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Is the headline in the Times as misleading as I think it is?

Householders to be told to snoop on their neighbours in Tory energy plan

"Is the headline in the Times as misleading as I think it is?"

Yes, "Told to snoop" is pretty sensationalist.

This is the main part of the speech that touched on the plan:

“In the jargon - it’s called positive social norms. In plain English – it’s the idea that one of the biggest influences on our behaviour is what we think is expected by the society around us, and what we see other people doing. So, if we see that all our neighbours’ recycling bins are full, we end up recycling more ourselves. And research in America has shown that the same is true for energy efficiency. If we find out that our neighbours, or households similar to ours, are using half as much energy as we are, then we’re much more likely to bring our own consumption down in line.

“So how can we help people find out how much energy they’re using compared to their neighbours? There’s a simple answer: energy bills.

“So I can announce today that a Conservative Government will make sure every gas and electricity bill contains information that allows each household to compare their energy consumption with other households. This isn’t government telling people what to do. It’s post-bureaucratic policy making – not pulling bureaucratic levers from above and imposing a centralised view on the world, but understanding why people behave in certain ways, and then giving them a nudge in the right direction. Our drive for energy efficiency, with a smart meter in every home and real life energy use comparisons on every bill – these are simple and effective ways of going green and saving money.

That does make it sound like you will be able to see the bills of each of your neighbours, but in answering a question on it later he said the plan was to provide people with the typical energy bills of houses on their street, rather than reveal each one. I took that to override the vaguer statement in the speech.

I think it's a very clever idea either way.

"Cameron was flanked by Greg Barker and Peter Ainsworth"

Isn't that Alan Duncan beside Peter Ainsworth in the picture rather than Greg Barker?

Yep, just checked with Greg Barker's office. The Times have got it wrong. Cameron's reply to the question after the speech was more accurate than the bit in the speech.

Basically, people will be given estimates of what the typical energy consumption is for people like them based on their area, the size of their house and the size of their family.

Thanks Chris - I noted Alan Duncan was there as well later on but I'll tweak the bit about Cameron's tribute so as not to confuse.

what a load of tosh, basically from what i can see the tory environmental proposals extend the nanny state further -first neighbours find out about their neighbour's energy consumption -none of their business -and then you have some gimmicky smile if you do well (what are the electorate children )and some gimmicky frown if you do badly ) . quite frankly that is the height of tack and wont achieve anything apart from government using it as a snooping power -to look at people's energy consumption.

of course we conservatives now have to bow to the high priests of environmentalism and waste a load of taxpayers money doing it.

also maybe the conservatives could actually make the right decision and plump for nuclear power - now i think we cant rely on oil as comes from war torn countries but nuclear power is now much safer and will create more energy then all renewables combined yet the conservatives are silent on this.

Thanks Stephen for those in-depth observations!

Stephen: Can you please confine your views to one comment rather than multiple posts? Otherwise threads get cluttered. I note how you have been doing this in other parts of the site recently.

The more David Cameron puts forward this position the less convinced I am. I see no benefit for the public in general in this (plenty for the energy industry, bureaucrats and snoopers no doubt).

I just don't buy it.

We need a sense of perspective when considering Global Warming. If emissions of Greenhouse gases are to be restricted to meet the levels advocated by Environmental Campaigners, then there are going to be some pretty severe changes to all our lifestyles. They will not be achieved by minor economies and turning off unnecessary lights. At a personal level, travel will need to be significantly restricted, either by rationing or pricing, limits in the choice of food, air travel reduced to journeys that only the rich can afford and home heating levels kept down to an uncomfortable level. Such measures MUST inevitably result in a significant reduction in overall GDP, reduce our standard of living and our help to the developing world.

Scientific opinion is not nearly as unanimous as it is usually portrayed. There are many differing views. The computer simulations used are very limited in resolution and observed climatic measurements yield conflicting results. It must be remembered that all of these computer models are (obviously) UN-PROVEN.

Undoubtedly the world’s climate has been in a warming period recently, but this is still minimal compared to the changes experienced over the last 20,000 years. During that time, the last ice age gave way to the present temperate climes in the UK. Even in more recent time-scales, there have been very noticeable changes in our climate. Around 800AD the climate was some 2o warmer than now, - the very name Greenland resulted from the conditions experienced by early travelers. In medieval times a ‘Mini-ice Age’ set in rapidly, bringing very severe winters to the UK as the famed Ice Fairs on the Thames illustrate.

Personally, I am yet to be convinced that we are experiencing something that is not part of the naturally changing conditions of the planet that we all ‘ride on’.

The alarmists' theory on global warming is based on positive feedback in the climate system due to increases in CO2 but the evidence for this has not been observed.
I think in the next 5-10 years this theory will be entirely discredited.
We should be focusing on real environmental problems of pollution from particulates (soot), SO2 (acid rain) and heavy metals.

What's the policy on global cooling?

Whether you believe in man-made global warming or not (I'm yet to be convinced), surely you can't dispute the other issue - the United Kingdom is much too reliant on imported energy sources

Enerrgy Security demands that we make changes to reduce our reliance on imports from unfriendly or potentially unfriendly/hostile governments and improve self-sufficiency

For that reason if no other we should look to conserve where we can and look into renewables and micro-generation as means to improve our self-sufficiency

Tax breaks to make low pollution, fuel-eficient cars the norm ASAP would be an excellent place to start (it's all well and good lowering a car's running cost but the uptake will be low if the initial outlay remains prohibitive)

Few things could be simpler - invest in nuclear (preferably pebble bed) to provide 100 percent of peak capacity, alongside high temperature electrolysis. Use off-peak capacity to produce hydrogen to power the transport fleet. No need then for all these other expensive and inefficient schemes.

I cannot agree to the development of nuclear fission power. It uses up uranium, plutonium and thorium, which are genuinely non-renewable resources - at least oil and coal, or adequate substitutes, can be re-synthesised; the fuels used in fission stations can never be recovered.

It is the height of irresponsibility to use these elements in applications where we don't have to. Future generations will curse us for doing so, and rightly.

"The next Conservative government will put rocket boosters behind this area of research."

Hydrogen-fuelled, I trust...?!

Right now I don't want to hear any policy relating to man made global warming, I suspect the hypothesis will have crumbled before the next election so why risk calling it incorrectly.

Nuclear is not the environmental panacea that its proponents suggest. The ore needs to be dug out of the ground, it needs refining, transporting, enriching (one of the most energy-intensive processes there is), it needs converting into the raw metal state, making into a fuel rod and shipping to a reactor

All these steps take a lot of energy, and a lot of it

All a bit motherhood and apple pie for my taste. It's easy to say we need to renew our transport infrastructure, how and with what? Still it's nice to see that Cameron can talk about the enviroment without (largely) being ridiculed on this blog.

It's good that Mr Cameron wants high-speed rail, as this would make many domestic flights unnecessary and enable us to have a modern high-speed transport infrastructure that produces far less carbon emissions per passenger, as well as enabling the northern and western regional economies to benefit from high-speed links to London and the SE.

But much more electrification of the existing railway system surely should also be a priority. Electric trains are cleaner, and more energy-efficient (and more reliable), and their electricity can of course be obtained from carbon-neutral sources. I once read somewhere that a Severn tidal barrage could power an entire electric railway system.

A modern fast electrified environmentally-friendly railway system could form part of a dynamic vision for the future that would compare with Labour’s tired inability to plan strategically and longer term for the railways. And providing attractive and competitive alternatives is obviously a far better environmental policy and message than tax.

Relying on oil and gas isn't just bad for our wallets, isn't just bad for our environment, it's also bad for our national security.. Exactly. And perhaps the most important reason to reduce dependence on oil and gas.

Keep going Dave - We love this!




Climate Change.. it always bloody changes and has little to with mankind.

Another load of opportunistic cock from the 'save the whale' tendancy.

While we're into Blue/Green politics, I recommend Vaclav Klaus (Czech President)'s new book "Blue Planet in Green Shackles" -- and not only because I am referenced in a foot-note on page 34! Published by the Competititive Enterprise Institute in Washington.

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