The Carbon Trust gets audited

The Carbon Trust has been audited by the Audit Commission and has passed its audition. The Trust spends around £100 million a year advising businesses on how to save carbon and it is reckoned that this expenditure on advice saves somewhere between 1.2 million tonnes and 2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year. That is a large difference for an auditor to cope with, but the methodology of measuring emission savings is still not robust and will probably never be entirely satisfactory. Continue reading

Biomass power station in Port Talbot

When an American pharmaceutical company releases a new drug on the market, it often happens that the drug is approved and used in many countries before it is approved for use in the USA. It sometimes happens that USA approval is never given and a European country withdraws the drug after some bad side effects become apparent.  When this happens we have been used as guinea pigs.  Continue reading

Darling, you’re unlucky.

In January and February of this year I corresponded with Alistair Darling when he was Secretary of State for Trade about some serious failings and structural flaws in the Department of Trade and Industry’s Low Carbon Building Programme, which provided householders and not for profit organisations with some small grants to install microgeneration.  He never deigned to reply, although I did get a letter from Lord Truscott, a junior minister then, which was not a substantive reply but a boastful mini summary of what the letter writer obviously thought amounted to world beating climate change policies which involved the expenditure of £50 million of taxpayers’ money to support microgeneration. Continue reading

Energy advice and green one stop advice shops

 Today is a rainy day in London, as was yesterday. Most cities in the United Kingdom can cope with four days of heavy rain, but five days usually means flooding, which is a terrible misery for people.  Continue reading

Gordon Brown has to choose

Bismark said, about 160 years ago that politics is the art of the possible. That Canadian economist of good Scottish stock, J K Galbraith, wrote that politics is not the art of the possible. It consists, Galbraith held, in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable. It is certainly about making choices, and a former Scottish economist who is today our Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has some big choices to make. He has to steer our country’s energy policy in an environmental way, so that we produce significantly less carbon. He has to show results on this rather quickly, because he and his party have claimed the high ground of environmental and climate change leadership, not only in the country but across the world.  Continue reading

New report from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change comprises climate scientists and they have recently reported. Its reports are the distillation of the research of thousands of scientists and sixth hundred of them from 113 countries (including the United States) go through its report line by line to ensure that they publish scientific consensus, and not blind beliefs and prejudices. Continue reading

Mr Benn’s Climate Change Bill

The Environment Minister Mr Hilary Benn thinks that the Climate Change Bill (published yesterday) is a landmark in environmental legislation and will set us firmly on the path to the low-carbon economy fundamental to our future. Well, he got the bit about low carbon being fundamental to our future, although I would have used the word “essential” instead of fundamental; the rest is no more than newspeak. Continue reading