Environmental numerology

I just heard an interesting piece on Radio 4's More Or Less with Tim Harford. David MacKaye of Cambridge University was talking about his book - Sustainable Energy - Without The Hot Air that deals with a mathematical analysis of the joys of the various renewables that are being touted. There was food for thought on the numbers especially wind power (worse than useless) and surprisingly nuclear.

The response by Rebbecca Willis of the government's independent Sustainable Development Commission was quite dismissive, saying that you can't distill it down to numbers. Since I'm something of a number anorak I'm not so sure that we should dismiss the numerology quite so quickly - it deserves more study so I'll have to get stuck in to the book. There is always a danger that the time and effort invested in creating monolithic policies become more important than adapting to the changing reality.

But, it's nice to know that leaving a mobile phone charger plugged in only equates to 1 second of driving!