Record Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Energy in 2010

The big news of the month of May came at its very end. The International Energy Agency estimates that carbon dioxide emissions due to energy – heat and electricity – rose to a record level in 2010. In 2009 emissions from these sources fell, due to the financial crisis, but since the recovery emissions are on the rise and were 5% higher than the previous record year in 2008. These are records of shame, recording the first steps of our descent into self destruction. Continue reading

Nuclear Power to end in Germany

Some countries have no nuclear power stations but want them. We are told that these countries cannot be trusted with nuclear power, because they might use nuclear power to build nuclear weapons, so we oppose their acquisition of nuclear power on self invented ethical grounds. Some countries have nuclear power stations and nuclear weapons and we think some of them can be trusted with it, and as for those we cannot trust we close our yes, cross our fingers and hope. And then there are those who have nuclear power stations but wish they hadn’t. Continue reading

Bombing Libya

A number of nations under the NATO umbrella, mainly the United Kingdom and France, supported by the United States of America, are conducting a bombing campaign in Libya, ostensibly to protect Libyan civilians against the excesses of the present Libyan government. The bombing is authorised by a UN resolution authorising all necessary measures. The Libyan government is fighting a rebellion, and there are fears that in the course of putting the rebellion down, the Libyan government will injure and kill many people, including people who are not fighting. Continue reading

The environmental cost of wasting food

The amount of food that is wasted each year in the developed world is massive. We waste food in two ways; sometimes by over eating, which is not only a waste of food but a waste of our precious health, and by throwing away food that we have bought but do not wish to eat, either because we do not like it any more or because we suspect it has become stale. Continue reading

Taxing flying

A UK low cost airline, Easyjet has commissioned a report by Frontier Economics to reveal the impact of the government’s proposed Air Passenger Duty on air travel. The government has offered a number of options for calculating air passenger duty but Frontier Economics’ research indicates that all of the options that would be “bad for the UK”. Of course an airline commissions a report that it expects will support, not hinder, its lobbying for a particular type of duty on flying. Continue reading

Reporting of Emissions by UK Companies

In April next year the UK will introduce (I expect) mandatory reporting of emissions for large companies. The government has not yet decided which large companies should be obliged to report their emissions; it may be those listed on the stock exchange (about a thousand companies), it may be those using more than 6,000 megawatts of energy a year (about four thousand companies), or it may simply be voluntary reporting. Continue reading

When the law makes things worse

When you get into a hole it is a good idea to stop digging, and that is something that the rich and famous would do well to bear in mind, especially when it comes to super injunction designed to make the hole in which you are digging invisible. It sometimes works and injunctions serve a legitimate and useful purpose, but marshalling the might and majesty of the law to stifle free speech is a double edged sword. Continue reading

The Australian Climate Commission’s Report

I was surprised to read in one of the Sunday newspapers an attack on Chris Huhne, the UK Energy and Climate Change secretary, for wasting money and damaging business by various climate change measures, now, as the papers alleged, the science of climate change had been discredited. I am sure that people may want to attack a politician for many reasons, but surely to claim that he is acting on the basis of discredited science turns publishing news into publishing fantasy. Continue reading

Law, injunctions and injustice

A function of law is to do justice, which can be hard to define but easy to recognise. I have been thinking about the conflict between the rule of law and the right to free speech and the “super” injunctions granted to such unworthy recipients as Fred Goodwin and Andrew Marr. The more I read about this and the more I listen to views about this the more I appreciate just how easy it is to become confused. I was entirely baffled to watch Andrew Marr discuss this issue with Max Hastings and Helena Kennedy on Sunday morning BBC television without anyone mentioning that Andrew Marr took out one of these injunctions to “protect” his wife from knowing that he had indulgenced in behaviour of which she would not approve and no doubt also to protect his highly lucrative earnings as a television journalist. It was weird, odd and strange behaviour from people who can roll out an opinion at the drop of a hat. Continue reading

Photovoltaic feed in tariffs

Throughout the developed world there are incentives for installing solar photovoltaic panels, which produce electricity in daylight hours. Almost all the incentives are “feed in tariffs”. The installation is usually hooked to the grid and the electricity fed in to the grid. Mostly the gird users do use the electricity but photovoltaic panels do not produce electricity at night nor can they cope with peaks and troughs of demand. Like all renewable energy PV is not perfect and we have all got to get used to this imperfection. Continue reading