Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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News you might have missed


THOSE of you who peer at your phones to get the latest news often fail to see the really interesting items buried a long way from the front pages. Here are some that you might have missed, taken mainly from one broadsheet this month.

‘Staff at the accounting giant PwC have been told to settle for economy seats as part of its net zero target. Business-class seats are apparently regarded as 50 per cent more carbon-intensive than premium economy because they take up more room and are more likely to be empty.’

The only way to cut emissions is for the plane not to fly at all, surely? If it flies, it emits, no matter what the passenger has paid for the seat.

‘Humans have created a new geological era (the Anthropocene) on the moon’, the headline said. Labelled, they mean, not created. Then ‘on earth the Anthropocene began at some point in the past, whether hundreds of thousands of years ago or in the 1950s’.

Scientific pronouncements like this make you wonder about the forecasts of climate change ‘tipping points’.

‘Reducing meat and dairy helps the planet.’

No it doesn’t, it just ruins more farmers. If you feel healthier on that kind of diet, then fine. A lifetime’s carnivorous diet will result in you contributing no more than a microscopic puff of wispy smoke invisible in the vast clouds of emissions put out by China and several other nations.

‘Records are now being broken so often that we are perhaps immune to what they are really telling us,’ said King Charles III before the COP28 talking competition.

What they are telling us is that as we have detailed weather data for only 140-odd years out of the ten thousand since the last ice age, it can be no surprise that records are being broken, will go on being broken, and will continue to be presented as messages of doom.

‘A senior meteorologist at the Met Office said that temperatures recorded in Cumbria were the coldest recorded nationwide.’

Since when? Last March!

‘A Government adviser has called for roads in cities to be ripped out completely to combat air pollution.’ He also wants us to limit our use of computers and printers.

Doing away with roads must mean doing away with cars, which is impossible. But the London mayor is doing his best with all the ULEZ and LTN rules. 

‘The NHS has taken on another 84,000 people in 2023.’

That is more than 1,600 every week. Yet waiting lists grow longer, surgery appointments get further away, A&E departments are busier than ever.

‘Coventry University has found a black hole in its finances £85million deep and Sheffield Hallam has invited 1,700 of its academic staff to apply for voluntary redundancy.’

Their vice-chancellors are paid £315,000 and £298,000 respectively. Our prime minister gets £186,000.

‘Not needing to worry about winning elections, totalitarian regimes can think in decades rather than months.’

Democracy is a system that could not have been better designed to defeat long-term planning, which is one reason for the UK 2025-2050 energy plans being so unrealistic. The current lot will be well out of the way by then. How can we be so meteorologically unobservant as to think that the wind will always blow and the sun always shine? Amidst the noise and clamour about climate change, it has become obvious that nuclear power is the only way to have constant electricity with no emissions. There are drawbacks: dealing with nuclear waste, and the plants take a long time to build. But so far they’re all we’ve got.

‘A target of installing 600,000 new heat pumps every year by 2028 will be hit by the Government, the energy efficiency minister insisted.’

Let’s do the maths. The minister (Lord Callanan) is saying that heating engineers will have to install 333 heat pumps every day for the next five years. If they don’t work weekends that becomes an even more unbelievable 460 per day. The public are understandably unwilling to go for an inefficient heating system which will cost them a lot of money. Presumably the sale, and maybe even the use, of oil boilers will have to be made illegal soon?

‘GP hubs where patients can walk in at evenings and weekends are being planned by Labour.’

I remember my pre-Covid GP ‘hub’. It used to be called a surgery and you could walk in either morning or evening without an appointment.

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Ivor Williams
Ivor Williams
Ivor Williams is a freelance writer and has been a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society since 1984.

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