Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The gadget is god.

Yes folks, here we go again. The government has just published its Energy Review after assuring us it has consulted widely (and listened narrowly!). OK, there are noises about dealing with Nimby-ism during the planning process under the heading, 'renewables' but, let us not forget such a relaxation of planning procedures will also benefit the nuclear industry. We all know no.10 is keen to see a new generation of nuclear power stations and we all know that thus far it looks as though UK gas and oil reserves are running down. How did this happen in 30 odd years? We sold it overseas! I know, not terribly bright in hindsight. Still, there it is and we also all know I suspect, that with the 'gadget is god' culture we currently live in, energy consumption isn't about to drop off anytime soon.

So where does this leave us? We can conserve a lot more energy at source and with end use. This option does get mentioned but never elaborated on because it just ain't sexy (ie. loads-o-money for fatcats). There's the renewables option but we now realize this can't plug the gap alone. We can import gas from unstable regimes hence needing in invest heavily in the military in order to defend supply. Or, ........we can renew the nuclear stock. Maybe we should do all of the above. With nuclear there's the small issue however of the unresolved waste storage problem. Any ideas? Nah, let's follow successive governments on this matter and quietly sweep it under the carpet. Don't mind if it glows!

Difficult for us mere mortals to work this one out really. Hang on a minute, what about a car keys amnesty .........modeled on the recent knives amnesty? What do think? I know, .........you go first. ;-)


At 5:57 pm, Blogger Robert Metcalfe said...

Would def have to start this with an energy inefficient light bulb amnesty!

At 8:06 pm, Blogger Matt Burge said...

Ahh, yes. Should certainly have their production stopped. Ditto kettles that last 5 minutes; furniture that falls apart on a room change; moulded plugs that can't be re-used...etc.,etc.

Britain used to make things last, as we all know. What happened? Oh yes, the Chinese dragon awoke. :-)

At 3:48 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt, you're beginning to sound like the old blokes over at my allotments, moaning about the good old days. We've been buying shoddy goods in this country for years; before the Great Chinese Export Leap Forward we had to put up with crap from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea, amongst others. And believe it or not it was definitely possible to buy British-made products that fell apart as you took them out of the box.
On the subject of light bulbs, why does a 60W-equivalent energy-efficient bulb give out about half the light of an ordinary 60W? Must be some new definition of the word "efficient" I'm not aware of 8-). And I hear rumours there are disposal problems because of heavy metals in the new bulbs.

At 4:57 pm, Blogger Matt Burge said...

Nothing wrong with old blokes in allotments. ;-) You leave them alone. I bet their tomatoes are better than yours anyway!

At 9:14 am, Anonymous John the Bastard said...

About the heavy metals thing, taken from Wikipedia

Note that coal power plants are the single largest source of mercury emissions into the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), (when coal power is used) the mercury released from powering an incandescent bulb for five years exceeds the sum of the mercury released by powering a comparably luminous CFL for the same period and the mercury contained in the lamp.

At 11:22 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It just shows how complicated this environmental lifestyle thing can get. Here in the UK, a relatively small amount of electricity comes from coal-powered power stations, don't know the exact figure I'm afraid, but the old coal plants were replaced by gas in the 80s and 90s, boy are we paying for that now.
What you say about the heavy metals is interesting. In effect, the responsibility for disposing of the stuff has passed to the consumer who owns the light bulb. However, I'm not convinced that there is any public awareness of this. Energy-efficient bulbs are promoted everywhere as "the green option" so the perception is that there is no environmental downside.

At 11:58 am, Blogger Matt Burge said...

We're in a kind of limbo with the... 'responsibility for disposing of the stuff has passed to the consumer who owns the light bulb',... phase, because it is expensive for consumers to do this (about 50pence per tube) and not particularly enforced. Businesses are the only ones who could even contemplate paying for this recycling cost and I'll doubt they'll do it voluntarily. As for homes trying to recycle compact bulbs, I'm not even sure they can yet.

Recycling lamps will probably head the way of fridges...free recycling, once an EU directive has been dreamed up!


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