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Power Stats United Kingdom

People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use 710

schwit1 (797399) writes with news that a UK study has found that folks concerned about climate change don't do much to conserve power at home. From the article: Those who say they are concerned about the prospect of climate change consume more energy than those who say it is "too far into the future to worry about," the study commissioned by the Department for Energy and climate change found. That is in part due to age, as people over 65 are more frugal with electricity but much less concerned about global warming. However, even when pensioners are discounted, there is only a "weak trend" to show that people who profess to care about climate change do much to cut their energy use. The findings were based on the Household Electricity Survey, which closely monitored the electricity use and views of 250 families over a year. The report (PDF), by experts from Loughborough University and Cambridge Architectural Research, was commissioned and published by DECC. High power use doesn't have to be dirty: Replace coal, methane, and petroleum with nuclear, wind, solar, etc.
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People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

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  • user error (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alphazulu0 ( 3675815 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @12:10AM (#47453927)

    This is slashdot. If there's one thing we know, it's that hoping users will alter their behavior doesn't work. Better technology does.


    • Re:user error (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @12:30AM (#47454033)

      I've never made any concerted effort for "environmental reasons," but I do notice that I don't use nearly as much energy as most people do, which is a side effect of how cheap I am.

      For example, most self proclaimed environmentalists I know leave their computers running 24/7 and deliberately disable the standby features. I myself have all of my machines configured to enter S4 after 15 minutes of no activity.

      I also replaced all of the bulbs in my house with LED bulbs, which is more to do with helping to keep the house cool in the summer, which reduces AC usage (not to mention being more comfortable here in Arizona.) It's not a cheap thing to do short term, but DEFINITELY saves money long term so long as you get the bulbs at the right price.

      Also I'm the only person I know who times my driving so that I minimize time at stop lights, as well as driving with the cruise control on at every possible time (most cars have a feature that allows you to nudge your speed slightly faster/slower, which is more fuel efficient than disengaging it in order to adjust your speed.)

      And by the way, modern cars are so low emission that some of them actually clean up the air around them. The 2011 Ford F150 Raptor is one of them. If I were an environmentalist, (and I need to stress that I am NOT) I would push for more of these cars to be on the road than lobbying for higher gas prices (which serves to ruin the economy, and has almost no actual benefit on reducing emissions.)

      (Source: [])

      If you've ever seen that movie Bad Santa, with the scene where Billy Bob Thornton tries to commit suicide with a Benz and it doesn't work, that's actually accurate. It wouldn't be a terribly effective suicide tool for the above mentioned reason. Newer cars are just too clean burning.

      We've never seen climate-warming related disasters that result in sustained long-term famine/death. It is always localized (Katrina, Sandy) and recovery begins within months at the worst. However we have seen bad economic decisions cause all of the above not only on a local scale but on a global scale, and last for decades at a time before recovery can begin. We also already know that in fairly recent times, that places like Los Angeles were under sea water, and AGW had zero to do with that. I don't think anything we ever do can ever prevent it from happening again either. Also during the age of dinosaurs, CO2 levels were more than 20 times what they are today, temperatures were much higher as well, and macro-scale life not only lived but thrived even better than it does today, so I'm not so sure that AGW (which probably does exist) is a huge concern.

      All of the above said, I think screwing with the economy in the interest of influencing the climate is a very bad idea in general.

      • Re:user error (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dayze!Confused ( 717774 ) <`moc.oahgnoyho' `ta' `gro.todhsals'> on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @12:49AM (#47454139) Homepage Journal

        I'm sort of the same way, not an environmentalist, just a really cheap mustachian. My average usage each month is about 200kwh and I live lasciviously, I know if I watched my usage a bit more I could greatly decrease this. As I write this I have a fan in my window blowing in and another in the window down the hallway blowing out and can get my house down to 66F at night, and then reach about 72F by the time I get home from work, but grant it we live in the Pacific Northwest where AC is hardly ever needed. We don't use our dryer but sparingly, and I ride a bike to work instead of driving because it seems insane to pay $300+ a month in gas PLUS the $1200+ a year in maintenance to maintain a residence 30 miles away. All of this is done not for the environment but because it's cheaper.

        When I do drive a car I hypermile it. My 2002 BMW 525i gets 32+MPG which usually elicits a wide eyed "really?" from people when I tell them. A single tank of gas lasts me about a month and a half. We buy a lot of things used because I figure that buying it second hand will retain the value more than buying it brand new. My wife's wedding ring and her Longine watch were both bought that way, same as my trumpet and my car. Buying used keeps one from going to the dump and lowers demand on new ones to be made. (Of course the ring would have been melted down and formed into new rings, but it still applies to everything else.)

        I also happen to be one who believes the scientific research and consensus that climate change is happening, and I wish it had more effect on my decision making, but for now being cheap seems to generally coincide with environmentally friendly. Most of this is from learning to want less shit that doesn't matter and to be perfectly happy living the very luxurious middle class life.

      • Re:user error (Score:4, Interesting)

        by the_Bionic_lemming ( 446569 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @12:57AM (#47454189)

        People can live without a clothing dryer.

        It's been five years for me, and I have an unused front loader dryer for sale.

        I have an umbrella line for good weather drying in the good Illinois weather months, and clothing racks and lines for winter drying.

        After I switched to air drying, my clothing longevity jumped massively. I went from a pair of jeans lasting a year or two to never wearing out jeans (so far).

        I believe that climate is cyclical, and is driven by solar changes, radiation changes, and world tilt. I don't believe in MMGW, and I don't believe we can change global climate.

        But it's stupid not to scrub carbon from coal plants, put cleaner water back into the the environment than we take out, and do everything we can to make sure we don't pollute like china does. I don't want cities to be lost in a fog of bad like it regularly happens in China. []

        I can reliably say that China smog has no effect on Illinois. And that's why I think we should focus on real issues like local contamination rather than focus on enriching people that make money on carbon trading credits.

        • by AudioEfex ( 637163 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @05:17AM (#47455171)

          Wow, someone with a reasonable view of how climate change happens - prepare to be down-modded by the "YOU MUST ASSUME THE WORST! ASSIMILATE!" crowd.

          FWIW, I agree with the dryer thing - even though I still use one, I'm too lazy not to. Things like sweatshirts just get worse and worse with every washing, and I can't make a towel last more than a year before it starts to tear. My aunt swears by outdoor drying (you can actually do it in the winter, oddly enough - makes no sense but it does work if it's sunny out, finishing in the house). Her clothing lasts absurd amounts of time - I recently put a picture up on a social media site of myself at 5 years old in the early 80's with a picture of my aunt running after me in a brightly colored sweater. One of her friends commented on it and said "She wore that sweater last week!" and it's still in virtually the same condition. And she wears it regularly, she doesn't have a large wardrobe. The kicker? It was my mom's originally, a hand-me-down from the early 70's.

        • Re:user error (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Dins ( 2538550 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @08:28AM (#47455877)
          Yeah, my thoughts on climate change and the environment are kind of mutually exclusive. Maybe climate change is man-made, maybe it's not. But who cares. We're eventually going to run out of fossil fuels, and they're very dirty so why are we using them? I like a clean environment because I like a clean environment, and I think we should be doing everything we possibly can to get off fossil fuels as soon as possible. We are not currently doing enough. And if man-made climate change is happening due to our carbon emissions, well, a side effect will be improving that!
      • Re:user error (Score:4, Informative)

        by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @02:49AM (#47454661) Journal

        And by the way, modern cars are so low emission that some of them actually clean up the air around them. The 2011 Ford F150 Raptor is one of them.

        Note that this isn't talking about CO2 output, only pollutants like sulfur and carbon monoxide.

      • I do leave my computer on 24/7. However, being I moved to an area that is predominantly powered with clean energy, it's likely my computer use has far less environmental impact than your limited use. Doesn't detract from your overall point, just adds something else to consider. [] []
        (Arizona does get kudos for being predominantly nuclear powered, though) []
        As you can see, gas price does in fact affect driving
        • Re:user error (Score:4, Informative)

          by munch117 ( 214551 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @05:50AM (#47455311)

          I do leave my computer on 24/7. However, being I moved to an area that is predominantly powered with clean energy ...

          Which they sell to other areas when there's a surplus, and then that other area can cut fossil fuel use.

          The world's marginal fuel is lignite. No matter where you live, if you spend more energy, you're gonna burn lignite. If you spend less energy, less lignite will be burnt. Shut down you damn computer!

      • by AudioEfex ( 637163 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @05:03AM (#47455123)

        LED lightbulbs *are* amazing.

        I have moved my entire home to them. They aren't even that much more expensive - you can get ones bright enough for reading with standard lamps for about $8-10 each. When you consider their benefits they are well-worth it. It's not even that they use even less energy than halogen, but how long they are rated to last (the brand I buy has the almost absurd rating of like 30 years under normal usage 4-6 hours a day), the quality of light and the speed of coming on (much better than those damn halogen pieces of junk), plus the little to no heat factor (I can place my palm directly on the brightest one I have, that's been going for hours, and just feel slightly warm; lower powered ones like I use in the bathroom are actually cool to the touch while in use), they are a no-brainer.

        The sad part is, they aren't being sold very widely at general retail yet. The only place I have found really pushing them is Lowe's in the US - where I've bought all of mine. You can find a few here or there elsewhere, but they usually only carry a tiny selection of the more expensive types that are $25+. I really have to give it to Lowe's on this one - at least half of their light bulb selection now is LED and they support them with endcap displays and sales.

        I really hope they catch on soon. I know many folks who switched to halogen years ago when they first became available, but since they have so many drawbacks (they just are a pool of suck), they've since switched back to incandescent because, you know, they actually turn on at full brightness, don't have that wispy strange lighting quality, and since they don't last any longer than incandescent just end up costing more. I've gotten many to switch to LED, and everyone raves about them - especially when the first electric bill comes in.

        • Halogen. I do not think it means what you think it means.

          Halogen lights run VERY hot and bright, but do not offer any energy savings, as they are still incandescent (glowing resistor) lamps.

          Do you perhaps mean fluorescent or compact-fluorescent lamps (CFL)? They are filled with low pressure mercury vapor and argon, xenon, neon, or krypton. They are about the same efficiency as LED, but are slow to come to full brightness as you describe.

          Otherwise, great post. Completely agree on the advantages of LED. I've

        • The US is a bit behind the trend IMO, probably due to the lower electricity prices: I pay about $0.30 per kilowatt (Germany). Two years ago I have calculated that an LED lightbulb will pay for itself *within* the mandatory two years warranty. Now the prices has fallen even further, I can buy a very bright LED (as bright as 75W conventional bulb) for less than $13 at amazon. If you replace a 60W bulb with it you return the full price in 2 years even if the bulb is on about 2,5 hours per day.

          As prices fell,

      • For example, most self proclaimed environmentalists I know leave their computers running 24/7 and deliberately disable the standby features. I myself have all of my machines configured to enter S4 after 15 minutes of no activity.

        Running a computer 24/7 minimizes the minimum/maximum temperature range to which its components are exposed. I also run hard disks 24/7 with spin-down disabled to maximize their lifespan. Always keep hard disks oriented horizontal, not because of the bearing -- do it to ensure that heat rises uniformly from its surface. For my external hard disks, I ALWAYS take them apart and burn additional holes in the top and bottom with a soldering iron for increased airflow, because the folks that assemble them no lo

    • by Alioth ( 221270 )

      This. I've noted that most people care more about their hair looking nice than frugal energy use. Some people who live within comfortable cycling distance of their job for example are all excited about the energy they can save when the next innovation that's only 20 years away in solar panel technology makes roof solar panels cheaper. However, they can save the same amount of energy today by riding into work twice a week on average - but they say "it'll mess up my hair" or some such excuse.

      So really the onl

    • Better technology doesn't work if you can't get the peoples behaviors to change so they use them as it was attended.

      The Gas car, our behavior is to fuel it up once a week.
      The Electric car, should be charged nightly. So people will need to change their behaviors to charge the car every night.

      Power from the grid, means your house can be anywhere. Power from solar means your house will need to be in direct sunlight, so you may need to clear out some surrounding trees.

      Get the idea of a perfect technology out of

  • by Pentium100 ( 1240090 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @12:10AM (#47453937)

    As long as it's cheap, I do not care how the power is generated - coal, gasoline, nuclear, enslaved environmentalists...

    Oh, and unless there is an electric car with decent range that does not have software in it (actually, you can have a single ATMEGA MCU, but the source needs to be open), I'm keeping my gasoline powered car (that does not have software in it).

  • by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @12:12AM (#47453945)'s just old fashioned human nature.
  • by zippo01 ( 688802 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @12:17AM (#47453959)
    People have a choice. Different cooking fuels, different hearing sources, not using A/C, Driving a smaller car (electric cars are not very piratical for a lot of people). This just goes to show that most people who bitch and complain aren't willing to to do without. They want to force the change at the top. Power companies/society. This will not work. They don't see how closing US coal plant just moves it overseas, put our people out of work and more. If anything you want it in the us where it is more tightly regulated! I say give them what they want close all US coal/natural gall plants tomorrow. Coal 39% Natural Gas 27%. With 66% less power, you won't be doing much of anything. and will shut the fuck up about climate change when you feel the real impact of it. Do what is right, conserve where you can and let the industry evolve naturally.
    • by zippo01 ( 688802 )
      Sorry... Source []
    • by Gaygirlie ( 1657131 ) <[moc.liamtoh] [ta] [eilrigyag]> on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @12:53AM (#47454161) Homepage

      I dunno. I am a person who does care about the whole climate change and all that and I do, actually, try not to waste electricity. I always turn off lights in any room that I'm not spending time in, I run my servers on a laptop since they generally consume a lot less energy than desktops, I use LED-lights only due to how they're also energy-efficient and last for a long time, I have a desktop serving as a file-server, but the file-server is always powered-off unless I specifically need something at that moment and so on and so forth. That is to say, I do what I do, but I try to be energy-conscious about it and save where I can.

    • electric cars are not very piratical for a lot of people

      Well there's your problem. If it electric cars don't increase piracy, then global warming continues unabated. We need more pirates, not less. Ramen.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@wo[ ] ['rld' in gap]> on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @08:21AM (#47455843) Homepage Journal

      Why does every anti-environmentalist immediately turn to a straw man argument? *sigh*

      The goal is to make things better, not worse. Energy efficiency reduces power consumption while improving quality of life (smaller/lighter batteries, less pollution, cool new features etc.) Replacing fossil fuel with renewable energy provides the same amount of energy, just cleanly.

      Look at Germany. They are not freezing to death or wondering around in the dark. Sure, in the short term energy prices are high while the transition is made, but there is widespread public support because they see the long term result. They will be far less beholden to energy companies, far freer to generate and sell their own power to the grid, and far more secure when oil prices start to rise again.

      The industry isn't going to "evolve naturally". The industry is only interested in cementing its position as the sole supplier of energy at the maximum price possible. Look what happened in California - at the first opportunity they were creating black-outs just to make more money. They certainly are not going to build a smart, distributed grid that benefits the consumers at their own expense. Again, just look at the way they are attacking residential solar with extra charges and below-market rates.

      Green energy makes industry even more competitive. The reason so many factories in Japan have solar PV on the roof is not because they find it aesthetically pleasing, it's because it saves them vast amounts of money on energy. The market in the US is distorted by fracking at the moment, but given time solar will get cheaper and gas more expensive.

  • by Zombie Ryushu ( 803103 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @12:17AM (#47453965)

    People need electricity to conduct the business of their lives. The issue is not that we use electricity, Electricity isn't a pollutant, burning coal is a Pollutant. Electricity use isn't going to go down. The stupidity of this, is that we don't have Thorium power plants, or Microwave Satellites. (I think the reason Solar Power is failing is because the Earth's atmosphere is creating problems for the sun's Energy to reach us, but I could be wrong.)

    But we're not, we are still, burning, to our own stupid jackassery, coal. It's insane.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      It costs less to save energy than to build new capacity, especially nuclear capacity. For example, properly insulating a building and installing passive cooling systems costs much less than building the equivalent infrastructure to supply the heating and AC with energy.

      The problem is that making buildings more efficient reduces utility company profits, and is more than a bit socialist. Utility companies have the money to build new power plants, and are lobbying heavily against the government offering any as

  • I'm concerned about the environment, but it is really a given that over time I'll use more electricity. Technology may get more energy efficient, but we will get more things that demand that energy. I'm under no illusion that I'll be able to meaningfully lower my emissions more then trying to fix the big things, like getting an electric car and upgrading my AC to a more energy efficient model. Everything else is just a drop in the bucket. Around here the pollution mainly comes from cars and trucks that a

  • Or the converse... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stoborrobots ( 577882 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @12:18AM (#47453975)

    Is a possible interpretation of the data that "people who don't use much energy, don't feel the need to worry about climate change"?

  • IMO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt@nerdflat.cCHICAGOom minus city> on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @12:18AM (#47453977) Journal
    I personally suspect that the people who might worry the most about it may already be convinced that it is too late... and any actions that we take now will at best only make a difference of a couple of generations, at most... leading them, perhaps ironically, to not really make any serious effort to take responsibility for what they may be able to do to slow it down.
  • Do they drive electric cars, and use more electricity as a result. Electricity use is a rather misleading metric.

  • I no longer have any patience, I'm old. When people tell me how important the environment is I ask them how many kids they have. It's amazing how few people see the connection between themselves and the world.

    "Someone else will solve the problem, we have a career/life/car/house program to follow here, buster!"

  • I've been deliberately conserving my energy use. Adding insulation. Only using room air conditioners (Any one with central air needs to get a clue). For over 2 decades.
    Not perfect, but trying to strike a balance. The AC runs less than a few weeks a year.
    I'm not sure what this study is about. Probably someone is trying to game the system.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Any one with central air needs to get a clue

      You've obviously never been to Texas.

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @12:33AM (#47454049)

    They'd do something about planned obsolescence.

    We literally build things to fall apart. The waste from that alone is staggering.

    Imagine if practically everything where build to last, be easily repaired, easily upgraded, etc.

    When your washing machine breaks did the whole thing break or did a 2 cent nut break? Exactly. But it isn't practical to repair it because its so difficult that its cheaper to just buy a new one.

    This is by design. What is more, the parts are intentionally designed to all wear out. They use plastic for parts of machines that should be in metal... parts that experience heat that over time melt and deform. This causes big parts of the machine to fail.

    Then you have parts that really must wear out like light bulbs but they aren't modular.

    If we did this the amount of things we needed to get made on a regular basis would fall dramatically.

    This would have a bigger influence on climate change then any other idea proposed... EVER.

    But no one wants to do it because it would effect our industrial supply chain that change the whole way everything is made.

    Well, until we do this... all climate change talk is a waste of time largely propagated my the incurious and the stupid.

    I have no patience for those discussions... they're a waste of time.

    We don't need carbon caps. All that does is give governments an excuse to raise taxes which is the only reason the politicians are even interested in this discussion.

    What we need is to change our industrial model. And the sick thing is that if we do this we won't even suffer for it. We'll maintain our existing standard of living. All of it. The gains in efficiency will so outstrip everything that it won't matter. The amount of STUFF that has to be made on a yearly basis could fall to less then a tenth of what we currently produce. Which means the carbon debt of our industry without any effort to make it use less carbon per unit production would fall to a tenth.

    This would also mean we wouldn't need to import all this shit from china because if you're buying a lot less you can afford to pay more. US manufacturing costs are at most 20 percent higher then china. If you're purchases fall to 10 percent then paying 20 percent more then 10 percent is easily justified.

    This is the solution. It has always been the solution. Until this happens... nothing in the discussion of climate change is relevant. Its just hot air.

    • It's not the products, it is the cost of labor that prevents repairs. When labor has a reasonable price, it's no big deal to get a replacement plastic doohickey. So it breaks every six months - who cares? Call the repair man and pay $5 for the repair and the part. On the other hand, when a service call is $75-150, and a new machine is $300-400, people are only making a rational economic choice. Plus the cost of missing work so you can stay home to meet the repair man - who may or may not show up.
      • by TFloore ( 27278 )

        I have a Maytag dryer that I bought in 2002. Bought the washing machine with it, like most people who buy appliances when setting up a new house.

        That dryer developed a nasty high-pitched squeal - metal on metal rubbing that didn't used to do that. Spend some time looking around on google, and this model has a known problem with this. It's a front-load dryer, and the drum sits on two rollers. The right-side roller is directly under a vent and gets condensed water dripping on it. So the metal wheel inside the

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      The EU has a plan but it could be some time before it makes it into law. The idea is to require manufacturers to state the MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure) of the weakest/most commonly replaced parts in the product. It would apply particularly to household appliances like fridges, washing machines and the like. It could even be extended to include replacement part and estimated labour costs.

      Manufacturers know the MTBF well because they test it carefully before launching new products. After all, they don't wa

  • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @12:36AM (#47454069) Homepage

    It is a wonderful thing to tell everyone else how to behave, shame them when they deviate from your plan, and then do the opposite privately. It is what humans have aspired to for thousands of years.

    See, when you start thinking your shit doesn't stink, this is what happens. You want more. You think that the law is a fine thing, but just for the little people to follow. Someone such as yourself shouldn't be held back by such trivial concerns. Morality? It's backwards, its only purpose is to hold you back from what you deserve in life []. Hypocrisy becomes not something bad, but a stamp of approval for your lifestyle. You relax and let everything flow. Of course, in public, you strongly condemn others, and you will take action and spend money to maintain the mask of respectability.

    Why do the powerful always become outraged when the little people successfully make a point? How dare those little shits speak to me like that? It's not something new, it's been around forever. This is the default of human behavior, when it doesn't happen, that is exceptional. Why is it noteworthy that the global warming brigade does the same thing? The fact that they hold themselves over the rest of us should be a flashing neon sign that things just ain't right.

    "'Rotten?' said Uncle Andrew with a puzzled look. 'Oh, I see. You mean that little boys ought to keep their promises. Very true: most right and proper, I'm sure, and I'm very glad you have been taught to do it. But of course you must understand that rules of that sort, however excellent they may be for little boys -- and servants -- and women -- and even people in general, can't possibly be expected to apply to profound students and great thinkers and sages. No, Digory. Men like me, who possess hidden wisdom, are freed from common rules just as we are cut off from common pleasures. Ours, my boy, is a high and lonely destiny.'

    As he said this he sighed and looked so grave and noble and mysterious that for a second Digory really thought he was saying something rather fine. But then he remembered the ugly look he had seen on his Uncle's face the moment before Polly had vanished: and all at once he saw through Uncle Andrew's grand words. 'All it means,' he thought to himself, 'is that he thinks he can do anything he likes to get anything he wants.'"

    -- The Magician's Nephew

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @01:09AM (#47454261) Homepage

      Of course the entire point of this article (and others like it) is to give right-wingers are an excuse to feel superior to "those hypocrites on the left". So let's not get too self-congratulatory about our own ethical honesty, shall we? It amounts to the same thing in the end.

      The thing is, there is a difficult problem to be solved. Finger-pointing and denunciations aren't going to solve it. Expecting the bulk of humanity to spontaneously reduce their carbon footprint -- simply because it's the right thing to do -- is clearly not a viable strategy either. If we really want to solve this problem, it will take hard work, determination, and ingenuity, of both the technical and political varieties. And it will take seeing other people as thr fallable-but-well-meaning human beings they generally are, not as cartoon villains to fear or paper targets to take pot-shots at.

      A little more constructive dialog, and a little less demagoguery, please. I'll start: a revenue-neutral carbon tax would be a good way to tilt the market away from carbon usage without restricting it to any pre-ordained solutions that might or might not be sufficient.

    • by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @03:52AM (#47454911)

      It is a wonderful thing to tell everyone else how to behave, shame them when they deviate from your plan, and then do the opposite privately. It is what humans have aspired to for thousands of years.

      Fact is that whatever I personally do has not measurable effect on the climate. Every person individually is better off not worrying about the climate and to go on consuming. Most people also know that there would be an improvement if _everybody_ changed their behaviour.

      The logical consequence is that behaviour change must be forced through legislation, taxes etc. And every rational person should agree to that.

  • Electricity use is largely driven by the stuff you have. The more stuff, the more electricity that is used. In the US one might use a lot of electricity, but maybe you buy your electricity from a company that has lower CO2 emmissions. Sure, the electricity one uses might come from coal, but you are creating demand for cleaner sources, and in the long term helping to control the situation. Conservation is part of the issue, but if you buying energy star equipment, for instance, and buy clean electricity,
  • If they knew how much they (and the entire economy) had to cut back to do anything substantial about AGW they'd be climate change deniers.

  • People who're worried about climate change would likely be people who've already started cutting electricity usage. If you've already been doing things to cut down for several years already, how likely are you to be able to still make big gains? Not very. It's a lot easier to get those when you haven't cared and can still do the easy things like replacing burned-out incandescent bulbs with CFLs or LEDs, or replacing an old less-efficient refrigerator with a new one when remodeling the kitchen. It's not so e

  • uhhh maybe people who are in favor of energy conservation correctly realize that an individual acting alone to conserve power is pointless and insignificant given the scale of the problem they are worried about, while political policies, protesting or speaking out might actually have a measurable positive effect.

    i could go live a energy-neutral lifestyle as a hermit in the woods and it would do no good in the long run. maybe it's naive, but working for political policies that support energy conservation se

  • Until they have to change their lifestyle. Then, they'll only do it if there is some reason. Otherwise like like to whine that Someone should Do Something! They'll wring their hands about the evil corporation/rich/whatever that are supposedly responsible, like shit on Facebook that says it is about change, and go back to living how they always have.

    Reason is reducing energy use requires compromise in one form or another. You can either choose to stop doing/using some things, or you can invest more money in

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @01:16AM (#47454297) Homepage

    People who advocate giving money to "the poor" and "disadvantaged" do not give their own to the poor and disadvantged -- they just get other people to do it. Just like the people who are pushing the UACs all over the US. Are they inviting these children into THEIR gated communities? No. "It's the right thing [for other people] to do."

    When will people just open their eyes? Radical socialist nations got that way under the leadership of and influence of famously rich and exploitative people who united people under the promise of equality and utopia and are somehow suprised when their government takes away their freedom and points guns at them all the time. How many nations ended up like this? And we want that here too? Really?

    You know what makes people save energy? High energy bills. We don't have "high" energy bills in areas where the government supplements [corporate welfare] energy companies. All these "capitalists" are amazingly non-capitalist.

    Look on either side. Nobody does or means what they say.

    And I still can't believe that people still don't know what was really behind the Hobby Lobby issue. Maybe you heard it from me first, but it has been out there for quite some time. But it turns out that such exemptions already existed but previously just for non-profits. And in those cases, under Obamacare, those birth control benefits (keeping in mind that birth control means abortive measures, not prevention measures) are STILL covered but are required to be paid for by INSURANCE COMPANIES. This battle was never about whether or not for-profit conpanies can have moral objections to anything. It is about insurance companies not wanting to keep their end of the bargain they wrote for themselves. They are making windfall profits on this and they don't want to give any of it back.

    Okay going a bit off-topic but I don't care. Things are getting increasingly stupid and the media is pushing out increasingly obvious and blatant lies. I just wonder at what point the common drones out there will begin to notice.

    • Radical socialist nations got that way under the leadership of and influence of famously rich and exploitative people who united people under the promise of equality and utopia and are somehow suprised when their government takes away their freedom and points guns at them all the time. How many nations ended up like this?

      Sweden, for example?

  • I mean seriously- why not save $450 a year by slowly replacing your light bulbs with LED and CFL bulbs? Or putting in a little insulation. Or having a higher SEER rated AC unit (in the north or temperate areas) or a higher EER rated AC unit (in areas that are really hot for several months). (Seer is measured with a lower temperature difference than EER).

    As for climate change. Well, maybe I care a little but we are not going address the root cause (too many human beings on the planet) so it's going to ha

  • by catchblue22 ( 1004569 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @01:40AM (#47454407) Homepage
    I am not sure this study captures the some of the bigger decisions made to conserve energy. For instance, here is what I have done: I live in a condo that has a high walk score, so I don't have to drive much. We are close to transit and we use it. I purchased a Prius, which gets 60mpg. Given that and the fact that we barely drive, our monthly gas bill is about $50. One tank per month. I don't eat much meat. This substantially reduces the carbon emissions from the production chain of my food. However, according to this study, I am being remiss if my electricity bill isn't lower than my neighbours' bills. The study is flawed. My overall carbon emissions are way lower than average but this study would overlook me.
    • Gets worse if you own an electric vehicle. My power company has a neighbor comparison tool, where it compares my electric usage to similar neighbors (the nearest 100 houses of roughly the same size, same heat/AC systems, same number of occupants). I reliably came in between #2 and #5 lowest electric usage. Until I bought a Leaf. I'm still in the top 20% "most efficient", but only barely, thanks to the $20-30 of electricity it takes to fuel each month. Because I got rid of a 20 MPG rusting to pieces junker f

      • Not to mention that I cook more at home than average. In my place, cooking is responsible for the largest part of the electric bill. Cooking at home puts me slightly above average on electricity usage, even if I have all led/fluorescent lights. I don't even use my electric heat 95% of the time.
  • by brit74 ( 831798 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @01:52AM (#47454477)
    Here's the thing: individual energy use is fairly insignificant. Turning off the light leads to a miniscule reduction of total energy use because: residential energy use is only 14% of humanity's total energy use [ Source: [] ], you are just 1 person out of 1 billion people living in the developed world (i.e. people with high-energy consumption), and turning off a light or two leads to a small reduction in your individual use. In other words: a fraction of a fraction of a fraction.

    If people are concerned about global warming and humanity's energy use, you can do totally ineffective things like turning off a light or two more often, or you can push for more effective means of curbing global emissions: change the source of our energy (for residential energy, industrial/commercial energy, and transportation), push for more energy-efficient devices (e.g. a lot of Western European countries use about half as much energy per-capita as the US), and throw taxes on carbon-based energy sources to influence consumers via their pocketbook and influence the market towards forms of energy without all those carbon-emission externalities.

    I can see that the conservatives are out in droves on this Slashdot story, flaunting their ignorance and conspiracy theories. You guys should really be ashamed of yourselves because you're only making yourselves look like cavemen.
    • by kiddygrinder ( 605598 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @04:07AM (#47454975)
      while you're correct, *everybody* feeling like they are helping by turning off a light would actually amount to something, a fraction of a fraction though it may be. i don't go out of my way but i do buy energy efficient tech where performance doesn't matter, set up my desktops to go to sleep after an hour or so (they way i use them it doesn't bother me), use a raspberry pi as my server etc. at worst i'm making bugger all effort to make my power bill cheaper.
  • There's no surprise here, folks. Most people care just enough to avoid catching the blame from their neighbors and co-workers. As individuals, people are predisposed to make their own individual situation better (or not worse), even if it harms the community at large. History is full of examples: racism, tobacco farmers, heroin smugglers, vain conquering rulers, religious figureheads, professors of arcane subjects, etc. etc....

    Here's another news story for these outlets: people don't change without motivation.


  • by mark_reh ( 2015546 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @06:37AM (#47455471) Journal

    At this point, considering the inability of congress to get anything done, maybe all those people who believe the scientists about AGW have come to the conclusion that it's too late to do anything about it and have given up. Or maybe they realize that changing their personal lifestyle is nothing compared to the size of the problem.

    I lived in Phoenix for a while. Golf courses everywhere. No water anywhere. Billboards reminding me to use less water everywhere. The message I got was that I should feel guilty about every drop of water I used so a bunch of rich a-holes who spend their winters in Phoenix could have more water to dump onto their golf courses. AGW is a lot like that.

    The change has to start with the most visible and egregious offenders. Then people will see that there's something going on that they should be concerned about and will modify life style en masse. The only way to deal with the most visible and egregious offenders is via the law. Unfortunately, those offenders have money and use it to keep congress in a perpetual state of suspended animation, because it is through their offense that they make their money.

  • by BBF_BBF ( 812493 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @07:52AM (#47455727)
    Didn't need a study to tell me that people "most concerned" about climate change aren't necessarily the must frugal per-capita energy users.

    Just look at Al Gore.
    He's considered the biggest climate change advocate by many.

    He probably uses more energy in his mansions than 99.9999% of the people in the world, let alone the energy jetting around everywhere. But of course his houses only use "clean" energy and all his jet travel is offset by purchasing carbon credits (most likely through clean energy and carbon credit trading companies he has shares in.)
  • by fygment ( 444210 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @08:43AM (#47455973)

    Here in an area known for bitterly cold winters, every new home goes up with an air conditioner, every second big home investment is a pool, and every other driveway has an SUV. Facts I've used to successfully shut up the local climate change propagandists for years. Oh well, I guess it's now official.

    One supposes that the climate change outcry should really be: " I want someone else to take care of the effects of climate change so I can keep living just the way I please."

    You really want to help the planet? Lighten your own footprint on it.

  • by INT_QRK ( 1043164 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @09:42AM (#47456443)
    ...are all about controlling OTHER peoples' behavior (and redistributing THEIR property).

At work, the authority of a person is inversely proportional to the number of pens that person is carrying.