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Less really would be Moore

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Self-styled climate sceptic Charles Moore was bemoaning the BBC’s lack of impartiality last week. This is a man who has edited and now writes for the marginally less impartial Telegraph. Moore’s contemporary, but significantly less well-bred, Simon Leadbetter facepalms. Epically.

I worked for the Daily Telegraph at the same time as Charles Moore, when it was still a great newspaper. Admittedly, at the time, someone later convicted of various misdemeanours (cough) owned it. Nevertheless, the journalism and sports coverage were excellent. So too were the restaurant’s food and views. Boris Johnson was also a contemporary and was described by one colleague as “Thatcher’s disciple”.

My only, mercifully brief, dealing with Moore was in 1997 when I had been conned into accepting the management of a failing motoring club enterprise, under the Telegraph brand.

I had unthinkingly run a smallish advert for a Telegraph marquee at the British Grand Prix, which included the words ‘BBQ’ and ‘toilet’ – for reasons of space. Telegraph readers will have spotted my error.

Moore told me told me in no uncertain terms that Telegraph readers expected to see the words ‘barbecue’ (or spit roast, more probably) and ‘WC’. He was right about that and I mumbled an apology. When you are downstairs tradespeople, you do not want the upstairs editor to notice you.

My thought at the time was that Moore could probably not understand why on Earth he was talking to a northerner in the employ of the Telegraph. Were personnel simply letting anyone in these days? I had been rumbled.

But I digress.

Like many employees of our ‘independent’ national press, Moore likes to bemoan the ‘self-righteous’ partiality of the hated BBC. He was in full harrumph-mode last week, giving the BBC a good old kicking on behalf the ‘great majority’.

According to his puff in the paper, Charles Moore “covers politics with the wisdom and insight that comes from having edited the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Telegraph and the Spectator”. His media commentary? Maybe not so much.

On Friday, Moore wrote a piece about a recently completed internal investigation on impartiality at the BBC. ‘BBC’ and ‘impartiality’ are oxymoronic on planet Telegraph, so this was bound to be good.

In a nutshell, Moore’s message was: typical BBC inside job STOP liberal progressives taking over the world STOP no platform for illiberal conservatives STOP BBC very bad STOP climate not affected by human emissions STOP bad form, what, what STOP British Empire possibly doomed STOP.

The review was conducted by ex-BBC man (thus inside job) Stuart Prebble, with Moore noting that “he does gently reprove the impartiality section of the BBC’s College of Journalism website for including lots of clips from a former BBC environment correspondent ‘entirely devoted to sustaining the case that climate change is ‘settled science’.’. He [Prebble] says it ‘might have been helpful’ to have added ‘a line or two’ that climate change ‘dissenters (or even sceptics) should still occasionally be heard’.” 

The reason the BBC College of Journalism (not the College of Ill-informed Opinion, note) sustains the argument that the science on climate change is settled is because it is settled science. Just like the ‘theory’ of gravity and the connection between smoking and cancer are settled – through both overwhelming evidence and peer-reviewed consensus, well beyond reasonable doubt and the balance of probabilities. Hook, line and sinker.

Ninety-seven per cent of scientists accept the climate science and the human contribution to global warming, yet the BBC persists in giving equal platforms to the views of climate deniers such as the censured and abusive James Delingpole and Lord Lawson et al. They all regularly appear on major current affairs programmes such as Question Time and Newsnight. We get one such outing of Lawson on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions this Friday. Delingpole writes drivel for the Telegraph.

We would happily give our right arm to have deniers only ‘occasionally’ heard. But they are everywhere. Their incoherent narratives are all over the pages of the national press, ranting on the radio, tormenting the truth for TV audiences and irritating internet users, disseminating disinformation into the increasingly heated (literally) environment.

If the BBC was giving representative (impartial) weight to arguments and public opinion, it would only ever allocate 3% of its time to the unsubstantiated claims of non-scientists, such as Delingpole, Lawson and Monckton. George Osborne is chancellor, so he gets another card to play in the debate. But it certainly isn’t a climate science card. We’re not entirely sure it’s an economics one either. Well over 80% of every panel would be pro-renewable energy to represent the true ‘great majority’ in the country.

Moore’s article continues in a long ramble that attacks the “lip-pursing” of James Naughtie which Moore can “almost hear” – although we’re not quite sure how Moore ‘almost hears’ something. Almost hearing something is the same as not hearing something, surely? The excellent but apparently ‘omniscient’ Robert Peston, Stephanie Flanders and Nick Robertson aren’t immune from attack.

There comes the obligatory attack on gun control, mosques and unions. One can’t write an article in the Telegraph without attacking gun control, Muslims and the working class. Even the CBI isn’t left unscathed. This really is the end of days for Moore, who increasingly resembles the green pen letter-writers who send rants to newspapers.

Moore concludes, “The one entity, in short, in which the BBC feels permanently uninterested is the individual citizen. It is not surprising that the BBC takes him for granted, because it can. It takes his money by law, and without his consent, in the form of the licence fee. Until this ends, the BBC will, with the finest impartiality, refuse to tell his story.”

An ‘individual citizen’ who is apparently a man. It transpires from the use of the masculine that Moore still believes all taxpayers are men. This is somewhat indicative of his whole belief system. Wrong on pretty much everything and stuck in a self-reinforcing bubble of self-righteous, privileged, white, Oxbridge-educated, and therefore infallible, men who deny the fundamentals of science – having a curious and open mind, which considers all the evidence to form a testable hypothesis.

Moore and his colleagues in the national press cannot suffer a public service broadcaster to live.

They will constantly trumpet management failures and the declining trust in the BBC. That the mistrust has been fed by newspapers isn’t mentioned. That those same newspapers would benefit considerably from the BBC’s decline, curtailment or break up is also not worthy of passing comment. Our nation and national debate might be poorer without the BBC, but the billionaire press barons, who pay Moore and his like, would be richer and more powerful.

It’s odd how national press commentators can, in the same breath, heavily criticise the speedily resolved Jimmy Savile crisis and subsequent investigation at the BBC, yet dismiss out of hand the decades long practice of bribing public officials, hacking phones and management fraud and obfuscation at News International and others. They are self-righteous in defending the freedoms of the press, even when it means breaking the law. Moore never exposed the dealings of his master.

It would be funny if it weren’t tragic. A provisional wing of the right has hijacked a once authoritative and quality newspaper. What happened to Burkean Toryism or the statesmanlike leadership on climate science of Thatcher (a scientist)?

We can only assume that Moore’s reckless disregard to the damage him and his ilk are causing the planet by leading the deniers in their attack on one of the few remaining impartial elements of our media, comes from his belief in the rapture. As we’re all doomed or saved anyway, we may as well make a vast profit in the meantime, whatever the cost to planet and people – and, frankly, the BBC with its accurate science reporting is hurting the margins.

More enlightened believers and non-believers beg to differ.

Over the years, the BBC has annoyed people of the left and the right, liberal and authoritarian. This probably suggests it has the balance just about right. The excellent Naughtie, Peston, Flanders and Robinson need to carry on doing the same impartial reporting they have always been doing. For all of our sakes.

We salute them and the BBC, especially its science and environment reporting. Moore and the Telegraph: not so much.

Further reading:

Responsible journalism tells the truth about climate change

US and UK top climate scepticism poll

Rupert Murdoch’s half-baked tweet regarding greening world

Freedom of speech is not the same as a freedom to mislead

The Guide to Responsible Media 2012

Simon Leadbetter is the founder and publisher of Blue & Green Tomorrow. He has held senior roles at Northcliffe, The Daily Telegraph, Santander, Barclaycard, AXA, Prudential and Fidelity. In 2004, he founded a marketing agency that worked amongst others with The Guardian, Vodafone, E.On and Liverpool Victoria. He sold this agency in 2006 and as Chief Marketing Officer for two VC-backed start-ups launched the online platform Cleantech Intelligence (which underpinned the The Guardian’s Cleantech 100) and StrategyEye Cleantech. Most recently, he was Marketing Director of Emap, the UK’s largest B2B publisher, and the founder of Blue & Green Communications Limited.

Environment

How Home Automation Can Help You Go Green

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home automation to go green

The holidays are an exciting, nostalgic time: the crispness in the air, the crunch of snow under your boot, the display of ornate holiday lighting up your home like a beacon to outer space, and the sound of Santa’s bell at your local Walmart.

Oh, yeah—and your enormous electric bill.

Extra lights and heating can make for some unexpected budgeting problems, and they also cause your home to emit higher levels of CO2 and other pollutants.

So, it’s not just your wallet that’s hurting—the planet is hurting as well.

You can take the usual steps to save energy and be more eco-conscious as you go about your normal winter routine (e.g., keeping cooler temperatures in the home, keeping lights off in naturally lit rooms, etc.), but these methods can often be exhausting and ultimately ineffective.

So what can you actually do to create a greener home?

Turn to tech.

Technology is making waves in conservation efforts. AI and home automation have grown in popularity over the last couple of years, not only because of their cost saving benefits but also because of their ability to improve a home’s overall energy efficiency.

Use the following guide to identify your home’s inefficiencies and find a solution to your energy woes.

Monitor Your Energy Usage

Many people don’t understand how their homes use energy, so they struggle with conservation. Start by looking at your monthly utility bills. They can show you how much energy your home typically uses and what systems cost you the most.

monitor energy usage

Licensed from Shutterstock – By Piotr Adamowicz

The usual culprits for high costs and energy waste tend to be the water heater and heating and cooling system. Other factors could also impact your home’s efficiency. Your home’s insulation, for example, could be a huge source of wasted heating and cooling—especially if the insulation hasn’t been inspected or replaced in years. You should also check your windows and doors for proper weatherproofing every year.

However, waiting for your monthly bill or checking out your home’s construction issues are time-consuming steps, and they don’t help you immediately understand and tackle the problem. Instead, opt for an easier solution. Some homeowners, for example, use a smart energy monitor such as Sense to track energy use in real time and identify energy hogs.

Use Smart Plugs

Computers, televisions, and lights still consume energy if they’re left on and unused. Computers offer easy cost savings with their built-in timers that allow the devices to use less energy—they typically turn off after a set number of minutes. Televisions sometimes provide the same benefit, although you may have to fiddle with the settings to activate this feature.

A better option—and one that thwarts both the television and the lights—is purchasing smart plugs. The average US home uses more than 900 kilowatts of electricity per month. That can really add up, especially when you realize that people are wasting more than $19 billion every year on household appliances that are always plugged in. Smart plugs like WeMo can help eliminate wasted electricity by letting you control plugged-in items from your smartphone.

Update Your Lighting

Incandescent lightbulbs can consume and waste a lot of energy—35% of CO2 emissions are generated from electric power plants. This can have serious consequences for increased global warming.

To reduce your impact on the environment, you can install more efficient lightbulbs to offset your energy usage. However, many homeowners choose smart lights, like the Philips Hue bulbs, to save money and make their homes more energy efficient.

Smart lights can be controlled from your smartphone, and many smart light options come with monthly energy reporting so you can continue to find ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

Take Control of the Thermostat

Homeowners often leave the thermostat on its default settings, but defaults often result in heating and cooling systems that run longer and harder than they need to.

In fact, almost half the average residential energy use comes from energy-demanding heating and cooling systems. As an alternative to fiddling with outdated systems, eco-conscious homeowners use smart thermostats to save at least 10% on heating and roughly 15% on cooling per year.

Change your home’s story by employing a smart thermostat such as the Nest, ecobee3, or Honeywell Lyric. Smart thermostats automatically adjust your in-home temperature by accounting for a variety of factors, including outdoor humidity and precipitation. A lot of smart thermostats will also adjust your home’s temperature depending on the time of day and whether you’re home.

Stop Wasting Water

The average American household uses about 320 gallons of water per day. About one-third of that goes to maintaining their yards. Using a smart irrigation systems to improve your water usage can save your home up to 8,800 gallons of water per year.

Smart irrigation systems use AI to sync with local weather predictions, which can be really helpful if you have a garden or fruit trees that you use your irrigation system for  water. Smart features help keep your garden and landscaping healthy by making sure you never overwater your plants or deprive them of adequate moisture.

If you’re looking to make your home greener, AI-enabled products could make the transition much easier. Has a favorite tool you use that wasn’t mentioned here? Share in the comments below.

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Environment

Working From Home And How It Reduces Emissions

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Many businesses are changing their operating model to allow their employees to work from home. Aside from the personal convenience and business benefits, working from home is also great for the environment. According to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, if employees with the desire to work from home and compatible jobs that allowed for this were allowed to do so only half the time, the reduction in emissions would be the equivalent of eliminating automobile emissions from the workforce of the entire state of New York. Considering the stakes here, it is vital that we understand how exactly working from home helps us go green and how this can be applied.

Reduction of automobile emissions

Statistics by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show that the transportation sector is responsible for about 14% of the total Global Emissions of greenhouse gases, which is a very significant percentage. If employees work from home, then the need to travel to and from their workplace every other day as well as other business trips are reduced considerably. While this may not eliminate the emissions from the transport sector altogether, it reduces the percentage. As indicated in the example above, a move to work from home by more businesses and industries cuts down automobile emissions to as much as those from an entire state.

Reduction of energy production and consumption

According to Eurostat, electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning accounted for as high as 26% of the Greenhouse gas emissions from the EU in 2014. EPA stats are also close at 25% of the total emissions. This makes energy production the single largest source of emissions. Working from home eliminates the need for large office spaces, which in turn reduces the need for electricity and heating. Similarly, the need for electrical office equipment and supplies, such as printers and computers, is also greatly reduced, which reduces the emissions from energy production in offices. Additionally, most households are now adopting green methods of energy production and implementing better ways of energy usage. The use of smart energy-efficient appliances also goes a long way in reducing the energy production and consumption levels from households. This, in turn, cuts down emissions from energy production from both the home and office fronts.

Reduced need for paper

Paper is also a huge source of emissions, considering that it is a carbon-based product. EPA stats show that carbon (IV) oxide from fossil fuel and industrial processes accounts for 65% of the total greenhouse gas emissions. Working from home is usually an internet-based operation, which means less paper and more cloud-based services. When everything is communicated electronically, the need for office paper is reduced considerably. Moreover, the cutting down of trees for the sake of paper production reduces. All these outcomes help reduce the emissions and individual carbon footprints.

Effective recycling

While businesses make an effort to recycle it is not as effective as homeowners. Consider everything from the water you drink to office supplies and equipment. While working from home, you have greater control over your environment. This means that you can easily implement proper recycling procedures. However, at the office, that control over your personal space and environment is taken away and the effectiveness of recycling techniques is reduced. Working from home is, therefore, a great way to go green and increase the adoption of proper recycling.

Takeaway

Even though the statistics are in favor of working from home to reduce emissions, note that this is dependent on the reduction of emissions from home. If the households are not green, then the emissions are not reduced in the least. For instance, if instead of installing a VPN in the router to keep the home office safe, an employee buys a standalone server and air gaps it, the energy consumption is not reduced but increased. Therefore, it is necessary that employees working from home go green if there is to be any hope of using this method of operation to cut down on the emissions.

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