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March 25, 2007

The Climate Change sham ....

The climate change debate has recently featured on a number of blogs and in the media, most notable one in the UK was the show on C4. There has also been some fluttering in various scientific journals with some serious scientists demanding that their names be removed from various papers apparently "rewritten" to suit political rather than scientific outcomes.

There is a very good debate on this issue on On The Third Hand, although the main debate is in the comments section. Unfortunately, the link to the Google Video Clip no longer works, but I'm sure it can be tracked down by the determined. Well worth the reading.

The whole debate is particularly pertinent to the Monk at present as there is a group currently engaged in trying to drive the Abbey community into "Greening" the Abbey. So far they have come up with:
- Insulating the walls,
- Insulating the roof,
- Turning off the heating during the week,
- Changing all our lights to low wattage "energy efficient" bulbs,
- Covering the roof with Photo Voltaic cells and filling the voids with the battery packs to run our lighting and organ motors, and
- Encouraging the congregations to "turn down their thermostats".

Well, my response was perhaps a little robust. And just for the record, we now know and can prove, that when the Abbey was built in 1102 - 1141 this area was a whole lot warmer in climate than it is now! In all seriousness there is no way that we could insulate the walls - they are nearly twelve feet thick and solid stone. The same goes for the roof voids - double layer of close boarding (Some of it going back seven hundred years!) covered by lead and sitting over a stone Lierne Vault which is around four feet thick and thicker in some places than that! Changing the light bulbs is not as easy as it sounds. In fact its a non-starter until we change every single light fitting - and the lighting system because you cannot use dimmers with energy efficient bulbs and they don't make energy efficient Halogen lamps. Again, we would have to spend of the order of £20k to replace the lights and the controls to save around £500 a year.

Turning off the heating during the week would have a disasterous effect on the three organs and, as an experiment last years showed, result in a large amount of money having to be spent on repairing them every few months! As for covering the roof in PV cells, well, the life of a PV Panel is between three and five years, so we would spend, assuming we could even get English Heritage to consider the proposal, something of the order of £40k in order to save around £900 a year in cost of our lighting. I estimate that it would take us 45 years to pay it off - assuming we didn't have to replace a single panel until then!

Most of our congregation already do take sensible steps to conserve energy, and really, telling some of the older ones to turn their thermostats down on their heating would be the equivalent of suggesting they commit suicide.

Climate change is a serious issue. It does and will affect us all, but it is, in my view, complete and utter stupidity to think that we can change the course of nature. Think back to the comic books of the 1950's and 60's and the concept in many of them that by the end of the twentieth century we would either be able to control the weather using satellites or live in vast domed and closed city environments. It is time we stopped all rushing about trying to change things we have no control over and stopped letting politicians and the media scare the living daylights out of the tree hugger fraternity and looked at this problem rationally and seriously.

Yes, well, Hell has just formally announced it is experiencing an Ice Age.

Posted by The Gray Monk at March 25, 2007 10:11 AM

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