David Tebbutt, Teblog

Well the chancellor has spoken and, frankly, I feel fairly unmoved. I'm no economist, so I'm not going to pretend I have the faintest idea how this country's going to get out of the clag it's sunk into. Nothing in the budget is going to reverse the trillions we've stolen from the public to give to financial institutions. As an individual, I actually fear for the future and for that of my children and grandchildren. Let's hope they find somewhere better to live.
One thing I'd like to comment on because I feel I have some understanding is the business of car scrappage. Talk of it being a green measure is claptrap, it's an attempt to bribe people into rescuing the car industry. Dealers in particular, I presume, because most people I know drive foreign cars and, even if they look British, they've probably been made somewhere else.
The problems are many, but the main one is that dealers have been offering whacking great discounts and they've not been able to shift cars. The one small temptation is that if you have a car over ten years old (with an MOT – so why change it?) that's worth a few hundred quid, it's now worth two thousand. But if you can get a multi-thousand pound discount from a car dealer anyway, why should you or the dealer go through the inevitable bureaucratic hassle associated with the government scheme?
The important thing, and this is where it impinges on IT, is that, as usual, no-one's thinking about the lifecycle carbon costs of all this activity (assuming it even gets off the ground). A new car has to be made and an old one scrapped. Has anyone considered the carbon cost of this activity? If the government really is concerned about the planet (the 34% carbon reduction by 2020 suggests it is) then why the heck is it encouraging such emissions?
I have a 12 year old car. I use it rarely, preferring my legs or the tube, but I do use it for those journeys which are impractical by other means. It has a two litre engine so it probably chucks out some carbon. But I can't justify buying a new car on the basis of carbon saving because I know that the bigger picture (making and scrapping cars) is much more damaging to the environment.
And so it is with IT equipment. So many people are pushing green this and that and talking about the carbon savings, but how many of them consider the lifecycle carbon cost of what's being bought and junked? Not to mention the raw materials, chemicals and water that go into their manufacture.
I'm not a tree hugger or a do gooder but it seems to me that we need more than lip service paid to the idea of sustainability. Or we need to be more honest – admit that we don't believe the global warming/spoilt earth stories and we're just going to enjoy ourselves for as long as we can.
Me? I'll be voting with the sustainability lot.



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