The Anonymous Widower

DfT Urged To Make Operators Reveal If Trains Are Electric Or Diesel Due To Carbon Concerns

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on |Engineering And Technology.

This is the first paragraph.

Nearly half of rail passengers would like to know how their trains are powered according to a new poll of 1,025 regular rail users from train ticket retailer Loco2.

I think that loco2 are on the right track.

London And Birmingham

For instance take the route between London and Birmingham, where you have three different train operators.

  • Virgin Trains – 125 mph electric trains between London Euston and Birmingham New Street stations – Fast, cramped and the most expensive
  • West Midland Trains – 110 mph electric trains between London Euston and Birmingham New Street stations – Slower, more space and reasonably priced
  • Chiltern Railways – 100 mph diesel trains between London Marylebone and Birmingham Moor Street stations – Slower, most comfortable and reasonable priced

If I need to get to Birmingham in a hurry, a use Virgin, but if I want a comfortable journe at a lower pricey, where I can spread my paper on a large table, I take Chiltern.

Those that pay the money make their choice.

Knowing the carbon footprint might persuade some passengers to take a particular train operating company, but I think it would have an effect on train operating companies, if they were perceived to have a low carbon rating.

In my example, the only diesel operator of the three; Chiltern Railways, probably can’t switch to electric traction, as electrifying the route would be prohibitively expensive.

  • They can offset their carbon footprint, by perhaps planting trees.
  • There will also be technology that will cut their diesel consumption.

After that it’s down to the strength of their marketing.

London And Scotland

The competition for trains between London and Scotland is the airlines.

Publishing carbon footprints would favour the trains, as there is a lot of electrification on Scottish routes.

The Man In Seat 61 gives his view on this page of his web site.

 

February 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

How UK Carbon Emissions Tumbled

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on I News.

This is the first paragraph.

Amid the doom and gloom, there is thankfully one piece of good news today. The amount of carbon dioxide the UK pumps into the atmosphere through its power generators, car exhausts, wood burners and industry has dived by 38 per cent since 1990. A statistic that’s even more impressive when you consider the population has grown by nearly 10 million during that period.

So how has this happened?

  • The reduction in the number of coal-fired power stations.
  • We are using less energy, because of more efficient electrical equipment and devices.
  • There is less heavy engineering.

Let’s hope this downward trend continues.

 

February 4, 2019 Posted by | World | , | 2 Comments

Severn Toll Change

The title of this post is the same as that of a short article in the February 2019 Edition of Modern Railways.

This is the first paragraph.

There are concerns that the removal of toll charges on the M4 Severn Crossings on 17 December could result in a loss of rail freight traffic to road. The toll, for westbund vehicles only, was £16.70 per Heavy Goods Vehicle last year. It had been reduced from £20 in January 2018, when VAT ceased to be levied because the motorway bridges had passed from private to public ownership.

It now appears that it is now cheaper to get wine from Felixstowe to a warehouse in Avonmouth, by using a train to Cardiff and then using trucks, than by using a train to Bristol and a shorter truck journey.

Surely, the longer journeys by both diesel truck and probably diesel train, creates more carbon dioxide.

Obviously, the UK and Welsh Governments didn’t assess the carbon emission consequences of abolishing the tolls on the Severn Bridges.

I also wonder, if more people will now drive between South Wales and England, because of the incentive of a toll-free crossing, which will further increase carbon-dioxide emissions.

 

January 27, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Climate Change: The Massive CO2 Emitter You May Not Know About

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

This is the first three paragraphs..

Concrete is the most widely used man-made material in existence. It is second only to water as the most-consumed resource on the planet.

But, while cement – the key ingredient in concrete – has shaped much of our built environment, it also has a massive carbon footprint.

Cement is the source of about 8% of the world’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, according to think tank Chatham House.

Read the whole article.

January 2, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Climate Change: Report Warns Of Growing Impact On US Life

The title of this post is the same as this article on the BBC.

This is the first paragraph

Unchecked climate change will cost the US hundreds of billions of dollars and damage human health and quality of life, a US government report warns.

So what is Donald Trump’s reaction?

This is another paragraph.

During a blast of icy weather in Washington this week, Donald Trump tweeted, “whatever happened to global warming?”

The sooner he has to leave the US Presidency to someone with an unprejudiced brain, that understands how things actually work, the better!

November 24, 2018 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment

Trump And Charles In Climate Row

This is the headline on the front page of today’s Sunday Times.

Trump is not necessarily wrong about climate change, but cutting CO2 and other polluting emissions is prudent.

If a man met a gorgeous young lady on the back streets of say Marseilles or any other port city and she offers him flavours, then he would take precautions.

Trump said as much, when Putin was accusing him of various things, when he said he was paranoid about germs or something similar.

So it’s alright for him to take personal precautions, but the rest of the world can go get fucked.

There are some things we shouldn’t do, because they may be dangerous to the planet.

Burning coal is one of them, which Trump has said he will promote.

But then, if the United States continues to mine and burn coal, the pristine air of some parts of the country will disappear, just like it has in China.

I do wonder if President Trumkokf has even been to Beijing!

 

January 29, 2017 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

We Need A Duty-Free By-Pass At Airports

Oslo Airport had one of the largest duty free areas I’ve seen in a long time. It was very crowded too, with passengers trailing cases and carrying overflowing baskets.

I found it difficult to walk through  and it was a completely wasted few minutes, that I could have spent much better.

It’s all totally pointless, as if duty-free was banned on flights and passengers bought their duty free as they arrived in a country, airlines wouldn’t waste fuel flying all that useless junk around the skies.

I wonder how much duty free contributes to global warming?

The EU should make it the law, that every airport has a by-pass for those, who don’t want to buy any duty-free.

And was there anything to eat that was gluten-free in the airport? I didn’t see anything that was!

September 11, 2013 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Enormous Amount Of Energy Used By Computer Servers

In all the hot air talked about fracking, wind power and nuclear power, very rarely does the argument stray into energy usage. The only thing people seem to worry about is the cost of their household energy bills and filling up their car.

But accpording to this academic report from Stanford University in 2010, over ten percent of all US electricity was used to power computer and IT equipment. Here’s the relevant part.

In 2010, over 10% of electricity in the U.S. was due to computer and IT equipment usage. At the current rate we’re going, analysts and experts figure that 10% of the world’s power bill will be spent on running computers. To give a more concrete example of how much energy this is, Dixon shows that one 50,000 square feet data center uses about 5 megawatts, but continuously. This energy output would satisfy the needs of 5000 homes. In another staggering example, assorted US data centers use a collective 7000 megawatt data centers from seven different plants; this is more power than is used by the State of Mississippi. Even more surprising is that this astronomical power consumption is just by the plants themselves – cooling systems use as much energy as the plants.

Also in this article in the FT. it says that in 2010, Goggle used about 258 Megawatts continuously.

Since this refers to 2010, I wonder how much of the UK’s energy usage goes in that area now.

According to this article, in 2012 average demand for electricity was 35.8 Gigawatt.  Just imagine having to pay that bill!

So let’s assume that only five percent of that energy is used for computer servers, so that is 1790 megawatt. Bear in mind that the UK’s largest power station,  Drax,  has a capability of generating 3960 megawatts or seven percent of the UK’s electricity. So nearly half of its output and the enormous amount of CO2, Drax emits could be used to power computer equipment.

I need better figures here, but it would seem that a substantial part of UK electricity is used in computing.

But help is at hand in this area. To make computers use less power, you can do many things; like write better software and install more efficient cooling systems.

The biggest fight though is in the area of making chips that consume less electricity and there’s a war going on there, between the dominant Intel and the upstart from Cambridge called ARM. Whether Intel can hold off ARM is a subject for debate, but in a year or so, the average server will consume a lot less power than it does now. Unfortunately, the search, social networking, data storing and other IT companies will be a lot bigger, so all we will be doing with better technology is eating into the growth in energy usage.

I think though, this will mean that many large server farms will relocate to countries, where energy costs are lowest.

 

August 17, 2013 Posted by | Computing, News, World | , , , , | 1 Comment

Coal Is A Dangerous Fuel

There are dramatic pictures in Modern Railways of the landslip at Hatfield Colliery, which damaged the railway at Stainforth.

It just goes to show how dangerous coal is, as it seems to be capable of creating disasters.  Luckily this one didn’t cause any injuries or death.

There’s more about it here.

I believe that coal is just too dangerous to mine! It’s also a large producer of carbon dioxide and I would ban its burning worldwide.

April 2, 2013 Posted by | Transport, World | , , | Leave a comment

The Joy Of Global Warming

Bjorn Lomborg likes to provoke and this article in the Sunday Times certainly does. He starts the article like this.

As I fly into a snow-bound Britain, I realise that you might be asking where global warming has gone as you shiver in the coldest March for 50 years and wonder what you will do if gas has to be rationed. I have been involved in the climate debate for more than a decade, but I am still amazed at how wrong we get it. Let us try to restart our thinking on global warming.

Yes, global warming is real and mostly man-made, but our policies have failed predictably and spectacularly.

He then goes on to say that Kyoto has failed.

But he does produce a solution that could be a win-win situation for everyone.

He says that we should spend money on research!

He is  right!

Just look what has happened to products like computers because money has been spent on research!

I have heard some wacky ideas to generate energy and cut carbon dioxide emissions over the last few years.  Some of them might just be the things we do to save the planet.

But then engineers and scientists have a track record in digging us out of the holes that politicians and others have got us into.

Where for instance would Britain be today without the genius of Henry Royce, Lord Hives, RJ Mitchell, Alan Blumlein, Alan Turing and Sydney Camm.  Under a Nazi jackboot perhaps?

But they and others answered Churchill’s plea and gave the country the tools to finish the job.

A similar massive effort today on a world-wide basis would I believe solve the problems of global warming and create a world fit for our descendents.

The same approach could be used on all of the major problems of the world like cancer, providing clean water, housing and food production.

April 1, 2013 Posted by | Food, World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment