back to article Miserable Brits declare War on Comfort

All the year round, but especially during the summer, British newspapers love to serve up stories of American idiocy. These involve US citizens exhibiting strange overreactions, or cult-like behaviour, or generally imposing themselves in an irrational or hysterical way. In a nation as big as the USA - or even a state so rich in …


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  1. Paul


    what a great troll article... please don't feed the troll by reponding as if it's genuine.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bloggerish behaviour

    If blogs are as crap as El Reg constantly says they are, I'm surprised that the arguments in this article boil down into two classic blog tropes:

    1. Sub-Mail whinging about nanny state, Blair's Britain, can't do anything you want to, not fair. MUM!!! Nicky Gavron's being nasty to me!

    2. Idiotic editorialising pretending there are no other sources out there saying that patio heaters are a wasteful extravagance. COS SHE JUST ASKED KEN AND KEN DOESNT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT SIENCE AMIRITE?!1?!

  3. Robert Ramsay

    Definition of a Puritan...

    ...someone who gains guilty pleasure out of denying themselves something...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What else did you expect?


    The fall of communism marked the final end of the use of "class guilt" as club to tell the rest of us what to do, but busybodies will always find an excuse to lecture the rest of us on how their perfect world is so much better than ours, so the global warming religion magically appeared to provide a ready excuse tell the rest of us how to run our lives. As before, any challenge to this notion is shouted down.

    We might be better off providing a "hypocrisy and truth" rating to pundits, to better shine light on their pronouncements. Al Gore can have every interview prefaced with some hard questions on the palace he lives in, while the scientists who predicted drier summers and wetter winters in a "warming world", can be asked to explain this summer :-)


  5. Frank Bough


    Judging by this link-infested rant, the Register has finally turned into a blog.

    Just what the world needs!

  6. Dr Stephen Jones

    Well said

    Well said, Andrew.

    I have well-educated colleagues and neighbours whose racist views amaze me. They honestly believe that reading The Guardian and being Carbon Neutral gives them some kind of immunity. Does eating garlic ward off vampires, too?

    Climate Change gives them the excuse they've always wanted. We can have the nice things, but the rest of the world can't.


  7. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Let's continue to take the piss out of the Americans

    This example of a not so clever British politician talking non-scientific shite doesn't quite match the best of the US so please stick to finding amusing examples of American insanity to feed our superiority complex.

    On a related note I was told today by a friend that the German hysteria about "doping" in cycling has reached the heights of hobby cyclists being subjected to torrents of abuse whilst on their bikes, although I can't confirm this myself. And it really is hysteria: nobody seems to mind that professional cyclists inflict physical harm on themselves by taking part in the races they do and they are all probably certifiable (most of those who took part in the first ever Tour de France were from asylums); Floyd Landis had necrosis of the hip and couldn't walk without considerable pain when he took the testorone hit.

    Oh, and before I forget: where's the IT angle! ;-)

  8. foxyshadis

    Look at the first word

    All the articles labeled "Comment" are blog entries, pure opinion pieces meant to entertain, or hadn't you noticed yet?

  9. Tim

    nanny knows best

    We have baned cigs , we are on or way with cars what other pleasure can we take away from the plebes?. booze !

    why don't they just GET A LIFE and stop trying to run everyone else's .

    Has anyone noticed how it's still legal to get up every morning before the birds fart

    when that has got to be bad for you .But then they would not be able to get there coffee on the way to work at noon if the milk man didn't deliver and the papers didn't come so they could read what to think /how to dress/what to eat.

    F**kit I'm going for another beer an fag and light a few heaters up.cheers

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Having live in several comfy corners of the world

    I can testify to the truth that British people are just as stupid as Americans. I have seen as many examples of jingoistic racism in the US as I saw growing up in Britain. The French and the Italians aren't any better, and that's as far was my education goes.

    Doesn't mean there aren't a large number of reasonable people living in all these countries, and I'm not even certain the stupidly ignorant outnumber those that are happy to leave everyone to their own devices.

    Governments of all flavours want to intefer with our lives - apparently they're all made up of people that think they know better than you how you ought to live, what you ought to own and how your puppy/children ought to be raised. The world will always be this way.

    Best thing is to move to Spain or Holland. The hash is much better and that helps filter out all kinds of annoyances. I think.... pause.. what was I saying?

  11. Andy


    In fairness, the amount of heat that goes towards warming you up vs. the amount of heat that heats straight into the atmosphere is tiny... Patio heaters pretty much are a complete waste of energy, and I think if they were more widespread the issue would be noticed. That's not to say it's worth knickers getting twisted, but they're pretty irresponsible.

    Whether you're a believer or a sceptic when it comes to climate change - I'm a sceptic, myself - it really doesn't hurt to play on the safe side. Anyway, exhaustion of fossil fuels is a very real situation; and wasting energy, whether by using patio heaters or leaving all your lights on constantly, doesn't help that much.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You buch of -ing wankers

    She's absolutely right. Why on earth write an editorial slamming her stance? -ing Clarkson-worshippers.

  13. James

    Trees incomparably good relative to politicians

    "They're far less damaging than chopping down the nearest tree - or setting fire to a passing local politician."

    Setting fire to local politicians might be viewed as a public service in some quarters, the problem is that they are 70% water and difficult to light ;)

    Leave the trees alone, they're good shade to drink under as well as being significantly more attractive than concrete :)

  14. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    If you're going to swear...

    To the anon above, if you're going to fucking swear then do it fucking right, right?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    let me guess they'll turn it into a fineable offence to use one so they will then be able to collect your dna.

    As to absolutely right - I couldn't give a toss as to the techincal principles of it all. You go out on a warm summer, you have a few beers, sit out in the beer garden with your mates becouse it's too damn loud inside. It gets nippy. And then you're bloody happy for those heaters.

    Anyone going against such delicious loveliness should just help the world and kill themselves now. You'll greatly reduce your carbon footprint if you're dead so do us all a favour Misters and missus "It's a great idea to ban these ineffecient things" and do your bit for the environment - I'm sure there's a railway bridge near by you can hurl yourselves off of. Giving the dual benefits of you not having to live in an unfair world full of creature comforts, and a reduction in future carbon emissions.

    Signed Anonymous

    We are legion

    Internet hate machine

    etc etc etc

    see us on fox11

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please, put it all in context...

    I've seen a quote "Patio heaters create 4 tonnes of C02 per year" But how many hours per day/year are they on? How does that compare to a human or cow (And how many do I have to kill to remain carbon-neutral :-)

    From my POV, I can't smoke in pubs any more as I might harm the health of a worker. Fair enough, I'll smoke outside but obviously I'll look for a pub that makes its customers as happy as possible. And my non-smoking friends will go along with me, to keep the party going.

    But now I'm being condemned for contributing to global warming. So let's take a logical view. Ban patio heaters, ban smoking and ban drinking too, as they're all "bad". OTOH, if you vegan healthfreaks want to continue enjoying the benefits of the sh!tloads of tax I pay for my guilty pleasures then shut the fsck up about the relatively minor cost associated with my sins.

  17. Glen Turner

    It's about leadership

    The "but there are billions of people in China" argument is asking the people of China and India to forgo comfortable shelter whilst you bask in the warmth of your inefficient patio heater. Understandably, they raise their middle finger to your insistence that the costs of reducing global warming fall upon them whilst you continue in the habits that made global warming a problem in the first place.

  18. Shad

    er no...

    I wont shut up. Why? Because the taxes you pay do not come close to paying for the damage you and your friends cause with your selfish excesses.

    Because the cost of those excesses will be borne by MY children, and YOU do not have the right to place that burden on them.

    Thats why numb nuts.

    God, I hope you didn't breed, the world needs to evolve and you and your kind are holding us back.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Silly argument

    Saying that patio heaters aren't relevant in the fight against global warming because China does XYZ is a stupid argument because British politicians can influence what Brits do, not really what Chinese people do. Patio heaters are very inefficient as all electric heaters are because they work by firing shedloads of electricity through a resistor which causes heat. They are an unnecessary luxury. If you think they're being miserable now imagine what they'll be like because half of England is flooded and suffering storms like the recent ones in Gloucester because some twats were too arrogant to turn their patio heaters off. Really.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    climate change threat 'exaggerated'?!

    Yeah right, so I suppose that the recent floods in the UK were because someone left the gigantic tap running?!

    The drought in the South of Europe, at the same time, was I presume just another coincidence.

    Lets get real, the problem exists.

    Although, Patio Heaters agreeably are not the fire breathing dragon and may be an exaggeration.

  21. Nigel

    Rename them to 'Numpty Heaters'

    They are only bought by numptys, usually for reasons of self-heating. They are therefore 'Numpty Heaters'.

    Non numpties will of course realise that they are entirely unessesary in the same way that no one but a numpty *requires* a dishwasher or a tumble drier at home.

    Comparing it to cars in China is daft. We all have a car each (practically) over here - its unreasonable to expect any less for our Chinese friends. Per head of population China is a low poluter - and thats the only sensible way to do the measurements.

    We i the west should he helping China with its industrial design to ensure that they dont create the same poluting monsters that we have done over here. This help will come in the form of subsidies offered on the promise that they build their plants 'right' rather than 'cheaply'.

    Irrespective of whether climate change is, or is not a myth, fossil fuels are a finite resource, and p1ssing them up the wall on numpty heaters is not a sensible use of that resource.


  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Others People Children

    ....boy oh oboy, am I fed up of do gooding parents whinging about what people alive today may inflict on *thier* childrens future!?

    Why am i not allowed to live my life as I want to within the boundries of a *reasonably* demorcratic and free country with out the *child-gestapo* trying to impose some censorship on my lifestyle?

    If you where so worried about bringing children into the world that you feel the need to impinge on other peoples life to make yourslef feel better and secure maybe you should have bothered, as if paranoia is genetic we will have a next generation of paranoid cosseted prima-donnas running the place (or are gaurdian and daliy mail readers already fulfilling that role)

    and yes, i am an evil middle class single white male - who by popular oppion should be eraddicated for causing all the world ills!?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Others People Children

    ....boy oh oboy, am I fed up of do gooding parents whinging about what people alive today may inflict on *thier* childrens future!?

    Why am i not allowed to live my life as I want to within the boundries of a *reasonably* demorcratic and free country with out the *child-gestapo* trying to impose some censorship on my lifestyle?

    If you where so worried about bringing children into the world that you feel the need to impinge on other peoples life to make yourslef feel better and secure maybe you should have bothered, as if paranoia is genetic we will have a next generation of paranoid cosseted prima-donnas running the place (or are gaurdian and daliy mail readers already fulfilling that role)

    and yes, i am an evil middle class single white male - who by popular oppion should be eraddicated for causing all the world ills!?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    how many electric patio heaters have you seen?

    They're gas mate!

    Gas that could be methane collected from sustanable sourcesand burned to make CO2, and methane is a much worse greenhouse gas than CO2, and on average use a gas patio heater produces 35Kg of co2 per year, when your average car produces 100 times that! I have actavists tha jump on the band-wagon when they have absolutely no idea what they are talking about! get a life people!, Screw this i'm moving to brazil!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Err... hello?

    Patio heaters: you're trying to heat the outdoors

    Think about if for a nanosecond

  26. Lloyd


    It's another Daily Mail reader writing his little Register Blog: "why the hell should I put a jumper on? It's middle of winter and if I want to sit on my sofa burning off fossil fuels at a rate of knots because I'm too lazy to put a jumper on then I bloody well will! Sod everyone else!!!". You've got to feel pity for them really, too ignorant to scratch their own arses.

  27. Lickass McClippers

    Moral Panic...

    Read up on it all you freaks who want patio heaters and their benefactors consigned to the furthest recesses of Hell;


  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    er no, no...

    "Because the cost of those excesses will be borne by MY children, and YOU do not have the right to place that burden on them."

    Says who? You seem to think you have the right to burden everyone else's children with your excesses... you almost certainly sat at a computer to type that, and then your message was passed across a variety of power sucking cables and routers to reach another set of oil guzzling servers at the other end which are running 24/7.

    You'd have given up using the internet long ago if you really were a true patio heater hater. It's never too late...

  29. BossHog

    Don't Panic!

    We should try to be pragmatic about this. People want to be warm outside, which seems reasonable. Surely we can find a way to do this without wasting too much energy. Gas heaters were bad for this (the heat goes straight up), but I suspect the new infra-red lamps are much better. Perhaps the next type of heater will be better still.

    This is supposed to be a civilised age, so I don't think we should deny each other any of the comforts we can enjoy. On the other hand, this is also an enlightened technological age, so we have a responsibility to make our comforts as efficient as possible.

    You can help...

    For the ecologists:

    Help people to realise where they are harming the environment, and encourage them to adopt energy-saving solutions.

    For the economists:

    Help people to realise where they are wasting money on energy costs, and encourage them to adopt energy-saving solutions.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Excellent article.

    Well said!


  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Selfish Americans screw it up for all of us...

    need I say more?

  32. Natalie Gritpants

    Kill someone, subtract their carbon footprint from yours.

    Please stop using the argument that your children will have to suffer our environmental sins. It's your choice to have them and you are responsible for all the damage they do in their lifetime. If you don't have children, they don't have a carbon footprint.

    Have less children or adopt, then you can enjoy that patio heater, 4x4, foreign holiday knowing that in the long term you are doing your bit to reduce the human population.

  33. Phil


    If she is lobbying loudly and persistently for shops and offices in London to switch their lights off when nobody is in the room/building, then it might also be reasonable for her to have a go at patio heaters. But I bet she isn't because a) no one gets any fun out of an empty office with lights blazing at 2am b) the CBI and various chambers of commerce would tell her to F*** off.

  34. Richard

    Unintended consequences

    Are patio heaters bad? Or rather, is their use of fuel and production of CO2 etc to take the chill out of a Northern European day/evening bad? Well, it is certainly worse than staying cold. However, staying cold is not the only choice people have:

    1) They could choose to go on holiday somewhere warm for "winter sun", or move to Spain for the mild climate. If patio heaters enable the northern summer to be extended, reducing travel or emigration to hot countries, perhaps they are a good thing?

    2) six couples around a table outside a pub nursing a pint under the patio heater vs three couples in their separate centrally heated houses, in teeshirts, watching widescreen televisions: which evening uses less energy?

    It seems a great waste of energy (ha!) to debate the moral quality of patio heaters when they are an end-stage good of an entire economy built upon the dissipation of fossil fuel capital as income....

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Gloucester is flooded becouse their councels spent all their money on green initiatives instead of improving the drains and ensuring people didn't build in flood planes restoring old flood planes and generally doing things to stop flooding.

  36. Trinity

    Unnecessary luxury indeed

    Surely it's a no-brainer that patio heaters are a complete waste of money? All the heat, just radiating straight up and out into space. Meanwhile the overpriledged owner & guests huddle closely round it for a tiny amount of warmth, because if you stand more than two feet away you can't feel it (OK, so the more expensive ones manage up to five feet... but that's still not far).

    If anyone out there is laughing at the stupid Brits and their patio heaters, its surely because we ever thought they were worth owning in the first place?

  37. Chris Morrison

    All these bloody enviro MENTALISTS

    Great article,

    Yawn I'm so tired of all these hippies trying to influence us into having our crap cars, having to clutter our kitchens with 50 bins for every different type of shite you want to throw out, having to pay an extra couple of quid at Kwick Fit to have your tyres "environmentally disposed", pay an extra fiver to have your carbon neutral electricity and gas, plant a forrest every time you want to hop in a plane, and sit and protest at every bloody street corner about how we're all going to die. And now they want me to sit and freeze in the beer garden whilst I eat my dinner and sip a few pints. If folk want to do their bit that's fine, but please do it quietly without trying to force all the rest of us to follow your fad (you could read fud here if you rather). These mentalists are having far to much influence on what we can do and then they treat you like dirt if you dare to stand against them.

    Anyone fancy joining me in some ceremonial Tire burning!!?

  38. Outcast


    Yes but imagine all the new business opportunities in that "changing Landscape"

    Peterborough on Sea ?

    Hmmm... yeah.. has a kind of (cash register) ring about it.


  39. Mark Rendle

    Nuke patios

    Of course, if all patio heaters were electric and all electricity was from nuclear power stations, then they'd be carbon neutral and the Mayor's office could presumably be recycled, since all it seems to do is bitch about carbon emissions. Oh, and spend insane amounts of money on bendy buses which kill (carbon neutral) cyclists.

    And while I'm at it, what's the projected carbon footprint of the 2012 Olympics?

  40. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    Gloucester was not special.

    There were worse floods in 1047 and 1910, and in the late 1800s as well. The reason the last lot sticks out is because: it was recent, and they built houses on freaking FLOOD PLAINS.

    They were NOT caused by global warming. They were NOT caused by some bloke sitting under a patio heater. They were caused by idiots at the planning department allowing other idiots to build on land that floods if you spit on it. I am sick to death of people claiming every natural event is caused by global warming. Three months ago they were saying that global warming would turn Britain in to a desert. Now it causes flood?

    WHICH IS IT?!?

  41. El Brad

    Environmentalism not the problem

    Enviro-freaks are inappropriately blamed for all sorts of curmudgeonly attitudes.

    I certainly don't count myself as an environmentalist, and I'm not about to seriously inconvenience myself to shave off micro-amounts of personal contributions to global warming. For example, I'm not going to shut off my computer to save the 1W difference between 'off' and 'deep sleep.' It's not worth the inconvenience. (Although it is worth knowing what uses energy without providing any benefit.)

    The problem with patio heaters is not simply that they contribute to global warming. The problem is they do so in such a stupid and inefficient way, for very little actual benefit. A camp fire built on a platform 8 feet in the air would be equally idiotic. The idea that you can effectively heat the outdoors is just plain asinine.

    Similarly, you don't need to be an environmentalist to recoil at daft consumers buying bottled water. The price of bottled water is often higher than petrol. Increasingly, bottled water is simply tap water. Shipping water from Switzerland to California is just plain stupid, regardless of whether you like the taste, or mistakenly believe that it's safer. Seriously, if you are drinking bottled water because you're afraid of terrorists tampering with the water supply, we've got to re-evaluate just how effective terrorism really is. (Is terrorism the new marketing?)

    And of course, you don't need to be an environmentalist to curse the intellectually challenged consumers pouring money into SUVs. Are they bad for the environment? Sure. But that's not the biggest problem. As they are trucks, lower safety standards are applied, which means they can be produced with rigid, single piece chassis that are much cheaper to make than the sophisticated chassis of cars. SUVs are essentially really cheap vehicles with pimped out interiors. They are less safe for their occupants than cars, and they are less safe for everybody else on the road than cars.

    "Gee honey, now that we have kids, we better upgrade to an SUV. We don't want our kids crushed under an SUV."

    There's an arms war of gas guzzlers, propelled by people who think the narrow streets of London are appropriate places to drive a fat-assed truck. Obviously, the car makers love them: skirting safety standards means the profit margin is immense, as consumers are fooled into thinking of SUVs as status symbols signifying a higher than normal degree of disposable income, rather than a symbol of financial naiveté and a low IQ.

    The real issue with 'environmental nannying' often has less to do with environmentalism than whether it's possible to legislate against stupidity.

    The only crazy behaviour that seems specifically British is the increasing dependence on air conditioning, you know, for those times when the mercury climbs up above 22 degrees. But I can't get into that. Once you've seen your partner weakly crawling across the Sahara desert of a hardwood floor in a desperate bid to make it to the dog's water dish before expiring in the blistering 28 degree heat, you can only come to the conclusion that being unable to adapt to a pleasant summer day may very well be a genetic condition. People in other countries routinely adapt to temperatures from -50 to +50. Why can't the British adapt to variations of plus or minus 10 degrees? (Perhaps the same genetic disorder affects the sales of patio heaters?)

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We're all doomed!

    If only those pesky dinosaurs and the pesky bacteria before them had learned to cut their carbon footprint, maybe the event of global warming wouldn't have been cyclical in this planet's eco/biological life-cycle.


  43. Steve

    Fucking hippies

    I don't have a patio heater, but I'm off down the shops to get one right now. I was going to walk, but fuck it, think I'll take the 4x4.

    Seriously, I cycle, walk, or use public transport to get around. I recycle stuff. I planted 9000 bastard trees earlier in the year, with my bare hands. My carbon footprint is bloody negative.

    I am not going to be told that using a patio heater makes me some kind of criminal by a bunch of ill educated, hysterical middle class fucking hippies who think they are saving the world because they separate paper and plastic and then drive their kids to school every day.

    These fuckwads should go do something positive if they want to help the environment, instead of standing around whining and trying to project their existential guilt on to everyone else. Seriously, plant some forest, get empowered, then there's no need for the weak and helpless feelings that give rise to this type of whining.

    Any environmental damage I cause by using a patio heater will be well worth it just to rile these pathetic excuses for humanity and keep them out of my garden. Think of it as pest control.

  44. Cap'n wotsit


    Just a quick point, but quite a pertinent one given your obvious anti smoking stance,

    let us offer a theoretical ideal that everybody who smokes in the UK gives up tomorrow. thats it no more smokers in the UK ever.

    1. where does the treasury get the lost revenue in tobacco products tax from?

    2. given that no one smokes anymore, who is going to refund the outlets who have stock they can't sell?

    3. who is going to stump the bill for the mass increase in unemployment? as no one smokes, the staff involved in getting the smoker his smoke of choice are suddenly all unemployed - that's got to be ITRO a couple of hundred thousand people accross the UK

    your answers to these questions would be appreciated - ta

    and as we are supposed to be living in a tolerant and free society, please stop discriminating againt the smokers, if you don't like it quite simply stay away from the pub, beat the rush, because the government will go after beer soon enough

    and yes I used to be a smoker, and don't mind my friends who smoke smoking infront of me.

  45. Nick Dixon

    Putting it all in context...

    4 tonnes of CO2 a year is comparable with an average (about 40mpg) car covering 12,000 miles a year.

    But its nothing compared with cattle.

    A cow lets off between 100 to 200 litres of methane a day - that's about 1,000 litres (a cubic metre) a week. And since 1 cubic metre of methane contains 0.49kg of carbon, that's about 25kg a year.

    But there are about 2 million head of cattle in the UK, so between them that's 50,000 tonnes of carbon every year.

    And methane a much greater global-warming effect than CO2 - about 20-25 times worse over 100 years, and 60-70 times worse over 20 years.

    So never mind the patio heaters - we've got to stop the cows farting before it's too late.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lets poke the greenies with a stick

    Nice, an article designed purely to boil the blood of muesli eaters everywhere.

    (The pedant in me has to point out that 48 000 new cars roll onto the streets of the US every single day of the year. So leave them Chinese alone to drive to their sweatshops).


  47. The Stainless Steel Cat

    Deal with *stupid* patio heater use

    Yesterday afternoon, walking through town with an air temperature in the mid-high 60s F, I passed a pub with tables on the street and a long line of these heaters spewing out more heat. No matter whether you think these things are a threat to the environment, whoever made the decision to switch those things on yesterday is too stupid for words.

  48. Simon

    Well what did you expect...

    you sent the smokers outside, now the pubs are trying to stay in business by offering them an enviroment where they wont freeze in our tropical climate.

    Sour grapes to the people who expected the smokers to all just give up, not satisfied with trying to make the smokers social outcasts, they are now accusing them of "Destroying the planet".

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    @silly argument - arent most patio heaters run on gas bottles?

    Anyway, whatever you feel of patio heaters, a point i took from the article is that there are many things that could and should be tackled first. Like the large industrial polution that goes on every day here and in the rest of the world.

  50. Mike Bell


    Why oh why oh why won't these wusses stop bleating on about global warming? I'm all for hot summers in the UK. And if the coastline changes a bit, so what? It will just stimulate local economies to build elsewhere. Shit happens. My guess is that we have much bigger things to worry about, like an asteroid strike or some nutter getting hold of genetically engineered viruses.

  51. Iain

    Stop trying to avoid the suffering, smokers!

    Look, the Government has gone to some serious effort trying to make you horrible smoking people have to suffer for your evil crimes. Patio Heaters are a disgraceful example of cold evasion, and so it's quite right that they need to be banned.

    You might as well go and install a telly on the naughty step, if that's your attitude to being told off.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Funny... but factually incorrect.

    Being a Brit I'd just like to correct your assertion that we "when faced with incomprehension", repeat "THE SAME THING BUT LOUDER".

    We are actually quite a bright bunch over here and personally I'm proud to come from a land that has contributed so much to history and is clearly responsible for some of the worlds best ever wars and most efficient foreign occupations and opressions. We only ever resort to this tactic when trying to communicate with lesser peoples that are not civilised enough to speak the Queens English.


  53. Stephen May

    Re: Silly Argument

    Er, I don't know what sort of patio heater you've ever come across, but all the ones that I've ever come across are, without exception, gas powered. And they're extremely good at what they do as well.

  54. Rich Bryant

    Hey Shad

    Prove it, ya paranoid hippie liar.

    It's pretty easy to show much smokers contribute to Britians economy. To prove it, in fact. Proving any damage we might cause, that's not easy because mostly, it's just hysterical hair-tearing from the "ew, I don't like what you do!" party.

    And the Second-hand smoke studies are without exception as flawed as any company's reporting of "losses" from piracy or data-intrusion.

    Hey look, i just brought in an IT angle...

  55. Steven

    Re: Trees incomparably good relative to politicians

    "Setting fire to local politicians might be viewed as a public service in some quarters, the problem is that they are 70% water and difficult to light"

    Oh I don't know, with the right amount of accelerant I’m sure they’d be popping away like a Glaswegian "terrorist". Worth a go eh? ;)

  56. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Yer all Hypocrites

    What you do or don't do DOES make a difference. Maybe not a big one, but a difference none the less. That said, to all those people who think they need to tell me what I should or should not do, FECK OFF! I am quite intelligent enough to figure most of it out myself.

    Shad, wanna know what is *THE* worst offence against the environment?

    It's having CHILDREN. The problem in the world today isn't CO2 emissions from patio heaters. The problem is TOO MANY FECKING PEOPLE!

    You are part of the cause and undoubtedly wreak more damage on our environment via your offspring than any of us childless people. You are the selfish one and now you want the rest of us to suffer for your selfishness. Well, do your own damned suffering.

    What really scares me is that selfish morons like that are the future of the human race.

  57. David Evans

    Re: Silly Argument

    Except - England is going to be underwater and suffering storms anyway. This is what's wrong with the whole C02 debate; we should be preparing for the consequences of a change world (because if it turns out to be NOT entirely man-made, which will almost certainly be the case, we're screwed), rather than obsessing over trivial crap like patio heaters, because despite our "example" the Chinese and Indians aren't going to give up a car in every garage and a mobile in every hand - as far as their concerned, why should they?

    I've been travelling around the world for the last year (7.6 tonnes of C02 - oops) and none of the 25 countries I visited have this hysteria about C02, even Australia and New Zealand (who are at least as "threatened") don't beat the population over the head about it every five seconds like they do here. We sit on our tiny island making ourselves miserable, AND IT WON'T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE,apart from generating tax revenue.

  58. Neil

    We have a deputy mayor?

    That's news to me! I had no idea.

    And it seems she just a stark raving stupid as Ken friggin' Livingstone. Wonder how she got that job, then?

  59. Dax Farrer


    = crap

  60. Hamish

    Oh boo hoo

    "I'm slavishly addicted to a crap drug, and now that they make us go outside to smoke it I want to send the energy from burning fossil fuels into the stratosphere so I don't have to wear a jumper".

    I suggest an Orlowski pledge: "I will never click through an advert on the Reg in an Orlowski article or during a session in which I have come to the Reg through an Orlowski article." He's obviously an effective troll, so all we have to do is turn him into a bandwidth drain for the Reg.

  61. Gaz

    Re: Silly argument

    I agree we shouldn't use another country's problems as an excuse for not addressing our own. However I honestly don't think patio heaters are anything more than a symbolic target. Yes they're unnecessary luxury but how many people actually have one and can afford to run it regularly (or would even want to as temperatures keep getting warmer)?

    I think railing against them deflects attention away from the bigger picture of energy usage in general and runs the risk of antagonising people for relatively little environmental gain. If half of England goes under the waves it will have less to do with patio heaters and more to do with greenhouse emissions from cars, coal fired power stations and cows.

  62. A J Stiles

    Misunderstandings all round

    Patio heaters *don't* work by warming the air: they use radiant heat. The metal mesh surrounding the burner does the same job as a gas mantle, except that it "incandesces" mainly in the infra-red. This is then reflected from the top of the heater onto the people below. (At least, this is how the expensive ones work. It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if some manufacturers are cutting corners to save a few pence on production costs and selling cheap patio heaters which convect more heat up than they radiate down.)

    If you make sure that the heater is "shining" on you, and you turn it off when you leave the table, you can do a lot to minimise gas consumption.

    Or ..... you could get a wood-fired chiminea, which is only returning CO2 to the atmosphere that was removed by the trees growing in the first place. And it doesn't look half as ugly!

    Anyway, there is a worse waste of gas than outdoor patio heaters -- and that is standing-pilot gas boilers (especially the Glow-Worm Combi, which is so badly-designed that it needs to run the electric fan all the time just to keep the pilot alight!) Electronic ignition-on-demand has been around since the 1970s, and it actually costs less to build a boiler with electronic ignition than one using a permanent pilot; but manufacturers did not introduce EI across the board for "perceived value" reasons. Every one of those pilot burners is wasting enough gas each week to cook two full Christmas dinners.

    If we managed to modify every single gas appliance in the country way back in the 1960s with the changeover to North Sea gas, we could do it again now.

  63. Hamish

    Simple way to stop cows farting

    Go vegan

  64. Steve

    @Mark Rendle (and OT)

    "Oh, and spend insane amounts of money on bendy buses which kill (carbon neutral) cyclists."

    I read a statistic somewhere that around 90% of fatalities to cyclists involve collision with an HGV or a bus. I would hazard that most of these fatalities follow the same model, the cyclist is killed when the bus or HGV turns left across the cyclist, and runs him/her over which seems to have been the case with the bendy bus/cyclist intersections.

    Since I am a cyclist (and regularly ride in combined bus/cycle lanes), I will tell you the awful truth about these accidents.

    They are almost all the fault of the cyclist.

    Virtually the only way to get seriously squished like this is if you are sat in the drivers blind spot, or be otherwise not visible enough in his mirror. Riding in the blind spot of an HGV is really a terrifically stupid thing to do. Usually fatally so, in fact.

    Cyclists need to have excellent anticipation skills, more so than car drivers, to avoid hazards like being stuffed down the side of a bus at a busy junction[*]. Those who fail to develop such skills end up as road jam.

    [*] That and the fact that 90% of ~drivers~ on the roads appear to be complete and utter idiots with all the anticipation skills of a distracted goldfish, but that's another rant.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cap'n wotsit's questions

    Since you asked...

    1. The lost revenue will be offset by reduced medical costs. The government will quite likely come out ahead.

    2. Companies should merely subtract the cost of unsold tobacco products from the profits they have already made. Its a risk. That's how business works.

    3. Few jobs are entirely reliant upon tobacco. Those whose livelihood was utterly dependent upon sales of smokes could be retrained. For instance they could become patio heater salesmen, bean sprout farmers or family planning advisors.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Nick Dixon.

    Nick, I think your calcs may be out a little - try the government's CO2 calculator website to work it out. IIRC it'd be more like half what you say (2 - 2.5 tonnes rather than 4 tonnes).

  67. Steven Jones

    Lazy hournalist

    I see the journalist that wrote this lazy article chooses to berate Ken Livingstone over his lack of qualifications in thermodynamics. Well I would be interested to hear what Andrew Orlowski's expertise is in this area. Anyway, for his information the efficiency of thermodynamic systems is expressed in terms of the percentage of useful work done or useful heat output by a given unit of input energy. In the context of warming up people, then expending the vast majority on heating open air and surroundings is manifestly inefficient. A typical patio heater (looking at a few catalogues) might have an output of 12KW - some are much higher. That's almost as much as some domestic gas boilers peak output designed to heat an entire house and hot-water system (average energy usage by a boiler will be much lower than that as the thermostats kick in).

    The word he is struggling with, is effectiveness - yes, patio heaters would be effective at keeping you warm given enough energy output (just as an Oil Refinery fire was fairly effective at warming up a limited area on the outskirts of Hemel Hempstead). But there is no way they can be considered thermodynamically efficient if the aim is to keep people warm.

    So if you are going to be sarcastic about politicians (and I've no problem about that, when properly targetted), at least try and be familiar with at least the basic principles of what you are writing about.

    This is not to mention the even more lazy attitude of not attempting to address the real facts, figures, impacts and options and preferring to just label those whose views he finds inconvenient as "miserablists". Now I'm not one of those that labels all human activity as destructive or goes for the trite simplification (TV's on standby are destroying the world). However, blind faith in the face of objective evidence to the contrary are not traits I am comfrotable with.

    And yes, I was trained as a physicist, and if I may use a thermodynamic term in a different context, congratulations on such a high-entropy article...

  68. Shad

    to Rich and Big Bommer

    Your ignorance is showing.

    1. White middle class birthrates are in decline. Our children are not the problem.

    2. I do not have children either as I happen to agree with you, this world is massively overpopulated. But to fix that you need to talk to the Chinese and Indians who can not seem to keep it in their pants.

    3. This thread was about pattio heaters - IE trying to heat the outdoors.

    But as you now mention that not only are you greedy, lazy and selfish, you are a smoker too. Whether or not second had smoke causes harm, it causes disgust in the people around you who are inflected with its stench, which ruins their clothes, hurts their eyes and really quite reduces their fun.

    Just so you can indulge in a cancer causing substance that you know full well is harmful to you and those around you.

    Now, I suppose you would have me believe that if we were in a pub together and I kept farting in your face, you would not be upset. It would not bother you at all would it, because farts have never been shown to cause cancer. They just stink up a place and pollute the shared environment. Right?

    BS, you would get pissed off (especially as drunken smokers are not usually the most stable of people to start with). Smoking is actually quite a bit more disgusting to non-smokers (by the way jack off - I SMOKE!, and even I can not stand the smell of other peoples smoke).

    So, as a white, middle class smoker who likes to have as much fun as the next guy, I do have enough intelligence, maturity and compassion for my fellow man to try not to have any of my excesses impact any other person but me.

    But then again I am talking to Neanderthals of the era past. I have to try to remember as less evolved humans, you Neanderthals are not actually physically capable of understanding advanced concepts like critical thinking (as demonstrated by your child like denial of clearly observable, measurable and falsifiable evidence (what we Sapien Sapian's call "science"... we have a term for your way of thinking too - "wishful").

    I would like to have kids one day, but the cost that would be borne by them due to the selfishness and complete denial of any self-responsibility your actions make that a very tough thing to want to do. We would be asking more of them than any of us have a right to ask.

    If you are a childless boomer, do not take your failings out on the rest of society because you are incomplete as a man.

    If you are the child of a boomer, then I have little to say because you are the single most spoiled and selfish generation this world has ever seen and until you eventually all die off, we will continue to suffer.

    If you are a GenXer, then what the hell is wrong with you? You know better. Or are you doing what we GenXers love to do and thats simply playing devils advocate?

    If you are the Child of a GenXer (an incredible bunch of kids and the hope of the next generation), then WTF!?!?! You definitely know better.


    Enjoy your smoke and your brew.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Cheers guys I was starting to think this whole country was infested with envirofags.

    I can't wait till this "carbon footprint" bollocks is forgotten - O a comment I heard that I like.

    "all these green bastard companies keep telling us to buy organic stuff, buy lcd tv's, buy energy efficient cars.............. but you never hear of any of them telling you to just buy less"

    Let's just build the damn nuclear power plants and be done with the problem.

    P.S. places built on floodplanes deserve to get flooded - the clue is in the fucking name

    P.P.S. people who live down river of flood defended former flood planes should kill the people futher up river and smash down their defences.

    P.P.P.S. People should install some decent drains, it's England, it sometimes fucking rains.

  70. Andy Bright

    Medical costs vs taxes from cigarettes

    Sorry, the government raises approximately 10 times the amount of taxes as cigarette smokers and their victims cost in terms of medical expenses.

    It's a well hidden fact. Cigarette users more than pay their way. On the other hand what price do you put on the life of someone working in a pub that allowed smoking?

    And before you say it, why should they change their job? If your job introduced something life threatening on a daily basis would it be fair for your boss to just say, "well you don't have to work here"? No, he would be hammered by health and safety.

    But for those that insist on saying that smokers cost us money, you're full of crap. And the numbers come from studies done over a decade ago - so the continual increases in taxes have only made it more disproportionate.

    Raising taxes on cigarettes has done fuck all to reduce tobacco use, over pays medical costs to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds (and dollars because the same is true in the US).

    It was stopping the TV adverts, taking cigarettes out of the hands of movie stars and hammering big tobacco for using cartoons to ensnare children into smoking that has reduced nicotine addicts.

    So it's a very salient question to ask where the money will come from if everyone stopped smoking. I'm happy for them to puff away in their millions forever, as long as they're not standing right next to me when they do it.

  71. Sergei Andropov


    I really do expect better of the Register than this.

    I also expect better of Britain. The whole "thus and such inconveniences me, so it must be wrong" attitude is something that I had hoped was more or less peculiar to my countrymen, or at least not pandemic.

  72. A J Stiles

    Where lost tax revenue will be made up

    I can tell you exactly where the lost tax revenue is going to be made up.

    The fag tax was ideal for the Government. Smokers are addicted, therefore they have no choice but to keep paying. Assuming the government don't legalise heroin -- which is reasonable given the time and effort they've devoted to demonising it -- then the next sensible place to impose a tax is on another biological necessity.


    The public have already been groomed to accept that there is an obesity epidemic. What else would explain the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa in school-age boys? I can predict that within two years, there will be a tax on "unhealthy" foods. The scope of that tax will widen as more foods are discovered to be unhealthy, or perhaps considered as precursors to unhealthy foods (after all, if you can make chips out of potatoes, then shouldn't potatoes be taxable?) In time, the food tax will be so broad in scope that you won't be able to buy an organic rocket salad with oil-free, egg-free, salt-free, vinegar-free, taste-free dressing without paying tax on it. And nobody will even remember that it was ever meant to have begun as a way of punishing unhealthy eaters. Allotmenteering probably will be regulated if not banned altogether (after all, we can't have those peasants growing their own food and evading taxes into the process ..... expect some sort of spin-driven scare story about plant diseases being communicated to farms from unregulated private vegetable growing. This could also be a way for the agrochemical lobby to clamp down on organic farming, which will do them out of a job if it becomes widespread).

    By the way, the answer to the "but you don't *have* to work in a pub where smoking is permitted" situation (except you do in practice, because walking out will prejudice your entitlement to the dole) would have been to give workers free rein to walk out on a job without penalty, if and only if they were unhappy with their employers' smoking policies.

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Missed the point

    Heaters are not needed if, you drink the right beer in sufficent quantity.

  74. Tim Butterworth

    London under water in 100 years time

    According to some NASA guy, continuing at our present rate of pollution output will cause sea levels to rise by 5m in the next 100 years. The bad news is that 10% of the world's population lives within the 5m above sea level line. The good news is that this will put most of London and New York under water!

    Where can I get a couple of those patio heaters?

This topic is closed for new posts.