Making savings in climate change expenditure

Every Department of the United Kingdom government has to make savings. It is important to understand that this is a necessary process to secure future prosperity. I do not know (and frankly no one knows for sure) whether the Labour plan to spend our way out of recession or the Coalition plan to make savings is the best plan for the nation. Continue reading

Courage and Cowardice in Afghanistan

It is easy to waste money; governments of all persuasions all over the world do it, not intentionally, but usually out of vanity, lack of intelligence or lack of understanding. For example Afghanistan has received $36 billion of aid in the past ten years. That money, if wisely spent, should have transformed that backward country into a wealthy secure place. There are, the United Nations believes, 24 million people living in Afghanistan. $36 billion ought to be capable of providing them with a decent infrastructure, education and security. If you factor in the billions spent by NATO on maintaining armed forces in Afghanistan it is hard for me at least to understand why that nation is not today advanced, prosperous and secure. Continue reading

The world’s worst environmental vandalism

For the first time in three months it seems that the Deepwater oil rig is no longer leaking crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. This episode has had all the features of a melodrama with a tragic ending. There have been cover ups, lies, incompetence, political grandstanding, recriminations and generally a simplistic view of the financial and environmental damage done and the sufferings caused with an even more simplistic misunderstanding of the responsibilities. Continue reading

Property Assessed Clean Energy

Being able to get a loan for a clean energy installation is important. Many of the people who want to install solar panels, for example, have not got the ready cash, but would install them if they could use the savings that they achieve to go towards the capital cost of the solar installation. Continue reading

Free bus passes

In England, where I live, you can get free bus travel when you are sixty years old, if you were born before 1950 or if you are disabled or reach pensionable age. The pass entitled you to travel without payment on buses from 9.30 am until 11pm and it is a valuable concession to the elderly poor. It costs the taxpayer around a billion pounds a year, which is not a great deal of money in the general scheme of things. You can get a pass from a post office, proving your age and address and providing a photograph. Continue reading

BP faces another summons to the Senate

I am intrigued to learn that the United States Senate will hold a hearing to ascertain whether there is any substance in the allegation that BP lobbied for the release of Mr al Megrahi who was convicted of blowing up the airline which crashed at Lockerbie. I watched part of one Congressional hearing hearing on television when the BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward was brought to explain the Deepwater oil leak. I was not impressed. Continue reading

Oxygen depletion and climate change

Dr Mae-Wan Ho thinks that the amount of atmospheric oxygen is getting less and the depletion rate is accelerating. To say Dr Ho is well qualified in biophysics would be an understatement. Published by the Institute of Science in Society last year, her research points out the danger of putting one step in front of another without knowing where you are going, a feature of humanity’s insatiable curiosity which has brought many benefits for mankind but also may problems. Continue reading

The punishment of the innocent

Has the government punished you recently for something that you did not do? It would be odd if you have never been punished either as an individual or as part of some collective social engineering project because punishment for things that are not crimes seems to be an instrument of policy of many governments. Continue reading

The spiralling cost of grain

Most of the world eats grain as a staple food. In Asia rice feeds people; in Europe and North America wheat is the staple; as you go further north oats and barley become staples and as you travel south maize (also known as corn North America) feed the masses. Although living in what are prosperous places even in the recession bread or rice will not form a large part of your monthly spend on food, for the vast majority of humanity the cost of grain is a critical factor, often making the difference between life and death. Continue reading

Power from the waves

The world is full of bright ideas; some of them come to nothing. Others, often from a most unlikely source, develop into things of real substance. Sometimes you do not know whether an idea will change things for the better or for the worse. A person writing down an idea usually is trying to right a wrong or bring benefits to all or just a section of humanity. As an idea develops and is taken up the concept can turn into a force for good or a force for evil; usually it does a bit of both. Ideas usually promise much but mostly fail to deliver what they promise. That is the nature of ideas. Continue reading