Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Next up we have News from the Green Party, which gets it in the GO3 category, but might need to be viewed in a possibly partisan light.

For now, my edit contents itself with a few highlights of the release as provided. I don't necessarily agree with all the ideas flying about, but certainly do recall cocking an eyebrow at the difference between setting targets and actual doing stuff.

So, remind me... how long ago was Bali?


Green MEP for the South East, Caroline Lucas, has called on the EU to
strengthen its resolve on climate change today, as the European Commission
prepares to present its long-awaited proposals on climate and energy

Commenting on the proposals to be announced tomorrow, Dr Lucas said: “The EU
must ensure that it maintains ambition on its climate targets, so that this
new package – which already falls short of what is needed – does not prove
to be full of empty promises.

“In the proposals on emissions trading, Member States have committed to a
30% greenhouse gas reduction by 2020 – the reduction scientists agree is the
minimum necessary – assuming an international agreement is reached. The most
crucial aspect of the Emissions Trading Scheme for meeting the reductions
target is the emissions cap, which must be based on this 30% reduction

“Sadly, the leaked Commission proposals show that the use of CDM/JI and
other external credits will be permitted towards even the 20% unilateral
target. This is in stark contradiction to the Bali decisions where the EU
recognised that keeping climate change to below 2 degrees requires
reductions at the very least in the range of 25-40% for industrialised
countries by 2020. Thus the EC runs thus the risk of rendering the ETS a
toothless instrument.

“At the Bali climate talks, the international community made a commitment to
achieve a comprehensive post-2012 climate agreement by 2009. If such an
agreement is insufficient to prevent unfair environmental dumping to EU
energy-intensive sectors, a climate levy should be introduced with the
revenue invested in a climate adaptation fund - or a requirement to buy EU
emissions allowances corresponding to imports from those sectors (from
countries without reduction commitments for the corresponding sectors)."

Furthermore, Dr Lucas criticised the short-sightedness of Member States on
the fledgling renewables industry and called for stronger legislation which
puts development of renewables at the core of energy policy.

"Member States have been balking at potential renewables targets for some
time now, but expanding renewables is not some punitive means of achieving
climate goals – it is a key means of reducing our dependence on imported
fossil fuels and creating jobs in Europe.

She continued: "Crucially, the target is based on final consumption, so if
you reduce consumption, the target will be easier to meet. Therefore energy
saving and energy efficiency are central to meeting the target."

On the specific EU target for agro-fuels, Dr Lucas concluded:

"The warning signs have been there from the beginning but there is now a
growing consensus among experts, even within the Commission, that agro-fuels
are not a panacea for our climate and energy problems. Worse than that, this
generation of 'biofuels' risks wreaking serious social and environmental
damage without delivering any real emissions reductions.

“The oft-discussed sustainability criteria are very difficult to enforce
and, based on current drafts, would not guarantee any net emissions
reductions in the short-term.

“The exemption from environmental sustainability criteria until 2013 for
biofuels produced by installations that were in operation in January 2008 is
completely unacceptable, as is the proposal that Member States cannot
determine their own broader sustainability criteria. The 10% target for
biofuels (by 2020) is already an anachronism. Member States must scrap it,
and replace their current biofuels policy with a more sustainable


The start of something... long, I'd hazard.

To tie in with the Junkk main site, I'll list as they come in by postcode designation

N1 - Islington

Main Site
eyesmagazine - a littel bit of Junkk.com on the latest cover!

What goes around?

Here's a nice surprise.

I was at a pre-Xmas event in London, and met a nice lady from Islington Council.

She was rather taken with my 'Green Santa' outfit and asked if she good borrow it for an event they were holding, and I glady agreed.

Well I just got it back and inside was a rather fun image in the form of the Council's eco-publication 'eyesmagazine', and look at the front!

This has now inspired me to create a new set of categories to help further my Blog/site cross pollination. Watch this space. In fact just read the next blog.

NEWS/Commercial PR - 64 per cent of Brits are wasting valuable energy by leaving home appliances on standby

Still getting into the groove of posting such things as 'News' without too much provenace checking or editorialising, but I'm getting there.

I actually owe these guys a product review* anyway, so here you go, hot off the press... releases. All due cautions/caveats for info posted as supplied.

Brits are wasting valuable energy by leaving home appliances on standby

People are still contributing to the four million tonnes of extra carbon dioxide emissions per year caused by standby power according to survey conducted by Bye Bye Standby.

64 per cent of the 1000 people surveyed said they have more than ten appliances plugged in at home at any one time. It has been measured that around 10 per cent of the average household bill is wasted through gadgets left on when not in use.

The survey also asked consumers to select which of the following appliances they think have a standby power (ie. washing machines, televisions, tumble dryers and dishwashers). The correct answer is in-fact that ALL of the appliances use a standby power when they are not in use.

Not surprisingly, the survey revealed that the majority of respondents (90 per cent) knew that televisions have a standby power. However, a large number of people questioned didn’t pick out some of the worst standby offenders. 77 per cent had no clue that tumble dryers can guzzle as much as 38 per cent of their power whilst waiting at the end of a cycle. Equally as confusing, 67 per cent didn’t regard dishwashers as having a standby mode – a worrying finding as most are turned on at the end of the day and left on all night. Washing machines can use around 20 per cent of their normal electricity requirement on standby, and in contrast 66 per cent of people in the survey didn’t even know that a washing machine has a standby power!

Not all products have an obvious standby power, which is where the confusion lies. If it has an external power supply it will use electricity even when off.

Here's a plug (sorry), as they deserve it:

Bye Bye Standby is an energy saving kit for the home which allows you to control appliances with the aid of a remote control. An innovative new web based system has also just been launched to allow users to control home appliances from a remote location via the Internet.

What appliances are the worst standby offenders?

Dishwashers left on at the end of their cycle consume 70 per cent of the power used when they are running.

The average television is left on standby for up to 17.5 hours a day. Last year Britain's 62 million television sets consumed about eight per cent of their energy consumption in standby mode.

Washing machines use just under 20 per cent of their normal electricity requirement on standby.

Tumble-dryers can use 38 per cent of power while waiting at the end of a cycle.

If lights were turned off when not in use it would prevent 375,000 tons of CO2 emissions and save £55million in bills.

There is little difference between the power requirement of digital receivers when they are being used and on standby.

Other appliances with high standby power are cordless telephones, radios and stereos.

*Meanwhile, you can always try Which?

Ethics is as ethics don't

Is ethical marketing an impossibility?

I don't pretend to have fully thought through, and hence comprehended the full consequences of the literal semantics involved in joining the words 'ethical' and 'marketing' (pause to gulp down a breath), but allowing for a pragmatic acceptance of the realities of existing in a consumer-driven society I don't see why not.

Having gone through the whole ethical is/isn't/and/or/complement thing with Newsnight's Ethical (or did they mean sustainable) Man a while ago, the definition is a bit broad. Are we talking putting sweat shops completely out of business because they employ kids and it's better the West feels warm 'n fuzzy now than they get fed tomorrow, or advertising a hybrid Chelsea tractor?

Ain't easy. If it's planet saving I'd say flogging any new stuff at the expense of reducing, reusing or repairing it's hardly the best green option, but in reality some are better than nothing if they move us in a better direction.

Ok, it's been a tough day so far

It’s green Gordon versus Felix, the filthy rich forester

What we need is a few more breath's of pragmatic air like this around to make a real difference.

And it seems to be the individual entrepreneurs we need to turn to.

Like politicians and hence governments and LAs and NGOs, even corporations are more concerned with what looks good than does any.

Hence we have more going down in the name of green that is either sidelining major issues or possibly plain not making the planet better for my kids.

For an example of how complex it can be, see here:


Maybe we need the likes of Mr. Dennis or maybe a Dyson to go the route of Google and fund genuine 'doing' ideas that are trying to make a difference, rather than the current crop of bottomless green pit quangocracies that are designed mainly to fund their bloated, self-serving infrastructures and comms budgets first before doling anything out to things that mainly tick the right boxes.

Enter the Dragon('s Den)

In the next few weeks/months I face the prospect of dealing with potential BAs, VCs and/or direct customers at major companies. Dilbert understands.

A tale of two Macs

And what a tale it is. The good, the bad... and the ugly.

We have a rare case of genuine good design and service. Some rather less wonderful bits. And perhaps the most annoying... and telling example of corporate greed I can imagine.

The Good

See that picture? That what a very powerful computer came in. I was/am impressed. Not just what didn't need to go into the making of the thing, but also how little required to be packaged.

Also there has been the basic plug and play nature of the handover.

And finally the support. Free (for 90 days, local tel rates) and so far all problems solved

The Bad

The fact that it now won't work some old stuff that was/is still perfectly good.

The Ugly

The attitude of a software company, FileMaker, to this situation. I was going live with it and fester. Luckily, I had a vent source presented:

Guardian - Buy a new Mac running Leopard, or wait?

On a related issue, 'The quick tale of the £30 software that became several hundred', which does not reflect in my view well on the marketing policies of some companies and indeed can often have serious consequences to the environment. A few weeks ago I was mailed by FileMaker about Bento, which looked a nifty little bit of £30 Address Book software to add to my Mac Mini. Trouble was, it only would work with Leopard, and mine was a first model running Tiger. Ok... time for a software upgrade. Now it was an extra £100. Trouble was, Leopard was going to stretch the hardware capabilities of my aging Mini, so for various other reasons (more memory, USB 2.0, etc) I decided to get a new one. Trouble is... having gone through all that, guess what? My new Mac Mini running Leopard will not now run my current version of FileMaker. It would be funny if it were not tragic. Now I have come to accept, if not like, that if one wants to run the latest bloatware version of some software, you often need to upgrade to, and pay for the latest bloatOS taboot, to run it. With all hardware consequences. But this new wrinkle just miffs me. I have perfectly good software running perfectly well and my brand new machine is not backward compatible. And FileMaker's response? 'Tough! It's not supported. No upgrade. Start again. Buy v9... that's £250 please.' I'm sure Apple are probably not innocent in all this, but for what it is worth, and hugging a Redwood Tree as I write, the new machine is a honey, and while I did need the phone support several times to help the migration (bit of fun with the assumption that in going from a Mini to a Mini two monitors would magically exist on my desk), this was truly slick, along with the auto back-up Time Machine, which is awesome. Also, on a small eco note. I am looking at a packaging box about the size of two telephone directories with a bit of foam inside as big as last night's meal tray. I know Mac are not the highest on the green IT list, but to get a wee box tucked away on my desktop doing all I could wish with so little manufacturing and delivery consequences impressed a lot. Anyway, as I don't feel like giving FileMaker my continued custom, as they are stuffing me back to square one can anyone suggest an alternative database software I can put in my new Mac that will grow with me into the far future?

Times - Get a green glow in your home office - Spreading the joy

Writing about two sets of wrong

A top-sliced licence fee will trigger the BBC's destruction

'...the BBC, which is more loved and trusted than any government can hope to be.'

Everything is relative, I suppose. So an interesting defence position.

But I really wish those who enjoy our attention by virtue of where they are rather than who, and often seek/claim to speak for us (by claiming they 'know' what 'we' are thinking but usually are content to simply hector at instead) would stop this habit of making sweeping statements of fact that lack any valid substantiation.

For a start I rather doubt the whole country feels the same way about anything.

And now moving onto percentages, I reject the notion that a pol on a fact-finding tour surrounded by minders has any hope in hell of finding out what most average, working, licence-fee paying without option under threat of prison folk feel about Aunty than those they have on speed dial to pop into the studios from their North London boudoirs.

Parts of the BBC are great. Some of the BBC staff are great. A whole bunch else is/are not. And needs to change... or be changed.