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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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RE: A long time ago
By agentcooper on 9/11/2007 12:40:54 AM , Rating: 0
riiight. I love it when people defend other's "rights" to pollute. Were not talking about things people do in their bedrooms or say in public. This is like smoking in bars or restaurants or burning your garbage in the backyard. It affects us all, negatively.

When the people don't shape up and change their behavior for the greater good or when the buisness sector doesn't step up and improve efficiency or pollute less themselves it's imperative for the government to take the initiative in forcing a change in behavior. You may not have liked it when your mom made you wash your hands before you ate but she sure was correct to do so.

If you want a planet to unnecessarily pollute then start finding a new one to inhabit.

RE: A long time ago
By Ringold on 9/11/2007 12:57:03 AM , Rating: 2
The problem with how you frame is that virtually all economic activity (asides from, I suppose, day light hour prostitution -- burning the midnight oil would be a global warming sin) is included in your definition of an externality that impacts everybody. When you widen it that far and take direct action to curb particular types of consumption on the individual level (like banning plasma TV's) what you're really saying is that property rights and the right to do what one pleases is a sham if it's at all contrary to the public good. The public good being defined, of course, by the protesters. All of which being precisely what America's founding fathers indicated as a key threat to freedom; the masses using the power of the state to infringe upon the rights of the individual in a minority.

Perhaps in another 100 years the last libertarians will have been bred out of existance but for now this all smacks of Socialist top-down social engineering and needless invasion of liberty. As someone else said there are much larger fish that could be getting fried in the service of environmentalism.

RE: A long time ago
By SirLucius on 9/11/2007 2:06:20 AM , Rating: 3
But there are two things you're missing. 1.) Who defines the greater good? Your idea of what is ultimately right is probably different from mine. Who's to say you're right. Personally, I think that it should be up to the individual restaurant/bar if they want to allow smoking in their establishment. If you don't want to be around cigarette smoke, don't go. There would be plenty of places to cater to non-smokers. We clearly disagree here, but who's right or wrong. Who are you to say I can't smoke a cigarette at a private establishment you don't own. Who am I to say you should have to deal with my smoking? It's murky water.

2.) This isn't quite on the same scale as public smoking or trash burning either. The effect this legislation would have on global warming would be negligible, but the effects on individual rights would be far greater. Next thing you know, I can only watch certain media at certain times because it's in the "best interest for the public" or whatever other b/s reasoning these guys would come up with.

RE: A long time ago
By Christopher1 on 9/11/2007 10:46:00 PM , Rating: 2
That's a good question: Who defines the greater good? Answer: Only the person who is looking at the thing in question and only for themselves.

Really, if they want to cut down on CO2 production, power usage, etc...... put limits on the power that an appliance can use, stop buying the manufacturers arguments that "It would cost a lot to be energy-efficient!" (in most cases it would not!), and start telling people to turn off devices when they are done with them and have TV's, VCR's, Cable Boxes, etc. automatically turn off after say.... 1 hour without any interaction with them and have a countdown to turnoff. That might be generous actually, make it 30 minutes without any interaction.

I have my TV in my bedroom mothballed right now because it was using HORRENDOUS amounts of energy each day, and my father got a notebook PC and TV Tuner USB stick that I pre-empted with his permission and are using for TV viewing.

The computer, even running full blast, uses less than 1/10th the amount of energy the TV used, according to a wattage meter that I plugged both into.

RE: A long time ago
By Keeir on 9/13/2007 3:53:53 PM , Rating: 2
Really, if they want to cut down on CO2 production, power usage, etc...... put limits on the power that an appliance can use, stop buying the manufacturers arguments that "It would cost a lot to be energy-efficient!"

Or better yet:
Require Manufactures to provide 2 power (and cost) estimates on the side of every electric device box that consumes more than 10W. 1 estimate for 100% use for a year. 1 estimate for 100% plugged in with no use for a year.

The total cost of all of these measures should be relatively minor and gives control to the right choice-makers. IE allowing users to choose the benifits and cost.

I personally would like a total off switch by my front door that allows me to effectively "power down" my house for everything that is not essential for an empty house. Maybe every lower plug on the standard wall circuit. IE, lamps, chargers, TVs, computers, DVR/Cable boxes.

RE: A long time ago
By dever on 9/12/2007 2:41:27 PM , Rating: 2
Were not talking about things people do in their bedrooms or say in public. This is like smoking in bars or restaurants
Let's see, you assume that because a private business such as a restaurant offers it's services to you and allows you on it's premises without much scrutiny, that the business is now "public." You assume that it is now owned by you and your commie buddies and not a private individual. You then assume that you should be able to dictate whether or not these businesses and their customers should be allowed to smoke on their own property. Complete socialistic nonsense. Smoking in a restaurant does not affect everyone negatively. You have no obligation or right to go into another's private establishment... it is a privilege. Think before you post.

PS: I've never smoked and don't plan to. But I do savor the frangrance of liberty above the foul stench of paternalistic government controls.

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