The English Must follow where the Scots Lead

Three ago I attended a meeting of Energy Action Scotland as a guest speaker at their annual conference on a cold rainy night in Scotland in November. Energy Action Scotland is a highly deserving charity which campaigns to end fuel poverty in Scotland. The issue of fuel poverty is very important throughout the British Isles, but nowhere more important than in the northern parts of these islands where winters are longer and colder and where you need more money to heat your home to the same standard as those of us who live in places like London, where I live. Continue reading

Manningham Buller, Chilcot and reasons for the war against Iraq

The Chilcot Inquiry rumbles on and almost lost in the news was the rather important evidence given by the former head of MI5, Ms Manningham-Buller on 20th July. She said that going to war in Iraq increased the terror threat in the United Kingdom, she had to ask for her budget to be doubled to meet the increased terror threat, the war had “radicalised” young Muslims and opened the door for Osama Bin Laden to operate in Iraq. All this was made known to Mr Blair at the time and it actually should not come as a surprise to anyone. Continue reading

“if you’ve got nothing to hide you’ve got nothing to fear”

The common argument for all the information that the authorities can lawfully collect about each of us is that “if you’ve got nothing to hide you’ve got nothing to fear”. That argument has so far prevailed in the United Kingdom. I cannot send an email without the right of someone in authority being able to read it. I cannot travel to work without my journey (in my case five miles) being recorded by “security” cameras which will store details not only of my exact route and means of transport but also the precise times involved. Continue reading

The British National Party on Question Time

Those in the United Kingdom know that there is a particularly unpleasant political party called the British National Party. Now virtually all political parties have a degree of ugliness and lack of charm, but to my mind the BNP are not just ugly and charmless, but are wrong, very wrong. It is claimed the BNP is made up of people that are thugs, totalitarians and racists; however, the BNP is a political party who has managed to get a few councillors elected and who won two seats in the European Parliament. Continue reading

Which nation leads on climate change?

There are plenty of heads of Government boasting about their renewable low carbon energy policies.  Mr Obama has built a career on being (amongst other things) a committed environmentalist.  Gordon Brown is claiming to be the first Government that has made it illegal not to comply with very ambitious climate change carbon reduction targets. Other leaders say that they are similarly committed to fighting climate change. However, when you look at whether they have put our money where their mouths are, the picture becomes much clearer when freed from the political spin and propaganda. All major governments have had to create an economic stimulus package of one kind or another, to bail out the failed banking system and to (we hope) set the economy firmly on the road to recovery. Continue reading

Does anyone want 1400 tonnes of toxic rubbish?

Sometimes the reporting media of the United Kingdom puts an unconscious spin on a news event which attempts to make the best of a bad job. One example is “the UK is working with Brazilian authorities to return more than 1,400 tonnes of toxic waste to Britain”. This was a quotation by an official employed by the Environment Agency about some ninety containers full of all kinds of rubbish that householders in some parts of the United Kingdom had carefully segregated and separated as required by their municipal authorities in the belief that it would be recycled and rendered harmless. Continue reading

Climate change and government inaction

I do not often agree with the Energy Savings Trust, which I think tends to serve as an organisation that gets more public funding than it merits, having regard to its results, but When Phillp Sellwod, Chief Executive of the Energy Savings Trust recently criticised the Government he and I were singing off the same hymn sheet. Continue reading

Predicting the future climate

Fortune telling is the preserve of entertainers and charlatans but predicting future climate changes is a science, albeit one in its infancy and that is a paradox, considering just how complex this infant is. Nevertheless this infant science is all that our leaders have to guide them in making the decisions that they make today. Those decisions will shape our future in ways far more fundamental than decisions ever made throughout human history. Continue reading

Why Kyoto will fail us all

The Kyoto treaty on climate change will fail us all.

Sometimes it can be difficult to do the right thing. Right now there are many reports of new plans for wind turbines, solar thermal and other renewable energy installations that someone reading the newspapers and watching television might be forgiven for thinking that there were plenty of new projects in the pipeline and that we are all committed to renewable energy.

The perception is different from reality. Continue reading

Why I do not buy energy on a green tariff

Why don’t I buy energy on a green tariff? 350,000 people have signed up to buy energy on a green tariff from one of the six major domestic energy suppliers in the United Kingdom. I am not one of them. I was never convinced by something that calls itself a “green” tariff. The phrase is actually meaningless. What does “green” mean when applied to electricity and gas supplies? Most people would think that ”green” means energy generated by sustainable renewable means – such as wind power, photovoltaics or possibly even by biomass (although I do not classify biomass as “green”). Notice that there are words that I have used which could be used by the energy suppliers to describe their energy tariff, but instead they have opted for the vaguer, almost mysterious word “green”. Continue reading