Monday, 19 January 2009

Smoke and mirrors and derivatives and energy

This is cut and paste from an email the inimitable Roy Tindle sent to "Scalation," a discussion list about sustainable development/green issues generally. I've embiggened the last bit.

"Some interesting suggestions in the Tory low carbon policy but still some emphasis on decentralisation that owes more to belief than to science. All generation uses scarce resources, some of them increasingly so, but there is little research comparing the comparative yield between, say, large scale off shore wind turbines and small, local installations. Solar PV is even more significant; does it make sense to use scarce resources - silicon is plentiful but working it takes a lot of energy - to farm solar energy in northern latitudes? Energy security ain't worth a hill of beans if it ain't secure and Britain frequently experiences periods of overcast sky and
low wind speeds.

"The bit that is missing here and with the Government is the absence of any real policy on energy waste. On Sunday morning I took a camera on my regular stroll from London Bridge to the City church which I attend. One street light with a faulty time switch didn't really signify anything much but the number of large office buildings fully lit failed to suggest that the message has got through. We are told that we can save a significant amount of energy by switching off everything instead of leaving electrical kit on standby but major office blocks with every light blazing - and an entirely visible absence of people - does turn the standby turn off into a bit of a joke. It was noticeable that most of the smaller shops and restaurants had their lighting off: electricity bills obviously matter to them.

"I read, yesterday, a wonderful Chinese financial description of the derivatives formerly so beloved by bankers. Imagine a valuable book; take a mirror and the image in that mirror is a bond. Use another mirror to reflect the first image and one has a derivative. All that's missing is the smoke. Not so strange, then, that many of the blazingly lit City offices are connected with finance. When will they ever learn?"

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