Our Glass Bead Game players.

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Mixed messages confuse plebs

biofuelsbiofuels

It's hard to please everyone. The world could be heading for another Great Depression and people and countries are getting into more and more debt. Whilst all this is happening there seems to be some confusion in our government's mind, or what is left of it.

On the one hand EU pollution curbs are being weakened in order to allow Heathrow airport to expand. Official papers show that civil servants are working to delay for five years a Brussels air quality directive due to come into force in 2010 specifically to avoid harming the airport's growth.

They also directly contradict claims by Environment Secretary Hilary Benn earlier this year that the Government's stance on the directive was in no way linked to decisions on Heathrow.The new documents are internal DfT risk assessments obtained by Greenpeace under FOI laws. The most recent assessment is dated September 2007. It records predictions that permitted levels of nitrogen dioxide would be breached in 2010. See here.
The Great DepressionThe Great Depression
Hilary Benn's job has changed. The new Climate Change and Energy Secretary Ed Miliband has told MPs that the government would not "row back" on green issues in the light of the current economic crisis and this includes biofuels.

Shadow climate change secretary Greg Clark, for the Conservatives, welcomed Mr Miliband's announcements. He said:

"The choice between aggressive and ambitious action on carbon reduction and a successful, powerful economy is, in fact, not a choice at all - they are one and the same."

However, the targets of 20% renewable energy use, and 10% biofuels use as part of efforts to reduce overall emissions by 20% by 2020 - will cost us £9 billion a year. That's an Olympics EVERY year.See Open Europe and on the Guardian's Comment is Free site, Open Europe Research Director Hugo Robinson notes in reference to the plans:
"The scale of the package is breathtaking. In Britain, it would mean around 40% of electricity being generated from renewable sources (up from under 5% today), within a decade. Building five new wind turbines every single working day from now until 2020 would get us just over halfway to meeting this target. Throw in the £23bn Severn barrage, and just 65% of the target will have been attained......under the EU plan, the technology-specific targets for renewables and biofuels mean that investment is unlikely to be directed towards the most cost-effective methods of removing CO2 from the atmosphere. These distortions will mean that the per-unit cost of carbon reduction of the EU package as a whole will be unnecessarily high."


Even the EU is wavering on these targets. But Ed Miliband goes on to say that the government has committed the UK to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by middle of this century namely an increase on the previously stated goal of 60%.

Yet, strangely UK CO2 emissions continue to increase as does the population. Could there be a relationship here?

Boris Johnson is going to plant 10,000 street trees in London by scrapping Ken Livingstone's £1 million a year newspaper The Londoner. Contrast this to Gordon Brown's talk of training roof laggers; doesn't he know that anyone not incapacitated can roll the stuff out on their own?
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We can understand: tree planting, stopping concreting over gardens, insulation, maintaining rainforests where practicable, removing VAT on 'green' items, packaging reduction, improved public transport and so on. We all understand this and it is all possible and practical. What we don't understand is the Glass Bead Game our politicians play when they say they are saving the planet by using biofuels which destroy rainforest and that they are reducing CO2 when they patently aren't.

They are going to stop fuel poverty yet will increase energy costs to the public by a phenomenal amount and any industry that remains in Britain will leave. Yet at the same time we increase aviation pollution by expanding Heathrow and Stanstead as our climate policy excludes aviation and shipping.

We recycle our waste and send lots of it to the third world. Climate deniers are simply dismissed as non- adherents to the faith of Green Eschatology. See Bjorn Lomborg.

It is a sad truth that only an elite can play the Glass Bead Game. If everyone knew how it worked the glass beads would shatter, because it's all a chimera. Our leaders either don't know what they are talking about or they are lying. I think it's a bit of both; though that nice Hilary Benn would appear to have some questions to answer. A skilled glass beadsman can get round this sort of dichotomy with ease and finesse and if he can't he could ask the new Magister Ludi Mr Mandelson.

Magister Ludi-the Glass Bead Game, was a novel written in 1943 by the German writer Hermann Hesse 1877 - 1962 . In 1946 Hesse received the Nobel Prize in literature for Magister Ludi. In the archives of the Glass Bead Game it is written that Joseph Knecht was the Magister Ludi of the Glass Bead Game in a place called Castalia.

Castalia was a protected institution set in the future, and devoted to intellectual pursuits. Castalia was run by the master of the Glass Bead Game. Sitting in a large room, Castalia members would explore magnificent associations of ideas and concepts.However, Knecht's loyalty to the order is brought into question as he gradually comes to doubt whether the intellectually gifted have a right to withdraw from life's big problems.