A scandal wrapped in a fraud and shrouded in a puzzle

Inflation in the United Kingdom is running at 5%. This is good news for some borrowers whose mortgage rate is fixed below 5.2% but bad news for savers and most others. If you have savings (and most of us do directly in the bank or indirectly through pension funds or life insurance policies, you will be lucky to earn 3% interest on those savings, and you can only get this rate in a ISA or in a pension fund. If your savings earn 3% but over a year lose 5.2% in spending power your savings are depreciating at the rate of 2.2% a year. Continue reading

Greek Debt: the morality argument

The world has a short memory and a selective one. Things are never as straightforward as they seem. Today Greece is treated as an economic pariah that cannot control its borrowing and to whom no sane person would lend money. Germany is treated as paragon of economic virtue in which we should repose our confidence. Continue reading

Make it Easy for People to use Off Peak Electricity

With all the news about energy costs and all the measures that the government is urging upon people in the United Kingdom to reduce their energy costs by switching suppliers, it seems to me that the government is missing a fairly simple way to reduce energy consumption and save money which will benefit the consumer and the environment.

The idea that I have revolves around electricity costs. These are not for most people the largest energy bill they receive – they usually spend more on gas , but the government has for at least the past ten years equated energy with electricity, so perhaps they will like this idea for saving electricity costs and consumption.

Much of the fuel used in generating electricity from non nuclear power stations is used in firing up the power stations. Nuclear produced electricity cannot be turned on and off quickly – it takes days or weeks to get the nuclear power station working and to stop it working. Gas, coal and oil supplied power stations can be turned on and off (or up and down) more easily and they do this. In the course of doing this much energy is wasted as they will turn up the power some time before they expect a surge of demand and turn it down when they expect the use to be less.

Our UK power supplies at the moment stable, which means that the management of power is done well, but in order for it to be done well the power generating companies inevitably have to waste fuel, which means that emissions are wastefully produced and unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions are produced.

Some but not all parts of the country have “off peak electricity” so called because there is a separate meter that is feed to electric storage heaters which is fed at night using cheap electricity when electricity is not in demand, and the storage heaters feed their heat in the day, when heat is needed.

My concept is to expand this use of white electricity. With the technology available to us today there is no reason why every electric meter could not be set to charge at different rates according to the time of day when the current is used. People then, who use electrical appliances could set their appliances to come on when electricity is in low demand and current could be used then. It would not be rocket science to set up and the technology could easily be incorporated into the smart meters that are supposed to be rolling out over the country.

My concept will not save billions of pounds or millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases but it would produce savings because on many matters people act to benefit their wallets and not their conscious.

Mr Cameron does not fly to Rio

So David Cameron is not going to the Rio Summit next year. The Rio Summit will celebrate or mourn (depending on your point of view) the summit held at Rio twenty years ago next June. He has been criticised for this decision because he committed his government to be the greenest ever, and people are trotting out the need to show “leadership” by attending. I do not see things like that. Continue reading

The Warming surface of our Planet

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change having read and deliberated over the findings and analyses of a vast body of scientific opinion reached the conclusion that since 180 the surface of this planet has warmed by two degrees Celsius. I could put the figures differently and take a starting point of 1800, when the planet would have warmed by only 1.5 degrees. Since 1960 the surface warming has been by one degree. Continue reading

Flooding in Bangkok

Once again unprecedented flooding is affecting another part of the world. The Prime Minister of Thailand, Ms Yingluck Shinawatra, has warned that the capital city, Bangkok, could be soon covered with water one and a half deep. October is at the very end of the rainy season in Bangkok, which has a tropical wet and dry climate. The City is home to more than nine million people and while most of it is dry at present parts of the surrounding countryside have been under two or three metres of water for three months. Continue reading

Climate Change Deniers – why am I wrong?

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction,Newtontold us. With climate change writingNewton’s law does not invariably apply. I know that sometimes when I post some ideas about climate change, someone else posts on this blog some ideas which are opposite, but not necessarily equal. That is the fine thing about climate change writing. The opposite views are not necessarily equal. Continue reading

The changing shape of Lakes in the West of The United States

We live in a small world but we do compartmentalise our world and tend to only think of what surrounds us. Things change all the time and the familiar things change so slowly that we only recognise the extent of the change when, eschewing out faulty memories, we look at holiday snaps to show the way things were. Our cities change organically; if you were to visit New York after fifty years you would still recognise the place; London over the last few years has gathered some new buildings and some old ones have been repaired and cleaned up while others have ben torm dowm, but it is still recognisable as London.  Continue reading

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Mr Gaddafi, who was Tony Blair new best friend a few years ago, has perished. Those who were oppressed by him and his regime and those whose families were tortured and killed by his government of Libya are celebrating. I feel the death of a human is not a cause for celebration, although I speak without direct experience of oppression by Gaddafi. The death of Gaddafi is certainly a cause for relief and thanks although we do not know what will follow him, we must hope that the good sense of the Libyan people prevails and they get the leadership that they deserve. The internet is full of images of gruesome sights of Gaddafi’s dead body, a bloodied corpse. Sic simper tyrannis. There is no more to be said.

Carbon will not be Captured at Longannet

I have always been realistic about carbon capture and storage. The UK government has always been(in public at least) ecstatic about its potential. Whatever your views it must be wrth trying to see if that is a realistic and cost effective way to prevent emissions from reaching the atmosphere from power stations. Continue reading