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David Cameron promotes a switch to "green" energy sources
High-powered personal computers and other electronics under close scrutiny for the UK's carbon dioxide crunch

The United Kingdom has a problem. Although it signed the Kyoto Protocol proposed by the United Nations, it -- like every other nation country which did -- has been wholly unable to meet treaty commitments, and has actually been increasing CO2 emissions faster than the non-signatories like the United States.

Embarrassing ... but what to do about it? Pass more laws, of course.

To that end, a new plan is recommending sweeping new changes to force residents to reduce electricity consumption. Tops on the list? A ban on new sales of plasma televisions. Surprisingly enough, the plan comes not from the Labour or Liberal Democratic parties, but from a group organized by Conservative Party Leader David Cameron.

While plasma TVs are especially singled out, the plan also targets all items that use over an arbitrary level of electricity, including high-performance personal computers and some household appliances. Additionally, the report recommends banning the "standby" functionality on consumer electronics, which allows them to be quickly turned on by remote control. Some 2% of the island nation's electric usage is thought to be due to standby equipment power draws.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has already announced his ambition to eliminate the stand-by function on all appliances sold in the country, claiming it was part of British responsibility to "protect the environment."

Critics of the plan claim it will simply create a "grey market", where those with money will continue to be able to purchase banned items at higher prices.  But former Environment Secretary and plan chairman John Gummer says, "The imperative of global warming demands that we change [our approach] utterly - not just governments, but businesses, groups and individuals."

Even with the plan implemented, the United Kingdom is not expected to meet Kyoto Protocol commitments.  No word yet on what next will hit the ban list.

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Ban the Beef!
By JasonMick on 9/10/2007 1:53:48 PM , Rating: 3
I propose an English beef ban to combat global warming.

It actually makes a lot more sense.

Leave it to the government to come up with a "creative" solution like this one.

Seriously those laws are ridiculous and horrible for the electronics industry. I can't see them actually being voted into law, but the prospect is rather startling.

As you know I'm very interested in ways to prevent global warming. But if you look at it, the measures mentioned would make such an insignificant difference, when compared to something such as your choice of diet.

And you can't force consumers not to buy something, thats akin to prohibition, and just leads to black markets.

I'm a big advocate of Sun Tzu's philosophy of "pick your fights".

We environmentalists have commendable goals and morals, but we need to become practical in order to realize them. And practicality mandates not worrying about little problems when the house is burning down.

These small contributors just aren't worth the effort, and pain to try to ban and fight them. Focus on the bigger problems, once you solve them, you can get back to worrying about power efficiency in consumer electronics.

RE: Ban the Beef!
By PlasmaBomb on 9/10/2007 2:40:09 PM , Rating: 2
I propose an English beef ban to combat global warming.

It actually makes a lot more sense.

How so? *hands spade*

RE: Ban the Beef!
By JasonMick on 9/10/2007 3:19:35 PM , Rating: 2
A beef cow produces far more carbon pollution in its lifetime than the production of electricity to power a big screen tv, over the same time span.

This was noted in Michael Asher's quote sometimes put as the article quote here at dailytech.

Dairy may be slightly better, simply from the standpoint that you can get thousands of gallons of milk from a healthy cow over its lifetime. However, again it is a significant problem.

I was being fascious when suggesting a ban, though because as I noted banning something simply leads to black markets and crime.

However, I would think that raising public awareness on this fact and working to cut the per capita intake via public awareness campaigns and cutting back on the cattle farming subsidies would be good steps.

RE: Ban the Beef!
By zinfamous on 9/10/2007 3:54:49 PM , Rating: 2

but to expand on your point here, most people don't consider what kind of physical space is required to raise one head of cattle, from birth to slaughter...let alone several thousand of them. (And I'm not a vegetarian; I love the hell out of meat). While the "solutions" are costly and difficult--cutting production exponentially, raising costs for farmers and consumers--the impact on global warming that banning certain types of meat production is far greater than banning high-end electronics would be.

To that end, I say we pick on McDonald's: Ban the clown and reclaim some 20% of the Brazillian rain forests :)

(and watch our rate of heart disease plummet over the next 50 years...a welcome side-effect)

RE: Ban the Beef!
By Christopher1 on 9/11/2007 10:49:37 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, that won't do anything. Johns Hopkins Hospital recently did a study on people who ate fast food regularly, and were astounded by the results (I know of them, because I took part in the study).

They found out that people eating McDonald's regularly had LESS of a chance of heart disease than people who didn't eat at McDonald's regularly.
Really, heart disease does not come from what you eat. Most people with heart disease have genetic factors that make their arteries clog up faster or more than other people's do, and changing their diet will do little or nothing to change their risk of that.

RE: Ban the Beef!
By ted61 on 9/10/2007 5:27:26 PM , Rating: 1
You just have to love anyone who cites masher2 as a source.

RE: Ban the Beef!
By KristopherKubicki on 9/10/2007 6:06:45 PM , Rating: 3
RE: Ban the Beef!
By TomZ on 9/10/2007 6:09:35 PM , Rating: 2
I think that's a great quote, myself.

RE: Ban the Beef!
By ted61 on 9/11/2007 10:15:15 AM , Rating: 2
There is nothing wrong with citing Masher. His articles are the best.

I have no doubt that Masher can back up everything he writes with a valid reference.

RE: Ban the Beef!
By TomZ on 9/10/2007 3:04:29 PM , Rating: 3
We environmentalists have commendable goals and morals, but we need to become practical in order to realize them. And practicality mandates not worrying about little problems when the house is burning down.

Good points. It's pretty telling that in modern times the term "practical environmentalist" sounds like an oxymoron.

You are right that only through practical approaches can environmental goals be met. Proposals need to take into account (amongst other things) the economic well-being of people and businesses, otherwise they have no hope of being successful, because at the end of the day, environmental proposals that cause economic hardship won't get any traction at all.

Based on this view, the UK proposals are patently stupid.

RE: Ban the Beef!
By Pythias on 9/10/2007 4:20:49 PM , Rating: 3
I say we kill every living thing on the planet, so the Earth can be about its business.

RE: Ban the Beef!
By acer905 on 9/11/2007 12:54:35 PM , Rating: 3
Not every living thing, just the humans. You have to remember, without us the earth could never warm up or cool off. Nothing can become extint without our direct interference. And besides, even without cars to release CO2 there are still 6.7 billion people breathing it out every day. I say ban professional sports, or any sort of physical activity, because it makes you breath harder and faster and by doing so release more CO2. Everyone should either be a) laying around all the time, or b) dead. That way we wouldn't be polluting the air with CO2. And then after a few years all the plants will have cleaned the entire planet of all CO2 and the earth can finally be at peace, just like Mars.

RE: Ban the Beef!
By Christopher1 on 9/11/2007 10:54:57 PM , Rating: 1
Actually, it would heat up and cool off without our interference. That thing about nothing becoming extinct without our direct interference: bullshit! There have been many species that have gone extinct without human interference, going back to the Ice Age. We just don't know about them, so we can't name all of them.

I realize now that your posting was meant to be an indictment of the environmentalists, and I say "Good on ya!" I was once an envirofreak, but when I realized after doing copious research in high school that most problems in the world were NOT from humans and that humans could not be causing them..... I gave up on environmentalism.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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