere in my home on demand for less than £3 a tonne! It would take me a week to transport it myself in drums and jugs.
    Goods are mass produced because that is the most efficient way to make them. The same applies to energy. Why would I want my own windmill or solar panels when I can buy electricity from a mass producer for a fraction of the price?
    I try to ignore anything to do with climate change because – it’s a scam!

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  • 30. At 11:57pm on 25 Aug 2009, gmoran wrote:

    What we are really talking about here is sustainability. This is the concept that industrial civilization is consuming the earths resources at a greater rate than they can be replenished. This is pseudoscience.

    Climate science doesn't mandate economically damaging mitigation, the science simply isn't certain enough for this. The climate scientist Mike Hulme has discussed the limitations of science to provide concrete answers on a number of occasions, the following lists his conclusions on the stare of the science: [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]. The reason for this is that the effects of climate change are unknown. Because climate is non-linear, as Gavin Schmidt and James Hamnsen (both of GISS) have publicly noted, it is fundamentally impossible to project future climate. Instead GCM's attempt to determine the change in GMST in response to known changes in forcings, the climate itself may therefore not be predictable, but according to this view the perturbation can be projected. If first order responses to forcings are uncertain, then further effects: secondary climate effects, ecological effects, and social effects are absolutely impossibly to project - and yet it is these that will determine whether anthropogenic global warming will be detrimental or beneficial.

    From this we can see that the solutions we are told we must enact to prevent global warming are not scientific, instead they reflect environmental ideology. The fact that these have been taken up by the media, and in Britain by mainstream politicians is somewhat depressing. When the truth outs, as it inevitably will, expect lots of hand wring, and finger pointing at the scientists - but in doing so politicians and the media will be unjustly down-playing their own roles.

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  • 31. At 00:23am on 26 Aug 2009, scorpioRicardo wrote:

    I really don't get this idea of charging me to use a carrier bag to aid recycling, what's that about?

    I never throw an old carrier bag out empty, like many people I re-use them to put out the household waste. Surely cheaper and more sensible than buying bin liners, or am I missing something?

    Why not give us brown bags like we always had when I was a nipper? Once wet, they dissolve. Remember when chips used to come in newspaper? That was recycling in action but now we get plastic bags that make them soggy. What about milk bottles and returning old pop bottles?

    There's not much that's new here, we know how to do this, we just can't be bothered.

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  • 32. At 00:24am on 26 Aug 2009, jon106 wrote:

    The biggest single environmental issue is world population growth. Unless we tackle that the rest is pointless, but as ever this biggest of issues is ignored in the plans for change.

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  • 33. At 00:40am on 26 Aug 2009, freejames wrote:

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  • 34. At 01:14am on 26 Aug 2009, EnglishFolkfan wrote:

    There is no grant aid for insulating solid walls on UK homes. The estimated cost of of externally insulating) the 1st floor solid walls of my 1920's semi is three and a half thousand pounds (to meet the upcoming Building Regulations top rating). The ground floor walls are cavity and have been insulated. As I am on a limited income and do not plan to remain in this house for the next 10-15 years it is not worthwhile my paying out this sort of cost. Due to the house build style it is not possible to achieve the required level of insulation by doing it internally.

    In the UK there are hundred of thousands of homes with solid walls which require insulation to get them up to even today's required standard, including hundreds in this small Market Town, but there are no .gov, Energy Trust, local authority or whoever grants for this work available.

    I'm just waiting for the .gov gimmicky little van to park outside my home and say they've done a thermal imaging test and my 1st floor walls aren't insulated enough. Two vans on a countrywide roaming scheme at a cost of over a million pounds to tell us what we already know!

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  • 35. At 01:34am on 26 Aug 2009, cynicaljock wrote:

    The perfect storm will coincide roughly with the end of my life I suspect. I have seen it coming for many years as the population of humans has trebled in my lifetime. This is the crucial factor and the most difficult to address. As was said earlier too many people chasing limited resources can only lead to conflict unless we can set aside greed envy and sloth which are sadly still prevalent human characteristics. I'm in box 1 by the way.

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  • 36. At 01:53am on 26 Aug 2009, scorpiotemplar wrote:

    I wonder if anybody saw the programme "The great global warming swindle" It showed that co2 emissions didnt drive global warming but in fact rose closely behind reacting to the change rather than causing it.

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  • 37. At 03:33am on 26 Aug 2009, G_K___ wrote:

    The problem here is that the Government is trying to approach this whole thing through the same mainstream capitalist model which has got us into the mess in the first place. They think they have to persuade the "consumers" to do the right thing on a tiny individual scale, while all around them big business remains free to cause harm on a gargantuan scale with no thought for anything but profit.

    I, like many people, fall in that suspicious bottom-right area of the diagram. The place where there are - apparently - no boxes. High willingness to act, but low potential to do more, because the choices that I want to make are not available to me.

    Shopping in an environmentally-responsible way in a modern supermarket is practically impossible - if you also want to eat.

    What we require from the Government is stop telling us what we need to do, and start telling the banks, supermarkets and oil companies what they need to do in order to give us the chance. Bring in properly-enforced laws preventing overpackaging of products, limiting the sale of non-recyclable products, and making the companies who sell the goods legally responsible for their recycling at the end of their lifecycle.

    Above all, the whole corporate culture of building products so that they need replaced in two or three years is entirely unsustainable, and must be swept away.

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  • 38. At 04:01am on 26 Aug 2009, Robert Bennett wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 39. At 08:50am on 26 Aug 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:


    Lots of people saw "The Great Global Warming Swindle." Fortunately, lots of people read peer-reviewed journals as well. Please remember that TV programmes are for entertainment, not for serious science. If you are seriously interested in climate change, I suggest you get your information from peer-reviewed journals rather than TV programmes.

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  • 40. At 09:31am on 26 Aug 2009, John Ellis wrote:

    Grow hemp for food :) less water needed more food produced and a few other usefull things like houses paper and medicances all come from this one wonderfull plant that continues to reduce our carbon footprint even when harvested..!!!.

    Or like us you could work with local groups and set up small viable market gardens in residential areas teach people how to grown and manage small scale plots for food.

    For those that scream its to late in the day its never to late Stop deforestation for paper now and grown hemp.
    Stop deforestation for food and corn and grow hemp for its seed.#
    Stop growing corn for bio fuels and grow Hemp instead for Biofuels get 4 times the amout of all other bio fuels.

    Its down to US to make these changes as politicians are unable to think about the future due to a lack of endocannaboids in thier brains. ;)

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  • 41. At 09:45am on 26 Aug 2009, One Marble Left wrote:

    The problem with capitalism is that it relies on growth and does not like hard work when it comes to making profit. It focuses on "easy" money, "easy" ways to produce and "easy" ways to force consumption. It makes "money" central to the equation, selling the lie that having "lots of it" will "make you happy". Capitalist governments are amongst the worse offenders in failing to control the perpetuation of the "lies" that ensure capitalist persistence.

    A huge surfeit of the global population has little money and is thus outside this capitalist "ring". Attempting to bring these people into the "ring" simply increases the problems for the rest, but ignoring them simply adds to population swell.

    The planet has been "over-populated" for almost a century and we have yet to respond to the warnings that nature has thrust in our faces. In fact we have given more power to the corporations that thrive on greedy growth. We are not going to come out of this without some extremely tough measures.

    Go down to your local shopping mall, look around, and ask yourself "Do I really have serious choices?".

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  • 42. At 09:47am on 26 Aug 2009, John Ellis wrote:

    One new (to the United States) material that is getting a lot of attention is from a UK-based business, Lhoist Group, and their Tradical® Hemcrete® concrete substitute. This a product made from mixing hemp, lime and water and is 7x as strong as normal concrete as well as being carbon negative

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  • 43. At 10:01am on 26 Aug 2009, thtone wrote:

    Here we go again: verbage not 'top down' leadership.
    Time for public sector example throughout the system from PM down.
    Real initiatives not yet more of the virtual imagery that pervades this generation. Some good practical legislation would help.

    An example: a local authority CEO declared all employees should be encouraged to cycle to work. There is no need to continue: who has seen a CEO on a bicycle or a local bus? We all know the story of the senior politician who did cycle to 'the office'.
    Public sector car parks are always full leaving little room for 'the customers'who probably have to drive there because public transport is inadequate: and so on.
    I recently learned that an accountant could only accept a new job if she lived in the city where she was to be employed. The city is not in UK: of course.

    We all know where it will end up: the question is when.

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  • 44. At 10:21am on 26 Aug 2009, scorpiotemplar wrote:

    #39 DisgustedOfMitcham2

    tv programmes may be for entertainment but can also be informative.Taking part in this programme were numerous scientists who agreed if you were not spouting the government mantra funding would be stopped.Also taking part were the editor of the new scientist and the founder of greenpeace who said the same thing. I cant see what they would have to gain by NOT agreeing with the government.

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  • 45. At 10:43am on 26 Aug 2009, CComment wrote:

    The day the climate change issue was politicised was the day that the planet started to go downhill.
    Too many vested interests - on both sides - are preaching and counter preaching, with the broad mass of the population being alternatively frightened, reassured, hectored, taxed, penalised, mollified and sometimes even criminalised. It's high time an effort was made, nationally and internationally, to establish an apolitical concensus at all levels rather that a polarised debate between green fascists and greedy oil companies. Caledonian Comment

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  • 46. At 10:53am on 26 Aug 2009, Lee wrote:

    The problem, as always, is that politicians tell us we must change, and increase taxes to try to make us change without actually providing the alternatives to allow us to change.

    I live in rural Gloucestershire, but the last bus from the nearest town to where I live is at 7:10 pm, therefore if I wish to go out for the evening I have to drive - I have no choice.

    My wife and I are going to visit some friends in Edinburgh in November. I can get a direct train but I can only buy advance saver tickets 12 weeks in advance. The problem being that if I miss them the day they become available we have to pay the full fair. The full return fare from my "local" station, some 15 miles away, to Edinburgh for two of us is £430. I could also fly using a budget airline, the cost is currently £110 for a return flight including taxes, baggage charge, and everything else for two people. A bit of a "no brainer" but hardly helping the environment!

    When will this government realise people do want to use alternative means of transport, but in too many cases there is no alternative to the car or where there are alternatives they are prohibitively expensive.

    But, of course, providing alternatives means investment but, whilst the government is more than happy to rake in the revenue from their "green" taxes, in reality they've done very little to expand the public transport network.

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  • 47. At 11:19am on 26 Aug 2009, MK_Steve wrote:

    Please, those that are still talking about the ice age and 'natural temperature cycles'; please look at evidence. The current rate of change has no historic parallel, indeed it's so far off as to be extremely convincing as evidence for something quite unpredictable and different. Can you imagine all the scientific researchers sitting in the pub when a man in a football shirt shouts "what about the ice age?" and they all go "doh! Never thought of that; back to square-one".

    The 'ice-age' argument is the sort of over-simplification that causes the scepticism which leads to conspiracy attitudes, and the problem is that most people do not have the time, inclination or dare I say; the mind-set, to be able to see through these misinformed over simplications.

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  • 48. At 11:34am on 26 Aug 2009, Robbiemac62 wrote:

    As someone who works for an environmental charity for 6 years,and have been banging on about climate change for that length of time, it never fails to amaze me that those people who complain about low energy light bulbs,wind farms, nuclear power etc being unsightly or a blot on the landscape deserve to be sitting in the dark when the oil runs out.
    Hope that I am still around to sell them the candles

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  • 49. At 11:51am on 26 Aug 2009, Secratariat wrote:

    We don't have an environmental problem, we have a population problem.

    The world can only sustain a population of about 2-3 billion in the long term so unless we want to see humanity wiped out through war, disease or famine we need to reduce our population significantly over the next few decades.

    Encouraging couples in the developed world to have one child would be a start, funding family planning and contraception programs in the developing world would also help.

    This is never going to happen though because a growing population keeps the rich, rich and the poor, poor. The last time the world saw a significant drop in human population was after the Black Death and this was also the time when the masses in Europe and some other parts of the world gained individual rights and the age of Lords and Serfs came to an end, there is no way those in power want to see a repeat of this as it is not in their own self-interests.

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  • 50. At 12:18pm on 26 Aug 2009, One Marble Left wrote:

    #39 & #44

    Whilst some media may exploit the public with fatuous output, there are nonetheless, hidden amongst the dross, many enlightening facts. Equally true is that much science is driven by money and not by care in covering all the potential flaws.

    Even looking at Mark's opening item one can see the attempts to suggest that problems can be "managed" - "This chart shows where each cluster fits in terms of our ability and willingness to get greener" and the "sophisticated strategy (influencing psychology)". This is psycho-babble. A family in Africa which is starving is not served up "mind boggling codswallop" it is faced with fact - find food or die.

    Which is the more effective?

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  • 51. At 12:23pm on 26 Aug 2009, Chris wrote:

    Research has shown that even if we all change our at-home behaviour it would not be enough (if you believe the carbon emissions theory).

    The only answer is to invest in technology - both R&D and actually building what comes out of that. Then manage the problems and issues arising - if people don't like the way modern windmills look, make them more quaint and Quixote-like. How hard is that?

    But since real research has shown that the CO2 levels FOLLOW the temperature rise, they don't LEAD it, we should be realising that this is just a natural cycle thing. As the world warms up sea water is able to hold less dissolved CO2, so it re-enters the atmosphere.

    So the question is really about how we stop nature wiping us out from large sections of the planet. That will take a LOT of technology!

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  • 52. At 12:27pm on 26 Aug 2009, Chris wrote:

    Tax is not an answer here. The rich can pay what is a minor irritant and then live how they like, leaving the rest of us to pick up the tab.

    Any measures may need to be enforced by law, with appropriate penalties. If you're rich the threat of community service, perhaps doing something topical to improve the environment, would be a greater threat than a £100 fine. How about sorting rubbish into recycleable versus non-recycleable?

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  • 53. At 1:14pm on 26 Aug 2009, Mincepie Murderer wrote:

    Far more important than any of the 'green' measures is population control. China must stick to its 'stop and one' policy. Worldwide authorities should stop pussyfooting around the various anti-contraception religions and make contraception freely available everywhere. And in the West, people should not be rewarded with tax breaks/benefits for producing more children.

    The greenest thing anyone can do is to have no (or no more) children.

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  • 54. At 1:22pm on 26 Aug 2009, jon112uk wrote:

    I'm one of the sceptics - key stakeholders promote a climate of fear for the following reasons...

    * Government - an excuse to raise taxes and cut spending on roads etc
    * Environmentalists - an excuse to end capitalism/consumerism
    * Scientists - a sure fire route to the next research grant
    * Business - a good excuse for keeping prices high & claiming subsidies

    It's a 'perfect storm' of special interest groups getting together to crush us with taxes, price hikes and fear.

    I'm not taken in. All we need is a 'dodgy dossier' and it's the WMD all over again.

    On the other hand I'm all in favour of finding alternatives to dirty fossil fuels from unreliable sources. I'm all in favour of saving myself money with low energy bulbs and good insulation.

    If the government wants to sell me a message then they should stop using this as an excuse for more and more taxes. Just start offering me the cost effective alternatives.

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  • 55. At 1:34pm on 26 Aug 2009, Secratariat wrote:

    MK_Steve wrote:
    "Please, those that are still talking about the ice age and 'natural temperature cycles'; please look at evidence. The current rate of change has no historic parallel"

    I'd have to disagree, there are several times in the planets history when the climate has changed just as fast, and at some times, even faster than it is doing at the moment.
    Unfortunately most of these climatic events coincide with mass-extinction events and have normally been the result of cataclysmic events such as large meteor strikes & unusually high volcanic activity over a sustained period.

    One in particular stands out and it would be the period about 60 million years ago when the dinosaurs died out, at that time the climate changed dramatically in less than a couple of months with average temperature changes, sea-level changes and atmospheric composition changes that were far more dramatic than we've seen over the last 100 years.

    The climate may have been more stable over the last few thousand years but saying that current changes are unparalleled is simply untrue.


    So then Rob, when is the oil going to run out ?
    We get all these Doomsday predictions about Peak Oil all of the time but strangely no-one can give us a date when this is going to happen.
    We were told North Sea oil would run out by the mid 90s yet various companies are still finding more oil there all of the time as well as developing new techniques to exploit the reserves that have already been found. Iraq alone has enough oil to keep the world going for another few decades even if our consumption keeps going up.
    There is also more oil in the ground now than humans have extracted over the past 150 years so logically thinking, we've got as much left as we've already used so I can't see it running out any time soon, and certainly not in our lifetime.
    There's so much of it left that crude oil is actually cheaper to buy than bottled water these days so you may need to keep hold of those candles and pass them to your grandchildren as then they may have the chance to sell them on your behalf.

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  • 56. At 1:35pm on 26 Aug 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:


    Well, if you are prepared to take entertainment shows as the gospel truth, perhaps you should watch "An Inconvenient Truth" as well.

    The real truth probably lies somewhere between the two.

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  • 57. At 2:10pm on 26 Aug 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    John Beddington's prediction is eco-scaremongering of the worst kind.

    A few matters need addressing before credence is given to his claim there are just 21 years left of life as we have known it on this planet.

    First: Research and Development - - there is no way these calculations can have taken account of the unknown progressive variables of discoveries-inventions-developments - - and their impact on human lifestyle. Whether it is Medicinal-Dietary-Technological- or whatever there are always new high-impact innovations, particularly when the modern world is under pressure to seek changes.
    Alongside those much needed and useful developments will be an accompanying dwindling of some of the more extreme 'culutural' human extravagences, e.g. Formula 1 whilst a wonderful spectacle is hardly needed, and so it is with many annual projects that excite human interest but contribute almost nothing, e.g (from the sporting to the ridiculous) do Clothes Designers really need to hold shows around the World all year with all the incumbent flights etc. for skimpily clad models and hangers-on? Will they be missed? E.g. (from the sporting and farcical to the mundanely irritating) must a thousand-and-1 unwanted Advertisements drop through everyone's letter-box each year? Should not advertising preferably go On-line and/or return to the pages of Newspapers (free or otherwise)? Apart from the sick, elderly or pregnant is a Taxi really needed for any walk of under a mile no matter what the weather (and why does anyone have an Executive Jet in this day and age)?

    Second: Natural evolution - - how can his prediction include the unknown events of the future whether it be plague, fire, flood etc. - - why is it assumed these must be bad things for the planet and human species when most evidence suggests that over many centuries natural disasters have hardly affected Animal and Human Population etc. except in a positive manner over the longterm? I remind readers the asteroid-impact-global fire destruction of Dinosaurs is an unproven, highly suspect theory, rather like Beddington's and whatever caused the exstinction homo sapien could only have evolved as a result.

    Third: Pro-Environmental Behaviours as they are described above will gather pace and have some impact on areas presently causing concern. However, obviously nowhere near enough to make the significant changes Beddington and other 'boffins' are calling for - - this does not mean the 'changes' will not work or have a fast enough effect - - the humans on the planet controlling the self-serving-wealth aggrandizing industrial-financial services will press all the buttons to ensure progress as long as they can see 'profit' as a result. Thus 20 odd years of 'pro-Green' evolutionary systems are underway with no reason for these not to be installed within Beddington's time-frame, but, more likely even quicker where lots of profit is bound to follow and at an effectively eco-friendly pace in the less profitable realms.
    Take the battery-powered vehicle - - this is a non-starter for most vehicles - - its very user-friendly alternative (solar-power) is due within a decade and would already be here but for dullard politicians miserly research grants supported by oil companies and oil-rich nations opposition to its development (that oil is the basis for many products and will remain so for many years and thus fittingly sustain the use of the planet's reducing oil-deposits seems equitable). This is just one example of a number of alternative strategies/systems coming onstream for humans that are likely to have the same effect as the steam-engine on canals or jet aircraft had on transcontinental passenger ships.

    Of course, as we have learned from people living longer, there is always a downside to any new development/progression: Doubtless in time some unpleasant condition will be found to be related to 'solar energy' (just as RSI is with IT usage).

    What is also equally certain over time (i.e. somewhere around 2050) is that Mr Beddington's theory will be proven alarmist-speculative and harmful to the real debate about present Global-environment issues.

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  • 58. At 3:09pm on 26 Aug 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:


    "It's high time an effort was made, nationally and internationally, to establish an apolitical concensus [sic] at all levels"

    What a fantastically good idea. Perhaps it could be called something like the "Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change". Amazing no-one's thought of it before, really.

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  • 59. At 3:24pm on 26 Aug 2009, CComment wrote:

    Thanks - you illustrate my point right away with a smart-ass comment.
    I said APOLITICAL. If you're convinced the IPCC is non-political fine - I'm not. Caledonian Comment

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  • 60. At 3:57pm on 26 Aug 2009, jon112uk wrote:

    58. At 3:09pm on 26 Aug 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:


    "It's high time an effort was made, nationally and internationally, to establish an apolitical concensus [sic] at all levels"

    What a fantastically good idea. Perhaps it could be called something like the "Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change". Amazing no-one's thought of it before, really.

    IPCC 'apolitical'???!! Thats a good one. LOL.

    (Here's a link to quite a nice article on IPCC politics...

    I liked the one where Bush was trying to replace the chair with a scientist employed by a big steel company...

    Unfortunately the BBC doesn't do any articles where high taxing governments - EU, UK - made sure only MMGW dupes got a say. But don't think for a minute that did not happen.)

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  • 61. At 4:08pm on 26 Aug 2009, Secratariat wrote:


    While I broadly agree with much of what you're saying I must take issue with one point:
    "Formula 1 whilst a wonderful spectacle is hardly needed"

    Formula 1 has been a Carbon Neutral series for over a decade, they've also been using a bio-fuel mixture for many years too and that's just the obvious points. F1 actually became environmentally aware long before it was fashionable, an interesting article about this can be found here:

    If it wasn't for F1 we'd never have got the Cosworth DFV engine, this was the basis for Ford's production engines from the 70s onwards that have been copied by most other manufacturers, the development of this engine helped improve production car engine efficiency enormously and as a result has saved millions of gallons of petrol.

    Most of the safety devices in current European & Japanese production cars have come directly from the improvements made in F1 since the death of Ayrton Senna & Roland Ratzenburger. The EURO NCAP regulations are based almost entirely on work done by F1 teams and by the F1 safety group headed up by Max (Spanky) Mosley after these tragic deaths.
    These improvements have saved loads of people's lives around the world, drivers, passengers & pedestrians have all benefited from this. ABS, Traction Control, Impact Sensors and many other systems were all developed for F1 first and then modified for production use.

    F1 and other motor racing series bring huge developments to production vehicles that have helped bring fuel consumption down to their current levels. This development wouldn't have happened at the same speed had it not been for motorsport.

    Have you noticed how so many cars look the same these days ?
    It's because manufacturers now use the wind-tunnel techniques developed for F1 to make their cars as aerodynamically efficient as possible, again saving a lot of fuel.
    The use of composites, light weight glass & the development of new alloys have all come as a result of racing and all of these developments bring improvements to production vehicles and also saving lots of fuel.

    Transport for London are currently working with Williams F1 to see if they can modify their fly-wheel KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) to be used on the next generation of trains and buses, it has been estimated that including this system on a train could reduce energy use by up to 40 percent.

    When you weigh up all that F1 brings I'd bet it outweighs massively any environmental impact that the series itself may have.
    It may look to the casual observer that F1 and other racing series are a waste of resources but scratch the surface and there's a whole other story you're not being told.

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  • 62. At 4:20pm on 26 Aug 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:

    #59 and #60:

    That's the great thing about conspiracy theories. Anyone who doesn't agree with you is obviously part of the conspiracy.

    I'm not saying there is no politics whatsoever in the IPCC. There is in any organisation. All I'm saying is that it's primarily focused on the science. Sorry if its conclusions disagree with your point of view, but that doesn't mean that its conclusions have been hobbled by political interference. It could just be that your point of view is wrong.

    But of course, I would say that, because I'm all part of the same conspiracy. Please just let me know where I can find the Evil Criminal Mastermind who is running the conspiracy so I know where to send my invoice for writing these posts.

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  • 63. At 4:25pm on 26 Aug 2009, lixxie wrote:

    Very interesting we are forecasting these issues and yet the best our government can do is; we might just have openned our second high speed rail line by 2030. We still have tiny amount of renewable energy and it takes us 7-10 years to build a new wind farm. We still haven't done anything with the enormous potential of Severn Barrage been discussing already for 20 years. We lack leadership, urgency and drive from the Government

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  • 64. At 4:33pm on 26 Aug 2009, JRWoodman wrote:

    Those posters who bring up the "Great Global Warming Swindle" swindle as their evidence to refute man-made climate change could do no better than reading up about it at:

    As well as the 'Real Climate' site,, also provides a well-balanced scientific discussion on the subject. Personally I've read all the science on the subject that I need to. For our children's sake, now is the time for some action.

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  • 65. At 5:17pm on 26 Aug 2009, anakim wrote:

    Wake up people. It's just another way the government can control you.
    They screwed us for their expenses - dont see anyone going to jail do you?
    They started the war in Afghanistan, is actually a war crime to destroy a countries infrastructure...dont see anyone going to jail do you?
    They are the cause of the credit crisis...dont see any bankers going to jail do you?
    Global warming? Yes of course we'll believe them...
    I'm looking forward to watching the tv coverage of the police acting illegally against G20 protestors.
    Then maybe you'll see 1984 is here already.

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  • 66. At 5:27pm on 26 Aug 2009, jon112uk wrote:

    62. At 4:20pm on 26 Aug 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:
    "...But of course, I would say that, because I'm all part of the same conspiracy. Please just let me know where I can find the Evil Criminal Mastermind who is running the conspiracy so I know where to send my invoice for writing these posts..."

    I wouldn't want to acuse you of being part of a deliberate plot to ramp up the climate of fear - you might have been genuinely taken in by it.

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  • 67. At 6:04pm on 26 Aug 2009, MK_Steve wrote:

    #55 Secratariat

    I hand you the point, although it's a bit of a trifle since I was referring to natuaral cycles and the ice age, but fair's fair! Anyway what you say supports my case that the rate of change indicates something new and different, so I thionk we're in broad agreement.

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  • 68. At 6:12pm on 26 Aug 2009, pandatank wrote:

    Presently, domestic microgeneration and energy self-sufficiency is achievable and has a pay back time of about 18-20 years (assuming current inflation rate and no energy price hikes). Unfortunately, the high initial set up funding is not available for most people. Loans taken out to finance such a project are not transferrable (to the new owner) if/when you move house and there are no provisions in place to estimate (for mortgage purposes)the added value that microgeneration brings. We do have the technology and it is available "off the shelf". We just don't have the infrastructure, Govt. support or long term financial viewpoint required to make it reality. Invest now or pay forevermore. Microgeneration is economically viable, but it requires longer term financial viewpoints, no more boom & bust and political will power (none of which is visible in the UK to date)

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  • 69. At 7:17pm on 26 Aug 2009, Secratariat wrote:


    No worries mate ;-)

    You may be interested in the following link:

    Real Climate is a place where climate scientists discuss climate sciences, it is very informative.

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  • 70. At 8:18pm on 26 Aug 2009, Andy Collins wrote:

    The main reason (I would argue the only reason) for global warming and lack of resources is simply that there are too many people. This rather obvious fact is almost entirely ignored by politicians and media alike. "Green" measures are only a short term solution, the only long term solution is less babies. Free contraception and public awareness that it is selfish to have more than two or three children are the only way forward for mankind. Overpopulation is already ruining the quality of life for all but the very wealthy, it will only get worse until the real cause is tackled,

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  • 71. At 9:16pm on 26 Aug 2009, Landbeyond wrote:

    You have an IEA graph showing world energy demand continuing to rise and more than double if there are no 'new policies'. You and your laid-back 'expert' offer no suggestions as to where that energy is to come from or how to address the already yawning and growing gap between the UK's energy output and its energy demand.

    The BBC knows all about Peak Oil.

    The BBC used to make programmes specifically about Peak Oil. Now, it avoids almost all mention of it. Why?

    Is it a BBC policy, or was it decided at government level, despite the BBC's 'editorial independence'.

    Who made the decision to scale back reporting on Peak Oil?

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  • 72. At 10:29pm on 26 Aug 2009, Radiowonk wrote:

    Er, do football clubs use low energy floodlights, I wonder. In fact, why are football matches played in anything but broad daylight not banned as an energy saving measure?

    Er, how much energy is used converting trees ("managed resources") into the junk mail that comes through the letterbox at regular intervals and which is immediately consigned to the recycling bin, along with all the other energy guzzling processed trees that fall out of the weekend newspapers?

    While I do have concerns about the way mankind is effectively fouling its own nest, I also feel that if governments (ours in the UK in particular) were serious about energy usage and climate change then they would tackle corporate wastage with as much enthusiasm as they display in forcing us to use ghastly energy efficient lightbulbs.

    In this household we are not given to leaving lights on unnecessarily anyway, and in most cases they are either on dimmers or are very low power (incandescent) bulbs in table lights. Now I don't know if dimmable low energy lamps are available yet at prices those of us on pensions can reasonably afford, and last time I looked (not all that long ago) there were no low energy equivalents to 25 or 40 watt "golf ball" or similar physically small filament bulbs.

    Our central heating boiler is not that old, and is probably not as efficient as a more modern one, but unless it could provide the same heat output for less than (say) 75% of current consumption then any conversion would be unlikely to pay for itself within either its own or even our lifetimes.

    Replacing anything (boilers, cars, refrigerators and so on) that uses energy with something else that uses less makes no financial sense unless replacement is also necessary because the original has broken down beyond repair.

    I might start taking the government more seriously if it showed signs of understanding the economic realities of living on finite amounts of income and diminishing savings brought about in part by its inability to grasp macro economic matters as well. I have no more trust in this government on environmental matters than I do on any other topic. In other words... not much at all.

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  • 73. At 00:43am on 27 Aug 2009, One Marble Left wrote:


    A sensible summary of our complete insensitivity to "avoidable waste" and other mindless acts against reason.

    Leaving aside the main problem we face, overpopulation, the other problem is using "climate change" as a means of increasing consumerism instead of decreasing it.

    Our recycling strategies are a joke. In the good old days there were merchants who collected stuff that could be sold on; now they have died away to be replaced by metered rubbish, or council collections. We over complicate because there are too many greedy people waiting to make money somewhere.

    We also know that climate can switch almost overnight; are we prepared for what would happen in such an event? Of course we are not because it is a huge unknown quantity - would it be unbelievably hot or shatteringly cold? Governments rely on a status quo and their record when faced with real change (take the current economic mess) is not exactly likely to breed confidence.

    #53 offers the sanest advice I have seen in one short sentence. After all who in their right mind would want their children to inherit the legacy we are going to leave the planet sometime very soon unless we start acting NOW.

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  • 74. At 04:48am on 27 Aug 2009, intbel wrote:

    I'm in the "Don't believe a word of it" category.

    They won't have any control over climate until they can gain control over the sun and that ain't gonna happen any time soon.

    Reflective roofs, artificial trees, carbon footprints - good grief, it's like something out of a Monty Python sketch.

    My question is: in focussing our attention on this, from what is it they seek to distract our attention please?

    I'm just askin' ...

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  • 75. At 08:54am on 27 Aug 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:


    " might have been genuinely taken in by it"

    An interesting way of putting it. Tell me, do you also believe that the vast majority of the world's climate scientists have been "taken in by it", or are they really part of a great conspiracy?

    BTW, I note that those arguing that climate change is just a myth generally couch their arguments in terms of political interference and conspiracies, rather than the science itself.

    If you genuinely believe that the IPCC's science is flawed, perhaps you could point out specific flaws in their report, giving the page numbers in the report where you think the flaws are and citations for any evidence you have that contradicts what they say.

    If the science is wrong and I've just been "taken in by it", I'm quite happy to change my mind and admit I was wrong if you can convince me of that by rational scientific argument.

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  • 76. At 09:01am on 27 Aug 2009, jon112uk wrote:

    Have the BBC been 'hoist by their own petard'?

    The BBC - and particularly this blog - repeatedly tell us we can't believe a word the government says.

    Now the government - and the BBC - both want to push a certain message and people won't believe either of them.

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  • 77. At 10:18am on 27 Aug 2009, Peter Hood wrote:

    Oh FGS, I have difficulty in believing that people could even question there is a problem; species are migrating uphill and towards polar regions, because their 'home' regions are warming; glaciers are retreating, across the globe; permafrost in Siberia is disappearing; species are disappearing; methane is being released from the sea bed; 'desertification' appears to have accelerated; the forests of the world are being salami sliced; the Channel 4 documentary was filled with misquotes and misconceptions, one of the people quoted on it took great exception; the hockey stick graph is for real; ice core sample data are for real; even if we are not the only cause (and we have stripped, e.g., this island almost bare of trees, dug a lot of holes, released a lot of petro-carbons), we can certainly make things a lot less intolerable, a lot more comfortable than we have done... only takes a little on the part of all people. There is nothing new here; during WW2 people recycled almost everything, and wasted almost nothing. Now people seem to feel free to lob food in bins, such that there are worms in them when the waste carts arrive. WTH do people think they are doing? It seems that selfish individualism has destroyed our ability to solve problems in this department of life. Instead of scepticism and individualism working as a team can improve our lives enormously and, in the process of repairing community relations, the way generations relate to one another, fix the world.

    Quite apart from the fact that all this adds up to unnecessary use of precious resources, there are people in other parts of the world where this waste of a precious resource must seem criminal, selfish, that we are squandering our resources.

    Use a composter; recycle; don't waste; turn unnecessary electrical items off. That's a bare minimum. We can probably all do much, much more.

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  • 78. At 10:31am on 27 Aug 2009, jon112uk wrote:

    75. At 08:54am on 27 Aug 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:

    " might have been genuinely taken in by it"

    An interesting way of putting it. Tell me, do you also believe that the vast majority of the world's climate scientists have been "taken in by it", or are they really part of a great conspiracy?

    Being serious...

    I don't think it is a conspiracy as such - that implies some sort of 'conspiracy central office' organising it all.

    I do think there is an emerging loose coalition of groups who's self interest is clearly served by promoting a climate of fear. (See #54)

    Looking at the topic of Mark's blog. I guess I am one of the people who just don't trust a government which is using it all as one great excuse for yet more taxes. Nor am I too keen on a bunch of academics who's next research grant will come from the climate of fear they themselves have created.

    Bottom line: I just don't trust them.

    (I do think we need to move away from fossil fuels in a controlled and organised way - just not in the fear driven panic some people seem to want)

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  • 79. At 11:03am on 27 Aug 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:


    "Bottom line: I just don't trust them."

    Now there we agree!

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  • 80. At 11:19am on 27 Aug 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    If unchecked population growth is a major part of the future problem, perhaps we should be spending less money on vaccines for whichever flu variant is supposed to wipe us out over the winter!
    Or opening a branch of Dignitas in every town.

    Flippancy aside, there are so many linked big picture issues that are rarely presented together...

    if global population growth is causing part of the problem then we need fewer babies ... but then who will wok and pay taxes to support the legions of aging retirees who are no longer allowed to die due to medical ability to prolong life.

    Which is it going to be? We do need to reproduce ourselves - mandating one child per couple will result in the need for mass immigration in the west to fill the workforce (political suicide). In this case the brightest and best from the developing world will emigrate thus deriving their nations of their skills.

    A balanced long view is needed - based on education and choice. The developed world is worried about the future (a luxury as the poor in developing nations generally look to the next meal)so spend money on education and especially on promoting contraception so people can control their destiny.

    Couple this with real change in energy use and incentive for recycling, and remove the gimmicky political fluff that detracts from real issues.
    EG why should I recycle my one empty bottle, when millions of perfectly good radios are about to become obsolete when analogue radio switches off.
    EG why is there no universal charger for cellphones, cameras, MP3 players ... everything in fact. Then they wouldn't have to provide a new one each time you buy a product - I have boxes full of the things.

    Sorry if this is a bit rambling .... anyway to conclude, back on the population growth idea, it is more and more likely that by 2030 2 major changes will have taken place
    1) some sort of flu pandemic, which would certainly affect the developing world more than the West
    2) the legalisation of euthanasia, for the political and fiscal reason that it will no longer be possible financially to keep everyone alive as long as is possible medically. Money will triumph over morals.
    So maybe there won't be so many people after all.

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  • 81. At 11:28am on 27 Aug 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    Jon and Disgusted

    Just because much of the "green" marketing industry that has sprung up is a load of *$%&, that does not mean that climate change is not a problem.

    As ever the fastest movers in any new idea are the ones who see a way to make money off it .... in this case undermining the idea itself. The idea is still sound, but the snake-oil salesmen have the loudest voices.

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  • 82. At 11:42am on 27 Aug 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    Secratariat and #61.

    Re, F1 - - Is it needed?

    A fine defence by you of a Sport I've followed for some 50 years - - Brands Hatch and Silverstone with Hawthorn, Moss and Surtees upto Hills snr and jnr before unable to attend - - with many valid points about technical advances F1 helped bring about.

    I suppose F1 is a bit like the Space efforts - - it is all so spectacular in costs and high-tec intricacies- - followers/believers want them to succeed to confirm Humans are still capable of the sublime feats of engineering and daring on the absolute limit of endeavour.

    Nevertheless, despite all your highly regarded plusses for motor racing, and mine and millions worldwide enjoyment of it, I fear F1 will be increasingly viewed as a peripheral 'luxury' activity in straitened economic-scientific-ecological times that seem ahead of us all.

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  • 83. At 12:19pm on 27 Aug 2009, Peter Hood wrote:

    # 18 JRWoodman
    >The approaching cataclysm of population, energy, resources, pollution,
    >food and climate-change is really, really serious; it's about time,
    >through their actions, our leaders really demonstrated their concern.

    One small problem here; the leaders of both main parties are offering comfy tax breaks in order to encourage people to reproduce, in spite of the dizzying 60 million on this island, telling us that we need more people... expand the economy. We will eat ourselves out of house and home if this nonsense does not stop, for sure, but you, I and others have to tell politicians to cure themselves of this, and those of us who present with this problem need to sort ourselves out. Me? I have no children. I've always known that population increases stress infrastructure - roads, rail, food, all means of 'production and distribution', tho' I'm not a Marxist - and that our blind response is to consume more resources to shore them up, which means we need to reproduce and thereby create the 'workforce of tomorrow'.

    So we not only need to halt *all* immigration *now*, we need to have a Chinese styled policy on reproduction, with a sophisticated deterrent where the abuse of fertility drugs is concerned; perhaps where fertility drugs have been used a substantial loss of income - to be directed into repairing this world - might help, along with periods in some sophisticated form of 'stocks', where they have to justify their rash, antisocial behaviour to angry citizens. That way people might restrain their natural impulses, get snipped, or be celibate.

    It's tempting to suggest that offenders should be among the first to colonise other planets but wait, that would mean another population boom on another planet. On it would go, consuming the universe by the planet; "The mission heads for outer space the voices ring and swear, aeons of self righteousness [...]"

    In the same vein I'd prosecute the Pope for crimes against humanity and the planet. I hesitate to guess how many extra millions are the result of papal bull, which being pronounced by 'papal bull'.

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  • 84. At 12:58pm on 27 Aug 2009, Secratariat wrote:


    I think we're safe for a few years yet mate, as long as F1 keeps on generating so much profit there's little chance of it stopping or being stopped in our lifetime.

    If we're going to talk about luxuries that should be killed off in the name of the economy and ecology then Golf would be my first candidate.
    Golf takes up vast amounts of prime land in many countries, requires unbelievable amounts of water to keep the courses in good condition, requires even more energy to keep the fairways and greens playable and all for the benefit of a relatively small number of people.

    Even if we just take into account the area I live, there are at least 6 private golf clubs that I can name from the top of my head that charge thousands of pounds a year for membership and only allow a very limited number of members to join, non-members are charged hundreds of pounds for a round to ensure the riff-raff (like me) are kept out too.

    While the courses look nice and green they're also often a barren desert in ecological terms with a very small number of species living or growing on them, some courses have started to do something about this and I believe the RSPB is working with some clubs to make the courses more wildlife friendly. Even so, getting rid of half of our countries golf courses would free up lots of land for domestic or agricultural use and take a lot of pressure off the green belt while reducing the vast amounts of energy and water that's being wasted on them.

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  • 85. At 1:36pm on 27 Aug 2009, cjhazard wrote:

    The two main problems that face us are simple:

    1. Population - there's too many of us.
    2. Greed - too many of us want too much!

    Actually make that three...

    3. The Bilderberg group.

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  • 86. At 1:40pm on 27 Aug 2009, RangerGrainger wrote:

    The BBC has a role to play in all this. Too often it gives equal airtime to opposing sides of the debate (in Countryfile, for instance), thereby leading many people to assume that the jury is still out and that both sides of the argument carry equal weight. Where facts need to be interpreted, at least give more emphasis to the points of view which are more widely held, or which are held by more highly qualified people.

    On the other hand, the presenters of Gardeners' World appear to have made up their minds that "climate change" automatically means a warmer UK. This completely overlooks the possibility that the Gulf Stream may move further South or stop altogether, in which case all their advice to grow plants of Mediterranean origin will have been wasted.

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  • 87. At 2:15pm on 27 Aug 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:


    Not sure why that post was aimed at me: I agree with you! There are some uncertainties in climate science, to be sure, but the basic conclusion that we are in for a whole lot of climate trouble if we carry on as we have been doing is, IMHO, perfectly sound.

    Where I was agreeing with jon112uk is in not trusting the government as far as I could spit.

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  • 88. At 3:41pm on 27 Aug 2009, jon112uk wrote:

    81. At 11:28am on 27 Aug 2009, RomeStu

    Sorry RomeStu, the only 'perfect storm' I can see is all these people who have a vested interest in creating a climate of fear.

    Underlying message of MMGW? - I have no way of knowing if it is true or not.

    With regard to the government telling me MMGW means I have to pay more tax, crusties telling me it means I have to go back to the dark ages or some corporation telling me it means I have to buy 'eco-friendly car insurance' - I definitely don't fall for it.

    (OOPS! UK population just grew to 61 million. Elephant in the room is trumpeting)

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  • 89. At 3:43pm on 27 Aug 2009, One Marble Left wrote:


    So the National Lottery becomes "Who will have the chance to live beyond 60? Will it be you?"

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  • 90. At 6:51pm on 27 Aug 2009, Its_an_Outrage wrote:

    I believe that we've long passded the stage where people installing water meters and forgoing short-haul flights is going to make any difference. Even if it could make a difference, half the population still wouldn't do it either through selfishness or ignorance.

    The only thing that might, possibly, make a difference is if Governments were to agree to take collective responsibility and impose massive restrictions on carbon emission and energy use and to make radical changes to global land use. I don't mean hitting current energy targets, I mean real, very painful, very radical changes. And even if they did that, which they won't, it's probably too late and the human race is probably toast.

    It's not about taxes, it's not about how it might affect your holidays and it's not about saving the planet - the planet will carry on perfectly happily without us.

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  • 91. At 8:26pm on 27 Aug 2009, MGUK82 wrote:

    >1) Reduce our commuting by car to a minimum (move nearer work or get a job nearer home).

    Already done though it helps that I'm in the centre of town and have two train stations and a coach station within walking distance.

    >2) Stop flying on holiday or business.

    Effectively putting people in geographical cages. People go on holiday for a change of scene. You're effectively cutting people off from anywhere that takes more than a day or two(tops) to get to by train.

    >5) Grow your own and try to avoid buying non-UK-grown food.

    Growing my own a second floor flat. Good one.

    >6) Think carefully before buying non-essential 'stuff'.

    Define non-essential. If you define essentials as things that contribute towards physical survival then there are one hell of a lot of non-essential objects in existence. You could argue the Internet is non-essential if you wanted to!

    Bottom line, technology has to be the answer rather than the restiction of individuals. What's the point of living life in a cage?

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  • 92. At 9:18pm on 27 Aug 2009, MGUK82 wrote:

    On a more constructive not, the greens do have a point concerning air travel. In the short to medium term, short-haul flights do need to be restricted if not grounded completely.

    Best solution I can come up with, measure how long it takes to get from point A to point B overland/sea(be it train, coach, ship whatever). If that time is under a set period of time(let's say three hours) and there are flights between A and B, ground the flights and challenge the aviation industry to invent a cleaner fuel otherwise more flights will be grounded over time.

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  • 93. At 9:21pm on 27 Aug 2009, threnodio wrote:

    Cynicism about government motives in this debate is completely understandable and is undermining their case.

    Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to take my laptop and work during my train journey from central Europe to the UK but it costs 330 quid more than the plane. I would cheerfully do the same thing travelling from the south to Scotland except that it is far cheaper by car and I can have a cigarette (how many car journeys are made every day because the politically correct mob have demonised smokers rather than segregating them?). When I am in England, I would be happy to take a bus for an evening out but how am I going to get back at one in the morning?

    The government can go on all they like about social responsibility but, unless and until they address the question of reliable, flexible, available and - above all - affordable - public transport, they are on a hiding to nothing.

    I have done my bit. I don't go home to the UK at all. I moved my entire life to central Europe and I don't run a car any more. I don't need one because public transport is - yes, that's right - reliable, flexible, available and - above all - affordable.

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  • 94. At 01:39am on 28 Aug 2009, KennethM wrote:

    #86 RangerGrainger

    I too think the BBC has a role to play, and that is to report facts.

    Far too much of their coverage of this issue is spiced with propaganda. The problem is that most of us are ignorant of the true situation. The BBC simply isn’t capable of presenting the facts without bringing in their own commentary.

    I have yet to see any straight reporting on the climate from the BBC, apart from the weather forecast (which is usually right).

    For what it’s worth I also think that the slanted coverage of this issue has given rise to solutions which are not solutions at all. There seems to be a rush to do more and more: more buses, more trains, more recycling, more eco towns (whatever they are), more wind turbines and more environmentally friendly products. In fact, so much more that I am sure factories are on overtime, pumping out green smoke from their chimneys and green bilge into the sewers.

    We run thousands of polluting buses that have 1 person in them. Most of us have ugly plastic bins in our villages, towns and cities polluting the landscape. I am also not sure of what the effect of taking wind energy from the atmosphere and reducing water flows using turbines will have on our wildlife.

    What I do know is that we should go back to an old fashioned term called conservation. Instead of trying to deploy more buses and trains surely we should be asking ourselves why we need to travel so much?

    There are many jobs where people could work from home for at least part of the week. There should also be a job exchange scheme where an accountant living in Edinburgh who works in Glasgow could swap jobs with another accountant who lives in Glasgow and works in Edinburgh. A job swap scheme that resulted in just a couple of hundred jobs being swapped would have significant affects on pollution, reduce traffic levels and save lives in less accidents, reduce costs on road repairs, increase the money in the pockets of those with less travel expenses, make people fresher for work and, perhaps most important, give them some more home life with their family and friends. All of this would help to restimulate local neighbourhoods.

    As far as the rubbish we accumulate is concerned, it is madness. Products are often not serviceable. They are made to only last for a short period. Very few electrical or other devices can be repaired these days. As for food packaging, there was a time when a shopper would have their own trolley on wheels and everything went loose into the trolley. There is a lot to be said for reusable packaging (i.e. personal trolley). Recycling is wasteful and gives us the illusion of doing good when I suspect it is only marginally helpful.

    My feeling is that this will all come together if the price of fuel is raised universally. If this was done overnight it would wreck our already ailing economy. So it needs to be gradually. Dare I say we should reintroduce the dreaded fuel escalator? We may also need to have duties in imported fuel.

    If we can wean ourselves off of the need to move far away, to take on jobs that involve long distance commuting and even drive for 30 miles to go shopping then things may come together. Yes, the out of town stores would be white elephants, but we would have our town centres back to their former glory and local businesses would thrive. I also believe that this would also have the effect of improving the quality of goods and making them more serviceable. If it costs a small fortune to ship a DVD player across the world or even across the country, it will give rise to serviceable machines that people would take to the repair shop. I am not suggesting a trip back to the dark ages, but perhaps back to the 1950s!

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  • 95. At 02:58am on 28 Aug 2009, clamdip lobster claws wrote:

    My electricity meter must run backwards because I never get a bill. I take the bus and own a moped and a car that I rarely use. What concerns me is that large corporations are buying up the watershed and huge tracks of agricultural land around the world. I do all of the green things necessary and yet will I need to also be catching my own rainwater(difficult in California) because Corporations will end up owning all of the water rights? Or grow my own vegetables (which I tried but failed.. need some worms) because criminals have bought up all of the agricultural land and turned it into condos? These are important issues that need to be adressed.

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  • 96. At 03:58am on 28 Aug 2009, One Marble Left wrote:

    I am a little appalled by the nonsense being spouted about public transport. When public transport runs it may carry just one person for a part of its journey and several people for other parts of its journey. The important point about public transport is that it is there.

    The point made by threnodio at #93 (as follows)

    "I have done my bit. I don't go home to the UK at all. I moved my entire life to central Europe and I don't run a car any more. I don't need one because public transport is - yes, that's right - reliable, flexible, available and - above all - affordable."

    is critical to any discussion about drastically changing habits. The UK government has demonised smokers by increasing costs substantially and making it impossible to smoke almost anywhere but home. Were these same rules applied to private motor vehicles we would not have anything like the problems we do have and we may have a chance of preserving something for future generations. But that is only one facet of our difficulties and the painful solutions we must endure. Population control and movement are also crucial to our longer term survival.

    Does anyone who is killing themselves slowly but surely actually worry about how much they have in their bank account (the economy)?

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  • 97. At 06:05am on 28 Aug 2009, Todaymueller - wrote:

    If a political party stood for election and proposed that they would :
    Penalize you for having more than one child .
    Force you send that child to a local , walking distance school .
    Stop you flying abroad for a holiday .
    Make you use public transport instead of a car .
    Only let you eat food that was in season and locally produced .
    They would stand no chance of being elected . People are not interested in facts . They are only interested in listening to that which corresponds to their own world view .
    No mention of fusion power ? That is something that might save us all.

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  • 98. At 08:12am on 28 Aug 2009, jon112uk wrote:



    'Ethical man' on here tried to acheive 'low carbon footprint' just by giving things up - the result was unacceptable to any normal person. No one is going to move to that type of lifestyle.

    The problem here is not electricity or cars or planes - it's the fossil fuels they use for energy. As you point out if we used fusion (or tidal power or any number of other alternatives) to provide the electricity then there would be no need to sit in the dark. Yet nothing is being done.

    Instead of creating a climate of fear to justify taxes, the government just needs to get on with it. Even people who are not taken in by the climate panic can see that fossil fuel has no long term future.

    Provide the alternatives to fossil fuels and people will use them.

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  • 99. At 09:13am on 28 Aug 2009, One Marble Left wrote:


    So you have your electric/fusion/perpetual motion personal transportation devices. Where exactly are you going to have the room to use them when the population jumps from 61.5 million to 90 million plus?

    The problem is not just about fuel burning; it concerns the exhaust gases of all people, the space they must occupy, the energy they consume in producing their food, homes, essential goods etc., and the exponential growth required to enable our economic systems to support increasing demands as the population doubles every fifty years or less.

    In nature, species die out if there is insufficient food, problems in the food chain, over-population, disturbed or distressed environment, diseases etc. Species have "learned" how to avoid their own wilful self destruction but they cannot avoid extinction if they or another species behave stupidly.

    Isn't this really a selfish game called "I'm Alright, Jack (As long as I am alive doing what I want to do)"?

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  • 100. At 10:01am on 28 Aug 2009, jon112uk wrote:


    I agree with your underlying point - population is the elelphant in the room we are not allowed to mention - have a look at #88 above.

    The answer to that is to limit population, not going back to the dark ages. Even if you lot have us all living in the dark in huts, there will still be a limit to how many people you can have.

    Mark's blog was about why people are sceptical of the MMGW message, so I'm saying why I don't trust it. That doesn't mean there aren't other issues as well.

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  • 101. At 10:19am on 28 Aug 2009, Secratariat wrote:

    One_Marble_Left wrote:
    "I am a little appalled by the nonsense being spouted about public transport. When public transport runs it may carry just one person for a part of its journey and several people for other parts of its journey. The important point about public transport is that it is there."

    You can be as appalled as you want, until public transport can get me to work and back as quickly and cheaply as my own transport then I'm not going to use it.
    To get to work on public transport I currently need to get a bus and a train, the journey involves a 10-15 minute wait between the two, takes just under an hour and costs over 7 pounds a day (not to mention the subsidies that have come out of my taxes).
    The same journey on my motorbike takes me about 15 minutes with no waiting and it takes me from my door directly to my employers building and costs about 5 pounds a day including petrol, tax, MOT, insurance and the cost of buying a bike every five years and replacing my protective clothing every 3 years too.

    Public transport in this country (outside of London anyway) is useless, it is always late, dirty, smelly and expensive and as such is not fit for purpose. No matter what the environmental costs, I'm not going to pay more to be sat on a dirty old bus only to have to wait for ages on a train station platform for a train that is, more often than not, late.

    The day I got my first motorbike was one of the happiest days of my life as I was finally free of the horror that is British public transport, I was no longer going to be late for work three days a week, I wouldn't be wasting hours of my life waiting for busses & trains that didn't come and I would be saving a fortune. I haven't used public transport in over three years and have no intention of ever using it again, if at all possible.

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  • 102. At 10:56am on 28 Aug 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:

    Secretariat {#101) makes some great points, which in my view takes us back to the original point of this blog.

    Yes, public transport is important in reducing carbon emissions. The government tells us we should be reducing carbon emissions. So why have they let public transport got into the dreadful state it's in? Some uber-greenies might accuse Secretariat of being selfish in choosing not to use public transport. But IMHO, that would be totally unfair. Why should Secratariat have to put up with much longer and more expensive journeys?

    It is firmly up to the government to take a lead here. They need to implement policies that will make public transport hugely better than it is at the moment, so that people like Secretariat would feel able to use it.

    As I said in my first post, the government are good at talking the talk, but completely fail to walk the walk. That's a major reason why people don't trust them.

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  • 103. At 11:07am on 28 Aug 2009, MK_Steve wrote:

    As 'Jon112uk' just said, Mark's Blog was: Why don't 'we' trust the message?

    Along with 'DisgustedofMitcham2', I distrust the govt while at the some time trusting the bulk of climate change science.

    A major contributer to the problem is this: When we dislike a person, we prefer to disagree with their opinions; it's well founded in research. Most of us dislike the govt, so we want to disagree with what we perceive that they 'think'; it feels much better than agreeing, and is more socially acceptable. So if an unpopular govt push a message, the message itself is at risk. But if they don't push it then more 'trusting' people see that as meaning the message is unimportant, quite fairly.

    If Mr Everyman wants to be popular in the pub, the best way is to find a mutual dislike and attack it. The government are an ideal candidate. Hence the green message gets trashed without any decent evidence whenever the governemt mention it, because Mr Everyman is too socially inept to hold his own without such a social crutch.

    I also agree with 'RomeStu' #81. Many undesirables are now misusing the green message for their own vested interests, but we should be able to separate that from the scientific evidence, rather than mistakenly think one thing has anything to do with the other.

    For example; Jon112uk #54 gives 4 good reasons for bodies to misuse the climate change message for their own benefit (which I can't deny), but apparently fails to see that none of these 'reasons' are evidence for or against haman-induced climate change.

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  • 104. At 11:32am on 28 Aug 2009, jon112uk wrote:

    103. At 11:07am on 28 Aug 2009, MK_Steve wrote:
    "...For example; Jon112uk #54 gives 4 good reasons for bodies to misuse the climate change message for their own benefit (which I can't deny), but apparently fails to see that none of these 'reasons' are evidence for or against haman-induced climate change."


    But these reasons do explain why I don't trust the SOURCES of the evidence.

    Once you stop trusting the sources, why would you believe the evidence?

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  • 105. At 11:53am on 28 Aug 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:


    Great post! I think that sums up the problem beautifully.

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  • 106. At 12:05pm on 28 Aug 2009, MK_Steve wrote:

    #104 jon112uk

    That's fair enough.

    But three out of your four sources are 'untrustworthy' as you state, not scientific. That's part of the problem.

    In terms of your fourth source (scientists); your argument about scientist's vested intersts due to grants; I see your point. But; I am a research scientist (in a very different field) and the system doesn't work that way. Peer-review means that other scientists (with an interest in finding any holes your work) have the first say when you publish results, not the government or grant bodies. Those other scientists are in competition for grants too and would be the first to call any bad science. Indeed, when you submit for publication, frequently they call for extended sample sizes, alternative analyses etc, or throw the work straight back at you. Scientists are not a single cohort, they are competitive. Every scientist would love to be the one to prove that everyone else was wrong, they'd be made for life. Indeed those that claim climate change is a myth are actually following a vested interest too. Rest assured that is the golden chalice, and that is why I'm convinced by climate change, because no one can disprove it scientifically, when, rest assured everyone would love to!

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  • 107. At 12:22pm on 28 Aug 2009, One Marble Left wrote:

    #101 Secratariat

    Firstly, I didn't mention UK public transport. I also quoted the text of threnodio (who resides in public transport bliss somewhere in mid-Europe) to establish the need for real strategy.

    I, too, suffer the rigours of public transport, fighting with school kids to get on 'buses because they will not walk one hundred metres to their school (oh, the wonder of no 'bus fares for under 14s).

    We have serious defects in our transport policies. Our urban roads are a nightmare; our railways are too darned expensive and inefficient; our 'buses are not run as "services" and we do not have 24/7 coverage. The UK has spent huge sums of money eradicating the high street shops so that a mega-rich corporation can build a hypermarket several miles from where a lot of people live. In doing this they assume that disposable income is more likely to come from a car owner than someone who has to use public transport. In other words these corporates are choosing their customers and to hell with the rest. Their bed fellows are leading members of successive cabinets going back a long, long way.

    The problems of the climate, of over population and so on are very inconvenient blots on a landscape which is now showing signs of agricultural blight. GM crops do not have the yields predicted of them and honey bees are dying out from an unknown quantity, possibly (di)stress. We have invested in short term expedients instead of long term plans. How can we be serious about another terminal for London Heathrow when we are being warned to cut back on air travel - where is the sense in that?

    The UK can have no control over its population as long as it remains in the EU. Sure we are in big trouble but we still have our NHS and people can earn more here than they can in Romania (for example). What happens if Turkey gains entry?

    We really have to have serious policy in place now; do you see that in either of our two main parties? To put the policy in place is political suicide; to do nothing is national suicide.

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  • 108. At 12:43pm on 28 Aug 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #96 - One_Marble_Left

    I am not sure whether you miss my point or whether you are reinterpreting to suit your argument. On the specific topic of smoking, my point is not that people should be permitted to smoke in public, it was how much thought went into the blanket ban and whether, in fact, prohibition as opposed to segregation has impacted negatively by increasing emissions by drivers who would otherwise use public transport. My question is whether or not it is the triumph of political correctness over common sense.

    You say my remark 'is critical to any discussion about drastically changing habits'. I would have thought emigration as a possible answer is pretty drastic by any standards but, leaving that aside, I am strongly in favour of drastic changes in personal habits but there have to carrots as well as sticks. Human nature tells us that, if you give people a good reason for doing something, hy are far more likely to react positively than if you punish them for not doing it. Affordable public transport may not impact immediately but, in time, it's use will become the norm rather than the exception. Currently, society tends to subsidize transport for people who are less likely to drive anyway - the elderly, the disabled and so on. It is all very laudible in terms of social policy but not what is needed for a significant shift in mainstream habits. For that, you need a credible and affordable solution. Motoring remains significantly cheaper for medium distance travel than anything else and, for as long as this contines, people will carry on doing it.

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  • 109. At 12:52pm on 28 Aug 2009, ATNotts wrote:

    The "Perfect Storm" is going to be caused primarily by population - not the UK's, but the global population.

    Until some, but not all, of the worlds religions (and they know which ones in particular I'm refering to) come out of denial and start promoting contraception then the problem will not be resolved.

    The Chinese, with their one child per family policy, though draconian, is absolutely the only way forward for all nations. How democratically elected governments are going to implement it only the almighty knows.

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  • 110. At 1:42pm on 28 Aug 2009, jon112uk wrote:

    106. MK_Steve

    Peer review makes academics trustworthy?

    I had a colleague who was always well ahead in the publications league table. His partner was an editor.

    I love the peer review system. You review and publish me this month. I'll do the same for you for the next edition.

    Here's a question...

    You study a glacier for 2 years and send in a paper which reports it has retreated by X percent.

    I study another glacier for 2 years and submit a paper saying my glacier has no statistically signifcant changes.

    Which paper do you think would be more likely to be published?

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  • 111. At 1:50pm on 28 Aug 2009, Secratariat wrote:


    My apologies, I must have misread your earlier post.

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  • 112. At 2:06pm on 28 Aug 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:


    "Here's a question...

    You study a glacier for 2 years and send in a paper which reports it has retreated by X percent.

    I study another glacier for 2 years and submit a paper saying my glacier has no statistically signifcant changes.

    Which paper do you think would be more likely to be published? "

    You refer to what is a very well known problem in science, namely publication bias. More remarkable results are more likely to get published than boring results.

    2 observations on that.

    1. It's a very well known phenomenon that any scientist searching the literature would be aware of. There are a variety of statistical techniques available for estimating its impact. The idea that the scientists who work in climate change hadn't thought of it is about as sensible as one of the other arguments that climate change deniers sometimes suggest, namely that it had never occurred to the climate change scientists that there have been ice ages and warm periods in the past.

    2. Given that the prevailing wisdom is currently that climate change is real, a paper showing that the climate is not changing would in fact be more remarkable than a paper showing that the climate is changing, so would be more likely to be published.

    In fact, although in many ways publication bias is a problem for those assessing the scientific literature, in the long run it is self-correcting. As MK_Steve so astutely points out, scientists like few things better than proving other scientists wrong.

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  • 113. At 2:56pm on 28 Aug 2009, SSnotbanned wrote:

    First: Thanks to Black Crow for the flush.Thanks also to Son Of Black DNA test will reveal the link!!
    ''...this could take forever'', a ''miracle'' some claim. Shows you (BC)can do more in a couple of days,than a ''great '' in a lifetime.

    a reminder of the 3rd verse:
    'Oh I'll break them down,no mercy shown
    Heaven knows,it's got to be this time,
    Avenues all lined with trees,
    Picture me and then you start watching,
    Watching forever,...'.

    Second:The government could lead by selling the Houses Of Parliament (anagram'often pushes hot air')and putting to good use,21stCentury technology.
    Tens of millions of pounds a year saved, and potentially much greener.

    But ..Can they be bothered?

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  • 114. At 3:22pm on 28 Aug 2009, MK_Steve wrote:

    #106 jon112uk

    It's a very reasonable point. BTW My apologies if I was trying to teach you to suck eggs!

    I agree that publication bias exists but, that doesn't make the bulk of science wrong, or any sort of conspiracy in favour of one hypothesis (in my experience, this sort of 'mutual' (ping-pong) type of publishing is caused by opposing scientists rather than those in agreement).

    But we are all still waiting to hear a supportable piece of evidence on this blog against the hypothesis that climate change is being caused by human activity, since that may explain the public attitude. The 'evidence' that you have presented on here so far is NOT evidence (as you yourself have admitted #104).

    You example in #110 was unfortunate for your case. DisgustedOfMitcham2 puts it very nicely in #112 [DisgustedOfMitcham2: thanks for the earlier kind comment BTW!]. Jon112uk, Any other time you would be correct, but in this case a non-significant effect would lead to the top journals biting your arm off to publish it!

    I'm very open to changing my view in the face of convincing evidence. We all agree with you that there are unscrupulous people (probably the govt too) using the green banner to disguise their vested interests as moral principles, and many many money. I hate that as much as you do. But I do not believe that these people have created or even enhanced the theory of 'climate change' as a vehicle to do so (if you think so then you give the govt far more credit in terms of what it's capable of than I do), they have merely used it as an opportunity (afterall that's a far easier thing to do, and they are not that clever!).

    Sorry it's a bit long!

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  • 115. At 3:28pm on 28 Aug 2009, FateFound wrote:

    Some good thoughts here. I think that we have reached a peak in social behavior that resulted in the credit crisis. Over the past 50 years life has continued to get easier with increases in technology, the human population has grown exponentially in that time, and more and more we have consumed anything and everything this world has to offer us. We have consumed the oil, which has given us climate change, wasted huge amounts of food/water/everything which has left us with water shortages, a forthcoming food crisis and huge environmentally damaging landfills. And yet we still wanted more, so consumed credit cards and mortgagees we could not afford, which gave us the credit crisis.

    We have been living beyond our means for decades and it must come to and end sooner or later.

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  • 116. At 3:41pm on 28 Aug 2009, jazzroc wrote:

    Speaking as one of the early greenies back in the late Sixties I cannot help but start laughing. In those days we argued for better public transport and fewer cars. It was the state that ploughed us to one side with their fiddled public enquiries, roads before homes, bigger and better airports and quite awful public transport. If you weren't into all that you were marginalised socially, politically and economically. So many like me compromised so that we could just survive.
    Now the state tells us that we must change. No, Mr. State, you must change. We are where we are because of you so don't come and tell me that I am wrong when it was you who was wrong all along. It was and is you, Mr. State, who is doing most of the damage. So change yourself before you expect us to change. Try setting an example for once!
    For years now there have been those of us who have been laughed at by our social betters for driving small economical cars, making journeys by bike and Shank's pony, growing as much of our own vegetables and fruit as we can, making compost, avoiding flying, recycling as much as possible and leaving as small a footprint on the soil as possible.
    We would also like to generate our own electricity but we have been prevented by regulations. I would also like a well, but I can't have one as it is against regulations. Isn't it funny how these regulations benefit certain interests?
    In return I have come to laugh at what I now call the environment industry. Just ask a green campaigner for details and you get referred to a website. No: I need electricity for a website and that means power stations. Can't I have a book or a pamphlet that I can read by a guttering candle? I don't want to be told frightening tales about melting ice-caps as I have the imagination to do that for myself. I want to know will there be enough clean, fresh water and sufficient land and labour to put food on the table? Is our future viable just ten years from now?
    Then there are these big conferences going on where all these pious people from all over the world fly in and hang around in huge air-conditioned conference centres so they can then tell me what I should do. My attitude to them is contempt. They are the problem pretending to be the solution!
    The problem the environmental argument has experienced all the way through is that it is not an argument that the state can resolve. Only ordinary people can resolve these pressing matters. We don't need taxes OR encouragement to become more environmentally conscious. We don't need laws and tin Hitlers telling us how to manage our wheelie-bins. We just need to be treated intelligently.
    The state is by definition unable to treat its citizens as sensible people, so it has to lecture, harangue and impose. Not surprising, as it is the sum of all the vested interests in the world.
    The best way for the State to contribute to a greener future is for it to go away, get off our backs, become a whole lot smaller and lets us alone to deal with this difficult matter ourselves. That way we will very quickly have the low energy ecologically-beneficial economy as we will live and work in the same place, eating local produce just like we used to.
    Now if this sounds almost exactly like post 8, that's because it IS almost exactly like post 8.
    The only difference between me and Mr. Stanilic is that I had less patience and "left the building" - I voted with my feet.
    Mr Stanilic should do the same.

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  • 117. At 3:43pm on 28 Aug 2009, Secratariat wrote:

    DisgustedOfMitcham2, jon112uk et al;

    Resolving technical issues in science, an article about how science resolves issues you're discussing here is quite informative.

    A brief extract:

    "One of the strengths of science is its capacity to resolve controversies by generally accepted procedures and standards. Many scientific questions (especially more technical ones) are not matters of opinion but have a correct answer.

    Scientists document their procedures and findings in the peer-reviewed literature in such a way that they can be double-checked and challenged by others. The proper way to challenge results is, of course, also through the peer-reviewed literature, so that the challenge follows the same standards of documentation as did the original finding."


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  • 118. At 3:55pm on 28 Aug 2009, jon112uk wrote:

    112. DisgustedOfMitcham2

    Publication bias is indeed a pervasive issue.

    My favourite was a particular drug, the research on which was funded by a particular drug company. (If I say names the mods will censor this) Meta-analysis of published studies showed a clear overall benefit. Users reported lots of children with suicidal ideation/suicide attempts. After many years someone got hold of all the studies the drug company had funded, but NOT published. Surprise, surprise the meta-analysis of the full set of data showed a significant increase in suicidal thoughts/attempts in treated cohorts.

    He who pays the piper?


    Publishing discomfirming results?

    One study tested British psychiatrists with case vignettes and found them to treat 'black' patients differently. It was published by a prestigious journal and is very popular as proving British psychiatrists are racist. I know of at least two failures to replicate which have not been accepted for publication. 'No significant difference' is not sexy and, in this case, is 'off message'

    Science mixed with money or politics (let alone both) is not the impartial search for truth people might wish it to be.

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  • 119. At 4:28pm on 28 Aug 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:


    You have a more optimistic view of human nature than I do, I'm afraid. I agree with your general principle that the state interferes with too much, but the sort of things we need to do to tackle climate change strike me as something where leadership from the state is essential.

    Most people are rather selfish and think short-term. If it involves serious sacrifices to save us from the worst excesses of climate change, I don't think very many people would be willing to make those sacrifices when the sacrifices can be felt today and the benefits relate to a period that may be several decades in the future.

    Of course governments won't make those sacrifices either, which is the really depressing thing.

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  • 120. At 5:04pm on 28 Aug 2009, clamdip lobster claws wrote:

    One Marble Left makes a great point about allowing Corporations to dictate urban environment. What do we do now that we have suburbs and everything in the built environment was mapped out for the car? Will we see an exodus to the city and the suburban houses plowed under for agricultural land?
    Weve had architects and urban planners for thirty to fifty years or more.
    Where's the foresight? Where's the planning? Should Corporate whoever be allowed to build whatever in our new green communities?

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  • 121. At 7:17pm on 28 Aug 2009, Vulkenstein wrote:

    Even if we succeed in halving our carbon footprint, population growth in the so-called Developing World will nullify our efforts and we will be back to where we started in twenty years.

    The solution to the world's environmental problem is control of human population, but no politician dare mention this because it's too controversial.

    Until someone grows some cojones, we'll get nowhere.

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  • 122. At 7:52pm on 28 Aug 2009, One Marble Left wrote:

    #108 threnodio

    I made no interpretation but took your comment on smokers at face value; they have been demonised through high taxation and internal smoking bans. No group (even persistent "soft but illegal" drug users) have been so toughly treated before. I offered the scenario that if that treatment were to be applied to private motor vehicle usage (because it produces similar and persistent harmful damage to others but has been largely avoided by research scientists) we would not have some of the problems we have now. Nothing controversial there?

    There was no "thoughtfulness" in the blanket smoking ban. My MP advised me that the original plan (in parliament) was to obtain a split between smoking and non-smoking establishments (where the former must have a special license), but this was changed because it was felt the vote may be lost. So whips were employed (on a supposedly "free" vote) in order to save the day. My MP had planned to abstain but was "forced" to vote with the government by the whips.

    As I said before we do not have governments of long term significance - all they are interested in is expedience, just as are their corporate friends. We will carry on being expedient until the moment comes when someone says the only expedient left is "to end it all now".

    No prizes for guessing who will gain access to the bunkers is there?

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  • 123. At 8:53pm on 28 Aug 2009, One Marble Left wrote:

    #95 & #120 clamdip

    Thank you for a very neat illustration of the deprivation caused by corporate destruction of our individual abilities. I remember one of Michael Moore's movies that depicted a woman who spent sixteen hours away from her family every working day because Walmart bought and closed the local drug store where she worked and opened a hypermarket sixty miles away to which she was moved. It was a very simple way of illustrating destructive corporate power. Of course the woman (and her children) was insignificant wasn't she?

    I have noted your comments on strategic purchasing power of these latter day land barons. We have similar problems in the UK where it is apparent that ministers can be bought. There is a tacit comment on our twenty first century planet within the blog on Afghanistan which comments on the presence of Burger King. The implied significance of this is apparently lost on the journalist who wrote it (wow a BK in Afghanistan?).

    I spent a while in Thailand before it got to be "touristy" and I could not believe the levels of corruption from German and Japanese would be investors. Although the Thai's despised them they couldn't ignore the money. It opened my eyes to how "power" works - there is ALWAYS a price for politicians and diplomats (if not for the principled "common man").

    Corporations don't have friends - they have partners in crime.

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  • 124. At 04:06am on 29 Aug 2009, lixxie wrote:

    It's good to see this type of forward thinking. However our government just seems to lack the vision, urgency and strength to do anything about it. Only recently they announce just our second high speed rail link, but they got to think about it some more and it will only just open by 2030. Look at renewable energy UK has tiny 2-5% production it is forecast by 2014 we will have power cuts because of lack of investment. So where are all our wind, solar, wave, tidal schemes; all lack government support, wasting away in years of planning reviews and red-tape; Just look at Severn Barrage scheme, instead of which they patch it up with subsidies for open cast coal mining and buying French Nuclear power and we lose our only wind turbine maker in UK. We are planning our way to failure

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  • 125. At 08:16am on 29 Aug 2009, clamdip lobster claws wrote:

    One Marble Left,
    I totally agree with you. I think the consolidation of resources will be the next big criminal bubble. How do places like Africa fight for their water rights when countries can control weather patterns? This to me is one of the biggest threats to the world. As more and more people jump on the criminal bandwagon of easy money, everything will be up for sale. I mean they're already selling human body parts. I don't really know how one can regulate greed especially since all the major players of the world are doing it. Maybe greedy people will need to be sent to their own Elba so normal people can have a better, greener, greed free world.

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  • 126. At 08:41am on 29 Aug 2009, clamdip lobster claws wrote:

    Dear Lixiescot,
    People need to start questioning their governments and realize that there is a shadow government controlling everything. You rack your brain wondering how stupid your government could be then you eventually realize that all of the problems like immigration, prostitution, drugs, arms, every evil, nefarious thing that has been used to destroy a society, every trick in the bag to bring down a government was planned for putting control of the world into the hands of a few people. Don't you wonder why the government can never get it right? Their actions are always directly opposite to what is preached. It's all double speak. Most every crsis, bubble, 911 is a fabricated mind game to get citizens to obey and get with the program. They sell us an illicit war on terror, we swallow it hook, line and sinker then the next thing you know Quaddafi's having lunch with Obama at the Whitehouse. It's all a smoke and mirrors game that the government's been playing for years. We're being played.

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  • 127. At 09:30am on 29 Aug 2009, MK_Steve wrote:

    #118 jon112uk

    Morning! [And getting the blog back on topic...!]

    I fully accept your point, the examples are good: the point being (I think) that vested or political interests can lead to the suppression of certain publishable studies. However my initial reaction to your example (two) is caution: if the studies were sound in the first place, and unfairly dismissed by the editor / reviewers, why didn't the authors simply submit it to a different journal (there are plenty around)? That's what anyone else would do.

    But back to the point... are there not as many powerful vested interests against the green message than for it? Oil, motor, gas, aviation (the USA.. just a joke!). Equally I can't see why the editor of say 'Nature' would lose the chance of a lifetime to publish the first ever sound study showing the slowing or reversing of climate change. And if they didn't many would.

    But let me make a wider observation...

    All 'Conspiracy' theories (humour me with the term) rely on attacking the evidence of the main theory, rather than providing any evidence for their own theory. This means that all the argument takes place in our half of the pitch. So let's go into your half of the pitch...

    Do you have...

    1. Any evidence that vested interests are corrupting the scientific message?

    2. Any evidence that the climate is not changing (or that climate change is caused by natural phenomenon?)

    And can you tell us what your competing theory of the situation is?

    The ball is in your court.... (to mix my metaphors!)

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  • 128. At 11:02am on 29 Aug 2009, DFishw wrote:

    Yes it is a seriou crisis that is coming our way but instead we worry about the crdit crunch and debt and taxes. he "enviormental crunch" is the REAL problem we need to fear yet both parties hide from this with merely warm words.
    What is needed is (if possible) a bipartisan plan to reduce depenancy on fossil fuels over a long term (say two or three parliments so that if govt change in that time a future govt doesn waste valauble time reversing what the other govt did and agree a package to solve it)
    There needs to be a debate about the role of the state in this issue and of the role of business and of the public at large...all play a role in this.
    Yet there is a more fundamental debte we have never had in this country and one which NONE of the main parties is pepeared to ask for fear of ridcule: "Is capitlism a good idea?" it is that which has bought us overuse of resources (and debt too, capitalism is run on debt always was). Should we replace it by another system? CAN capitalism work without usig fossil fuels? These must all be debated as the are all intermixed in this problem.

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  • 129. At 12:58pm on 29 Aug 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    DFishw and #128.

    Re, "...serious environmental crunch.."

    The trouble with your scenario is that the 'money' in people's pockets, the falling property 'prices', declining public 'services' and 'rising' unemployment figures are highly visible to Citizens. The Environment may be changing but anecdotally at the local level it is very hard to notice any significant change.

    E.g. I recall long, hot summer holidays and totally snowed-under winters as well as every season spoilt by rain or lack of it and in addition incredible weather-based calamities in G.B. and across the world: Only trouble is that was in the 1950s when I was a child - - if you and science are seriously telling me today's Climate is very different then I beg to differ - - however, if there is a proposition that the wastrel ways of Humans with this finite Planet Earth need to be corrected then I can fully see and understand that clarion call as I am sure is the case of most normal people.

    It is worthwhile to recall that proponents of Science and Scientific analysis/pronouncements are always up for debate. There is no easy or indeed complete answer to what is occuring now anymore than there were with previous such 'hope' v 'doom' prophecies.

    In 1945 several of the most eminent Scientists on the planet argued that to Test an Atomic Bomb at Los Alamos risked setting-off a chain reaction that would ignite the World. These were not the 'flat-earthers' of yesteryear - - several Nobel prizes being recognition of their knowledge and modernity - - and whilst Oppenheim, Einstein etc. were eventually proven correct in the short-term it can of course now be argued Fermi's suggested 'chain' of ignitions was contributed to in New Mexico judging by some of the present developing Climactic conditions.
    More recently, Scientists have found the 'hole' in the Ozone Layer that was predicted some 70 years ago, but, researchers have also found it enlarging and reducing within each decade from the 1960s onwards. Thus, we now know how vulnerable such depleted layers of the earth's space-skin have made our own skins to cancers etc., but, on the other hand there are now researchers who are suggesting the skin-disorders are coincidental to the atmosphere's condition and are possibly more due to the incredible array of food-additives and complexity of drug imbalances 200 years of modern medicine has had us pass-on to each new generation.

    As many have said: It is a funny old World out there; but, what they did not say, yet imply, is we should very carefully consider that the present 'crunch' oddness of the World has more than one explanation.

    In that sense your final question about capitalism surviving without fossil fuels is thoroughly acceptable: But, what you left out is can the World afford to try to survive without capitalism investing in the odd World we inhabit? The mind boggles if the alternative is the strait-jackets of State sponsored or communist r and d. This is equally true of attempting to solve critical issues by the 'bigger-is-better' scenario of political-economic pan-National organisations like the European Union or United Nations. Worthy institutions or not they are as unwieldily inept as it is possible to conceive of for any direct response to present critical/crunch issues. Only trouble is they are much-beloved of the current crop of World Political leadership who are so enamoured of grandstanding conferences and mightily wordy answers to the 'big' questions. Which would be more comforting had any of them foreseen or had the courage to suspect a 'credit-crunch' or 'bank-crisis' yet alone a 'mortgage foreclosure meltdown' in their own National backyards never mind at a Global level.
    When the present Economic-Fiscal downturn began it was another version of the events at Los Alamos - - one relatively large but unheeded bang - - swiftly moving on to World-shaking/Earth-shattering incidents that those supposedly overseeing and those in-charge neither foresaw nor once underway were able to do anything much about. They have had to let devastating crunch conditions run their course and the Human cost has been enormous. So much so that I refer to your opening remarks and ask why you would expect ordinary People to be concerned with anything other than their daily struggle to stay alive? The environment is now and in the future but People will always have a very difficult time focussing on something that anecdotally is not their immediate problem.

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  • 130. At 4:35pm on 29 Aug 2009, Bogthorp wrote:

    I remember in the 1980s and 1990s the Scientests raised an issue and all the governments of the world started warning the people.
    The issue was HIV and AIDS and there are still AIDS deniers. They deny that HIV is the cause of AIDS.
    Even though there is much evidence and a scientific consensus to the contrary.
    The AIDS denial theories are popular in South Africa where there is also much distrust about the information on the causes and treatment of AIDS. South Africa has the highest number of people infected with HIV in the world.
    Just because you do not trust the people that are telling you something does not mean it's false and you can only blame yourself for not becoming better informed before making the decision to continue with suicidal practices.
    Denial usually comes from those who have most to lose or are not ready to accept the reality of an intolerable siutation.

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  • 131. At 6:02pm on 29 Aug 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    Bogthorp and #130.

    Several good points: As you say the link between HIV and AIDS is demonstrably clear and the ignorance of some inc. the present South African President is truly startling and alarming.

    Then you went and spoilt it all with the totally false claim, ".. South Africa has the highest number of people infected with HIV in the world.."
    You also did not help your argument by then ending with "..denial usually comes from those who have most to lose or are not ready to accept the reality of an intolerable situation." Which simply does not apply to South Africa's people or government where HIV-AIDS is concerned.

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  • 132. At 9:57pm on 29 Aug 2009, Bogthorp wrote:

    Below is a BBC report.

    "South Africa, alone, is home to 5.3 million people with HIV - more than any other country in the world"

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  • 133. At 11:56pm on 29 Aug 2009, Todaymueller - wrote:

    Where government should consentrate its efforts is on the big projects . Nobody likes government interfering in the day to day aspects of their lives .
    We need hydrogen powered cars . We need low polluting methods of producing electricity , that will make the hydrogen , to power those cars .
    Governments are good at collecting taxes and spending it on stuff like the Severn barrage or ITER . Large scale industrialized food production is another area that would benifit from gov. intervention . Those that think we should all go back to a simpler way of life , are living in a fantasy world . It just aint gonna happen .
    I have no suggestions on population control . I am stumped on that one , it really is an Elephant out of control .

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  • 134. At 00:49am on 30 Aug 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    Unfortunately the standard of BBC Journalism is not what it once was: The November 2003 BBC Report you cite about HIV in South Africa was not accurate then and is not accurate now.
    The 5.3 million HIV sufferers was the figure S.A. plus WHO produced with its considerable administrative capability - - any idea that the rest of sub-Saharan Africa nations have anything like the same medical-social-admin capability is entirely unfounded - - as per usual for the BBC these days that coverage of the Report simply quoted the available statistics without any attempt to 'verify' the background. Thus, S.A. looks to be worst because it is able to gather the information that basket-case nations are incapable of producing.

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  • 135. At 07:41am on 30 Aug 2009, penwithstar wrote:

    Change our lifestyle? OK, up to a point there are sensible things we can do. For example, I have already installed solar panels on my roof and as a result of my cut my heating oil usage by over 50%. I also don't fly. But there are limits to what I am prepared to do. For example i am not proposing to give up my car and I am not proposing to wrap up in vast layers of clothing and be cold in the winter. However it is government's job to ensure that power is generated from non-carbon sources such as tidal, wind, solar, hydroelectric and nuclear power plants. Then when we switch on, we can continue to enjoy a decent quality of life without increasing those ppm CO2 every time we move.

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  • 136. At 08:22am on 30 Aug 2009, jon112uk wrote:

    127. MK_Steve wrote:

    Don't hold your breath waiting for me to falsify MMGW - it would take years of specialist education to develop the necessary knowledge and then substantial study/review/critique of the primary sources.

    There is one tiny area that I feel comfortable saying I know the literature inside out. Knowing it inside out I feel comfortable saying that what most people think they know is influenced by a variety of biases. The science is not independent once money and politics gets into it.

    As a member of the public I am reliant on secondary sources (eg. IPCC) or even tertiary sources (eg. BBC reports of IPCC). I know for sure that they all have a message to sell me.

    As I said at #88 - I don't think I can disprove MMGW, I just don't trust the sources of information. I have no way of knowing if it is true or not. If people think I am going back to the dark ages on that basis they are mistaken.

    (OOPS! Petrol tax going up by 2.3% on Tuesday. I wonder why he feels he can get away with raising petrol tax?)

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  • 137. At 08:24am on 30 Aug 2009, jon112uk wrote:

    135. At 07:41am on 30 Aug 2009, penwithstar wrote:

    Change our lifestyle? OK, up to a point there are sensible things we can do....For example i am not proposing to give up my car and I am not proposing to wrap up in vast layers of clothing and be cold in the winter. However it is government's job to ensure that power is generated from non-carbon sources such as tidal, wind, solar, hydroelectric and nuclear power plants. Then when we switch on, we can continue to enjoy a decent quality of life without increasing those ppm CO2 every time we move.

    Absolutely - thats pretty much where I stand on it.

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  • 138. At 10:39am on 30 Aug 2009, MK_Steve wrote:

    # 136. jon112uk:

    (by the way, I didn't write that, I think that was a mistake)

    You (jon112uk) wrote: "Don't hold your breath waiting for me to falsify MMGW".

    But by writing that, you've made my point for me. I was not asking you to falsify the hypothesis that I and others prefer. I was asking you to support your own hypothesis.

    Look at the moon landings, at 9/11. All that conspiracy theorists do is attack the supporting evidence (badly in most cases). They never put forward positive evidence in support of their own theories (which are usually very fragile once attacked). As soon as you ask them to provide sound evidence they get agitated, or fail to understand what you are asking for (as I'm worried you have done as exemplified by your first line, since falsifying my preferred theory wasn't what I was asking you to do, we've already been there).

    The crux is:

    1. We have strong evidence for man made climate change (which you distrust)

    2. You apparently have no evidence for an alternative hypothesis.

    And yet you go with the alternative hypothesis! It's illogical.

    Is it because (as you hint at with your annoyance at rises in petrol tax), it suits YOUR vested interests to distrust climate change science, and it is YOUR argument (against the hypothesis of man made climate change) that is driven by vested interests and financial motives, not ours.

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  • 139. At 10:58am on 30 Aug 2009, elfrieda wrote:

    Here we go again , while there is lots of money to be made from transport (trains buses etc ) it will always be expensive, "they" have put up the price of a rail ticket beyond the reach of people who do not have a car!!!! now i thought the point of public transport was to get people out of cars ...yeah right. wrong it is to make money, the health service was to be free medicine for all, ok so why do they have to make huge profits? because friends this whole country and others are run for the big businesses and their top dogs , that includes our elected government .

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  • 140. At 12:19pm on 30 Aug 2009, jon112uk wrote:

    138. At 10:39am on 30 Aug 2009, MK_Steve

    (Apologies - in #136 I left a 'wrote' that should not have been there)

    1) I'm not able to evaluate the evidence for myself - it's not my field. I'm reliant on secondary and tertiary sources I don't trust.

    2) I'm not able to falsify the whole scam or even individual components of it - I dont have the resources or the skills.

    On points 1 & 2, I am just like the great majority of the public.

    You say that I go with the alternative hypothesis. I don't - I'm saying I have no trustworthy way of knowing. Uncertainty.

    If the plan is trashing our economy, making ourselves poor just in time for when we are told the poor are going to starve, making myself unemployed etc etc - I want something I can trust before I join with that path. I don't trust this.

    If you want to offer me electricity from a non-fossil fuel source or non-fossil fuel for my car: bring it on. I will buy that on the off chance you are right and in the sure and certain knowledge that eventually we are going to have to find an alternative to fossil fuels anyway.

    That's the approach I see in some of the scandanavian countries - quietly getting on with effective change.

    Here I see nothing but a convenient scam to up taxes. If the government wants people to believe them then stop trying to create ever higher levels of fear and start offering some palatable alternatives.

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  • 141. At 1:28pm on 31 Aug 2009, MK_Steve wrote:

    # 140 (jon112uk)

    Fair enough. But now despite admitting to not knowing what the truth is, you are prepared to gamble on man-made climate change being untrue because it suits your (and implied 'our') purpose to do so.. i.e. "if the alternative is trashing our economy".

    It would be bad for one's conscience to carry on that way, without being able to deny man-made climate change (MMCG). This is why increasing numbers of people are looking for any excuse to 'disbelieve' in MMCG, because then they can carry on their lives as before with clear consciences.

    But since there is strong evidence for MMCG, and nothing credible against, they must find another angle;

    "We distrust the evidence!"
    "We think the government is exaggerating it to raise taxes!"
    "We think the scientists are out to make money!"
    "One piece of evidence is unsupportable, therefore it must all be wrong!"

    All of these are the new religion; the feel good factor, without requiring any supporting evidence. Hence millions are now jumping on this 'feel better' band wagon, and then acusing the government of 'scare-mongering' whenever they even mention MMCG.

    I'd rather be responsible and work on the basis of MMCG being true (1. because the evidence is so strong 2. Because there is no alternative hypothesis that is evidentially supportable and 3. Because the risk is far too great to do nothing).

    By the way, "if the alternative is trashing our economy" is not the only alternative as you know, it is statement of hyperbole, and hence dare I say it, not becoming of your usual well thought-out and reasonable arguments.

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  • 142. At 1:40pm on 31 Aug 2009, MK_Steve wrote:

    #140... Sorry! My mistake; you said "if the plan is to trash our economy", not "if the alternative...", but, of course, I stand by my post.

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  • 143. At 5:02pm on 31 Aug 2009, jon112uk wrote:


    I've debated this before, and I think your very last point is the crucial point. It's what I'm getting at, and it also where people from both camps can actually meet if they wish.

    Take just road transport. The current message is fear used to justify tax increases without any real attempt at alternative means of transport or alternative fuels for existing transport. That is a message which is very easy to be suspicious of and very hard to accept (very hard indeed if being forced out of your car, or lorry, means you are unemployed).

    An alternative message is a controlled switch to low and then zero emissions fuels. I keep driving, I have security of energy supply. You can have your environmental safeguards. Win-win. Some countries are just quietly getting on with this.

    Some people seem determined to sell the first message. I see it bring high tax for the government. I see it bring destruction of our way of life/economy for the eco-zealots. That is what makes me suspicious. I wonder why it is that they are so resistive to the second alternative if 'environment' is really their motivation.

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  • 144. At 10:38pm on 31 Aug 2009, leoRoverman wrote:

    You know if I wasn't as cynical as I am, I would be confirmed in my idea that this is turning into a Soviet state controlled economy by the back door. Everything is geared to us buying what the state wants to provide us with. You can't have standard light bulbs anymore, they're not eco freindly. However in the event that you buy an eco freindly light bulb, they are toxic, but don't worry about this. Yes you can buy a British car but we would far rather that you buy a cheap nasty put together car and pay the French, Belgians or the Japanese for the priviledge. We have to import foreign wind generators rather than building our own.

    Once again grandiose schemes to get about by public transport which will not come into fruition until I have died. As ever the Government is hand in glove with the organisations who stand to benefit and guess what punters, one thing it won't benefit is you.

    Houses, well what is the point; old stock needs replacing let alone new build and any benefits you add to your home the Government is planning to let the councils benefit from your improvement. To the troglodytes out there, any spare caves to rent?

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  • 145. At 10:23am on 01 Sep 2009, Beejay wrote:

    MK Steve wrote, in part....
    "Look at the moon landings, at 9/11. All that conspiracy theorists do is attack the supporting evidence (badly in most cases). They never put forward positive evidence in support of their own theories (which are usually very fragile once attacked). As soon as you ask them to provide sound evidence they get agitated, or fail to understand what you are asking for....."

    Surely the MK Steve/Green view of AGW is exactly as above - no positive evidence, fragile when attacked and based solely on GIGO computer predictions, not one of which has actually followed recorded evidence. Or has been 'massaged' with cunning algorithms to fit the AGW projections. eg Mann's hockey stick etc.

    If ever there was a stupid idea it is that Carbon Dioxide is a poison/pollutant and responsible for a Green prediction of a non event that will cost humanity dear, in so many ways.

    How we laugh at previous generation's fixation on a concept that time proves to be of absolutely no consequence whatsoever. Fool's Gold, Tulip Trading, The South Sea Bubble, Witches, Dragons and so many more. Future generations will gasp at our stupidity about Man Made Global Warming and its politico-scientific ways of robbing the poor to feed the greedy financial institutions.
    For me the key is the explosion of '24 hour Breaking News'. How much garbage do we have to wade through? Frankly the BBC, Royal Society, UK Met Office and the shambles that is GreenPeace, Plane Stupids etc need to be removed, permanently.

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  • 146. At 1:24pm on 01 Sep 2009, newSweetMonkey2 wrote:

    Who is going to inform the Chinese and Indian population that just when some are now earning enough to contribute to the consumer driven culture, that they have to cut back?

    China has some of the most densely polluted regions in the world and until they start to address their problem I can't see a solution.

    And of course the increasing population - everywhere I look there are pregnant or young mothers. I've noticed the amount of kids when out shopping seems to increase week on week. Nothing can ever be achieved if the population just keeps expanding and people rely on shop bought, packaged food and fast food restaurants. It a vicious circle and buying a few low watt energy bulbs will not even touch the side of this huge problem.

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  • 147. At 1:36pm on 01 Sep 2009, Breakfast-Maker wrote:

    We have gone way off the subject here, which is the governments attempts at meddling in our chosen lifestyle. As in all things there are consequences to your actions, therefore the maximum the state should do is to point them out, and leave the citizen to make their own choice. My ancestors and great grandparents bust a gut to give their descendants a better life, only for the meddling government to try to take this away, bit by bit. Whether global warming is coming or not, we in the UK will make very little impact, even if we all went and lived in caves tomorrow, likewise warming will have very little impact on us so long as we keep out the vast masses that will try to come and take what has taken us many hundred of years to build.
    There are plenty of resources in the world, there are just too many humans using them. This is the fundamental question that is above all others, yet is failed to be addressed by political leaders fo fear of the fallout from other countries. The argument that we need migrants for our economy is total rubbish, they are merely cheap labour for businesses too lazy to automate the job away in the first place. We need many more robots and automation and a lot less human labour in every aspect of our lives. Many of us don't care about global warming, we will do as the human race (well the clever ones anyway) has always done, and that's adapt, as all successful species have throughout evolution.

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  • 148. At 3:13pm on 01 Sep 2009, AndyC555 wrote:

    I wonder why there is cynicism about the Government's approach to this? Perhaps it's just a coincidence that every tax measure seems to involve increasing taxes on 'bad' things rather than decreasing them on 'good' things.

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  • 149. At 3:46pm on 01 Sep 2009, Radiowonk wrote:

    Good, isn't it? We can no longer buy 100 Watt incandescent bulbs; along with all "pearl" bulbs they have been eliminated by diktat.

    And yet this morning's news included the government's own assessment that power shortages are likely in a few years because of a lack of generating capacity following the closure of several coal - fired and nuclear plants.

    Doesn't say much for the capabilities of the wind farms that are being forced on us, at our expense, does it? It does, however, speak volumes about our government's ability to plan ahead; this is a disgraceful situation.

    It's a pity that Parliament is in recess at the moment as the subject may not get the discussion it deserves. If DC wants a decent question to pose at the first PMQ when the new session starts he only has to ask...

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  • 150. At 3:54pm on 01 Sep 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:


    You claim that the evidence for man-made global warming is "fragile when attacked".

    Could you point to the articles in peer-reviewed journals that support that? I'd be interested to read them.

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  • 151. At 4:49pm on 01 Sep 2009, metanoia04 wrote:

    I find much of this argument irrelevant.

    There is an elephant in the room here and its name is overpopulation. All the carbon footprinting, solar powering or even GM fooding in the world is merely a sideshow compared to this. 9 Billion people by 2030 or there about's and then what after that?

    We need to address overpopulation NOW. It will very difficult, unfair in many ways and fraught with the rage of Right and Left. However, without it we are doomed to the same fate as any other species that over reproduces - a die-off to return to a sustainable level ( estimated 1-2 billion tops). We can either do it ourselves in a managed way, or let nature take its course. I am afraid to say that the latter is likely to be the most realistic option.

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  • 152. At 8:37pm on 01 Sep 2009, twistywillow wrote:

    I am ok with being eco this and eco that for the sake of my children and their children and etc, but for one thing. The whole world needs to do this, not just little old GB. We are a small nation and it is not too late to stop the immigration and population explosion we are about to see because of the current governments immigration policies.
    Whilst other countries such as the US continue to disregard any attempt at changing their cars, how they live, the energy they use, the food they consume(not to mention the sheer amount) then why should we make such a huge effort? What about China? India? The Middle Eastern countries whos religious ethic includes as many children as possible for the greater good and expansion of their country and culture?
    Our government insists on getting us to change and making us feel the guilt for its policies and mistakes over the years which have increased our population and shut down our farming and manufacture, so why should we as a public now do what they say? Unless the whole world and I do mean the 'whole' world stops trying to invade and enforce various ethos' on other countries and starts to look at their own back yards then sorry, but the 30 year perfect storm is unstoppable and probably closer than we think. This isnt being all doom and gloom however, mother nature has a way of sorting things out so lets hope that happens before the perfect storm does!

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  • 153. At 00:36am on 02 Sep 2009, ppyvabw wrote:

    Firstly, recycling does not necessarily help! Take the recycling of glass for example; this requires various chemicals and a certain amount of energy. Where do people think this all comes from? Thin air? Recycling uses other finite resources!

    Secondly, the governments of the world are obsessed with renewable forms of energy. They are spending billions on middle age technology like fancy windmills and water wheels when in the interim Nuclear power is the only clean and long term solution. Any physicist will tell you this (I am one). There are many fallacies about the dangers and inadequacies of nuclear power, propagated by anti nuclear activists. With 3rd generation reactors, (which governments could be building right now instead of wasting it on woefully inadequate renewables!) nuclear fission has the potential to take up all our energy needs (including transport in the form of electric and hydrogen vehicles) for several hundred years according to IAEA. In the long term money should be poured into Nuclear fushion research which is clean and doesn't have the disadvantage of nuclear waste that nuclear fission has (which in actual fact if you look past the ignorant views of anti nuclear activists is particularly small)

    Thirdly, I have heard many people say that we should switch to electric cars and this will reduce pollution. This type of opinion is generally expressed by arty student liberals, half educated dim wits or drunk men in pubs. Where do they think the electricity to charge these cars comes from? If you used the hot air breathed out by these types of people to power generators then maybe you could meet the energy demands to replace conventional vehicles with electric or hydrogen ones but as this is impractical hydrogen and electric vehicles on their own are not Carbon neutral!!

    Fourthly, the government feels fit to preach to us about switching lights off and recently banning 100W light bulbs, yet they freely give money to councils and other various bodies for building projects like a building belonging to Sheffield Hallam University I believe which is illuminated at night by 'arty farty' lighting, and the recent water feature installed at Sheffield train station pumping thousands of gallons of water around aimlessly each day.

    Finally, manufacturing! Everything these days is made to be thrown away and recycled rather than repairable which as mention uses resources!. Cars being the most obvious example (being a hobbyist mechanic). I would never work on a modern car, they are just not designed to be repairable; rather just scraped. The same with the average plastic tat you buy anywhere.

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  • 154. At 02:44am on 02 Sep 2009, dixie600mhz wrote:

    You guys can choke on environmental taxes. I'll choke on the CO2. It must be great to live in the highest taxed nation in the world! Keep walking.

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  • 155. At 04:05am on 02 Sep 2009, KennethM wrote:

    #153 ppyvabw

    A perfect post. Thanks for some very wise words.

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  • 156. At 11:48am on 02 Sep 2009, jdsholdencaulfield wrote:

    Remember this Govt doesn't care about anything except staying in power.

    They will do anything to deflect from their catastrophic failures and will do anything and say anything to raise more tax revenues. They will just continue to ask for more tax and spend on unaffordable ventures until May 1st next year then pray that they have bribed/fooled enough voters (eg 6 million civil servants by assuring them their final salary pension scheme will remain which we all know we can't afford) to win the election.

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  • 157. At 12:22pm on 02 Sep 2009, MK_Steve wrote:

    #143 jon112uk,

    Agreed, steady change is better than nothing. I think we'll have to beg to differ on our take on the situation of course (we've probably converged as much as is possible... not a huge amount!).

    One last question though: You've said that you are unsure because you distrust the evidence. If MMCG was real (as I believe it is) how COULD you (personally) be convinced to take it seriously? If the answer is that you couldn't be, then that leaves us in a pretty scary position!

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  • 158. At 12:46pm on 02 Sep 2009, colaroid wrote:

    I do everything I can do to minimise my waste and live green, I buy second hand/recycled products, grow foods or buy local foods, don't buy things if they have excessive packaging and travel to work via public transport at great expense. I completely understand the can't be bothered attitude because really all this won't make any difference. The biggest problem that hasn't really be mentioned yet is the fact that we need to stop the population increasing, the earth has finite resources that everyone needs to share. No matter what the brightest minds in the world do they cannot create more water, the fact is a policy on this would be unpopular with a proportion of voters so nothing will be done about it until it is too late and people start dying in relatively rich countries.

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  • 159. At 1:24pm on 02 Sep 2009, MK_Steve wrote:

    #145 globalclaptrap

    Your post does exactly what I expect from a conspiracy theorist; it calls everyone else 'stupid' (word used twice) while putting forward nothing to support its own case.

    I don't think I'm stupid. I'd love to disbelieve climate change science, as it would feel wonderful. It's in my interest to disbelieve it. So I'm an open goal... if you give me convincing evidence, I'll jump. Please just do it, rather than inply that I'm stupid for not believing something for which you cannot present any reasonable argument.

    Drawing comparisons between past belief in witches/dragons and 'belief' in human induced climate change does not work. These sorts of past beliefs were eliminated by scientific evidence, not strengthened by it. Your suggestion is therefore back to front. If it has any merit, it is that climate change deniers are following the same psychological mechanism as those ancient belief systems... except that they have the advantage of scientific evidence to the contrary.. but seem to ignore it in the face of weak circumstancial arguments based on unsupportable accusations.

    Here's an idea... you post a reference for a peer-reviewed journal paper that supports your argument, I'll reference one that supports mine, you yours, me mine, and so on. Let's see who runs out first. Seems fair.

    I bet you can't even start the game.

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  • 160. At 2:11pm on 02 Sep 2009, freememe wrote:

    Leaving aside many of the other issues this subject raises there is the one of energy generation that is currently being left behind. The regular comment (statement) that comes up is that we need new (greener) means of generating power, so where is the backing for fusion? Why is it that despite the UK having the world's premier experimental magnetic containment fusion reactors (JET and MAST), on which the next generation European ITER project is based, is this "energy conscious" government still avoiding funding them. They'll bail out the banks but they don't seem to want to get serious about where we get our energy.

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  • 161. At 2:53pm on 02 Sep 2009, MK_Steve wrote:

    #153 ppyvabw

    You are a physicist....

    You think people who favour electric cars are "half educated dim wits". Remember Newton's 1st law (since you are 'fully' educated)? I'm surprised that as a physicist you fail to factor in the lack of efficiency caused by having to haul around a heavy internal combustion engine, the fuel to run it, cooling equipment, etc in every single vehicle. Additionally the internal combustion engine is highly inefficient as used in motor vehicles. In comparison, electric motors and batteries are getting lighter and more efficient every year, to the point where the efficiency of the individual vehicle outweighs the energy conversion from the power station to the car's motor (even with traditional power stations).

    It's odd that while you favour nuclear energy, you don't see that coupling that with electric cars would give us a massive reduction in use of fossil fuels.

    What would I know? I'm just a "half educated dim wit".

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  • 162. At 5:47pm on 02 Sep 2009, ppyvabw wrote:

    #161 MK_Steve

    Lets do a simple calculation. The effiency of an internal combustion engine is 30% if you're lucky. The efficiency of a coal fired power station is around 31% and an electric motor of around 125 brake horse power is 92% say having quickly looked it up.

    Given that the electric car needs charging the efficiency is roughly 0.31*0.9244=0.28, so 28% as opposed to 30% for the internal combustion engine. You haven't gained efficiency. Even if the motor were 100% efficient, the power station isn't and the increased demand if everyone had an electric car would poor just as much Carbon in to the atmosphere.

    I said electric cars are not carbon Neutral on their own. I also said Nuclear could take up all the energy needs for hundreds of years including transport. That could be in the form of electric vehicles.

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  • 163. At 5:48pm on 02 Sep 2009, DeniseCullum222 wrote:

    The only people who believe this are the white middle classes who for some reason believe that they matter more than anyone else. As for Miliband believing that normal people believe anything he or his brothers say is beyond me he is an PM so we do not believe him or second hand dealers, and estate agency this Govenment has some strange people in it not only do they speak strange they look it and none more so that the Miliband brothers. We shop at supermarkets because we do not have any chose so how do we shop at these places for a family and carry it all back on a bike? most of the old housing stock which is what needs seeing to will never be done the one thing we know about the English is they are ruled by Walter Mitty's. Brown the unelected leader says nothing because those who pay his wage are not entitled to know what is install for them till it happens from a great height.

    We have Lord of the Rings Mandy whose face is like a spectre on the television telling us in a very condensing voice how we should trust him and the rest as they rob us of many because their families wants and need are more important than being honest. We still have Blair coming back and putting his oar in, and we will have more people than we can cope with but we will still allow IVF treatment to those who can pay Britian has always been manic but now it is schizophrenic.

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  • 164. At 5:59pm on 02 Sep 2009, ppyvabw wrote:

    #161 MK_Steve

    In addition to my previous argument, I haven't even factored in the efficiency of the battery. Say about 90%....

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  • 165. At 6:07pm on 02 Sep 2009, MK_Steve wrote:

    #162 ppyvabw

    That's alright, but even your calculation (which I accept) shows a good comparison between efficiencies of i/c and electric motors, before factoring in the extra weight for the i/c car (i/c engine, the fuel weight, the increased gearing, exhaust and cooling system weight etc), the need to run constantly (even downhill) etc etc. I/c cars have had years of development, electric cars are in their infancy, if the figures for motor efficiency alone are comparible even now (without factoring other issues) then the future for electric cars looks good enough to give 'those that talk about them' a bit more credit than calling them 'dim wits'. That's my point.

    I think we probably agree to a large extent on the nuclear issue.

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  • 166. At 6:22pm on 02 Sep 2009, ppyvabw wrote:

    Then please accept my apologies for my off hand remarks. My point was that currently they are not a magic wand to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels or reduce Carbon emissions as many people not as well informed as you tend to think. It just moves the point of dependency on fossil fuels and Carbon emissions elsewhere.

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  • 167. At 11:09pm on 02 Sep 2009, Secratariat wrote:

    ppyvabw wrote:
    "Firstly, recycling does not necessarily help! Take the recycling of glass for example; this requires various chemicals and a certain amount of energy. Where do people think this all comes from? Thin air? Recycling uses other finite resources!"

    Making anything requires a certain amount of energy and resources, the benefit of recycling is that you can re-use existing source materials instead of extracting & processing the raw materials. You can also reduce transport distances as materials are already being used in the areas that you can recycle or re-use them.

    The company I work for manufactures large amounts of office computing equipment that is then leased out to corporate clients.
    Until a few years ago most of the old equipment was sent out as waste when it came to the end of its life, now all equipment is stripped at our factory down to component level. Some components are able to be re-used, others are stripped so that the metals, plastics & glass are separated, some are recycled on-site, others are sent back to our suppliers on their empty delivery wagons, they then recycle them into new components and sell them back to us at a discount.

    Even the plastic & paper from the canteen and break rooms is able to be recycled, as is all office waste. They're now building a digester and worm farm so that the food waste can be recycled on site too.

    Our latest range of products have even been designed in a way that makes them easier to recycle when they come to the end of their life.

    A few years ago our main factory used to produce 12 containers of waste a month, it's now down to two a month. The company has saved money on our waste collection and we get discounts from some of our suppliers too, it has been a win-win situation regardless of any environmental benefit.

    Then we've got the landfill issue, if we keep throwing everything away we're going to run out of suitable places to bury it all without digging up more of the greenbelt, or we burn it, and I think we can all predict most people's reactions to the suggestion of having an incinerator near their home, even though modern incinerators are actually quite clean and efficient.

    Our society generates huge amounts of waste, it would be great if we could reduce this but even if we halved it we'll still have loads left that we either bury, burn, dump at sea or recycle. Recycling just seems the better long-term option, wherever possible.

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  • 168. At 00:03am on 03 Sep 2009, ppyvabw wrote:

    Secretariat wrote;
    "Making anything requires a certain amount of energy and resources, the benefit of recycling is that you can re-use existing source materials instead of extracting & processing the raw materials. You can also reduce transport distances as materials are already being used in the areas that you can recycle or re-use them."

    I can't argue with that, it's a fair point. That still depends on whether it is more resource intensive to recycle or to extract raw materials though. I suspect in many cases where raw materials are plentiful (Iron for example) it's less intensive to just mine new stuff. Paper and card is renewable if trees are replanted so why use the extra chemicals to recycle it and separate the inks (chemicals which I believe are toxic to the environment by the way) etc. Copper for example I'd say you are correct which is becoming increasingly scarce.

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  • 169. At 03:26am on 03 Sep 2009, KennethM wrote:

    #167 Secratariat

    But why is all this electrical equipment being wasted in the first place and not repaired? Recycling is very wasteful compared to using products that are fully serviceable in the first place. And why is the canteen producing waste plastic? Where is it coming from?

    A whole industry has grown up from recycling and it has a very powerful voice. I see recycling not as a panacea but as a last resort. The order of priorities should surely be:

    1. Conservation: make things last; make products serviceable
    2. Re-use (what is waste to one person is still useful to somebody else)
    3. Recycle a last resort

    I think that in too many cases we are going straight to the recycling option without attempting, or even thinking about, the other two.

    I also agree with #168 ppyvabw that, in many cases, it probably takes more energy to recycle than to simply use more raw material. When you think of the energy that goes into waste separation alone – this is before the separated material has been distributed – I am sure that a great deal of recycling is environmentally unsustainable and is doing more harm than good.

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  • 170. At 06:16am on 03 Sep 2009, all_english wrote:

    Typical political class stuff

    THey love banging on abou the envrionmnet dont they


    cos they lie awake at night worrying about the planet?


    cos it gives the ed milibands of this world lots of excuses do things they like doing anyway

    such as

    persecuting motorists telling them what to do and extorting money from them at the same time

    employing lots of new non jobs such as the ones tat produced those graphs

    inventing new taxes----for our own good of course

    doing less work by not emptying rubbish bins and criminalising ordinary people for bin crimes

    Further controlling our lives by means such as smart meters and carbon trading

    telling us what to do. The euphamism choice editing read choice removing is a classic

    When however it comes to their side of the bargain by which I mean cheap relaible public transport no one is at home non regulated train fares are 30% higher in real terms than when they came to power

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  • 171. At 11:08am on 03 Sep 2009, Secratariat wrote:


    Most of it is repaired, as I said some of the components are re-used, others are reconditioned while others get recycled.
    Everything has a lifespan and there's only so long anything will last, in our case it is between 7 and 10 years for the machines, during that time many components and consumable resources will be used to keep the machines running but after ten years of office work the things just die.

    Making them last longer isn't as easy as you'd think either, our core products are office based printers/photocopiers, to make them last longer you have to increase the size of many of the components and this is a limiting factor with most of our customers as the bigger the components, the bigger and more expensive the machine.

    We do make machines that can have a lifespan several times longer than our standard equipment but they are so big that they won't fit into most offices and are instead used in dedicated print rooms (either on or off site) and this doesn't fit with most companies operations, they want printers on the office floor near to the staff who are producing whatever is being printed.

    You've then also got the development, each new line of products has new features that earlier models do not have and large businesses, particularly multi-national, like to update their equipment every few years so that they can make use of these features.
    Then there's also software development, our machines are connected to the customers I.T. network and over time these networks are also updated to make them faster and more secure, our equipment has to be upgraded to ensure it works with these developments and any other developments that are made to the end user software (word processors, DTP, Design software etc). Then there's also the efficiency development, for example, our earlier models used to generate a lot of waste ink, this was reduced when they switched to toner, this has been reduced further as the new models recycle the waste toner and re-use it on following prints.

    The canteen produces plastic waste from soft-drink bottles, chocolate wrappers and other similar items, when you've got hundreds of staff working in one place they generate a lot of waste so we now have separate bins for each type of waste and almost all of it gets recycled or re-used.

    Could you please give us an example of something that takes more energy to recycle than to simply use more raw material ?
    And don't forget to include the energy and method used to dispose of it once it comes to the end of its life.

    I would suggest you are looking at things far too simplistically; it's not just a case of using new or recycled materials, if you're not recycling them then you have to dispose of them somehow and this also takes a lot of energy and causes a lot of pollution. You need to look at the entire lifespan of a material, not jsut the part where you're using it.

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  • 172. At 2:01pm on 03 Sep 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:


    Looks like you've won your bet...

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  • 173. At 7:34pm on 03 Sep 2009, energyman58 wrote:

    Presumably the majority of scientific opinion was convinced that this year was going to be a "barbecue summer" too? Next time you meet a climate change believer ask them for a bet - a simple test of the science will you bet £1000 of your own money on whether or not it will rain two weeks today using any amount of forecasting assistance from climate models they like? That should be easy compared to forecasting the weather based on dubious back-casting techniques and models that can never be tested properly so they will be happy to accept pretty low odds on that bet - 5 to 1 against or something or maybe 20 to 1 in winter. The reality is they would be mad to take it up - the science isnt well enough understood and the models are just that - models based on assumptions about what explains the data best!

    Now lots of scientists support climate change but sadly in this case (like most others) there is very little guidance in that fact. Many scientists are way outside their competence in doing so and are basically civillians with PhDs in this debate and in science the wisdom of crowds almost never proves to be right - support for a fashionable theory is almost always greatest just before it falls flat on its face. That is the way life is.

    So we are in a world where some people think there may be adverse impacts from anthropogenic emissions but have decided we should all make big changes based on this possibility (it is always nice to tell people what to do). In doing this they have chosen (on behalf of others) to put the needs of their descendents (who may never exist and if they do will almost certainly be far better off than we are - Victorian dentistry anyone?) way ahead of the poor today.

    In wasting money on wind farms and low energy light bulbs (which will probably have no impact at all) we are not spending it on the certainly of making life immeasurably better for the worlds poorest citizens (through drugs, access to clean water and eductaion) and in doing so help them protect themselves even if the doom-mongers prove to be correct. But that doesnt matter when you have the odour of sanctity from "saving the world" to protect yourself from any nasty thoughts that might creep in.

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  • 174. At 8:56pm on 03 Sep 2009, dadshedz wrote:

    When I was born in 1947 the world poulation was 2.4 billion it is now 6.8 billion almost 3 times as many people in just 60 years, all vying for scarcer resources, it is not rocket science to understand the impact this is having on our planet, with population estimated to increase to 9.8 billion by 2050 almost half as many again, nothing is slowing this growth, famine, aids, war are not slowing this down,increased polution together with water and food shortages are inevitable. This government and the last have sold off the family jewels, our water supplies are owned and managed by foreign companies similarly our fuel supplies, oil, gas and electricity production is controlled by foreigners who pretend to be british companies by retaining their UK limited names, can we trust them to manage our resources fairly or will we see increasing costs without real investment in our infrastructure, will they ensure we have a right to these basic utilities in future or will we be priced out.

    The UK has massively increased population for example in 1998 it was 57 million and in 2008 61 million, a 4 million increase with little or no infrastructure investment, our health service is over stretched, our schools are over full,this influx of immigrants has not been balanced with investment in new hospitals, new schools, new housing, extra transport,etc everywhere you look you see the impact this has had, forget the recession which has exacerbated an already dire situation, the projections for future growth of the uk population to 70 million require massive investment to provide the homes, jobs, health service, education service etc that will be required to meet this demand, if there is not an immediate planned process laid out, stresses will lead to needless conflicts all over the UK.

    This report highlights the potential water shortages in the South East of the UK, unthought of previously except in drought years, water wars could happen in the future and privatisation may have to be reversed to protect this important resource. Going green being environmentally friendly, recycling will do nothing to prevent this disaster stealthily creeping up on us, hard choices have to be made now, we cannot afford to be benevolent when our own population is at risk of thirst, famine and disease from overcrowding and poverty, an urgent analysis of our ability to cope with this rapid growth needs to be carried out and published so that all of us can understand the limitations we really have! we cannot just continue to allow population to grow exponentially. My children and grandchildren have been overwhelmed by foreigners taking homes, school places, jobs from them and subjected to longer queues at doctors, hospitals, job centres etc. The future does look bleak for them and this government should be looking after its indiginous population rather than opening its borders to anyone who wishes to come here.

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  • 175. At 10:27am on 04 Sep 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:


    I think you're confusing "weather" and "climate". They are not the same thing.

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  • 176. At 12:12pm on 04 Sep 2009, Secratariat wrote:


    Hello mate, hope you're well !

    It's amazing how many people confuse the two.
    I tend to point them in the direction of the NASA website as they have a very good explanation of the differences between them.

    The link is:

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  • 177. At 1:57pm on 04 Sep 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:


    Very well thanks, trust you are likewise.

    Great link: that seems to explain the difference very nicely.

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  • 178. At 08:19am on 06 Sep 2009, nick-ynysmon wrote:

    the ultimate solution is for the American government to disclose and then release its zero point energy technologies. these have been known about for about seventy years since Tesla, and others. once we get independence from the electric utilities, and we each generate our own power, and same for industry, many of the problems as posed in Mark Eastons report will simply vanish.
    if the rather nasty cabal , mainly military, who are holding back these technologies are ousted by good minded people, we can have all the energy we need and thus the means of cleaning up this planet, and ending poverty once and for all. our own government somewhere in its hidden recesses knows all about this.

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  • 179. At 6:51pm on 07 Sep 2009, KennethM wrote:

    #171 Secratariat wrote: 'Could you please give us an example of something that takes more energy to recycle than to simply use more raw material?'

    A. No I cannot. I would not have used the word 'probably' if I could have found examples. However, I would have thought that, as energy output costs money, much of the recycling that requires financial subsidy will tend to use more energy to recycle compared to extracting raw material.

    Specifically I cannot see how small products made up of composite materials can take up less energy to recycle than the collective energy that was used to source the virgin materials. Effectively we are double handling these materials in the dismantling and separation process. This is not to mention to the cost of collection and re-distribution.

    I wonder if proper life cycle analysis has been carried out on many product and waste streams? I am sure that if the true cradle-to-grave costs were factored into product prices when they were manufactured some of your customer may well delay upgrades or make do with larger installations as the cost of replacement would be too high.

    By subsidising recycling and favouring it over alternatives we may be making things worse.

    I wonder if you can provide examples where recycling takes less energy than using raw material with the exception of streams such as aluminium where no subsidy is required?

    As far as your last point is concerned 'if you're not recycling them then you have to dispose of them', well this doesn’t follow at all. As I said in my earlier post, recycling should be a last resort. Please consider conservation (using less or doing without) and reusing. Take the canteen: why can't staff bring their own bottles and, if necessary, fill them from a dispenser or a carafe? They will be able to re-use the same bottle day after day.

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  • 180. At 11:45pm on 07 Sep 2009, Secratariat wrote:

    Hi KennethM,

    This is going to be a long post so I'll apologise in advance but hopefully it'll give you an idea of how we are trying not to use things by conserving and re-using things whenever possible.

    Our company spent quite a lot of time looking into all of this a few years ago as well as it being a continual program for the whole company, and (un)luckily for you I did the environmental awareness course as part of my induction so I'll be able to bore you at length with this one mate.

    First of all, Conservation.
    One of the biggest resources for our business is paper, our clients go through millions of boxes of paper a year printing using our equipment.
    The first thing we do when we sign up a new client is a document review, we build up a model showing what happens to all of the documents that are brought in or generated by the company and then try to find ways to reduce this.
    I work on one of our customers sites and since we signed them a few years ago we've helped them reduce their printing volumes by about 40%.
    To put this into context we've now reduced their average monthly printing from approximately 2.3 million pages to approximately 1.5 million pages a month.
    That's over 6,000 boxes of paper a year for just one of our customer sites, and it's a relatively small site compared to most of our clients too. There's also the saving in reduced usage of the equipment and the consumables and power they use.

    Whenever we deliver new equipment the old stuff is returned to our factory on the same wagons, all of the consumables we use on site are also returned by the company who delivers them for us. For example, toner bottles are returned, cleaned, re-filled and re-used.

    We've redesigned our equipment so that it is easier to recycle.
    The panels that make up the case used to be painted plastic with metal fittings built into them, now they are plain plastic and the hinges etc are press fitted as part of the design so they don't need metal pressed into them.
    When the old machines are stripped these panels can be put into the chipper machine that automatically feeds the plastic press that makes new panels, this is done at our factory. This takes a lot less energy than drilling for oil, refining it and turning them into new panels while eliminating the need for metal for this part.

    The metal frames have also been designed to be made up of regular lengths of metal in a standard design, I think our whole range of stand-alone devices use 12 different lengths. When the machines are stripped these are separated into bins depending on length, they're then quality checked and those in good condition go back to the start of the production line and used to make new frames, those that are damaged go into the metal bin for recycling. Over 90% are able to be re-used. Almost all of the metal used is Aluminium, all waste Aluminium goes back to the company who supply it, they melt it and return it to us as parts.

    The units that make up the workings of the machine have also been standardised and simplified as much as possible so that some machines in the range can use some of the same units, this has simplified the production process and also allows us to service the units on site. Some of the components that make up the units are also able to be serviced and re-used.
    For example, the developer unit has been strengthened so that it lasts longer (5 years instead of 6 months) and when the components and developer powder runs out we replace the rollers and powder inside the unit, the old rollers go back to the factory, get cleaned and given a new magnetic coating and used again. They used to be a complete unit that lasted about six months and ended up being thrown away as they cost too much to recycle, we now service them once a year and replace the outer casing every five years, the casing is also designed so that the electrical control unit can be unplugged and re-used while the case is three pieces of plastic that also go back into the chipping machine.

    Photo-organic imaging drums are now also made of a stronger metal so that when the organic coating runs out they can be cleaned and re-coated, given a new set of bearings and re-used instead of being thrown away.

    The glass used on the flat-bed scanners is made of three different sizes and is cleaned, polished and re-used on new models.

    They're even trying to eliminate some components, some of our newer models don't use rollers to move the paper through the mechanism, they use air jets instead. This has eliminated the need to replace paper rollers every few months and the air jets are simpler to make and use less power than the motors that powered the rollers.

    Wherever possible the electrical control boards have been separated from the units so that when a mechanical part breaks they are replaced while the control boards keep going. The control boards and some of the other electronics are obviously very complicated and most of these go back to the companies who supply them. There's a lot of Gold and other rare metals used on industrial electronics as they have to last much longer than home electronics so it's often financially viable to recover these, my understanding of how they do this only goes as far as an episode of "How do they do it ?" so I've no idea about the environmental aspect of this.

    It'd be great if we had equipment that lasted longer but if you saw the condition of them when they come to the end of their life you'd understand why they do get replaced. Most of our equipment is in an office environment with about 40 users, they get kicked, knocked, have drinks spilled on them and all manor of other things done to them over their life. Then you've got the size issue, to make them last longer the parts have to be bigger and stronger so the machines get bigger too.
    It'd also be great if we didn't have to use them at all but if we didn't then you somehow have to move all of this information another way. The client I work with is a branch of one of the countries largest financial companies, they're legally obliged to give their customers certain information and the accepted way of doing this is via post, some of this is being done electronically these days but there's still some things you have to send out a physical copy of and some people who don't have access to the internet.

    Because of the way our business works our clients don't own the equipment, they lease equipment and support services from us so we're always trying to reduce costs but we always try to reduce long term costs as we're involved with our product from pre-production to final disposal. I think this is one reason the company takes it so seriously, the more they've re-used and recycled the more money they've saved over the life of the product and this has given us an advantage over some of our competitors as it ultimately allows us to charge less for our product.

    If you've made it this far then congratulations, even I got bored half way through proof reading this, I'll really try to keep them shorter from now on. I hope it shows why I think that recycling, when properly thought out, can be a very good thing both environmentally and economically.

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  • 181. At 11:32am on 08 Sep 2009, newshounduk wrote:

    The problem we have is that there is no agreed view as to what the problem is.Worse still we have no agreed, long term, coherent plan to deal with it once it has been identified.To complicate matters further there is no real sense of urgency from government to either identify the problem or to put a plan in place that everybody will support.

    New Labour's focus has always been the implementation of its manifesto rather than dealing with current or future issues.It's like being on a sinking ship but the captain is focused on whether or not the crew members are all receiving the minimum wage or that more poorer passengers have been lifted out of poverty.

    The truth is that it is the environment not the economy that is the prime issue. When the environment has been destroyed, there will be no economy as there will be little or no life on Earth to service it.

    The G20 talks never really achieve anything because all the leaders are focused on keeping their economies going.Environmental issues take a back seat.Even when talking about reducing carbon emissions, the concept of carbon credits was introduced so that highly developed countries could continue to do what they had always done.

    Is it any wonder that people do not trust governments when they put out mixed messages? Our government has a real problem of credibility because over their term in office they have consistently lied to the public.Not only that they have wasted billions of pounds on useless,ill thought out projects and initiatives.

    Over the next fifty years, there are certain basic survival issues that we will have to address:-

    a)population control
    b)the food and water supply
    c)power and fuels
    d)flood protection
    f)climate change
    g)public health
    h)economic development
    i)recycling & repair
    k)law & order

    Unfortunately, under this government we seem to be heading in the wrong direction. The population is already 61 million and rising.We are now dependent on other countries for food supplies.The same is true of our power and fuel with many of our power generation facilities being owned by foreign owners.Coastal flooding is already posing a problem and the Tewkesbury floods showed how inadequate the Environment Agency is in dealing with flooding.Pollution continues to rise.The changes in climate will produce changes in weather which will affect agriculture, transportation and other amenities.The swine flu epidemic and the NHS staff shortages showed how ill prepared the government are for dealing with issues relating to public health.Economic development will have to go ahead but it will have to be environmentally friendly though there seems to be little change at the moment.Recycling is being addressed but in a non-standard way across the country and in a manner where shops are still using materials that cannot be recycled.Add to that,most recycling facilities are abroad and we just end up storing our recyclable materials in large warehouses rather than processing them ourselves.Repair facilities are few as most stores encourage customers to buy new rather than repair broken goods.All the above need to be addressed because if they are not there will be the problem of civil disorder and the need to have measures in place to deal with it.

    If the government fails to deal with these issues it will be up to the public to address them personally perhaps by installing solar panels, growing more of their own food, reducing waste, switching to a biofuel car etc.

    It could be that if the scientists and government are wrong, we are worrying for no good reason and we can continue our lifestyles as usual, but then IF is a pretty big word especially when your life depends on it and if (or when) environmental calamity does arise it's always nice to have a plan B in place.

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  • 182. At 1:41pm on 08 Sep 2009, stephendowdonline wrote:

    The simple truth is that no policy measures are going to be enough. You hope people react quick enough to make an impact. All of this only amounts to a delay to the oncoming storm.

    Limited resource can only support a limited population. Is it 7Billion, 8 Billion, 10 Billion or more? We are going to find out the hard way. Humanity is approaching the ultimate crisis point.

    We need new ways to feed the masses, new places to live, new thinking.

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  • 183. At 4:13pm on 08 Sep 2009, KennethM wrote:

    #180 Secratariat...and who is paying for all this work?

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  • 184. At 4:45pm on 08 Sep 2009, Secratariat wrote:


    I'm sorry mate, I don't understand your question.
    Who is paying for all what work ?

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  • 185. At 8:26pm on 08 Sep 2009, KennethM wrote:

    #184 Secratariat

    Sorry for my rubbish post at #183

    What I meant was who pays for the costs of dismantling the equipment and re-distributing or disposing of the various components (the recycling or end-of-life costs)? I presume labour, workshops, tools etc are employed in doing this work.

    1) Is this work carried out f.o.c. by the manufacturer/vendor/lease company and is in the original lease or purchase price?

    2) Does the user of the equipment pay for these costs?

    3) Does, in fact, the revenue from selling surplus items cover all these costs and possibly produce a surplus?

    4) Some other scenario not covered above?

    See, my posts can be as boring as yours....

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  • 186. At 8:43pm on 08 Sep 2009, neutralskeptic wrote:

    i do not think that people are discontent about the government tellin them how to live. i fink people are angry because its always the common man who is ighlited to be the ones who have contributed mostly into climate rather than highlighting that fact that it is mostly big businesses. however I totally agree with the officials and politicians that we need to change the way we live and the ammount we consume. because we overuse, waste and we are to arrogant to think that we are more important than nature and that we dont need to take things in moderation and look after the earth rather than wasting and having no respect for earth. if a big contastrephe happens it is the complete fault of human as they have done nothing but completley destroy the earth and the earth is only going to renew itself and get rid of us if we do not fix the huge problems we have caused. Also i will like to add that humans are not evolved enough to respect themselves and one and other how do we expect us to save the planet.

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  • 187. At 3:08pm on 09 Sep 2009, EnglishRefugeeInThai wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 188. At 10:36am on 10 Sep 2009, Secratariat wrote:


    We manufacture almost everything we lease to our clients.
    Because of this we dismantle everything at our factory, everything we can re-use or recycle ourselves is done on site to reduce transport costs.

    All of the new processes that have been put in place have reduced our material costs significantly, for example, because we re-use the metal that makes up the frames we have reduced the amount of Aluminium we are buying by over 60%.

    Re-coating drums, developer rollers and other parts does make the initial manufacturing cost of the part more expensive but as they can be re-coated almost indefinitely the long term costs have also come down significantly so overall these parts now cost us about 40% less over the lifetime of the part, even when we include the cost of re-coating.

    The latest estimate is that over the lifetime of a device, including all consumables, replacement parts and energy, we've reduced the cost per device by over 15% since this program was brought in.

    Obviously our clients end up paying for our products and services but because it costs us less to re-use & recycle the parts their costs have come down too.

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