Thursday, 15 July 2010

Save the Ozone layer Polar bears Whale Climate!

There is a shop on our high street, sandwiched between the long line of estate agents, which originally offered a Home Information Pack service. Now, it offers to prepare an environmental report on your house (which is, I believe, the last remaining bit of the HIP legislation that the EU will not allow Dave to repeal).

This morning I noticed their poster:

Would you like to reduce your home's CO2 emissions?

To which the correct answer is, of course, "that is impossible; as there is no such thing as CO2, therefore my house cannot be emitting any, so a reduction in the emissions of this non-existent entity is not feasible".

However, I shall be charitable and assume they mean CO2.

The answer to that question is, of course, "If I did, I would not be employing a firm whose understanding of matters scientific and environmental is so poor that they do not understand the difference between CO2 and CO2".

But even if we assume that I could find a company who I trusted to "reduce my home's CO2 emissions", I would not wish to. Having thought about the matter on my way to work this morning, I can only identify one part of my house* that emits CO2, and that is the boiler which consumes natural gas in order to heat my radiators and my bathwater. It burns the gas, so it will in fact emit CO2. However, given that my house is insulated, double-glazed, and so on, and the boiler is serviced, to reduce those emissions would require that less gas is burnt. Or, to put it differently, that I have a colder house and colder (or fewer) baths. No, thank you.

What I think they meant was, would I like someone to help me reduce the CO2 footprint of my home. Or, in other words, would I like the see a reduction in the CO2 which is emitted by other places but which is prompted by what goes on in my home? To which the answer is, probably, "yes". But it took us a long time to get there.

Now, you probably think I am being pedantic. And you would be right. But I do think that instead of railing against the scepticism of the many, it would be better if the climate change industry put its own house in order first. When I see so much misunderstanding of basic scientific concepts among those who tell me that their belief has a firm scientific underpinning, can you blame me for raising an eyebrow?

*although it should be said that my son emits large quantities of CH4, also believed to be a greenhouse gas.


  1. Your home may already be pretty efficient, but there is huge scope for reducing the heating requirements of many homes. I was shocked to learn the average gas consumption per household. I use something like a third of it.

  2. "Or, to put it differently, that I have a colder house and colder (or fewer) baths. "

    You must suffer! Suffer for Gaia...!

  3. I'm sure that's true, Blue. My irritation is mainly that they don't seem to realise that most energy consumption doesn't "emit" CO2 at the point of use and are therefore limiting their service to just my gas-powered systems without (apparently) realising. Add this to the fact that they can't even spell CO2 and my willingness to let them advise me goes out of the window.

    Julia - quite, I must suffer. Although those in authority need not, it seems. Some things never change?

  4. These energy assessments are frequently pretty meaningless. My house has secondary double glazing, but only sealed double glazing is considered in the assessments.
    The assessment for my daughter's cottage recommended the installation of cavity wall insulation and sealed double glazing. The walls are solid and about 2ft thick, changes to the windows are impossible because it is a listed building.
    I told her that she should have asked them to send along their "recommended supplier" to quote for filling the cavity walls!