I read the News Today, Oh Boy!

If you live in the United Kingdom and read the newspapers or watch the news on television or listen to news on the radio you would be under the impression that the main item of news is politics and not even the events of politicians but predictions and opinions about politics. If politicians are about to make some announcement, that is news and trailed. When those politicians make the actual announcement, then that is also apparently news and is doubly reported; once the announcement has been made a commentator (inevitably a journalist ) opines on the announcement.

At one time, news was about Continue reading

Believe What You Want to Believe

Conspiracy theories abound because people believe what they want to believe. For example, Maurice Newman, who advises the Australian Prime Minister on business, thinks that climate change is simply a pretence that the United Nations uses in order to concentrate political authority in itself in order to overcome freedom and capitalism, and enable the powerful to become even more powerful. It is an odd theory, and despite that oddity some will warm to it, because Continue reading

Radicalisation, Extremism and Propaganda

Schools, colleges and universities are now supposed to have policies in place to prevent “radicalisation” of students and prevent students from being subjected to extremist ideas. It is an unfortunate use of language. A radical is simply someone who believes something that is not  a generally held belief. An extremist is someone who simply wants to take his or her belief to the ultimate logical step.  Continue reading

Russia Today is Here

Today a new news service is available in the United Kingdom. The Russian state sponsored news channel “Russia Today” has started broadcasting, amid grumbles by organisations such as the BBC as to whether Russia Today could present a fair and unbiased news service, as opposed to a propaganda service. Continue reading

The Birkenhead Drill and Selfishness

Perhaps our world has become a more selfish place. There have always been very selfish people; why would anyone become or remain a billionaire except for selfishness? However, it seems that selfishness is increasing as more people aspire to the heights of selfishness. Continue reading

The Ethics of Banking

We are rather a tolerant people. We tolerate the Chief Executives of large banks receiving huge sums of money , ostensibly as wages, when any analysis shows that they are actually doing their jobs very badly and frequently do not deserve even a fraction of what they are paid. Paying people much more than they are worth is a feature of tolerance and sometimes the distinction between tolerance and stupidity becomes very hard to discern. Continue reading

Climate Change and what we do – Truth and Lies

I wrote this for H&V News, and lots of people wrote to me saying that they agreed with my sentiments. It will be an interesting start to my weblog.

Some truths are virtually self evident; one is that climate change is the greatest challenge facing the world today which we can only really mitigate by emitting less carbon dioxide.

Lies are not self evident. The late and unlamented Josef Goebbels said that if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it people will eventually come to believe it.  When you couple a big lie with a self evident truth, you cause the greatest harm.

The truth about climate change is being coupled with the big lie that the government is doing something about it and leading the world in the fight against climate change. DEFRA on its climate change web page claims “The UK is acting now to adapt to climate change and to reduce the risk by reducing our contribution to the causes”. I do not believe that. It is a lie. 

The truth is that the United Kingdom government does less about climate change than any virtually of its EU partners, and less than most countries in the world. For example, due entirely to lack of government encouragement the solar thermal industry in the UK is around 5% of that of Germany and we see a very modest growth rate in its take up here.

Countries, like France, Portugal, Italy and Spain which traditionally had only slight more solar thermal than the UK are now experiencing double digit growth as a result of the policies of their own government. Our government it seems need to be convinced that this is a viable technology, or do they? 

We see articles in the Guardian in August that government officials from DBERR have secretly briefed that the UK has no hope of meeting its climate change targets and have suggested ways of fiddling the figures or wriggling out of its commitments.

The Guardian also reported that the Department of Communities and Local Government will now abolish the Merton Rule, requiring all new buildings to generate 10% of their energy needs on site, less than a year after the housing minister urged all Councils to adopt it. 

Whenever I have met officials involved in climate change work, I have been usually surprised at their lack of ability to understand the benefits of renewable technologies; I always put this down to lack of intellectual quality. I thought that they were genuinely attempting to achieve a greater uptake of renewables but were simply incompetent in understanding how to do this. 

Now, with the latest revelations and coupled with the government intention to regulate the solar thermal industry in a way that even a massive market, like Germany would baulk at, I need to change my mind. I think that the government is simply repeating the big lie in the hope that people will believe it while actually by their policies making no real effort to mitigate climate change.

The truth is that the Government is indifferent to climate change.  They are talking a lot but doing very little.

If they had spent the £2 million that the Stern report cost on microgeneration measures I believe it would have boosted the renewable industry tremendously and in the long run saved far more carbon than a report which no one now reads and whose recommendations are parked on a shelf gathering dust. 

I cannot understand the need to regulate closely the heating and plumbing industry in relation to solar thermal. Genersys is the largest supplier in the UK of solar thermal panels and last year we have had no complaints about installers and none so far this year.

Every time I get my electricity bill, and see that they have again taken out too much money or find that they have failed to earth the supply properly, I know who really needs regulation. 

In November last year the Government introduced Phase 2 of the Low Carbon Building Programme, after a virtually secret bidding process which led to the vast majority of solar thermal manufacturers (many of whom have far better products than those chosen by the process) and virtually all of the selling and installation companies being excluded from this significant market for no possible reason; fossil fuel energy companies, are for the government, the best way to deliver renewable micro-generated energy, notwithstanding the lack of experience, expertise and the conflict of interests inherent in the big suppliers of gas and electricity. 

Of course, a big lie can only be maintained if the government can shield its people from the consequences of that lie. You might be able to repress dissent in some cases but the big lie that the government tells about its climate change policy will ultimately be exposed because you cannot shield people from the laws of physics and from nature. I take no pleasure in that thought, because by the time the lie is commonly understood to be a lie, it will be too late.