Keith Parkins | 07.08.2009 15:10 | Climate Chaos
Turning the heating down by 1 degree leads to significant energy savings, turning off devices on standby does not.
Assume mobile phone charger uses 1 watt (in reality much less). 1 watt for 1,000 hours is 1 KWh, ie one unit of electricity, ie a one bar electric fire on for one hour or an electric kettle on for twenty minutes.
At Guildford farmers market, the same energy saving nonsense, turn off your devices on standby. On the same stall, a leaflet on ground source energy pumps that was plain wrong. Talking to the woman manning the stall it became increasingly obvious that she did not have a clue what she was talking about.
Last month at the Alton Food Festival, Greening Alton were spouting the same nonsense, turn off your mobile phone chargers on standby to save the planet. To be fair to Greening Alton, they were also making some sensible suggestions, like insulate your house.
It is deeply disturbing when those promoting energy saving are unable to differentiate between those savings that make a difference and those that do not. Turning off mobile phone chargers on standby is like trying to bail out the Titanic with a tea strainer.
If we are serious about climate change we have to achieve BIG energy savings, move to renewables. Anything less is pissing in the wind.
We also have to reduce our consumption of consumer junk which passes through our hands on a one-way trip to the rubbish dump.
Meanwhile in the real world ...
Farnborough Airport is pushing for a doubling of flights
Using new figures to show the effect of plane emissions, aviation now accounts for 4.9% of climate change worldwide http://bit.ly/oxCkY
Recent study shows emissions from planes, at altitude, have 3 times the effect on climate as those emitted on the ground http://bit.ly/oxCkY
Farnborough airport - private and business jets – has an average occupancy per plane of 2.5 passengers!
On the Isle of Wight the UK's only wind turbine factory has closed down and today those mounting a sit-in are facing eviction by the bailiffs.
The over-60s free bus pass scheme may be scrapped. Too many over-60s are leaving their cars at home and using the bus! http://bit.ly/PHlc8
Carbon trading and carbon offsetting is a con. A market for City Speculators, nothing else.
Plant a tree to offset a short haul flight. Err, no. Greenhouse gas emissions in the upper atmosphere (where they do the most harm) are emitted during a 4-hour flight. The tree takes 60 years or more to absorb the carbon, then releases it back into the atmosphere when the tree dies.
Another con is Green Electricity Tariffs. Consumers are already paying a premium for energy companies to meet their renewable obligation. To pay a green tariff is to pay for the same thing twice over. Green tariffs are merely a spread sheet accounting exercise. Buy from an energy company that only sources from renewables. Better still, generate your own, contribute to and support community renewable projects.
Where is the UK commitment to the Climate Change Act, which makes mandatory 80% cut in greenhouse omissions by 2050? Where is the commitment to the recent G8 agreement to hold global temperature rises to within 2 degrees?
It is business as usual with a handful of at best well-meaning fools tilting at windmills.
An absolute must read:
Sustainable Energy by David MacKay (published by UIT Cambridge, 2009)
Soft Energy Paths by Keith Parkins (May 2001)
Funny Weather by Kate Evans (Myriad Editions, 2006)
Cradle to Cradle by Michael Braungart and William McDounough (Vintage, 2009)
Plan B 2.0 by Lester R Brown
The Winner Stands Alone by Paulo Coelho (HarperCollins, 2009)