able mobile phones,” “portable arm-mounted wind-turbines,” and other
pointless tat.

Campaigners also mislead. People who want to promote renewables
over nuclear, for example, say “offshore wind power could power all UK
homes;” then they say “new nuclear power stations will do little to tackle
climate change” because 10 new nuclear stations would “reduce emissions
only by about 4%.” This argument is misleading because the playing field
is switched half-way through, from the “number of homes powered” to
“reduction of emissions.” The truth is that the amount of electrical power
generated by the wonderful windmills that “could power all UK homes”
is exactly the same as the amount that would be generated by the 10 nuclear
power stations! “Powering all UK homes” accounts for just 4% of UK

Perhaps the worst offenders in the kingdom of codswallop are the peo-
ple who really should know better – the media publishers who promote
the codswallop – for example, New Scientist with their article about the
“water-powered car.” *

In a climate where people don’t understand the numbers, newspapers,
campaigners, companies, and politicians can get away with murder.

We need simple numbers, and we need the numbers to be comprehen-
sible, comparable, and memorable.

With numbers in place, we will be better placed to answer questions
such as these:

  1. Can a country like Britain conceivably live on its own renewable en-
    ergy sources?
  2. If everyone turns their thermostats one degree closer to the outside
    temperature, drives a smaller car, and switches off phone chargers
    when not in use, will an energy crisis be averted?
  3. Should the tax on transportation fuels be significantly increased?
    Should speed-limits on roads be halved?
  4. Is someone who advocates windmills over nuclear power stations
    “an enemy of the people”?
  5. If climate change is “a greater threat than terrorism,” should govern-
    ments criminalize “the glorification of travel” and pass laws against
    “advocating acts of consumption”?
  6. Will a switch to “advanced technologies” allow us to eliminate car-
    bon dioxide pollution without changing our lifestyle?
  7. Should people be encouraged to eat more vegetarian food?
  8. Is the population of the earth six times too big?
* See this chapter’s notes (p19) for the awful details. (Every chapter has endnotes giving references, sources, and details of arguments. To avoid distracting the reader, I won’t include any more footnote marks in the text.)
Greenpeace leaflet
Figure 1.1. This Greenpeace leaflet arrived with my junk mail in May 2006. Do beloved windmills have the capacity to displace hated cooling towers?