It was announced this week that a cheese factory has been given planning permission to erect the country's largest wind turbine. It'll be as tall as the Blackpool Tower.
You can see why a cheese factory would need something like that, can't you? I mean, its electricity bill must be so enormous, what with all the stirring and conveyor belts carrying those heavy bits of cheese about?
If it were a steelworks or some other heavy industry, you could see the point. Possibly. But in this case it's pretty obvious that the attraction is the hefty government grant. Plus the opportunity to prance about and say "Look how green we are, we're so wonderfully right-on and environmentally-conscious! ..."
Except that the appreciative audience for such a performance is really rather small. At least 60% of the population are completely sceptical about the fossil fuel threat, the global warming disaster, the dangers of nuclear power, the fragile environment, the warming oceans, the shrinking ice ... we've heard it all before (in the 1970s, specifically, when we were assured that by 2000 the earth would be a freezing ball of ice and we'd all be starving) and we have not the slightest intention of taking it seriously until we know we're down to our last polar bear. Possibly not even then - they're vicious bastards if you ask us, polar bears. The world would probably be better off without them. And sharks.
Anyway, that's all just preamble. The purpose of this Grumpy Page is to introduce you to Sustainable Energy — without the hot air which is a book by one David MacKay. This is MacKay's introduction ...
"I’m concerned about cutting UK emissions of twaddle – twaddle about sustainable energy. Everyone says getting off fossil fuels is important, and we’re all encouraged to “make a difference,” but many of the things that allegedly make a difference don’t add up.
Twaddle emissions are high at the moment because people get emotional (for example about wind farms or nuclear power) and no-one talks about numbers. Or if they do mention numbers, they select them to sound big, to make an impression, and to score points in arguments, rather than to aid thoughtful discussion.
This is a straight-talking book about the numbers. The aim is to guide the reader around the claptrap to actions that really make a difference and to policies that add up."
It's a quite splendid book, full of facts and sense. You can buy it as a printed book, or download it as a .pdf file for nothing, or just read it straight off the website. And the best thing about it is that although David McKay is in favour of renewable energy, this hasn't blinded him to the facts or disabled his common-sense.
If only a few more of the green lobby could take a leaf from this book, they wouldn't be preaching to a minority of the population.
either on this site or on the World Wide Web.
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