How to Control Fuel Prices Without Increasing Pollution and Global Warming

In the United Kingdom the government has decided that the energy companies (there are six that control 99% of the market) have been giving such poor value for money that they should be forced to write to all their customers offering to put the customers on their cheapest tariff. This of course is a policy, devised by an idiot full of words and nonsense signifying nothing.

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International Spending on Renewable Energy

If you measure climate change measures that each country adopts by money spent and targets you get a fair idea of the importance that each nation places upon climate change. Of course measuring targets is foolish; targets are fairly meaningless, can be easily fiddled and often miss the point. For example the United Kingdom Continue reading

Air Unfit for Purpose

London has the worst air quality of any European capital, to our shame. It air is contaminated by diesel particulates, nitrous oxide, in some places heavy concentrations of carbon dioxide and all sorts of other pollution caused by burning. Londoners burn fuel to power their vehicles, gas to provide heat and hot water, and coal and gas to provide the electricity that the city uses. Considering that there are no power stations in London, no heavy industry in London and very little light industry in London it is astonishing just how much the air quality is made bad by what is basically a city where most of the working inhabitants are providing services of one kind or another, rather than being manufacturing workers.

There seems to be a strange reluctance by the national or local government to do anything to improve London’s air quality. The United Kingdom is bound by European legislation to keep air quality within certain limits and the regulations that have created these limits have been in force for many years. It is not just London that suffers from poor air quality; the UK government has applied for exemptions from complying with the air quality regulations for Aberdeen and north-east Scotland, Belfast, Birkenhead, Brighton, Bristol, Liverpool, Preston, Sheffield, South-West England; South Wales, Swansea and Tyneside and the exemptions have all been refused by the European Commission.

The refusal to do anything substantive about air quality except apply for exemptions will mean that in addition to bearing the £20 billion a year additional health costs caused or contributed to by poor air quality, the UK taxpayer will have to cough up substantial fines for the Government’s failures on air quality. It is a lose-lose situation. Everyone loses except the European Commission which will gain some fines and no doubt use the fines as purposefully as it uses its other income.

The health care costs are significant. Some years ago I was asked to umpire a cricket match played by twelve year olds in South Wales. I was astonished when four of the children came up to me before the start of the match and ask me to look after their inhaler devices for asthma. I had not understood that air quality was affecting the very young so badly.

There are three main government measures about London’s air quality and the air quality of the nation:-

1. The Clean Air Acts, brought into being in the early 1950s which prohibit the burning of coal and smoke type fuels

2. The Low Emission Zones, under which polluting vehicles are charged because they pollute, but not prohibited from being on the road because they pollute beyond levels that are acceptable.

3. Subsidies for electric cars, which simply displace the emissions and pollution from the city to the power stations.

To improve air quality we have to change people’s behaviour. My suggestions are:-

1. Free public transport, which will take many cars off the road

2. Improved public transport which will take even more cars off the road

3. More solar water heating which will reduce particulates from burning natural gas

4. Tighter smoke washing controls on fuel burning power stations.

These measures will be costly, but we can pay for the costs out of the savings of health expenditure and out of taxation. After all the air is free, but there is a cost to keeping it clean. The air we breathe must be rendered fit for its purpose.

 

My Voice is Too Small

Political connections and a strong lobby group can do things that a good cause and holding the right moral position cannot. When governments make decisions they succumb to the influence of the powerful. Continue reading

Why we should spend on Renewable Energy

There is a kind of unreasoned hysteria which affects some people when it comes to measures to control climate change. Those who do not think climate change a threat are doomsayers; they hold that if we spend our money on solar panels and wind turbines it will bring economic ruin, as these devices are far too expensive to be justified. They argue that such expenditure will make our lives unduly expensive and make our industries and services uncompetitive. In fact the doom and gloom spread by these ideas is at least as doomy and gloomy as the doom and gloom spread by environmentalist who want to control climate change and have nations invest in clean renewable energy. Continue reading

Scotland’s Emission Reduction Programme

Scotland has one of the most ambitious programs in cutting its greenhouse gas emission in Europe. It plans to reduce its emissions by 42% on 1990 levels by 2020 and so far has managed 25%. Its plans include energy efficiency, planting more trees to sequestrate carbon dioxide, insisting on action to reduce emissions from vehicles and perhaps most importantly ensuring that homes are well insulated and have some form of microgeneration, like solar water heating. Continue reading

Aberdeen Plans to reduce Council Tax as a Renewable Energy Incentive

While Greg Barker, Minister at the department of Energy and Climate Change, struggles to get the Renewable Heat Incentive up and running in a logical and coherent form and struggles to respond to an enquiry from my Member of Parliament Mike Freer about the lack of certainty in the RHI, the Scots seem to be getting on with decarbonising heat and delivering a cleaner more emission from Scotland that puts DECC to shame. In particular the City of Aberdeen has managed, without much fuss and a great deal less angst and much more common sense than that has been displayed by the chaps at DECC. Continue reading