Celebrities and lawyers: an environmental journey or climbing on a bandwagon?

There have been a lot of people starting on an environmental journey. Celebrities have discovered just how green their life styles are and are anxious to tell us about how climate safe they are. Lifestyle magazines feature articles, often with a compendium of famous musicians, models, chefs and people generally famous for being famous.

Reading about their climate change friendly measures I get the feeling that they are praising themselves for doing in some things what we all should be doing – recycling waste oil in the case of a celebrity chef for example as they climb into their four by fours. Continue reading

Solar central heating

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There has been a lot of interest in my post of 10th March which shows you how you can heat your home with solar energy. In Kent Chris Flaherty of Vietech Heating has recently fitted a solar heating system using a 450 litre store. 

I have added his photograph to this post so that you can see what one of these large stores looks like – it is about four times the size of a normal domestic cylinder. It has inputs for the solar heat and the back up boiler. The system provides both central heating and water heating. Continue reading

Energy prices, free markets and Russian Gas

The last of the big six energy suppliers, Scottish & Southern Energy, announced a price rise a couple of days ago which will take effect from 1st April 2008. They blame wholesale price increases and they are right to do this. They also point out that transmission costs are also going up as are “environmental costs”.  

Like all energy suppliers Scottish and Southern have a number of different tariffs. On average electricity is rising by 14.2% and gas by 15.8%. Oil is today standing at around $110 a barrel.  Trying to see where prices will end up is difficult. There is the possibility of price falls due to the present economic turmoil. Continue reading

My greetings for the equinox

Although in Britain the weather is miserable today I can see trees with large buds and some with blossom from my window. The earth seems ready to wake up and renew itself. Chaucer wrote about it and I learned these words when I was young and they have stayed in my head ever since.

I set them out having simply changed the spelling of the old English and the odd word order:-

When that April with his showers sweet

The drought of March has pierced to the root

And bathed every vine in such liquor

Of which virtue engendered is the flower

When Zephyrus with his sweet breath

Inspired has in every holt and heath

Tender crops, and the young sun

Has in the ram half his course run

And small fowls make melody

That sleep all the night with open eye

We need to sleep with one eye open. The world is changing and the largest changes are not political or caused by the interaction of beliefs or nations. The changes are in nature and even when we sleep we must keep one eye open lest we cause our planet to change for the worse forever.

Whatever your beliefs and wherever you are, I wish you a very happy equinox.

How to heat your pool with solar energy

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If you have a pool you probably realise that the biggest expense is not in the building of the pool, but in its running costs, particularly heating it. Pools are vast bodies of water and need a great deal of energy to heat them. If you use fossil fuel energy you will find it extremely expensive and the hotter you want your pool the more expensive it gets.

With oil prices exceeding $110 a barrel and natural gas prices also going through the roof pool heating is becoming more and more expensive.  If you do not heat your pool your family probably won’t use it much.

Continue reading

The great persuader and climate change policies

Someone who consults for JP Morgan Chase and Co and also for the Zurich Insurance Group is trying to persuade countries like China to drastically cut their carbon emissions. You may ask what JP Morgan Chase & Co and the Zurich Insurance Group have done themselves to cut carbon emissions; the answer is not very much.

When you understand that the consultant in question is none other than Tony Blair you might be even more puzzled.Mr Blair was Prime Minister for ten years and during that time he had plenty of opportunities to legislate for the UK to cut carbon emissions. He did nothing of the sort. Although during his period of leadership the UK’s carbon emissions did fall marginally, the fall was really due to Mrs Thatcher’s fight with the coal mining unions Continue reading

Investment turmoil and solar systems – the true return on capital

The financial markets are in turmoil. Some banks are going through difficult times, as recent happenings at the Northern Rock and Bear Sterns demonstrate. Some analysts fear that the worse is yet to come as US dollar rates fall and interest rates throughout the world are turning down, producing lower returns on investment.

If you have money on the stock exchange you will find that although most stocks are still producing income, the capital value of them is declining as markets fear that the financial turmoil will hit equities. Property values are falling. Turmoil in the world financial markets causes turmoil in the economies of individuals. Your savings, with which you hoped to provide for your old age, are growing less valuable, your house is getting less valuable, and your income from your savings is declining and in some cases moving into negative areas.  It can be hard to figure out what you should do.  Continue reading