The public sector still does not get the need for fuel efficiency

I went to a lunch meeting with the Engineering profession on the Lords terrace this week. They wanted to tell us about how to tackle climate change by cutting carbon output. It seemed a pity that on a very sunny day when the sunlight was streaming through the entire long wall of glass along the side of the Terrace marquee, all 96 light bulbs were burning away. I suggested they turned them off but to no avail.

It was the same yesterday at another government/industry meeting in Parliament where all the lights were on on a sunny day.

The private sector is cutting its fuel use because it has to cut its costs. When will Westminster and Whitehall learn?


  1. David morris
    July 16, 2008

    With this lot in charge they'd probably need to conduct a full risk assessment, with report, and then arrange for a team of suitably trained (and kitted out) engineers to switch off said lights.

    Therefore probably best in the long run to leave the things switched on

  2. James
    July 16, 2008

    A friend of ours, who cleans at a local school, regularly complains of all the classroom lights being left on, despite being broad daylight. The heating is constantly on resulting in all the windows being opened because the heat is stiffling.
    The pupils are encouraged to stay until 5pm to do 'catchup' classes. Very few actually stay behind. The headmistress arranged extra buses to ferry these children home at a cost of £2000 per week.(This is the cost she quoted in newsletter)
    If every school in the land is operating in this way I shudder to think what amount of fuel is being wasted to say nothing of wasted taxpayers' money.

  3. mikestallard
    July 16, 2008

    They will never learn simply because they do not have to.
    The most shocking thing at the moment is the way that government ministers, if asked, always say that petrol is a luxury.
    For them, of course, it is. They slide through the opened door of the black limo into the plush leather of the back seat and open their all important briefcases. In front, the chauffeur and perhaps a minder or two look straight ahead through the bullet proof glass.
    It is sheer, unashamed luxury.
    So they assume that we are the same.
    Me, I would rather be very cold and hungry before I lose the all important car upon which I depend for exercise, for food, for my religious needs and for my friends.

  4. […] John Redwood, in his blog, is complaining about the lights burning in the Houses of Parliament, but isn’t that the place where we expect the most hot air to be generated? I wonder if he’d be brave enough to suggest to David Cameron that the Conservative Party were wrong to jump on this overburdened enviro-bandwagon? […]

  5. Curly
    July 16, 2008

    I’m all in favour of cracking down on waste, inefficiency, and profligacy in government, it’s only common sense to cut costs wherever possible, but do we really have to buy this man made global warming nonsense?

  6. Matthew Reynolds
    July 16, 2008

    Why not fit all public sector buildings with solar panels ? Even on a cloudy day you still get rays from the sun . That would mean that during the summer Whitehall etc would be awash with renwable energy – rather than having higher energy bills with lights on and fans going etc…

    By having Whitehall more reliant on renewable energy Government’s carbon footprint would be lower & it would have to buy less energy as it was reliant on its own solar power . The start up costs might be a bit pricy but the long term savings to the taxpayer and lower co2 emmissions might justify that . If a Tory government was slashing QUANGO’s , axing consultants , freezing civil service recruitment , tackling welfare dependency and lowering our EU contributions then any extra costs of solar energy start up costs could be met that way !

    As a positive idea rather than a tiresome & predictable rant how does that sound ? Why not give Whitehall its own green energy supply to help the environment & cut costs as well as turning the lights off ?

  7. DennisA
    July 16, 2008

    What a pity that people still talk hubristically of controlling climate by cutting carbon emissions. The climate changed a thousand years ago to give the Mediaeval Warm Period, it changed again to give the Little Ice Age, glaciers advanced dramatically at that time and have been retreating for 150 years.

    Climate changed again from the 20’s to the 50’s, (upwards) it changed again from the 50’s to the 80’s, (downwards), it changed again from the 80’s to recently, upwards) and is now changing again downwards.

    Anyone who takes the trouble to look at the data will see that this has all happened without reference to carbon dioxide although carbon dioxide has risen contemporaneously.

    Human emissions of CO2 pale into insignifance compared to natural sources, as evidenced by the Hawaian volcano video footage. Incidentally, that is where the “official” atmospheric CO2 measurements have been recorded since 1958.

    Funnily enough, there is a very strong linkage between temperature and the sun’s activity, but no, heaven forbid, it can’t be the sun warming the earth.

    From the 50’s to the 80’s, temperature fell whilst CO2 rose. That should be end of story, but no, there is too much tied up in the theory in terms of funding, reputations and a convenient peg to hang “green taxation” on.

    What a pity also, that the opposition are totally signed up to the IPCC/NGO/Government line and we will see no change in approach. Contrary science is ignored, as with this just one example of many:

    International Journal of Climatology, 2002 Royal Meteorological Society:

    The absence of significant changes in intraseasonal and interannual variability of TMEAN, TMAX, TMIN and DTR is additional evidence (besides the average temperature) that in the Arctic in the period 1951-90 no tangible manifestations of the greenhouse effect can be identified.”

    Yet this was at a time of rapid increase in CO2. We are told the Arctic is melting, but this Spring, sea-ice is back to levels not seen for decades.

    We are glibly told by scientists and NGO’s that there has never been a clear North West Passage, yet history shows otherwise:


    “We encountered no ice with the exception of a few narrow strips of old sound ice, carried by the wash. Of large Polar ice we saw absolutely nothing.

    Between the ice and the land, on either side, there were large and perfectly clear channels, through which we passed easily and unimpeded.

    The entire accumulation of ice was not very extensive. We were soon out again in open water.”

    Where were the 4 x 4’s and Hummers then?

    In terms of energy security, we have nuclear, we have coal, we have North Sea Oil and Gas with more retrievable, but resources are being wasted on ineffective but highly expensive
    so-called “renewables”. The Climate Change Bill will go through and we will be condemned to decades of expensive energy.

    I despair.

  8. newmania
    July 17, 2008

    Hmm I am suprised to see nothing here about the Conservative Plans for tax raises as announced in the enthralling pages of "G 2".
    I was listening to Oliver Letwin speaking at our association recently and it was clear to me what was afoot . Spray cash at the Wisconsin experiment , the NHS and general matching the unholy profligacy of Brown. Blame Brown for it by alluding to his squander and debt and keep the right happy with some goodies on education plus a bit of symbolic rejigging for the family.

    Some would say …good idea, if its money well spent , but I was wondering what a stern economist like Mr. Redwood might be thinking..hmmm?

    Dark thoughts perhaps ?

    Penny for them….

  9. Bexleyite
    July 17, 2008

    Climate change is one thing. Cutting costs is another.

    Climate change is not proven.

  10. Francis Irving
    July 17, 2008

    The Cabinet Office is kept at 23 degrees.

    Perhaps some civil service jumpers are in order 🙂

  11. backofanenvelope
    July 17, 2008

    Didn’t I read somewhere that all major departments of state have energy consumption reduction targets and that none of them have reached them, some even increasing their energy consumption.

  12. Stuart Fairney
    July 17, 2008

    When MP's salaries are linked to reduced fuel usage. Under no other circumstances.

  13. David
    July 26, 2008

    The number of responses in this blog that totally ignore the overwhelming scientific evidence on global warming, and the devastating impact that this is going to have on our civilisation amazes me. Debate is healthy, but the vast majority of scientic evidence now overwhelmingly supports the premise that the impact on mankind activity is leading to atmospheric, and temperature changes of our planet.

    Sticking your head in the sand and trying to convince yourself it is all a conspiracy, – or worse an opportunity to take cheap political points at your opponents is not going to provide a strategy for our nations security in the next 20 years time. Rather than point-scoring, what is the Conservatives policy on CO2 emissions for 2020, and where would one find your energy security policy.

    I was also at the Lords lunch that you attended, and totally agree with your comments about the lights being unecessarily being left on. But the purpose of such meetings is not to score political points, but rather to enlight and seek to inform those in a position of power. Your comment on this blog does little to enhance your reputation.

    Reply: I was not point scoring, but stressing that those who want to curb emissions have to make changes in their approach. My message is that greenery should begin in the public sector – instead this government seems to think government can waste all it wants regardless. I would hope you would help me change their minds, as you are clearly friendly to the present government.

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