Friday, 5 October 2007

Changing Lightbulbs

The suggestion that it is a huge environmental advance to make everyone change from incandescant lightbulbs to fluorescent bulbs leaves me utterly incredulous. This truly is an example of rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. BUt this is what the politicians want us to believe is an important step forward.

Think about it. All over Britain there are tens of thousands of lightbulbs left switched on all night for no apparent purpose. Street lights. Lights in shops that are closed. Lights illuminating the outside of buildings.

There is only one way of making significant energy savings, and that is to increase the price dramatically, otherwise, energy saving will invariably increase the disposable income in someone's pockets, which they will spend on something that will almost certainly use energy and other resources. It's an old hobby horse of mine, but we really need to think a bit more strategically at the issues.

I spent a couple of days in London this week, and ended up utterly and completely depressed. For all the talk about environmental awareness, it is perfectly plain to me that 99% of the population do not really care -- they are obsessed with fashion, with far too many cheap electrical goods, too much 'stuff' everywhere. Cheap transport, cheap everything. And too many people, all aspiring to own more and more of it. Switching the TV off and changing to fluorescent lightbulbs (which I saw somewhere, have mercury in them) is not going to save the world. We need some big gestures, and big gestures only come from governments. But with virtually all governments totally committed to economic growth, making commodities as cheap as possible, what hope is there? Never was it truer, to state: "It's the economy, stupid." I hope someone can find a light at the end of the tunnel.

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