Feeds

Climate supremo deploys knitwear in war on patio heaters

Scratchy pullovers will save us all - Woolas

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Confronted some days back by the out of control menace of patio heaters, Britain's first line of defence against global warming - Climate Change Minister Phil Woolas - urged the public to fight back by deploying strong knitwear. Don't use an outdoor heater, said Woolas, wrap up warm - "the official line is... when outside, wear a jumper."

And, er, that's it for DEFRA policy on outdoor atrocities bucketing CO2 into the atmosphere, not even an additional suggestion that smokers might find fingerless gloves handy as well. Those buying patio heaters for their garden should be aware of the harm they cause the environment, the Mail on Sunday quotes him as saying, adding that neither DEFRA nor the EU has plans for banning outdoor heaters, despite claims that the number of heaters in use has increased tenfold as a consequence of the UK's smoking ban.

So, the minister says they're a menace but his department isn't banning them. How come? Well, as we noted earlier, the extra CO2 produced under even the highest of the official estimates of heater deployment means they're a very small menace indeed. The government's Market Transformation Programme suggests emissions of 141-282 ktCO2 for gas heaters and 96-192 ktCO2 for electric, which would give you a worst possible case figure of 474 ktCO2.

But assuming, reasonably, that higher electric sales would mean lower gas sales or vice versa, then we'd guess it wouldn't be likely to be more than 350-400 ktCO2, against the UK total of 554.5 million tonnes (DEFRA 2006 figure).

DEFRA itself, when not boosting knitwear, is unperturbed by outdoor heaters. Earlier this year Lord Rooker observed: "While patio heaters are wasteful, they account for a relatively small amount of energy use in comparison [to other energy-using products]". Woolas himself covered the matter last November, referring to the MTP estimates.

So DEFRA knows the impact is negligible, the European Commission knows the impact is negligible, and as he's been giving MPs the numbers and he's the Climate Change Minister, Woolas knows the impact is negligible. One is therefore driven (oops...) to the conclusion that he deems it insufficiently miserabilist to say, 'they're doing little or no damage, and you'd be better off expending energy on bigger and more pressing problems.'

Meanwhile one possibly larger problem, the requirement for daylight running lights on cars, is estimated by the government to be likely to cause a 0.5 per cent increase in fuel consumption. That number is on the low side of the estimates made by the European Commission a few years ago, and of those produced for the Department for Transport around the same time. But the 0.5 per cent is approximately what you get if vehicles are fitted with dedicated daylight running lights, while the larger (more like 1.5 per cent) is what happens if you require dipped lights during daylight hours (the DfT's analysis of likely effects can be found here).

The 'small' extra cost for the UK in terms of CO2 will be 340-1,100 ktCO2 per annum for passenger cars alone (based on DEFRA 2006 figures). It will be compulsory for new vehicles to be fitted with daylight running lights from 2011, thanks to a European directive (the process is a little more convoluted than the usual, as the Commission can blame the UN this time).

Curiously, the Energy Saving Trust has yet to denounce the fitting of these wasteful appliances to motor vehicles, while Phil Woolas has yet to suggest reflective jackets for cars as an ethical alternative. Funny that. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.