Feeds

Eco computer game cost taxpayers £47 per play

The true cost of astroturf

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

In what may be the most expensive "spontaneous" outburst of grassroots political expression since Mao's Cultural Revolution, the old farming ministry DEFRA paid more than £8m over two years to civic society groups if they spread the correct message about Global Warming.

These included a computer game that was used so infrequently it cost £47 per go, and £160,000 for a man to drive around with a truck sign. The payouts are detailed in files released in response to Freedom of Information requests from pressure group the Taxpayers Alliance. But this is subtly different to your standard quango, taxpayer-money-down-the-pan story - in some quite interesting and non-obvious ways.

The payouts represent a tip of the iceberg (no pun intended, honest) of state funding for climate evangelism, which runs into billions of pounds. These FOIA requests only cover DEFRA, and so exclude cross-department initiatives such as the expensive, umbrella Act on CO2 initiative. And of course it excludes the really big money, such as the £200m a year to the Carbon Trust, a similar amount to the the Energy Savings Trust, and smaller quangos.

Also not included are state-dependent institutions who are sympathetic to the cause, such as the £50m a year Royal Society, the Met Office, or the British Council, for example. It's merely one initiative, called the Climate Change Fund.

The fund was designed to promote "behaviour change", the even creepier-sounding "attitude modification" and the old standby, "awareness raising". The words "empower" and "empowerment" also feature. Beneficiaries between 2006 and 2008 included the Scouts Association, Women's Institutes, drama groups, a community radio station, as well as quangos and a number of councils. Some of the recipients border on self-parody:

"Reasons to be Cheerful, the Carbon Coach, Cheerful Ltd. CarbonSense, Comic Company and National Energy Foundation have come together as Think Purple to help make CO2 visible. The project has produced purple resources for schools, organisations, and the general public which they hope will help transform how they see CO2 and how they use energy," we learn.

But few of the messages were cheery. In an incredible film called Carbon Weevil, humanity "infects" Mother Earth (a she, natch) as a destructive insect:

(The insect has only one purpose, to emit carbon. And mess things up for Gaia.)

£164,000 went to employ somebody to tow a 23 foot x 6 foot accessible trailer around. Three games were produced, costing tens of thousands of each. Cycling Hero cost almost £300,000.

There are more examples in this video.

So apart from a few million quid down the drain, what harm was done?

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
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?