Climate change clerics…

It was a terrible temptation to call this Bashing the Bishops – aren’t you glad I didn’t?

Lent tomorrow, and a gaggle of bishops have come up with an assortment of wizard wheezes for people to reduce their carbon footprint – some so-so, some I’ve been doing for years (pass the halo), and more than a few just plain stupid. Let’s look at some…

Day 1 Remove a light bulb. Oh, that’s a brilliant idea – gives you a choice of fumbling around in the dark for 40 nights, or just taking one from a cupboard you don’t use much anyway. Which is pointless.

Day 7 The green loony’s favourite – turn off everything that’s on standby. Don’t these technophobes know that the reason a great many audio-visual appliances have a standby mode is that, if they’re turned off, they lose their programming, and thus need to be reprogrammed every time they’re used? And standby mode is NOT destroying the planet – the figures routinely trotted out for the environmental impact, by the greens are, basically, bullshit. They are based on supposition, not fact. I covered this in my original blog, complete with supporting research – I’ll dig it out and post it here.

Day 10 – Give your dishwasher a day off (no argument there, I don’t have one), or – and I just love the naivety of this – rush out and buy a new, energy-efficient one. Just like that, and hang the expense – then the greenies will give you a kicking for disposing of the old one!

Day 11 – Use local shops or farmers’ markets instead of supermarkets. Great idea, doesn’t work – I can’t afford to shop locally, it costs way more than the supermarket (anyway, being disabled, it’s important I get as much as possible in one place), and why do they assume everyone has a farmers’ market on the doorstep? I sure as hell don’t, and if I drove to one my carbon footprint would be massive.

Day 16 Turn lights off when you leave a room. Stupid, stupid, idea, especially if you’re coming straight back again (and, of course, this assumes you live alone, and won’t be plunging someone else into darkness). Repeatedly turning electrical things on and off, whether light bulbs, computers or anything else, will shorten their life drastically – this is especially the case with mini-fluorescent (m-f) bulbs (in security devices that randomly turn lights on and off, you can’t use m-f bulbs, only incandescents). In my flat one m-f bulb gets turned on and off quite a lot – the one in the windowless bathroom – it’s also the one that I have to replace most frequently. Q.E.D.

Day 27 I love this one – Pressure a car owner into checking their tyre pressures (spend the evening in casualty as a result of not minding your own business!).

Day 37 …use a kettle to boil water. No, really? Bugger me, you can see how these guys got to be bishops; you really can’t beat joined-up thinking like that.

Day 40 Feel a self-righteous twa… Sorry, carried away. Replace your missing bulb with an energy-saving lightbulb. Over its lifetime, you will save 60kg of carbon dioxide per year and up to £60. Bollocks. The lifetime of a mini-fluorescent bulb is nowhere near as long as we’ve been led to believe. I’ve been using these things for over 10 years and, as soon as you turn them on, they begin to get dim – they always have and it’s a problem that’s not yet been solved.

I have in front of me a Philips 12-year 20W mini-fluorescent which, after three years has been replaced because it’s simply become too dim – the life-span claimed for these things is a flat-out lie. I replaced it with a Sainsbury’s own-brand bulb last autumn – that’s now as dim as an anaemic glow-worm, and is destined for the bin very soon. Oh, and on average, for the same light output (initially, at least) you need a mini-fluorescent that’s 20% of the Wattage of your incandescent bulb. In theory, this will save you 80% of the electricity, but the theory goes to pot when you factor in how often you have to replace the bloody things… That or buy a white stick.

This is just a selection from the 40-day list, which is liberally interspersed with opportunities to boast about how green you are – which doesn’t seem very Christian to me. But then I’m an atheist, thank god.