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Unintended Consequences

In spades here:

Phil Woolas, the Climate Change minister, made the point as he announced that there had been a tenfold rise in the outdoor heaters at pubs and restaurants since the smoking ban came into force last year.

The minister said: “The official line to take is, when outside, wear a jumper.”

His comments echoed those of the head of the Government’s Energy Saving Trust.

Philip Selwood, the Trust’s chief executive, called for a national ban and added: “Why don’t people just wear a jumper?”

Last year, the trust estimated that the number of patio heaters would double this year to 2.3 million, which would produce as much carbon dioxide as driving 200,000 cars from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

We might hope that this would help to beat into their heads that the economy, society itself, is simply too complex for anyone to be able to hope to change one part of it without influencing others. It won\’t stop people, of course, but we can still hope, can\’t we?

One small thought: if climate change is, as Sir David King has suggested, a greater problem than terrorism, doesn\’t that mean that we should allow smoking in pubs again in order to do away with this evil of patio heaters?

6 thoughts on “Unintended Consequences”

  1. I’m slightly (yeah!) surprised that none of the rocket scientists in the “Mininstry of Climate Change” had noticed that the exact same “phenomenon” had occurred in the Republic of Ireland after the smoking ban came into force a couple of years ago!

  2. Many years ago I shared beers with this divot at the NUS conference. Should have throttled him then.

    If you do the numbers, which I did here (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/02/03/patio_heater_ban_call/) it is abundantly clear that the damage caused by patio heaters is negligible.

    If you do some more numbers and check out the CO2 costs of the EU implementing daylight running lights on all vehicles (the impact of which is we are told, ‘negligible’), then you will find that for the UK motor fleet it substantially exceeds the impact of patio heaters.

    Will Phil Woolas moan about that too, then? Hah.

  3. Lands End to John O’Groats, just shy of 1000km. 200,000 times this = 200 million vehicle miles. Number of cars in the UK ~ 26 million. Average distance driven per car ~ 13400 km (these are all readily Googlable). 26 million × 13400 ~ 350 billion. This figure divided by the first: >1700. Or, to put it another way, patio heaters emit 0.05% as much CO2 as cars.

    These people need to be bayoneted.

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