back to article Climate supremo deploys knitwear in war on patio heaters

Confronted some days back by the out of control menace of patio heaters, Britain's first line of defence against global warming - Climate Change Minister Phil Woolas - urged the public to fight back by deploying strong knitwear. Don't use an outdoor heater, said Woolas, wrap up warm - "the official line is... when outside, wear …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    in a dozen or so years fire will be the only reliable means of heat in this shitty little country due to sucsessive Governments flip flopping on power generation. So hoard your space heaters for the coming energy rations.

  2. Slaine

    research oversight - what a surprise

    Anyone factored in the effect of all those extra sheep?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    So, what's the definition of wasteful, exactly? Something that produces (unused) heat in the process of performing its function? Or is the problem that the very USE of them is wasteful, as seems to be the implication?

    At one point does the government get involved in regulating things just because they're not *necessary*? After all, you could easily make the argument that a game console is by definition wasteful - no matter how little extra heat it produces, it will always use electricity. And it's certainly not REQUIRED that you use a game console.

    So when does the EU realize this, and start banning everything that's merely too decadent?

    Stay tuned...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Low energy running lights

    Using low energy running lights shouldn't be too difficult (e.g. LED).

    Still not a good move IMO as it makes people's vision perception lazy.

    e.g. if running lights banned, people might drive more carefully, rather than speed & rely on lights to spot approaching vehicles.

  5. Pooka

    Oh please....

    Phil Woolas... recommending jumpers....

    That's just too easy.

    On my way to the cloakroom now!

  6. Nigel Brown
    Paris Hilton


    Never mind the cost to the environment of daytime running lights, I'm more worried about the effect on the accident rate involving motorcycles. Using our headlights in daylight helps us to stand out and gives us a fighting chance of being seen by other motorists. What happens when every road is festooned with daytime headlights? We become invisible again that's what, and as sure as eggs is eggs riders will be killed and injured by the SMIDSY brigade. "Sorry Mate, I DIdn't See You."

    Paris, cos the lights may be on but there'll be nobody at home.

  7. Pondule

    Daylight running lights on cars...

    ...will severely reduce the safety that is currently gained by motorcyclists riding with their lights on during the day. At the moment I give extra concern to a headlight coming towards me in daylight because it is probably a bike with little protection to the rider, if it's probably just another Volvo I'll learn to ignore it after a while. It's almost as dangerous to others as driving with foglights on in the rain.

  8. James Condron

    Ah, Good

    An excuse to wear my favourite cricket jumper... Can you get more English than pulling on your best jumper and sitting on the decking in the garden, sipping pimms and eating an under-cooked burger which someone will say made them feel ill the next day, not the copious amounts of lager consumed?

    Gotta love it

  9. Chris G

    Why ?

    Do they now want to put daylight running lights on cars? It hasn't stopped car drivers from pulling out in front of motorbikes and scooters and almost all of them but the occasional suicidally minded use dipped or even full headlights. Perhaps with respect to carbon emissions the recommendation should be that all new vehicles fitted with running lights must have LED based systems as the light output per watt is much higher. From what I have seen of London recently though I should think the need for any kind of safety equipment is limited as the traffic for the most part doesn't move fast enough to cause real damage even to a kitten. Interesting that Mr WOOLAS recommends wearing a WOOLY! A touch of Nominative Determinism there. The other consideration in carbon terms is how much will it cost to fit running lights to all vehicles in the future as compared to not fitting them?

  10. Captain DaFt


    ktCO2? Would that be kilo tonnes of CO2?

    Karma tags can ogle too?

    I'm not familiar with the term.

    Or is it just more newspeak from our Obsfucating Overlords?

  11. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    So jumpers don't work no more?

    Is that what you're saying.

    Well, might as well get naked and let the wind caress the wee man...

  12. Anonymous Coward


    presumably there is some benefit to using lights during the day. Reduced crashes i'd guess. So factor in the energy wasted due to a motorway crash that now wouldn't happen.

    On a different note, 0.5% seems very high. Why not use LED driving lights?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Drive less

    What do we need to fix?, the UN estimate is 0.2-0.3 degrees increase per decade. So it's enough to affect our climate in 100 years but not in 10.

    I think we're running out of oil, the price increases every day, this will cause people to think twice before they use it for fuel, which will reduce CO2 production which will fix the problem.... within that 100 years easily, maybe even within the next 20 if the price spikes continue.

    Seems to me the problem will fix itself soon enough.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    I guess...

    ...every new car should be fitted with a patio heater then, as they're obviously less wasteful than extra lights.

    Mine's the singed one.

  15. Steen Hive

    Daytime running lights.

    From a driving, if not environmental pov., lack of daytime running lights is just plain idiotic. Anyone living and driving on the Continent can appreciate the cognitive benefits. Motorcyclists like me included.

    Would daytime running lights be more acceptable to UK drivers if they came in imperial sizes? ;-)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Phil Woolas isn't qualified to talk about anything.

    He's never had a proper job, unless you count being president of the National Union of Students as a job?

    He's the worst kind of politician - a career politician, who wouldn't know a melting icecap from his elbow.

  17. Kevin Rudd

    Patio Zips.

    Patio heaters, another candidate for the museum of redundant technology. As in the more patio heaters in use, the more greenhouse gas produced, the faster the world heats, the less we will even need patio heaters. I reconmend that people heat their patios and smoking clientele with reverse cycle air-con, that way when the planet starts getting to warm outdoors, we can use the reverse cycle air-con to cool our patios/smokers.

    How much CO2 do smokers contribute?

    Daylight runners? Will they be any use in the blazing sun all year round climate of the future?

  18. Marvin the Martian
    Thumb Down

    Always look on the nagging side of life.

    Obviously patio heaters cannot be banned, as there is no fury as suburbanites spurned --- government would simply fall. The likes of you are already nagging on about the supposed nanny state (except for intermittent calls for more rules for things you object to).

    So basically DEFRA spends little time on the topic (half as much as you), mentioning the obvious solution. What exactly more do you want?

    Oh, an exposition on an unrelated topic, car safety. Nice one. Also very subtle of you not to point out that there's an obvious conservation benefit in every car crash and fender bender avoided, as even a single side panel costs a lot of energy between manufacture, transport and installation. Not to mention the human costs and lost working hour, whether the accident was slight, grieveous or a tragedy.

    As an impatient person, I anyways go for the jumper solution (though not those scratch ones made by endemic grannies, but the fleecy kind presumably made from recycled PET bottles), I can't be bothered with waiting for the stuff to heat up and be make sure the wind doesn't blow the heat away and all fiddling around involved.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Patio Heaters Schmatio Heaters

    How on earth did we manage in the cold summer before we had patio heaters?

    OK OK, I know the argument about smokers and pubs but have you seen the number of electric heaters that some pubs use? Just imagine the extra electricity this has to use - not just from a CO2 perspective but from a cost perspective. That power has to be paid for - and who will pay - you, the drinker in higher drinks and food prices. Pubs are always compaining about their profits and so I would imagine that they must be caughht between a rock and a hard place. Heat the patio to keep the smoker drinking, put up the prices to pay for the heaters and run the risk of pushing punters away or swallow the cost, look at decreased profits and perhaps a few pub closures.

    Anyway, what's wrong with looking after the environment? What's the worst that could happen if all the scientific hooplah IS wrong? We'd just end up with a nicer place to live.

    Paris - because she knows a nice place to live when she sees one

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes, but no...

    Yes the amount of CO2 pumped out by patio heaters is pretty minimal compared to our transport and energy emissions, but no - the government is right to publicise them as they are a good symbol of everything that's wrong with our addiction to fossil fuels.

    Raising public awareness of our casual use of non-renewable resources for trivial purposes has to be a good thing. Making people aware of the damage caused by CFCs in aerosol cans created a public pressure to ban their use - even though that market was a relatively small part of the total.

    Let's hope we can start the same for fossil fuels. Perhaps after patio heaters the government could kill off the minimoto chav bike?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Northern Lights.

    I know that in Norway they have been running with lights during the daytime for quite some time (well, long enough that I can't remember a time when they didn't anyway, and I'm in my late twenties, so for 10 years at least.. which was when I first statrted driving there..) I haven't been back for the last two years, but I'd imagine their still at it.

    It does help you to be more aware of cars around you... not to mention noticing cars much further away.. wherever you are in a car or walking on foot. Until now I thought you had the same in the UK as well, just most people didn't bother. In norway it's an offence not to use your lights in the daytime, modern cars simply turn on the lights as soon as you start the engine.

    I guess the real question is how much it helps (in terms of less people killed) versus the extra polution.

    IT angle?

  22. Taskis

    Woolas Thinking

    And there I thought I knew Who's Who In Government. I honestly thought 'Woolas' was something to do with the jumpers.

    I've always been ambivalent over patio heaters. On the one hand, there seems to be something unavoidably irrational about trying to heat up the open air. On the other hand, it does work, and that's one of the reasons people have always built campfires.

    The question, as always, is how much energy these devices use, how much they waste, and whether their increasing use is having a significant impact on Britain's contribution to climate change. Also as always, the answer will be in accordance with the agenda of the person or body issuing it. I'm of the view at the moment that no interpretation of any data relating to global warming is safe: it's unavoidably a political issue, because it affects all of us - but while everyone's so emotional and easily-riled about it, it's difficult for us non-experts to find an opinion we can trust to be rational.

    My gut feeling is that, if patio heaters are a problem, they're an insignificant one next to the biggie: the refusal of governments in the developed world to actually tackle the problem of energy generation. While our governments choose to keep us enslaved to the oil monopolies - while research into alternative sources is half-hearted at best - all the good intentions in the world won't solve anything. Simply telling us to stop using energy is an example of how our governments try to palm their responsibilities off on us. The UK government has over 65 million people to deal with, and those people *need* energy, no matter how environmentally aware and cooperative they might be.

  23. Bruce Sinton

    Heat the Atmosphere

    The Patio Heater is the most dingbat idea ever created . How much warmth for a patio person in a bit a breeze- bugger all at best.

    Anyone wasting their money on this shitbrained contraption needs treatment at the place when kind white coated men guide you around.

  24. Booty Inspector

    "account for a relatively small amount of energy use"

    That's an interesting argument from The Government.

    Consider that car exhaust emissions only account for 1% of CO2 produced globally.

    You'd have to agree that's a "relatively small amount" and that they should leave us motorists the bloody well alone.

    Mine's the one with I LOVE MY HUMMER screen-printed on the back.

  25. TeeCee Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    From experience on the continent.

    Problem: EU funded research indicating that running with lights on all the time reduces accidents. (Never mind that they've mysteriously forgotten to exclude from their statistics those accidents in the data samples where, due to conditions, they should have been on anyway - i.e. someone was breaking an *existing* law by not having 'em on).

    Solution: Pass law mandating 24hr headlamp usage.

    Thing they've forgotten: The vast number of vehicles manufactured these days that make it nigh-on impossible to change a bulb yourself if you know what you're doing and completely impossible if you don't.

    Result: An absolutely massive increase in the number of vehicles running around at night / in heavy rain / snow / fog with one or more light(s) burned out.

    Effect: Now everyone's looking for moving lights rather than moving vehicles, any vehicle with its lights burned out becomes invisible, resulting in some very impressive shunts.

    Of course, nobody could have predicted that.

  26. Martin
    Thumb Down

    Great (not)

    Soon we'll all have noddy "OMG a car!" lights, mandated to be on at all times- because it's very hard to spot a car, on a ROAD of all places, in bright sunshine.

    I wonder when they'll bring back the red flag law? (*worries that many a true word is spoken in jest*)

    I agree with a previous poster- soon our benevolant government will individually approve or disapprove of all possible human activities, and legislate accordingly. Of course as-of-yet unclassified activities will meet a 'default deny' policy.

  27. Stuart johnson

    Daylight running lights

    Is the best thing to come out of Europe for a while! In countries that have adopted it the accident rate droped by at least 20%. Bear in mind for the negligible amount of extra fuel used, if you save one serious accident, you avoid three police cars, an ambulance and possibly a fire tender, all racing to an accident, and then spending an hour or ten idling at the roadside. The amount of fuel used to respond to an accident is enormous.

    And in response to the motorbike lights becoming less conspicuous, make all dipped beam bike lights either yellow or purple, and you solve that problem too.

  28. ShaggyDoggy

    Daylight lights and Volvo's

    I've never been able to understand why Volvo cars have daylight lights on but Volvo trucks do not.

  29. Matt Bradley
    Thumb Up

    @daytime running lights naysayers

    How many times have you seen somebody driving on a motorway in muggy, low visibility weather with no lights on? I've seen it a lot. Its especially interesting when the hapless motorist is driving in a dark grey metallic car which becomes all but invisible after a disnatnce of about 10 yards.

    Daytime running lights are a great idea, because there's so many people like that on our roads. It is not so you can see them in the day: it is so you can see them at dusk / in the rain / in the early morning fog when they have STILL forgotten to put their lights on!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reflectors, foam padding.

    Just mandate that all cars have bloody great reflective strips all over them and that the front of new cars be made from 30cm's of foam padding.

    and ban black paint, actually, motorcyclists should consider what they're doing when they get the matt black paint out for a fresh lick on the rat bike.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Kevin Rudd

    "How much CO2 do smokers contribute?"

    They die quicker so definitely less on average.

  32. Matt Brigden

    Running lights

    If you cant see a large metal object coming down the road in daylight maybe you should consider not driving a car yourself . I have a Volvo and I have mine turned off . If you want me to turn them on then you can supply with me with free replacement bulbs when they blow as I cant afford new bulbs due to the price of the sodding petrol .

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Didn't someone else mention woolly jumpers?

    I remember that in the old days Edwina Currie suggested that old folk should don knitwear. Look what happened to her. I'll get me coat, cos it's nearer. I Like these greenie types who moan on these boards about how much greenhouse gas is produced by *whatever* technology, whilst ignoring the fact computer they are posting on uses the same stuff that they tell us to save. I wonder how much electricity we would save if we (God forbid) switch the Internet off?

  34. anothermeggie

    Blinded by the lights

    Oh yes - dipped headlights make it easier for motorists to notice other cars coming while they're busy on the mobile. And harder to see all those who aren't equipped with 100w (or whatever) halogen lights, such as schoolkids, mothers with pushchairs, etc. etc. Why not compulsory daytime lights for pedestrians?

    If they're really interested in reducing traffic accidents, just fit all cars with a bloody great sharp metal spike from the middle of the steering wheel to the drivers chest and see how carefully they drive.

  35. wulff heiss

    continental europe

    erm.. daytime lights are not mandatory after another study that said the impact was neglectible or something like that.

    (Austria: starting 4th jan, 2008)

    currently, people are encouraged to use their brains again to see if light is needed or not... it is allowed to turn it on all the time, though

  36. Anonymous Coward


    As a biker and Volvo driver I think they are a great idea. To the prat who said he just ignores anything that he desn't think is a bike I just hope you are driving some unsafe bucket that my Volvo can plough through when you just ignore me 'cause I am not on my bike. I'd rather you get injured because of your stupidity then me. What does it matter if it's a car, bike, cyclist or padestrian? You should still try to miss them

    Lights make everybody easier to see - espcially in a low sun situation where you have t see the cars against the glare of the sun. Without lights you just dissapear, with lights you are visable.

    And as for the extra fuel usage - it's that small you don't even notice it... Pulling off a bit sharp frm the lights uses more fuel than using your lights do. As does using the stereo (lights 2+55W, most stereos 4*50W) or your AirCo etc etc etc.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An alternative solution

    That should satisfy everyone, would be to fit dusk sensors to all cars (as fitted in quite cheap cars already) that switch headlights on automatically.

    That way it solves issues of people forgetting to switch them on during the dark Winter days, and eliminates having them on in bright daylight.

  38. Dazed and Confused


    Kilo Tonnes of CO2

    hmm I though the whole idea of this metric s**t was to work in nice simple to do decimal maths.

    shouldn't that be GgCO2.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Seeing as global warming is a myth fabricated by the green industry (and the scientists who like all the taxpayer's grants), who gives a stuff?

    The oil will run out, true, and that is a reason to look at alternatives and use less fuel; but can we please call time on the global warming bull-crap?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dusk sensors...

    Dusk Sensors + HID lights (as in new cars also)

    = your car randomly flashing people when going through tree covered roads

    = person in front getting out, killing you and disposing of your body in said trees

    = less people on road

    = less pollution

    OMG! You are a genius!

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I don't understand why when they want us to use bio fuels etc, why can't they use them in public transport instead.

    Distribution is the pain, but if you have large depots of buses, trains etc, why can't they make a push for them to convert?

    I realise the aero industry has been trying this recently, which is a good push in the right direction.

    Do I care about using bio fuel? No, I want full fat petrol thanks! Let everyone else use it instead.

  42. Angus Wood

    @Bruce Sinton

    [...] The Patio Heater is the most dingbat idea ever created . How much warmth for a patio person in a bit a breeze- bugger all at best. [...]

    Given that patio heaters work on radiated heat, the answer is "just as much as if there were not a breeze".

    I think patio heaters are great. Very useful and a pleasure to bask beneath during the British Summer. They work extraordinarily well, and turn what would normally be an underused part of one's property in to a delightful place to be.

    I certainly do appreciate that they use energy, and hence emit CO2. While some (perhaps most) people decry the wastefulness of these devices I do feel that that is simply because they lack the mental capacity to work out the relative placement of such a device within the overall energy use spectrum of a household.

    If you want to change behavior so they're used less then lobby the government to make gas more expensive via a carbon tax. I'll continue to use mine but the plebs and poor people will be priced out of being able to use theirs and society as a whole will emit fewer tonnes of CO2 and at the same time be raising money which can be spent on non-CO2 emitting energy sources.

    If you want to make people think the environmentist movement is filled with shrill daily mail readers, please continue as you are.


  43. Anonymous Coward

    Wooly jumpers? Car lights?

    Do the morons currently ruining this country have nothing more important to do?

    And they could cut a lot of waste just by getting rid of all the stupid, uncessary "jobs" they have created - Climate Supremo indeed. What next, Useless Fraking Role Supremo? Minister Responsible For Creating Useless Roles? Parliamentary Committee For dreaming Up New Ways To Waste Tax Money?

    We should stop sending so much money north to Scotland and let them have the [EXPLETIVE DELETED] Scotsman who seems hell-bent on reducing England to third-world status instead.

    Thank you so much, all you who voted (New) Labour.

    Fire, cos that's where we're headed.

  44. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Re: Disk sensors

    "= your car randomly flashing people when going through tree covered roads"

    Only if the control software is written, tested and signed off by idiots. That *might* happen, but the people who write embedded software for cars *seem* to be slightly smarter than those who write Javascript for Web 2 startups.

  45. Pondule

    @Anonymous Volvo driving Coward

    Fair enough; If you think I'm a prat for giving more consideration to motorcyclists than cars I'll stop leaving a bigger gap if the vehicle in front is a bike, I won't move over so they can filter past in traffic and I won't give any more of a sideways gap in between them and me as I overtake them in a high wind than I do far a car. (sorry to the rest of you bikers, you've just lost a friend).

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PC Plod

    Was on an advanced drivers course when I asked PC Plod, who was there, about this, he said that they only have it in Sweden cos it always dark and if you can't see the car during the day then you shouldn't be on the bl**dy road!

  47. Mark Roome

    tut tut ... that is all!

    I really don't want to comment here (actually I lie) but I feel I must.

    Daylight lights: personally, I find technology increasingly replacing common sense, to the point where the chavs (and their relations from all continents) will undoubtably take over the world as the rest of us with common sense will have left or will be found on some seriously remote (ex-)deserted islands. Its not that hard, if you can't see the sun, or clear blue sky, then its time to turn on your lights so other people can see you clearly. Most new cars either have the lights come on automatically when its darker or have permanent LED daylight lights on, so I think that whether we want it or not it will become the norm.

    Secondly, I really though Africa was the only place with idiots in Government. Recently, one of the South African Ministers (government, not religious) told the people that the best way for South Africans to help with the Electricity Shortages was to "sleep more". She suggested that everyone go to bed an hour earlier at night a) to use less electricity and b) because sleep stimulates brain activity, ergo, South Africans will become smarter. I will not mention the other things that other South African Ministers have done and said over the past 14 years or so, but they are there on the internet for those willing to look them up.

    Stupidity it seems is not limited to class, race, religion or background, but broadly distributed everywhere.


  48. Geoff Mackenzie

    Running lights? Why stop there?

    I love my running horn. Nobody pulls out in front of me since I replaced that silly push-to-make, release-to-break button with a (simpler, more reliable) length of wire.

    Oh, and by the way, if your 4x40W car stereo is really using more power than your headlights, turn it down before you perforate your ear drums...

  49. andy

    Anti-smoking lobby at work

    The whole patio thinkg is just the Anti-smoking lobby trying to justify their existence after the smoking ban...

  50. Anonymous Coward



    "Seeing as global warming is a myth fabricated by the green industry"

    Global warming a myth eh? Tell that to the residents of pacific islands like Tuvala etc which with rising sea levels caused by the "mythical" global warming are slowing sinking. Prat.

    Mines the life jacket because I live on an island too.

  51. Anonymous Coward


    How about leaving the gap required for saftey whether it's a car, bike, cyclist or padestrain???

    How about not driving on the white line just because you don't see a biker around? By the time you see a biker and move the biker has *ALREADY* had to make course and speed corrections due to your ignorance.

    Don't try to play the matar here - you said you drive like a prat except for bikers (and then contradict that by saying you block bikers until you see them - and chances are you only see 10% of them in my experience as a biker - even if the biker has headlights, hazzards and flashing the main beam whilst stuck behind someone like you.

    Learn to drive!

    Annonymous Bike Riding and Volvo Driving (in that order) Coward.

  52. Pondule

    @An[]onymous Volvo Driving Coward.

    Try to learn to read; I said I will start to ignore bikes from now on due to your advice, not that I previously ignored them. You could try learning to spell pedestrian as well while you're about it.

  53. Anonymous Coward

    @ running horn

    The car of the future will be bright orange, festooned with flashing amber beacons, have a maximum speed of 5 mph, and emit loud honks at 0.2 second intervals punctuated by an electronic voice shouting "DANGER! CAR IN AREA!". The car will have no windows, only a 2 metre diameter speedometer in place of the dashboard, reading from 0-5mph. The interior will feature a loudspeaker issuing demotivational messages, including "you're a bastard", and a hammer will hit the driver on the head if he accidentally reaches more than 3mph by pressing on the very sensitive accelerator. There will be a large sharp spike in the centre of the steering wheel.

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