Talk about Newsnight

Ethical Man - Justin Rowlatt

Stop whinging

  • Justin Rowlatt -
  • 23 Oct 06, 10:25 AM

jamaica203.jpgI have come in for a staggering amount of stick for our decision to fly to Jamaica (watch my report here). We set out to explore whether it is ever ethical to fly. If the response to the programme is anything to go by, in many people’s minds it is not.

But the fact is, most of us do.

Of course we knew that the idea of a man who claims to be “ethical” getting on a plane would upset some people, but what better way of illustrating how carbon intensive flying is?

As I made very clear in the film, that one flight pretty much bust my carbon budget, undoing most of those careful carbon reductions my family and I had been making...

Note also that we didn’t take the easy way out, and just pay £15.82 to offset the flight and then claim that we had sorted out the problem. As I said in the film “this project is about reducing my carbon emissions, not someone else’s.”

Professor Tim will be counting the carbon cost of my Jamaican jaunt until the Ethical Man project ends in March next year. And if you want to know whether I feel guilty about it, yes I do.

In fact this weekend I have been checking through the Energy Saving Trust’s advice for Energy Saving week to make sure that I am doing everything I can to reduce my carbon emissions at home. There weren’t any significant savings to be had, I am already following most of the Trust’s advice.

But, once again, the fact is most of us aren’t.

The British are the filthiest people in Europe in terms of their energy habits, according to a survey of 5,000 Europeans. No surprise there.

What is really striking is how much energy our bad habits waste. The Trust is looking at relatively small things like leaving appliances on standby, boiling too much water in the kettle, washing clothes at high temperatures, leaving lights on in unoccupied rooms and forgetting to unplug our phone chargers.

It reckons that if we all followed a more rigorous energy etiquette then we could save 43 million tons of carbon dioxide by 2010. To put it in language we all understand, that’s £11 billion pounds we could be trousering. To do your bit sign up at

And while we are on the subject of signing up to commitments, not one single one of my critics mentioned that my wife and I signed up to the Flight Pledge website. We both signed the silver pledge, undertaking to limit our flights to one long haul or two short haul flights in the next year. We signed a couple of weeks ago and so will have to abide by our commitment well beyond the period of the Ethical Man project.

If unplugging your phone charger can make such a big difference imagine if we all signed up to that?

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 11:17 AM on 23 Oct 2006,
  • kate wrote:

so you flew to jamaica to demonstrate how morally bankrupt those of us who fly to jamaica are?
gosh what a great idea. how pioneering. and so totally necessary, of course.
and i bet that the guilt you say you feel was just a little bit assuaged by sipping those cocktails in the carribean sun, eh?
what a load of b******s.
you waste a fair chunk of airtime throughout the year on 'insights' such as 'recycling and using energy saving light bulbs can cut your carbon footprint', and then when you run out of self-evident platitudes to mouth you undermine the entire concept on which your self-justification has rested with this little stunt.
i would really love to hear from the Newsnight producer who's responsible for approving the Ethical Man slot, to find out what they were hoping to achieve by this and whether they are satisfied with how it has gone so far.

  • 2.
  • At 04:05 PM on 23 Oct 2006,
  • Joe wrote:

So what are you going to do in response to the 100ish posts that wanted you to do better?

- Community service. Plant 100 trees.

I think its the least you could do if you want to keep your title as the "ethical man".

  • 3.
  • At 04:12 PM on 23 Oct 2006,
  • Themos Tsikas wrote:

Volunteerism is not the way forward. All it does is make the most considerate people pay the costs for all the others. Imagine if the problem of crime was tackled by a volunteer "pledge to break fewer laws". I am surprised that such a hare-brained scheme was ever seriously considered. Putting on my cynical hat, I'd say that it's part of a rearguard action to avoid draconian legislation by making all of us feel vaguely guilty. This problem can only be solved by political means, that is, action agreed by the majority and binding on everyone. Hardcore libertarians are welcome to find their own private biosphere.

  • 4.
  • At 04:51 PM on 23 Oct 2006,
  • kate wrote:

The idea of a blog is that it fosters debate with your readers/listeners/viewers. Publishing people's comments is fairly integral to that. Failing to publish comments that are critical of you will make your audience feel very cynical, very quickly.
Please publish the comment I submitted this morning.

  • 5.
  • At 05:00 PM on 23 Oct 2006,
  • Joe wrote:

Re: Themos Tsikas

"This problem can only be solved by political means"

I wasn't suggesting this as a solution to the worlds problems and totally agree with you on the effectiveness of it. However it would be amusing to see how he wold react to hand planting 100 trees, I dont think it would be long before the 'whinging' started...

I'm in higher education, studying to become an architect specifically to provide people with an advanced (energy efficient amongst other things) alternative to contemporary housing. I believe that this is also an effective course of action.

Hi Kate (post 3),

We don't moderate the blogs - an outside company does that and, apparently, if you swear they automatically stop publication of the blog. I know this is strange as Justin swears in his blogs. I asked to see your previous post (I don't have access) and it is being published. We wouldn't dream of not publishing critical posts and I think you'll find 100+ highly critical posts in response to 'Ethical Man, my a***' because of Justin's flight to Jamaica.

Sara (producer) so what happened to my mild post?

'but what better way of illustrating how carbon intensive flying is?'

Perhaps by illustrating rather than actually doing it!!! Your actual traveling made no difference to the presentation of the facts of the damage of such a flight. So simply, 'had I flown it would have cost this much carbon', would have been the same for presentation purposes. You could have had a studio background of a Jamaican beech and sat in a deck chair, if desperate for visual effects!

The idea you are ethical because you will ONLY make one long haul flight is farcical. An ethical person would eschew flying, completely. I doubt I would name myself such, yet I have never ever taken any flight nor will I ever. It is not at all hard to do nothing! Unless you are totally selfish perhaps?

We have a national problem, we are too rich. That is why we do not save energy; it is easier to pay up. Allied to having no culture, or incentive, to save financially.

It is never ethical or right to fly anywhere. We never used to, and our world did not end, as some seem to think it would!

  • 9.
  • At 07:46 PM on 23 Oct 2006,
  • Barbara Kendall-Davies wrote:

Regarding Iraq, we had no right to be there in the first place and should leave as soon as possible. Historically partition is rarely the answer to a sectarian problem. People have to learn to live together and the less outside interference, the better.
In such a lawless place civil war is always a possibility and it is very likely that if order is to be achieved the Iraqis will end up with another draconian leader but that is up to them not George Bush or Tony Blair.

  • 10.
  • At 12:01 AM on 24 Oct 2006,
  • Paul D wrote:

"We don't moderate the blogs - an outside company does that and, apparently, if you swear they automatically stop publication of the blog". (Sara Afshar (the producer))

Oh well that explains it!

My first hand account of the violence in Budapest this afternoon, my anger that the blog about tonight's programme was entirely focused on Iran notwithstanding that a big slice of the problem was about the uprising of '56 and none of it is actually moderated at the BBC?

Shame on you! Either have the decency to do your own moderation or stop blogging!

  • 11.
  • At 12:03 AM on 24 Oct 2006,
  • Paul D wrote:

P.S. - and stop telling me that 'Your comment has been received and held for approval by the blog owner.' That is obviously an out and out lie!

  • 12.
  • At 09:22 AM on 24 Oct 2006,
  • Jenny wrote:

"...What is really striking is how much energy our bad habits waste. The Trust is looking at relatively small things like leaving appliances on standby, boiling too much water in the kettle, washing clothes at high temperatures, leaving lights on in unoccupied rooms and forgetting to unplug our phone chargers. ...If unplugging your phone charger can make such a big difference imagine if we all signed up to that?"

Many of us try to follow those rules. After all they reduce our own electricity bills. But the technology is patently not designed to assist.

A few years ago I worked in an office where the lights went off if motion detectors failed to sense someone in a room for a while. Unfortunately it wasn't sensitive enough to notice someone working on a computer or talking on a phone, so one had to wave ones hands above one's head every few minutes if one was to avoid being suddenly plunged into eye-straining darkness.

Last year a Westminster committee on the switch-over to digital TV heard bitter evidence from scientists on how low-quality are the extra digital boxes, not least in wasting electricity though needing to remain on stand-by when not in use.

I have at least a dozen chargers or power supplies that need only be on when the device they serve is attached, or in use, but none have lights to remind one they are on. None have power switches, so all require actual unplugging from the mains socket, because no one seems to make extension strips of mains sockets with independent switches any more. Why cannot these things be made to switch themselves off when not being useful?

We consumers cannot make manufacturers be environmentally responsible. Our influence is only possible when such choices are on offer. We need more responsible standards and regulating bodies, but instead the trend is clearly towards relinquishing any such influence.

Paul D (10)

The guide to how this forum works and on what basis the comments are moderated can be found at:

(or by clicking on the top right hand side of the main forum page).

Sara (13) I've looked at the moderation rules, etc., and still cannot understand why my comment (made when none were showing yet in response to this section)
has not appeared. Was it because it asked Justin why he had only opted for the 'silver' pledge, a pretty limp promise to only take one long-haul or two (even more wasteful) short hauls per year. Wow! How ecoconscious!

(A former addict, but no flights for almost ten years)

Well done on giving out the light bulbs (no sarcasm here, I am really serious) to offset the flight to the Windies. The comment Justin made at the end (approx) "that this is about me living ethically and not about how much others save on my behalf" is totally off the mark.

We don't have TIME to mess about with 'whether your envirenmental soul will go to heaven or not'. We are looking for a gross world reduction of CO2 emissions, and if dishing out a few light bulbs does it, and allows you to drive your SUV for a few more years, then good, DO IT!

The alternative is that the environmental moralist Nazis win a local battle (getting you to reduce your CO2 emissions by yourself) while losing the global war on CO2 (we all get hacked off with the non-stop whining, and give up).

Indeed, had he given out more light bulbs, other half Bee might be persuaded that OVER ALL, it was a step closer to saving the planet.

The only bug bear I have is that Justin did not swap the energy saving lights for incandescents, AND DESTOY THEM! No point in leaving the posibbility of incandecents to live their lives out somewhere else.

Additionally, it has been my view since the start of this experiment that Justin could "earn CO2 points" by helping those around him change to energy saving bulbs. Why not share the CO2 reduction with converts. Share the benefits 50% 50% for the life of the first generation of bulbs.

This approach is FAR MORE important than trying to be perfectly pure (setting up for failure and does the 'cause' no favours) because it generates a climate of enthusiasm and teamwork that is infectious.

Creating a "market" for swapping CO2 dramatically increases the spead with which this problem can be brought under control, because it give us all a tangible stake, that we can ENJOY!

Sinning less by degrees, and enjoying the progress we make is better than grinding away joylessly, resigning ourselves to hell and giving up!

If Justin cannot reach the end of the year and say, "that was a cinch, I think I can do more this year", then it was not a sustainable endevour, and THAT, is not ethical.


I saw somewhere that the 'outside firm' who do the 'moderating' are US-based. Is that true? Shame!

I think Justin comes across as a self effacing wa*ker. "Nuclear bombs, we weren't really sure how devastating they were so we decided to..."

That said, I don't give a friar tuck about this carbon issue. Me, myself and I are nothing compared to the big corporates chugging out tonnes of carbon every day in varying forms be it over packaging in the supermarkets (packaging that lasts 5 minutes and goes immediately in a bin when the consumer gets home), manufacturing or energy production via unclean sources (no I am not condoning nuclear). What I feel is that, if it is such a big issue the government should be addressing the issues with a harder line be it tax or banishment of certain items/products. If the government refuses to take up the mantle then why should I care. Which is a paradox because I do but feel that there are thousands out there who are ignorant or don't care. I am fed up with this 'consumer power' bullshit. If it worked we wouldn't be so dominated (our politics and increasingly more our cultrue) by the monolithic corporates.

As for Justin, navel gazing, perhaps you could be put on the payroll at the BBC to undertake that. After all you could then do it in Jamaica and hopefully become so engrossed we won't have to read anymore of your self satisfied, middle class life is so easy all I think about is what fridge grade I have and whether I can recycle rabbit droppings...

Hi Ed (14),

I'll find out what happened to your post - I'm sorry about that.

I'm glad someone responded to the Flight Pledge part of the film. I thought some of you would knock him for going for the Silver Pledge - but the truth is he didn't have to take any pledge - frankly he can take 20 flights next year if he wants to because, after March 2007, he'll no longer be Ethical Man. He decided to take the pledge, albeit the silver one, because he wants to reduce - and not offset - how much he flies in the future. And partly what convinced him to do that was seeing for himself what offsetting actually means - in Jamaica. We could have talked about offsetting in the abstract, just as some politicians and celebrities do, as they rush to tell us all that they offset. But whether you think it's adequate to put energy efficient light bulbs in a hotel in Jamaica so that you can carry on flying is, I think, sharply brought into focus when you see it.

Justin is not eco-conscious - he has been made to do this experiment - but it is changing him. Maybe the year after next he will take the gold pledge, but if you'd told me at the beginning of this experiment that Justin would choose to voluntarily limit his flying beyond the time-frame of the experiment, I would have been really surprised.

That doesn't mean that I think he should be applauded or anything of the sort.

  • 19.
  • At 05:22 PM on 24 Oct 2006,
  • Phil wrote:

All these complaints are utterly illogical. If Justin hadn't flown to Jamaica, the airplane on which he travelled would still have flown there (minus one passenger), so his individual actions added nothing to global carbon emissions. So his film did prove a point without causing any damage.

If enough people chose not to take this flight it would not be scheduled Phil!

Could you attempt to over simplify quantum psychics for us too!?!

  • 21.
  • At 11:47 AM on 25 Oct 2006,
  • Jenny wrote:

Phil wrote: "All these complaints are utterly illogical. If Justin hadn't flown to Jamaica, the airplane on which he travelled would still have flown there (minus one passenger), so his individual actions added nothing to global carbon emissions."

Aircraft use more fuel with greater payloads; more weight takes more lifting, and keeping up there, obviously. So half-empty 'planes make less carbon, but they also make less money for their operators.

  • 22.
  • At 10:29 PM on 25 Oct 2006,
  • Caroline wrote:

There was no need to go all the way to Jamaica for the report.
You have lost some credibility in my eyes for making such an unnecessary journey. Offsetting gives the idea that we can buy our way out: its almost like saying that it's perfectly fine for people to vandalise a building as long as they pay for it to be cleared up.

Surely not contributing to climate change in the first place is the best idea.

And signing up for the Silver Pledge is nothing. I have never, ever flown in my life. I manage perfectly. Commit to the full pledge and don't fly at all. I'm sure you can do it for a year. Afterall, many of us don't fly at all.

Unlike some people, I don't think you're a bad journalist for doing it, I just think it was a bad mistake. Avoid doing so in the future - you can get your point across without going thousands of miles away in the process. It is unfair that your family has had to live a greener lifestyle all this time, and yet you go off on a weekend break.

"What is really striking is how much energy our bad habits waste. The Trust is looking at relatively small things like leaving appliances on standby, boiling too much water in the kettle, washing clothes at high temperatures, leaving lights on in unoccupied rooms and forgetting to unplug our phone chargers."

It is shocking, isn't it? Most of the things we do that waste electricity are just pointless. I mean, I'm here on the computer which is obviously using power, but I'm doing something, I'm using it. Leaving the TV on standby or leaving the phone charger plugged in isn't benefiting the person in any way.

Despite what some people have been saying, I have found Ethical Man quite good so far. But going to Jamaica annoyed me somewhat.

Oh and living ethically isn't just about stopping climate change. It's about animal wellfare, human rights etc. etc. It's about not buying battery farmed animals (or even better, giving up meat completely); it's about supporting fair trade. Perhaps you could include this sort of issue in Ethical Man?

Can you reply please? I'd love to hear what your responce is to my points.

  • 23.
  • At 12:16 AM on 26 Oct 2006,
  • lou lou wrote:

You say that no one mentioned the fact that you and your wife had signed up to the silver pledge, I say, in reply to that pathetic little winge, bully for you! are we supposed to be impressed by the fact that you and your family have pledged to only take one haul or two short haul fights? What great hardship is that going to be for you really? You don't need me to point out that there are plenty destinations that you and your family could travel to without flying and I'm sure Newsnight would want to help its self-serving, oops, I mean self-sacrificing reporter by giving you more local stories. So please don't insult us by holding this lame commitment up as some sort of beacon. As if anyone would follow your example anymore. You've blown it I'm afraid, with your silly Caribbean jaunt.

  • 24.
  • At 10:26 AM on 26 Oct 2006,
  • lou lou wrote:

Yet again it seams that the 'great moderator' has failed to print one of my comments. I would really like to know why. Too much criticsm not good for Justin's image?

  • 25.
  • At 06:48 PM on 26 Oct 2006,
  • Paul D wrote:

Re: 13.Sara Afshar.

Sorry to be pedantic and perhaps, on reflection, 'out and out lie' was a bit strong. Nevertheless, surely the correct form of words should be 'Your comment has been received and held for approval by the blog owner's agent.'

  • 26.
  • At 12:43 AM on 27 Oct 2006,
  • Brian wrote:

Er, Jenny (11:47 AM on 25 Oct) needs to realise something. If 200 or so people decide not to go to Jamaica, one plane won't go to Jamaica. Your daft argument Jenny, is like the anti-vegetarian one: The damned cow is dead, you might as well eat it, it can't come back to life. We have to hope and work for a brighter future, Jenny, where no-one wants to eat cows at all!

  • 27.
  • At 08:17 AM on 27 Oct 2006,
  • Brian wrote:

Oh, dear, I'm terribly sorry Jenny, I completely misread your item. (At 12:43 AM on 27 Oct 2006, Brian wrote:... ) I shouldn't do this when knackered! Of course Jenny was also putting Phil right, as I now see tobias has also done.

Justin's wife said it all.

  • 29.
  • At 02:24 PM on 28 Oct 2006,
  • caroline wrote:

Justin, do you even read through properly?!?! Please can you reply to the posts, I would be very greatful if you did.

So then, are you more eco-minded than a few months ago? And do think that global warming is a serious threat, or is it really over-hyped?

  • 30.
  • At 02:01 AM on 31 Oct 2006,
  • brian wrote:

Justin, I’ve not read all the blogs, but in those I have read, you (and your apparently more ethical wife!) don’t seem to have come in for any stick at all for the biggest excess of environmental damage to which BOTH of you have committed yourselves and the rest of us.
Your little family outing to Tenerife is rightly recognised as a big slice of last year’s carbon cake, but what about the children?
You TWO have got THREE! This means that, all other things being equal, you’ve committed the planet to suffering under a 50% bigger footprint than the pair of you were… well… er… perhaps… ethically entitled. For evermore!
Didn’t you think about this when you got down to the nitty-gritty of reproduction?

I’m excusing you, of course, Justin, because perhaps when you conceived you hadn’t got to thinking about all this footprint stuff, as none of us had until… well until just a few weeks ago when you really got under our skins. (Bully for you, for that!)

But now, we need to talk about it!

When you cannot afford to buy or run a car, when your family have not been on holiday abroad or at home since 2000, when you have no electric or gas cooker, no washing machine or tumble-dryer, when you wash dishes etc. in cold water, don't use heat to save money it is difficult to know what to cut down to save more energy.

We have got a fridge-freezer and a microwave, plus electric light - had insulation in this old Victorian 2-bed terraced house for some years. We use the energy-saving light bulbs.

I've been following Justin's progress with interest and am writing this comment in the hope that we can get in touch with the 'Ethical Man' team and Justin in particular - very sorry but it seems to be the best way to reach you!

London 21 is a 'sustainability network' which engages with community projects and is responsible for running the Sustainability Weeks that coincide with World Environment Day ( We've also set up and manage the 'London Green Map' (

We're holding a networking event on 7 December where our theme is 'community action for a sustainable future', and we're wondering whether Justin would be interested in attending...?

I'd be very grateful if you'd drop me a line by return to hopefully discuss this further.

Many thanks, Will Morgan

  • 33.
  • At 03:51 PM on 09 Nov 2006,
  • Ivan Thomson wrote:

Of course it is ethical to fly. Is it ethical to offer people with only 1 affordable option when it comes to long distance travel?

Where are all the trans-atlantic sailing ships? Or even those fuel effecient blimps?

Stop judging the passenger and start with the industry. Giving us a single option is not really a choice is it and without a choice how can one be ethical at all? I need to have aleast two choices to have any chance of ethical decision making.

  • 34.
  • At 09:54 AM on 10 Nov 2006,
  • Tom Elliott wrote:

I must say I agree wholeheartedly with Alexander's comments (15). Offsetting may not be the "perfect" solution that people may want, but its a step in the right direction.

The idea that everyone is just going to stop flying tommorow is frankly ridiculous, and just because one person can manage without ever flying, doesn't mean everyone else can (particularly in an age of international business).

I am led to wonder if sending 200 people on one flight saves much carbon compared to 100 people on each of 2 flights. Perhaps a more ethical way to fly would be to ensure you're booked on a more crowded flight. If we could eliminate even one unnecessary scheduled flight a day, we could sleep easier.

  • 35.
  • At 05:33 PM on 10 Nov 2006,
  • Robert Giddings wrote:

Flying is ethical, as there is no point in saving the planet if you can't enjoy it.
Maybe people should fly less often and be more culturevated about where they are going.
But a plane is a plane. Light bulbs on the other hand! Now we can save the planet by changing them.

  • 36.
  • At 04:14 PM on 14 Nov 2006,
  • Skemps wrote:

There was a good letter in the Guardian a few weeks ago from a chap who runs an ethical and socially aware tourist reort in South Africa. His position was backed up by some statistics that if the 1,000,000 or so tourists that visit SA every year gave their carbon emissions for their trip to the local population it would only increase the local per head emission from 50kg to 55kg per year. This is so low, it would be almost selfish to deny SA the tourist trade and economic benefit that brings simply because one was concerned about the emissions. I thought it was an interesting point of view and quite relevant in the above talking point. I'm pretty sure that Cuba is in a similarly low carbon emissions bracket.

It can be valuable to come to something fresh, and late, and sift through the debris with a mind unfogged by the emotions of the moment.

As is rightly pointed out from the off, there is what we want to do, what we should do, what we can do, what we have to do, what we’re made to do... and what we end up doing. These can often be at odds with each other.

There was a point being made in this piece. I have to say making it in Jamaica was a bit of a plus for the production team. Did the fam go too? No blue screen here; only blue skies. Haven’t watched it yet, so I can’t comment whether license fee money was saved by freebies in 1st, Club or cattle being offered in return for a stray logo cropping up in shot, and the local tourist board helping scratch mutual backs whilst there.

I am glad to see the offset issue has been addressed. I reckon we already need to plant a forest the size of Jupiter just to cope with Mrs. Beckett’s commute when she was in charge of our environmental future. Now where are her successors at the 'mo?

Taking the pledge is interesting. I could live with silver, if we could afford the fares. The in-laws are in Singapore, so it would be nice to see them. Can we make it a human right?

But I’m guessing this doesn’t count ‘business’, and options such as not splaying out in the same space in front or upstairs as do 4 others in cattle.

So we sometimes don’t have alternatives, but it is incumbent upon us to do our best to mitigate their impact. Did this? No.

ps: Phone charger: check. Noticed that it was warm even when not charging a mobile. Still got a couple of cordless jobs with little red lights on 24/7 though:( I don’t think they do DECT crank dial jobs.

pps: 17. Tobias, packing doesn’t have to go in the bin:

As it is pertinent, let me post here what I think (that guy who does brainy stuff at college can tell us if it is or isn’t) is an ethical situation:

Thanks to my devastating insights on this issue, you invite me to appear on the show. Good for my cause; good for your... well... it kills a few primetime minutes cheaply. I think I read elsewhere on these blogs that you do pay costs, but on what basis I don’t know.

If it's London I’d say OK, at the time of night I could come in unethically by car, which will cost you for the travel, and my time, which is about 3hrs each way. Or, ‘cos I’m ethical, it’s the train, which is about the same travel time but a lot more expensive, plus the hotel ‘cos the last train’s gone, plus my additional opportunity costs of being away from home/office.

I posed this recently to a client who challenged my environmental credentials as I arrived by car, but decided after all that she’d live with my driving time of 10 minutes over paying my public transport time of 2hrs. Funny that.

Which do you choose?

Three strikes and you’re... still in?!

Well, you never know. As I’ve already written twice this is perhaps pushing it, but as this is where the debate started...

Out of 36 (at last count) posts, approx 30% (at.. etc, but a few were ‘replies’) were about moderated blogs.

As I may (or may not:) have been quoted, but certainly said, with mouth freshly washed out with soap, –
on another of this site’s Forums - : “Where there is any form of shortlist*, agendas come into play, making both the process and the result immediately open to... 'concerns'. Even with no editing, what stays in and what is kept out shapes the story.

*Substitute selection, moderation or any other similar word you fancy here.

I must say that being ‘moderated’ by an outside company adds a new kink to impartial, objective public service broadcasting. Yes, it says so in the guidelines what will happen.

But.. er.. do we get told whose doing it? Rupert Murdoch? Kim Jong Il? Or, horror of horrors, a Govt. spin doctor?!!!

Here's a more topical, and celeb-based, dilemma from today:

"Royal accounts show that it costs taxpayers £13 per mile to transport a royal by air, compared to £41 per mile by royal train." How do we as taxpayers feel about footing [such] eco-desires... and example, when it is quite a lot of dosh for very little actual result."

I guess ethically it's no brainer. But is it really that simple?

  • 41.
  • At 04:37 PM on 28 Nov 2006,
  • Philip wrote:

Ignore the sceptics Mr Rowlatt.

The whole point about an initiative like this is that no one is going to get it right all the time. The main thing is that you are making a concerted effort which is a hundred times better than doing nothing at all. Which I suspect is the case for most of your detractors.

The spirit of Bob Wellings sneaking a quick fag in his children's Wendy House for 'Stop Smoking with Nationwide' lives on...[ask your dad..]

By the way, foraging for 'urban fruit' may or may not be legal - but given the pollution, and the fact you are not a botanist [do correct me] is a tad dangerous. So it is good to see you are following 'Health and safety' best practice and getting your kids to try out the berries first...

I tried to stop smoking I did about 17 hrs none smoking the reason for this is I was asleep until 5pm when I got up at 5pm I had a fag it was great. WBR LeoP

  • 43.
  • At 08:09 AM on 12 Mar 2007,
  • Mark Cherry wrote:

I may have misheard, but I thought the scientist said Justin's Jamaica jaunt contributed about "1 tonne of carbon".

It bothers me that a succession of news reports (about the topic in general) have repeated similar figures and may have given the public the impression that "1 ton per passenger" is typical, wherever you happen to fly. This jibes with my understanding of how much fuel planes actually carry.

So, firstly, it might help if BBC could chart the fuel capacity (tonnes) of short (B737/A320), medium (B767/A330) and long-haul (B777/B747/A340) aircraft and relate this to their passenger capacities, so as to arrive at 'typical' figures for "tonnes of fuel per passenger" or "tonnes per-passenger, per-mile", which factors distance into the equation. (Short-hauls burn disproportionate amounts of fuel climbing, relative to the overall length of the flight; long-haul averages better consumption *rate* due to high-altitude cruising efficiency but the gross amounts are obviously larger).

A brief mention of how many tonnes of CO2 that 1 tonne of kerosene turns into would be useful, at this point. (See below)

Second: - this will appear to be pedantry, at first, but stick with me.
The phrase used in news bulletins is (nearly always) "carbon emissions", instead of "[i]carbon dioxide[/i] emissions". Is this just journalistic abbreviation (saving a few milliseconds per mention) or is this the [u]actual terminology[/u] the scientists use? (I'd like clarification).

The reason being, if you asked any chemist, they'd tell you that more than 2/3rds of the weight of CO2 is the "O2" bit. So, to them (and me), "a tonne of carbon emissions" equates to "three and a bit tonnes of CO2".

I don't really mind which meaning you finally settle on, so long as it's explained (repeatedly, if neccesary) and used consistently thereafter.

This post is closed to new comments.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites