Lynne Featherstone

MP for Hornsey and Wood Green

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Lynne's Parliament and Haringey Diary, established 2003

Seven reasons why your light bulb matters

A light bulbIs changing your light bulb going to do any good in the face of global warming? How can you and your light bulb possibly counteract all the increasing carbon emissions from China?

Those are the questions addressed in my piece for the New Statesman’s blog – do go and have a read and find out the seven reasons why I think your light bulb does matter!

Mon 21 May 2007
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Comments

  1. a2 says:

    There’s a lot to say in response here. Firstly, what you’ve seen isn’t a shift, but part of something that has been said by sceptics all along. Even if it was true, you shouldn’t take action yet. Even if true it probably wouldn’t be such an insurmountable problem. Even if true, there’s still nothing you can do to stop it. And the chances are that it isn’t even true.

    1. The biggest obstacle we face is the continued misery and poverty of billions that the lack of access to abundant energy causes. Our hypocrisy is not in continuing our consumption when we know better, but in preaching abstinence when we really do know better. We cannot cut down, and we know it. It is a political and social impossibility.

    It means inflicting major damage on society. When it was America and the West being damaged, everyone supported it of course. Now that we’ve pointed out it also means destroying the hopes of the developing world, our conscience cannot sustain it.

    2. And you walk to the moon one step at a time.

    3. So at current rates, it will grow to 100% of our emissions by about 2200? What happens after that?

    4. No, the later we do it the better for the economy. Technology and wealth progress – compare how we live now to how we lived 50 years ago – and the ability to adapt and absorb the damage to the economy of our children in 50 years time will be immeasurably greater than ours is now. All the serious economic models give the same answer – going all out to grow the economy and then cutting it later is far less expensive overall than cutting it now. According to the computer models the optimum point for action is about 30-40 years from now – even assuming the worst of the climate predictions are true.

    5. Money is of no intrinsic value if you can’t spend it. And there are more important things to quality of life than money.

    6. If you believe it is the right thing. Some of us don’t. Should we be made to do it anyway?

    7. Good. I’d like to point out that despite all the exhortations, millions of people are completely ignoring it. They’re not cutting down, they’re not consumimg less, the per capita emissions are pretty much the same across most of the world. So when will you be paying attention to that?

    Having read your argument, I’m still not clear on how changing those lightbulbs is going to stop China outstripping our entire national production of CO2 in less than a year. Do you think that if you lead by example, China will meekly follow? For laughing.

  2. dreamingspire says:

    Last evening I was privileged to sink 3 pints (OK, they were a pound a pint left over from a wet weekend beer festival that resulted in some not yet empty barrels) with a friend who has man and boy tended a nuclear kettle for 40 years. It was orgasmic (sorry, organic) beer, and really quite an experience. Recently my friend has negotiated his early retirement and is working out what to do with the rest of his life. Others will soon move on to the decommissioning work. Elsewhere (but cannot remember where), in response to a2, I have posted an attempt to understand the current work on fast reactors, much more efficient in their use of uranium and claimed to be intrinsically safe from overheating, but they will not be ready for commercial service for 20 years or more, and the UK is not participating in their development.

    So why have we lagged behind, not just in power technology? And what can we do to improve things? Reality has to set in, truth be told, facts to replace spin, horizons lengthened, snake oil salesmen banished. Time given to allow for delivery.

    Meanwhile, we will indeed have to buy in off the shelf inefficient nuclear plants, and put them on the existing nuclear facility sites, because the admirable LD paper on greening our energy use is simply something that this govt cannot work out how to implement. Yesterday we heard about Freiburg and energy efficiency, but we cannot come anywhere near that level of local government competence and investment. Maybe we really are a nation of shopkeepers.

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