back to article 'We must all stop washing to save the planet'

A "world-renowned expert on carbon emissions" has stated that Western consumers must avoid five "eco crimes" committed every day in order to save the world. Dr Dave Reay's main assertion, in fact, is that we should stop washing so much - but the national press has chosen rather to highlight his assertion that drinking instant …


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  1. Hermes Conran


    There you go Lewis , I wrote your subscript for you. How long before your "Go nuclear or give up sex" piece is ready?

  2. Anonymous Coward

    dirty and smelly?

    demanded (demonstrated?) by climate activists mean we'll all have to become very dirty and smelly...

    Like they are?


  3. Witty username

    Fuck off

    Next person to tell me to reduce my carbon footprint gets kicked in the spleen.

    If you seriously believe people washing their shirts and driving about accounts to more CO2 than people waging fucking WARS against each other then you really need your fucking head seeing to. Or removed, which ever is more carbon efficient.


    1. Anonymous Coward


      And if you believe that human-produced CO2 accounts for everything they say it does, then you're just as bad. Remember that earth has had ice ages regularly throughout history... is it really a surprise that we're heading towards another one (which is due anyway).

      And if the planet floods and freezes, killing lots of the population, then life will be a lot easier and THEN there will be less CO2 being produced - everyone (that's left) is happy!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        ' is it really a surprise that we're heading towards another one (which is due anyway).'

        No it bloody isn't!

        Can you please find a geological textbook that says the next glacial maximum is due? The best claim you can make is that in the early 1970s a *minority* of scientists studying the climate proposed that the Earth was likely to head into a period of general cooling which might end up as an ice age (we'll skip the technicality that we're actually still in an ice age).

        The work began with Stephen Schneider at NASA Goddard Flight Center and got into the New York Times. Around the same time, a report by the National Academy of Sciences also suggested a 'finite possibility' that the Earth's climate would begin cooling within the next century. The stories got traction for a number of reasons:

        Research had been going on into Milankovich Cycles - regular changes in the tilt of the Earth's axis on a geological timescale which appear to be *partially* related to glaciations. Running the Cycles forward showed that the Earth was heading towards a part of the cycle which would produce greater amounts of cooling.

        The then state of knowledge of glaciations was very poor - we had not done any deep drilling of ice cores. There was a general assumption that the warmer interglacials, such as the current Holocene, lasted no more than 10,000 years; and that the previous interglacial had lasted less than 5,000 years. The Holocene interglacial had been going for about 10,000 years, so it was reasonable to assume the ice sheets were most likely to begin expanding again in the geological near future.

        There had been a very mild cooling from the 1940s onward which was believed to have been driven by rapid industrialisation producing smoke, soot and dust and by the cultivation of previously virgin land producing even more dust.

        Schneider performed a simulation contrasting the cooling effect of these aerosols against the known warming effect of increased CO2 from fossil fuels. He made a prediction of the future climate if the known trends continued into the future. His 1971 paper suggested the cooling effect was dominant and would tip the Earth towards another glacial.

        Schneider quickly realised his numbers for future cooling were not realistic (he had used local concentrations of pollutants on a global scale - there were too many of them), when he dialled the aerosols back to more realistic values in his second simulation, it was clear that the warming effect was dominant.

        Since then we've learned a lot. Milankovich Cycles are a good, but not total explanation of glaciations. We now know interglacials last up to about 100,000 years and we're pretty sure (again from the ice evidence) that much of the cooling in the middle part of the 20th Century was caused by an upspike in volcanic activity.

        Schneider's paper came in a poorly established field without a large amount of supporting work. It was a good piece of work and he deserves credit for re-running his work with better figures. But he was not the only person researching future climates. Between 1965 and 1979, 44 scientific papers were published that predicted a warming world - and some were pointing to CO2 as the driving force, 20 thought there would be no overall change; just 7 predicted cooling.

        There's a review of those papers here:

        Can we now bury that myth alongside the person who suggested I should take up drinking instant coffee?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      How dare you!

      How dare you question the noble carbon-intensive pastimes of our Britard overlords! War is a privilege for the Prime Britard to enjoy with his closest chums, along with the Olympic circus and an endless parade of grinning, private jet-setting IOC VIPs.

      With only the freshest, softest banknotes acceptable for IOC bottom-wiping, it'll be strictly no TP for you for the next three years. Now get back to wiping yourselves off with an otter, carbon cheats!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Mass depopulations are "good" for the "natural" environment.

    4. rciafardone

      Actually it would be very possible.

      A good analogy would be the fact that the total biomass of all elephats is but a insignificant fraction of the total biomass of ants. little steps for a few days will take you farther away than running for a few secs. and so on

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Washing? - just stop breathing

    Never mind washing -now that the US Environmental Protection Agency has declared greenhouse gases to be hazardous substances, you'd better think twice about breathing out any carbon dioxide. And as for coffee - it makes no difference. Water vapour is a greenhouse gas so you'd be breaking the law boiling the kettle.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Do read before commenting

      The EPA ruling concerns facilities which emit more than 25,000 tons of emissions per year. And they're not talking about anybody emitting more than that amount of any of six specific greenhouse gasses per facility per year being legally required to monitor their emissions. Nothing in there at all about those gasses being illegal, nor indeed is any enforcement.mentioned. Merely the fact that emitters must implement monitoring in order to work with the EPA to reduce their emissions.

      If you breath more than 25,000 tons of CO2 and water vapour per year or your kettle produces more than that amount of water vapour per year then carrying on with your nonsensical rambling. Otherwise feel free to read things before you comment on them in future.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    If you ask me

    the only way to save the planet is to reduce the population. I suggest we eat all the eco loons like this guy for starters. Perhaps we should save him for dessert though as he is a complete fruit loop.

    1. rciafardone

      It would be most fitting...

      Since we could called Soylent Green for more than 1 reason :D

  6. Anonymous Coward

    This is the kind of rubbish

    That makes me see red every time somebody says "Green"

    Eco-crime? Some more of this crap and I'd be ready to commit a real crime.

    What do these jokers expect? That evolution has completed, earth has reached steady state and there should be no more variations in temperature?

    OK, I'll end the rant.

    Mine's the freshly washed one to remove the filter coffee stains...

  7. David Evans

    So much for fair trade

    Screw those Costa Rican and Kenyan coffee growers, they don't need luxuries. Like food.

  8. David Given
    Paris Hilton

    Hot fill washing machines?

    Why is it so hard to find a washing machine with a hot water inlet?

    If you go into a washing machine specialist and ask for a hot fill washing machine, they look at you like you're trying to launder a stoat. If you insist, they'll eventually start producing strange excuses like 'but it's cheaper to heat the water from electricity because then you're not wasting all the hot water in the pipes' or even 'heating the water from cold washes better'.

    The bulk of the energy use in a washing machine is the water heater. Not only is this electric, which is the most expensive kind of energy around, it's usually peak time electric. Even gas is cheaper. Being able to fill with hot water --- or even the kind of luke warm water we get from British solar panels --- would vastly reduce the energy budget. But they appear to be impossible to get.

    Paris, because *everything* puzzles her.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      My washing machine has both hot and cold inlets. Where do you shop?

      1. Peter Kay

        There are plenty that don't

        The quality of washing machines has gone downhill over the past few years - from metal to plastic drums and from hot and cold fill to cold fill only.

        However, doing a quick google it looks like the washing machine manufacturers may actually be right that cold fill is in the end just about as efficient - it's not a straightforward answer.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Almost all of the washing machines I've looked at have had both hot and cold inlets.

      And if you REALLY can't find one with both, just connect your hot/warm water to the single inlet - yes, it'll rinse in warm water but that's not so bad really.

    3. Chris 3

      Hot fill question

      A mate who works for Friends of the Earth (and is extremely rational about the environment, for what it's worth) looked into this.

      Apparently the the fact is that modern washing machines take so little water that in most cases by the time the machine is filled the hot water feed is still running cold (the hot hasn't reached the outlet yet).

      So a hot water fill drains your hot water tank, or cranks up your combi-boiler - but it does actually deliver much hot water to the machine.

      There's a fairly thoughtful run through of the issues here:

      Flame - if you want to do a boil wash

      1. Fred 24

        Manual correction underfilling washing machines. When a load of towels are washed the newer machines are simply not putting enough water in to wash properly, but again this too is solved with a hose from tap to soap draw.

      2. David Given

        More hot fillage

        Yes, but ---

        My washing machine is immediately under the combi boiler; total pipe length is under a metre. And it's currently winter, which means the combi boiler is nearly always hot anyway, and can produce hot water instantly. Even in the summer I have the washing machine set to run early in the morning, at about the time I want hot water for the shower anyway. And a combi boiler produces hot water at mains pressure (makes for great showers), which undermines the third argument on the page you linked to.

        Another advantage of filling from the hot tap is that boilers can heat water much faster than the crappy electric heater in the washing machine, which makes for far faster washes.

    4. DPWDC


      Just to dissagree with the other replies.

      Its not practical to have a hot inlet. Efficinet modern washing machines don't use much water believe it or not. If you have an efficient combi boler like I have, then it takes a few seconds for the pipes to flush and hot water to come through, fine for running a bath, but by which time the washing machine would have taken enough water and shuts off its request for water.

      So your combi bolier has gone through its startup and shutdown process without actually generating any useable hot water.

    5. Fred 24


      I've also encountered this stupidity, so i devised a work around of a short piece of garden hose that reaches from the hot tap to the soap draw. Our meter shows that the cost of a wash fell from 0.85p to 0.55p, so add that up over the year.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about ironing?

    Forget washing, stop all ironing now. It's not like it's actually important for anything at all, is it?

    1. DPWDC
      Thumb Up


      I'm going to use that excuse next time I can't be ar$ed to iron my work shirt (most likelly tomorrow) "I'm saving the f*cking planet!!"

  10. Nev

    Smoking Ban

    I'm surprised no one has shouted about the eco benefits of the smoking ban(s)!

    Everyone not having to wash every single item of clothing after a night out must have vastly reduced to amount of washing people do.

    1. Bill Fresher
      Thumb Up

      Smoking is not all bad

      Smoking is carbon negative, as the lungs store some of the stuff that is in the cigarette.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I'd of thought smoking was good for the environment because it has a good chance of killing you quicker.

        1. Les Matthew
          Thumb Up

          Re: actually

          That's correct, at least we smokers have the decency to pop our clogs early. Unlike all you sanctimonious healthy buggers who live long enough to enjoy the delights of senile dementia, alzheimer's and sitting around all day in pools of your own piss and shit.

    2. Pete 2 Silver badge

      save the planet - die young

      *benefits* of not smoking? surely if everyone took up the weed, the average life expectancy would drop like a rock, the population would decrease and therefore the amount of energy / CO2 that each person used in a lifetime would decrease, too?

      Maybe starting smoking, like not having children or doing dangerous sports, is one of the unpalatable truths that whle very, very effective at acheiving the goal, would lose a lot of the "trendy" votes that the climate change brigade depend on so much.

    3. Anonymous Coward


      Would those be the eco-benefits of having doors constantly opening and closing to let in/out the smokers, and the eco-benefits of all the outdoor space heaters to prevent them from freezing to death as well????

    4. Olafthemighty

      But what about...

      All those patio / ceramic heaters that have sprung up outside every drinking hole with a spare inch of pavement (sidewalk for the septics)? My local goes through roughly 3 19Kg Propane tanks a week just to keep us warm - I'm going to stop washing altogether to try and offset that! The ironing and hoovering can sod right off as well.

  11. Daniel B.

    Space Solar?

    Maybe it's time to get our "space-based" solar energy by now. After all, SimCity 2000 promised me I would have one by 2020... and it seems it will be the case!

    That, and Fusion would be the solution for energy stuff. Nuclear's fine as well, but after Chernobyl most ppl seem to be terrified by those.

    As for washing, well, I'd complain more about people using their washing machines at half load, but at full water marks. Eek!

  12. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    How about tea?

    Or maybe cola... but that has carbon dioxide IN it. If you want a cold drink with caffeine but not taurine OR carbon dioxide, it's difficult to find.

    But how MUCH CO2 is there in cola?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Everyone is wasting so much energy in attempting to prevent the inevitable, as opposed to planning for what to do when the inevitable comes. Human population shall continue to increase and demands for energy shall continue to rise the world over.

    For better or worse it's inevtiable, people can make all the promises in the world, but in the end the practicalities of life will win out. We need more power, as a world, we'll always need more power, even as thing become more efficent we will want more things, as will those who don't have anything yet. There are essentially 3 continents that have almost nothing (wealth/captial wise), and they want things. Don't think that in 20 years time their population will still accept being poor and downtrodden.

    Our energies need to plowed into improved power, and preperation for when climate changes. Humans can survive in space and underwater with power, we are perfectly capable of surving climate change of any sort as long as we are prepared, and as long as we have power.

  14. Brian Miller

    Save the world with instant coffee?

    Switch from real coffee to instant? I don't think so! The instant coffee has to be brewed in the first place to get the coffee out, and then processed into garbage. How much additional energy does that take? Quite a lot, I think!

    Want people to use less energy? Jack up the prices. Simple enough.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      becouse the processing is done in bulk it probably has very large efficiencies built in, you can transport more of it with less energy etc.

      Jacking up prices hasn't really worked for driving though, most people need most of the power they need, but then the whole energy saving debate is alot like Government departmental efficency saving. The government always seems to be able to find a few billion that they can save, and when it comes to carbon emissions they seem to think that they can squeeze the savings out of us.

      Innovation? We don't need that, we're British *squeeze, squeeze*

      1. Francis Boyle

        Not sure I buy that argument.

        I make a cup of brewed coffee with approximately one cup of boiling water. I use the same for a cup of instant but that doesn't take into account the water and energy used in the processing - unless freeze drying has somehow become a carbon-neutral process. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, I'm inclined to think that the relatively small differences in the figures can be put down to differences in reporting methodologies. Or perhaps the difference is merely due to economies of scale derived from the popularity of instant coffee in which case we'd have an argument for switching to brewed. Maybe someone who has read the article can enlighten me about the source of the figures?

  15. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    Why aren't artificially carbonated drinks banned?

    Typical Navy. We know you 'orrible lot only ever needed 3 socks. Wear 2, one spare. Remove 2, throw at wall. Wash the one that sticks.

    As for instant coffee, should also factor in the healthy-but-oh-so-boring decaff given the good stuff gets removed by soaking it in high pressure CO2.

  16. Avalanche

    New excuse

    Ah, a new, socially acceptable, excuse for smelly nerds around the world!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Given that

    junk mail (in US I think, though it may have been the world) is responsible for the equivalent of 9,000,000 cars worth of CO2, why not simply ban junk mail? Lots less CO2, lots of happy voters...

    1. Francis Boyle


      And while they're at it, telephone books as well. When are those damn things going to die?

  18. Anonymous John

    we'll all have to become very dirty and smelly

    And veggies according a Green on TV yesterday.

    Mine's the one standing up in the far corner.

  19. Gaius

    Mine's a double espresso

    So much for FairTrade(tm) then.

    Also hippies in soap-dodging shocker. I reckon that's the only reason half the Greens are in it.

  20. Paul RND*1000

    Bloody eco-wallies

    I could be sympathetic to their cause, I *should* be sympathetic to their cause, but when this sort of loon-head academic twit starts telling me I should stop washing and give up coffee, it makes me want to go buy the largest most obnoxious SUV I can find then have it adapted to run on a mix of whale blubber, pureed baby seals and charcoaled rain-forest.

  21. David Webb


    1.6 cups of coffee on average a day? I have 2 before I've even woken up, I'm destroying the planet with my coffee addiction :(

  22. Pete 2 Silver badge

    bath with a friend

    Back in the 70's I had a button-badge "save water, bath with a friend".

    Looks like it's time to dig through the stuff in the loft and find it again - maybe with a small change to the wording. Just goes to show, nothing's new.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Well that should be no problem for the Reg's reader base.

    Apparently they just turn em inside out every month or so

  24. Richard 31

    Instant/real coffee?

    Isn't the production of instant coffee somewhat higher? Instant coffee is made by making a normal filter coffee then freeze-drying all the water from it.

  25. breakfast Silver badge

    Well that's a disappointment

    A rare well-balanced piece on environment and energy use. And there I was hoping for an easy "follow-the-money" screencap from the kind of superstitious anti-science claptrap mr Orlowski usually spouts to the Shell greenwash advertising that keeps popping up over the news stories every time I move my mouse...

    Now I like the environment so much I actually live there, but no bastard is taking my decent coffee away.

  26. Stef 4

    Climate summit

    I think we should have some big climate summit, perhaps in Copenhagen, or some place like that, so all the hollywood celebs who care about the planet can fly their private jets across the Atlantic rather than taking a commercial flight. Then the Copenhagen organisers could drive limousines from France for the celebs as they will run out of the massive CO2 polluting vehicles as so many people attended. Meanwhile they could all tell us how evil we are for "wasting carbon" etc etc. Then Al Gore could decry that anyone who disagrees with him is just being paid by Big Oil, while he pockets his $100million per year from his carbon trading company and leaves his fleet of SUVs parked outside with the engine running and airconditioning switched on so it is always the perfect temperature for him.

    I just can't imagine someone organising an event like that though.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reduced carbon footprint and not smelly

    Or at least, not more smelly than the average geek. The trick? Don't tumble-dry. Clothing lasts longer and hanging the laundry out in fresh air makes it smell even better than a fancy a-brand washing powder. Doesn't work in London, of course. This is socially unacceptable or even outright illegal in the USA because it is seen as admission of poverty, so it'll be harder to do there. Erect a garden wall around a discreet drying area in the garden, maybe. Easy savings though; while all that leccy may not be expensive, it's not cheap either.

    Sad to see that "saving the environment" is well on its way to become its own very short bus special religion, though. Including its very own brand of deceptive halftruths and misinformation, which in turn gives the nay-sayers ammunition to, well, say nay.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Some people don't have the luxury of gardens but would still like dry clothes the same day they wash them.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Bang for the buck

      I was waiting for someone to mention the obvious: when tumble-drying accounts for 75% of the total wash-plus-dry consumption, isn't the obvious optimisation the removal of the thing which accounts for the dominant amount? Get a clothes horse/line, people! (And move out of London. Heh!)

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Get a clothes horse?

        Tried that. Didn't work for me.

        When I told Kate Moss to dry my laundry I got kicked in the knackers.....

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Illegal in the USA?

      Serious? Jay-zuz. I never saw it as a sign of poverty, I saw it as a sign of having a brain; why spend the money when nature gave you the sun?

      I live in a flat (up north, very up north) and we air dry everything inside (esp. in winter). This saves the planet in two ways:

      1) No need to tumble dry

      2) No need to run a humidifier

      I do not accept AGW as it stands (there may be a warming but it is most likely natural as we are still exiting an ice age - Dickens winters anyone?) and the recent "climategate" scandal just makes me suspect this so-called science even more. That said, there's still loads of reasons to cut down energy use (pollution, money, scarcity of resources, energy security etc). These may or may not have anything to do with AGW, but they have everything to do with your quality of life (and fullness of wallet).

      That last one "energy security" is a biggie. In the UK we are at the mercy of Russia, they control the pipeline. If we do not find more oil, new sources of power or reduce our use to a level we can sustain; we will always be at the mercy of these foreign powers. That is not a good place to be if you ask me.

      If the average Septic could use more than two brain cells, they might see that their actions have the USA at the mercy of OPEC, Russia, China (they own your debt, bitches) etc. A true USA patriot should be doing everything to cut their energy use to keep their nation safe.

      Unless people in the USA think we should work together; for a common good...and that's plain communist!

      So, Septics, get out of your 5l penis compensator and protect your nation in three ways:

      1) Increasing energy security;

      2) Reducing air pollution, cutting related illnesses and leading to a strong populace more able to defend you;

      3) Reducing your obese bulk through basic exercise (it's called "walking") and lowering the strain on your backwards health system.

      I think Europe can rest easy - the USA is about 20 years behind the curve in this whole area and until they get with the program, why should anyone else?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Agreement over disagreement

        "That last one "energy security" is a biggie. In the UK we are at the mercy of Russia, they control the pipeline. If we do not find more oil, new sources of power or reduce our use to a level we can sustain; we will always be at the mercy of these foreign powers. That is not a good place to be if you ask me."

        Actually, Norway currently "controls" the pipeline to the UK (see below), but this will change in a few years. But yes, even if people disagree about global warming, they can surely agree that unless the UK finds new, reliable sources of energy, it won't be doing itself a favour.

  28. treboR

    Fudging the figures again?

    Pushing up the estimated CO2 produced by 15%? So soon after another lot of greenhouse gasholes were caught out "adjusting" figures?

    They don't learn their lessons easily, do they.

  29. adnim

    The planet does NOT need saving

    It may be a surprise to those who have swallowed the propaganda surrounding global warming but this is a fact I promise... The planet does not need saving.

    No it really does not need saving.

    The only thing under threat from global warming are a few beach front properties and the lifestyles of humans. Global warming might cause a thinning of the number of humans here on this planet, and perhaps thin down the number of creatures from other species. But the planet will get on quite well, even better I would imagine without the human race.

    All this whining to save the planet is nothing but the cry for attention of a selfish little infant who has soiled his nappy and has no one to change it.

    Stop shitting on mother Earth now by all means, but please don't try to convince me that the planet needs our help. Earth is not going to suffer, just some of the humans and a few of the more socially developed species that share the planet with us.

  30. Jamie 27

    @This is the kind of rubbish

    Good point. One would think that it is possible to halt evolution the way everyone bangs on. Lovelock and his Gaia hypothesis etc. "We are hurting the Earth". No, we're not. It is just less habitable for humans and some animals. Other species love it. But trying to stop change is futile.

    Anyone questioning climate change is a "climate denier" or a "climate saboteur" (Ed Miliband). The only other time I've heard "denier" used like this is "holocaust denier". Since when did daring to question the climate change science become equivalent to denying the holocaust took place???

    On a happier note, algae are growing in the areas of Arctic sea which used to be covered by ice. Plankton will feed on the algae. Krill on the planton. And whales on the krill! Oh, won't anyone think of the whales.....?

  31. Paul 4


    Clearly are the way to go. Fortunatly the government seem to have ralised this. A little late, but they are building them now, and finaly telling people "I don't care about Nimbys. If something has to be built it has to be built".

    Equaly though, there are some people who need to be told this, not normal people though. The people who look at you like your dirty because you only have one shower a day rather than two (one at night and one in the morning), and those people who change the bed every day, or wash coats and jackets after waring them once or twice (and yes, they do exists).

    1. Quirkafleeg


      One per day? Isn't that a little bit… excessive? What these people *really* need is a poorer sense of smell…

    2. Quirkafleeg

      … and nukes

      Yes. Give them their nukes.

      Just make sure that they're on some remote island first. Muhahaha.


  32. Anonymous Coward

    I'm just waiting for the time..

    .. after we have done all this CO2 trimming and they tax the hell out of you in the name of saving CO2 and it doesn't do a damn bit of difference, they'll be sat there asking why it hasn't worked.

    Even IF man made climate change (No longer called Global Warming or even Global Cooling) CO2 is probably the least harmful of the green house gases, but yet we're not taxing those more harmful ones nor asking any body to reduce them mainly because if really only comes from industry and the Governments of the world cant be taxing them to much, much better to tax the larger populations of the world and tell them that the element that they and every other living thing on this planet is made of is bad.

    *\. Throwing the hand grenade because all you people are bad and NEED to be killed, we have to save Gaia - Those rich people, no their fine they can buy there way out I mean only you poor people need to die. Remember "Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature" - Georgia Guidestones

    1. John Square

      CO2 and "more harmful ones"

      Yeah, I always wondered about the other (more harmful) greenhouse gases, and then I noticed that folks were talking about CO2 equivalence in the figures quoted on the telly.

      So, in other words, they take account of methane and other gases by "converting them into" CO2 for propaganda/marketing/information (delete as applicable) purposes.

      There is a bit of me half expecting an article from Orlowski on this- I'd like to see the explanation of the methodology and the conversion rates before I give the figures quoted much credence.

      Imagine if someone was cooking the science/maths there: You may be able to lop a big percentage off the green claims in one go? 50% reduction mandated by Copenhagen? Easy! We'll just do the maths properly instead!

  33. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    How do they make instant?

    I assume that energy efficiency can be achieved when coffee is made from beans on industrial scale that you can't do in your own kitchen. Same goes for laundry, probably, and the launderette's quicker too - if you skip tumble drying - and you can hang things indoors, just about. Probably not a green idea to drive to the laundry though. But I do wonder a bit why a noisy, bulky, cranky, dangerously leaky machine is considered a desirable, nay indispensable, home accessory. If someone takes it away and does it for me outside earshot, that's so much nicer.

    Mum used to make clothes and now my sister is even shocked if I talk about mending them. Funny that. Patches are easy with Copydex you know, if you can get it in the tube not the tub, for occasional use, the tub goes all dried up...

    1. David Barrett

      Ill tell you why..

      £10 + for a service wash thats why.

      A cheap washing machine is maybe £150 (a decent AAA Rated one is doubleish say £300)

      A washing machine lasts say... 5 years.. give or take.. so for a cheap machine thats £30 a year... Im fairly confident that Id need more than 3 service washes a year to avoid stinking like the inside of a gym bag.

      Even for an expensive machine its the same as 6 service washes a year... wash your clothes once every 2 months.. I think not.

      A more sensible solution would surley be to buy more economical machines?

      Dont tumble dry (actually if you look in the majority of clothes there is very little that is actually safe to tumble dry without buggering them up anyway)

      Plus... He may be a scientist, but Ill bet he smells!

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Service wash

        Service wash can be an extra and steep expense, but if you get the time right then you can load in your wash yourself, nip round the supermarket for a few bits and bobs and back in time to pick the washing up. You may be also allowed to do a wash after official stop time if you don't want a dryer. I used to load a laundry box or upright shopping trolley on wheels for the trip out, put a clean bin liner in for going home with wet things to hang up. It's still expensive anyway but it's a bigger and faster machine than a home one. And it isn't in your home.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ..funny you ask... I used to work at such a facility.

      Anything that is an 'instant' powder is produced in the same way.

      First the coffee, gravy, milk mix, etc, is dissolved in hot water, then ejected through a spinning disc in the center of a round tiled room that is heated with a lot of steam. By the time the liquid hits the wall the water has evaporated and the power clings to the tiles.

      A boom sweeps the powder off the tiles and into shutes ready for packaging.

      The boilers used to run the plant I worked at were the same as those fitted to the titanic, but oil/gas fired. Rest assured the process is VERY inefficient,

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Greenhouse gases

    Instant coffee makes me fart. That can't be good.

  35. Russell Howe

    I can't take credit for the joke, unfortunately...

    ... but I have a bath every week whether I need one or not!

  36. Bob Terwilliger

    "carbon emissions cuts"

    Was it just me that read that as "carbon emissions cults"?

    coat, blah, blah

  37. Cynical Observer

    Try it out in Copenhagen

    110 worlds leaders, smelly, dirty, locked in one room with no coffee.

    Chance of agreement.....

    Don't make me laugh!

    Mines the one that has it's own atmosphere!

  38. Stevie


    Nuclear vs Fossil Fuels? How about neither of the above. Solar power satellites with a microwave downlink. Once the satellites are up, no carbon emissions to speak of, and electricity could become literally as cheap as air.

    In the US most if not all washing machines come with a hot water inlet and no internal heating element. People looked at me like I was from Mars when I asked where the immersion heating element was when I was buying mine.

    We also have gas tumble dryers, which reduces the electrical needs to simply turning the drum, lighting the gas and spinning the squirrel-cage fan (although the electrical code in this state doesn't seem to be aware of that and still calls for a separate 20 amp line for them).

    All the nasty gas combustion byproducts from the dryer are dealt with by ducting them safely out of the house, where they can help heat the planet, thus reducing the global heating bills. Personally, I hate sealions, walruses and those smug penguin bastards so anything I can do to reduce the icecaps and put these freeloaders in their place is good by me.

    Fresh-ground, fresh-brewed coffee time!

  39. TimLennon

    Am I missing something?

    Is man-made climate change / global warming so hard to believe? Really? With all the scientific evidence lined up on it? Christ, an entire dump of East Anglia's emails has failed to turn up with much smoke, let alone a smoking gun.

    What makes you think that world is going to survive with everyone aspiring to the same level of resource usage we enjoy in the UK / Europe / etc.? This must be one of most researched, debated areas of science for centuries, and we still have to wade through mindless commentarding idiots who probably also think that the Iraq war was a BAE conspiracy, Barack Obama is a Jewish Arab placed there by secretive Republicans wanting us to lay off Dubya, and the Queen is st the centre of some bizarre power nexus which stiill runs the whole of Europe.

    But hey, let's solve the whole problem by going nuclear everywhere, with the miraculous new reserves of uranium and other fissile material that don't seem to be coming out of the ground ... yes, that'll work well - nuclear plants running on bombastic hot air.

    1. treboR

      @Am I missing something?

      Have a read of this:

      It's pretty hard to believe that any climate change is man made when the people telling us it is stand to gain from the cap & trade type taxes (al gore I'm looking at you) and when the people reporting it can't get their facts straight and have to keep massaging the figures (michael mann I'm looking at you particularly - and the latest figure-fudgers as well)

      Why are the pro-AGW brigade so against the idea of open, balanced debate? Why are sceptical comments "mindless"? You throw out all these straw-man arguments about conspiracies which nobody but you mentioned, offered as proof of the outright KRAYZEE nature of these "commentarding idiots" Scepticism is the fundamental, central position of healthy scientific reasoning. Dogmatic acceptance of received wisdom, as preached from on high by an authority figure is not.

      But don't worry, you don't have to listen to me because i'm a mindless commentarding idiot! Al Gore will make it all right in the end, just before the polar bears all drown and we burn in hell for our evil ways. Or something.

      1. Shakje


        "It's pretty hard to believe that any climate change is man made when the people telling us it is stand to gain from the cap & trade type taxes "

        Well it's also pretty hard to believe AGW arguments when they come from energy companies isn't it? On both sides of the argument there are people who are in it for profit, but the numbers are pretty small.

        "and when the people reporting it can't get their facts straight and have to keep massaging the figures"

        Indeed, 3 comments in 10 years worth of emails taken out of context. It's all a conspiracy I tells ye!

        "Why are the pro-AGW brigade so against the idea of open, balanced debate?"

        Most aren't, but proper debate usually addresses an argument, then moves on when it's gone one way or the other. In order to continue in an open, balanced debate it's good to have new arguments instead of rehashing ones which are years old and have been dealt with adequately before. It also requires that you don't automatically jump on anything as proof that it's all a conspiracy, which is exactly what has happened with "climategate" and this article.

        "Why are sceptical comments "mindless"?"

        The suggestion is not that all sceptical comments are mindless, but the ones that focus on areas that the scientific community has already vastly agreed on, made by people who have no scientific background in climatology is generally just poor.

        "Scepticism is the fundamental, central position of healthy scientific reasoning."

        Within reason. Someone previously said that he had only heard the word deniers used in the same context for holocaust deniers. You also get 9/11 deniers. Being healthily sceptical is one thing, rejecting accepted evidence because you don't agree with it before you have any proof to the contrary means that you tread a fine line between scepticism and conspiracy nut.

        "Dogmatic acceptance of received wisdom, as preached from on high by an authority figure is not."

        Comparing science to religion is completely and utterly ridiculous. Presumably you'll be disbelieving the explanation of lightning because you haven't tested it yourself and it's just "received wisdom, as preached from on high". Guess it must be Zeus.

        "But don't worry, you don't have to listen to me because i'm a mindless commentarding idiot! Al Gore will make it all right in the end, just before the polar bears all drown and we burn in hell for our evil ways. Or something."

        Make ultra-defensive comment with attempt at humour - check

        Mention Al Gore - check

        Mention polar bears - check

        End with "Or something." to cast vague aspersions - check

        Well done, here's your red Swingline.

    2. R Callan

      Are you missing something? Probably yes.

      Have you seen the results of a survey regarding the quality of US monitoring stations, reputedly the worlds best system? Only 3% of the stations meet the best standard and 8% the second. Only stations meeting these standards can be considered to produce valid results. 54% of the stations do not meet the worst standard, where observations are expected to differ from reality by as much as 5K , but by an unknown and variable amount.

      Have you seen the results from a replotting of the temperature records from Darwin, Australia. The raw data gives no or possibly a slight reduction in temperatures since the station opened in the 19th century. The official "homogenised" data shows an increase of (from memory) 8K since 1941.

      Note: these are only 2 examples of many independent research projects that can be found.

      If simple people can come up with totally different results from the same data as the "Climatologists", and the measurements do not appear to be reliable for "the worlds best system" how can you say that this is "one of most researched, debated areas of science"? This is particularly so with inferences from the e-mails that the somewhat incestuous group of climatologists have done everything in their power to stifle checking of their data, results and conclusions even to censoring the "deniers". Incidentally a true scientist is virtually by definition a sceptic as that scientist knows that the "truth" is only what has not yet been shown to be untrue, and the "truth" is only demonstrated by repeated and independent failures to demonstrate any untruth. Science is never settled and consensus has no place in science. Advances are always produced by an individual who comes up with a concept that is different to the current perceived (consensus) wisdom.

  40. Scott 19

    No mobile phones

    This along with mobile phones giving me brain cancer, i'm off to live in a bubble, give it a few weeks with no washing and you will not need a GPS system to find me.

    And has anyone seen the American EPA declaring that breathing out is now an illegal bio-hazard.

    Please stop the planet i really need to get off.

  41. 1of10

    Dr. Dave Reay knows too well that his proposal doesn't work

    Dear friends,

    In my discussion with Dr. Dave Reay about his view and possible solution, not more than two weeks ago. Back then I presented him a series of flaws on his reasoning and proved that his washing idea wouldn't impact the environment at global scale and would only add more fuel to the sceptics (like me!)

    On other hand, my proposed solution was immediately dismissed without careful perusal neither consideration which is the minimum shocking.

    This climate case isn't about numbers but more a rhetoric exercise made by politicians. Because numbers do exist and prove that it cannot be proved and washing more/less as outcome isn't the solution.

    If Dr. Dave Reay and other pseudo-wannabe-climatologist-scientists crosschecked the data I provided on how to solve the CO2 problem. We would all be benefiting from my discovery and this world would be less polluted than it is at moment and we wouldn't have more needs for worldwide climatology conferences.

    Of course, and as I expected my radical solution for CO2 problem wouldn't please those that pursit long term jobs as climatology researchers; After all we all need to find a way of living our lives with some cash to use. Being a scientist also mean having needs and job security like everyone else.

    Anyway my proposed solution was this simple:

    If Dr Dave Reay and all pseudo-wannabe-climatology-scientists, panicking politicians and all their lobby delegations stop breathing for 30 minutes.

    Those 30 minutes would be enough for this World be safer place and drastically reduce the CO2 production.

    It would mean that with less thousand of mass-panic people based on non-existent substance alive, would lead to less production of CO2 by their breathing, which automatically mean less cars and planes usage as well.

    The advantage to the economy and fuel resources would also be improved since would be less fuel wasted to reach such conferences. On-other-hand politicians could engage this solution and apply tax on it...for every breath a levy on tax. So a perfect solution to parties and lobbies.

    Anyway as I mentioned I will present my solution to World's CO2 problem on next UN conference, next year.

    Well this if I'm not killed by one of the pro-climate-change activists until then.

    Kindly Regards,


  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    New Scientist

    "Yesterday, in fairly standard style, the mainstream broadsheets decided to lift the New Scientist story without attribution. They even do this to us here on the Reg sometimes, and they probably figured it was safe in this case as New Scientist has many fewer readers."

    Snarky comment about New Scientist. I laughed out loud!

  43. Anonymous Coward

    How about....

    we all use our Intel processors to heat the water in the house? Just think, we can all Twitter, Google, Facebook, etc for a couple of hours and then jump in the warm bath provided by the Intel processor? Now that's efficiency!

  44. Falanx

    Qualifications, schmalifications

    Biology. So, not a real science :-p


  45. Michael Miller

    Smell me!

    I'm eco-friendly......

  46. Anonymous Bastard

    Line dry instead

    "A full load in a washing machine uses around 1.2 kilowatt-hours of electricity per cycle and tumble drying clocks up a further 3.5 kilowatt-hours..."

    So a sensible person will do without the tumble drier and reduce energy consumption by three quarters. In fact many already do!

  47. Anonymous Coward


    El Reg may have more readers than New Scientist but at least their readership value it enough to pay for the content.

  48. Richard 45


    Apart from energy and resource wastage (which the "developed" countries are particularly good at), the root cause of all our ecological problems is overpopulation. The only way more of the world's population can enjoy a westernised standard of living is if most of the world's population didn't exist in the first place. Simple solution: stop breeding!

  49. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Can he count?

    Surely filter coffee, made in a cafetiere, uses almost exactly the same amount of kettle-boiled water as instant. Obviously you've now got to wash up a cafetiere as well as a cup, but if you use it a couple of times a day, then all it needs is a quick rinse and a wash every couple of days. Whereas to make instant you first have to make filter, then you have to instantly evapourate it, to get the powder - so I find it hard to believe that's less polluting than washing a cafetiere once per ten cups of coffee.

    Unless he's comparing a Starbucks with an instant made at home...

    I saw some convincing figures that showed that using a dishwasher was more energy efficient than washing up by hand, because of the vast difference in the amount of water used. I'd be very surprised if the same isn't true for hand-washing compared to machine washing.

    I guess the difference is that you're less likely to get food poisoning from dirty clothes, as compared to dirty dishes.

    Surely though a sensible environmentalist would be thinking of technology to solve this problem. If machines can be set to operate only when renewable energy is available, then the only environmental cost is the water/sewage treatment and machine. I suspect that home water recycling will never be worth it, but there's still loads we can do to save water before we need to get worried by washing. And the pay-back on rain water harvesting for gardening/toilet-flushing is probably better measured in months than years.

    The green debate desperately needs much more imagination and common sense though.

    Don't tell people to wash less, it's just silly. Be practical. Suggest buying less stuff, including clothes. Suggest what things are 'carbon luxuries'. So showers are better than baths, and both are way better than wet-rooms, which are massively resource-hungry. But deny me my coffee and I'll only get grumpy...

  50. asiaseen

    Stop washing?

    The good doctor is still a small boy at heart.

  51. Denarius Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    not washing Ok 4 poms maybe

    At the risk of inciting an incendiary ethnic clash in the ruins of western culture, try not washing clothes or oneself in a decent climate., say Darwin, 30 C 98% humdity in Wet, or Perth, 40C+ and 8% humidty in February. You will be asked to leave the building so others can add to the CO2 by breathing.

    As for coffee growing, if the water is left alone, it runs to sea. Zero use, utility and value.

    How is this a virtue compared to the energy, insight and skill it brings out in your average sys admin after the first 3 cups ?

    Paris, because a good coffee is like her.

  52. Anonymous Coward

    Stop Plate Tectonics!

    While we're at it, I think we really need to cut to the chase and address the real problem: Dihydrogen monoxide! It kills hundreds of thousands of people EVERY year, costs millions in property damage, it dissolves most metals, flesh and bone, and it's even more prolific than CO2, as a greenhouse gas. When will these stupid fuck supposed "scientists" and academic community wake up?

    Here's an idea, and I'll donate this one to humanity for free (this time): Why not jam a hose into the mouth and rectum of every politician, scientist and activist who's still trying to sell climate change, and harness the hot air and methane from the sheer load of bull shit they're trying to bury us with? I mean there's no end to the supply of "supposed" experts who'd love to do nothing more than hear themselves talk.

  53. scatter

    Since when has the ASA decided...

    ...what our power stations emit?!

    The carbon factor for grid electricity in the UK in 2007, the most recent year for which there is data, was a little over 0.54kgCO2/kWh: (Table 3c)

    So in fact the carbon savings quoted are a slight underestimate. And I wouldn't be surprised if in 2008 the carbon factor crept up slightly given that supposedly reliable nuclear capacity was out of commission for so long.

  54. copsewood
    Thumb Down

    Nuclear lobbyist misrepresenting solar capacity

    Concentrated solar thermal (CSP) is likely to be developed much more rapidly than solar voltaic. The link posted isn't the world's biggest solar plant, it may be the biggest photovoltaic one. The entire world's electricity supply could theoretically be generated by CSP occupying a 432km square of hot sunny desert covered in CSP plant, see

    Generating electricity around the clock is easier for CSP than for photovoltaic, as liquids or steam superheated using CSP can be stored efficiently and used to generate electricity when needed. This approach is more suited to the tropics and subtropics. But it works more generally when part of continental high voltage DC supergrids also fed by wind electricity balanced using hydro from colder and windier regions.

  55. jake Silver badge

    I wonder what Dr. Reay would think ...

    ... if he found out I that roast the ranch's coffee beans twice a week?

    He'd probably blow a head gasket if he knew I bake bread three times a week in a hundred and twenty five year old wood-burning oven ;-)

  56. JC 2

    Blame Lewis Page, the author

    There have always been nut-cases on crusades like Dr. Reay. However, in the past we left these nut-cases alone, ignored them. Today we have confused reporters like Lewis Page who think we are supposed to give them an ear.

    This is not news worthy, it is beyond obvious that we can cut all kinds of power usage and emissions by living in caves, hunting and gathering and staring at the sky for entertainment. That is, until the caves fill up and we want to avoid things like starvation and disease and raise our standard of living.

    Dr. Reay, suck on my dirty socks! Mr. Page, shame on you for being part of this fake enviro-green movement thrust upon everyone.

  57. Sentient

    What really worries me is

    the CO2 output of pressing these comments votes buttons?

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    just bow down & hold your nose

    I for one welcome our new hygienically challenged crusty clad overlords.

    Hopefully there will soon be adverts on TV and in the papers along the lines of 'are your neighbours cleaner than they need to be?' & encouraging us to report secret shower abusers to the authorities.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This sort of thing just reinforces my view that all the annoyances we are encouraged to introduce into our lives are just to make those who feel guilty, feel better. The amount of global warming one can skim off of our lifestyle isn't going to make a significant difference. We are left relying on technology to come up with better/cleaner sources of power, and industry finding cleaner ways to manufacture. (And, of course, we need to learn to control our reproductive tendencies in order to reduce the number of us affecting this world.) And if it doesn't happen, we must cope with the consequences, which is better than letting the eco Nazis make your life unpleasant, and still having to cope with the consequences.

  60. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: What really worries me is

    Moreover, the Co2 generated by the massive daily onslaught of comments posted is becoming a serious concern for us all. I urge you all to do your bit and go and shout at some bins rather than post here, so our children's future is secure and I can have a bit of peace.

  61. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Enough is enough

    I propose a simple solution

    1 - intern all unwashed carbon-botherers and put them all in a ghetto (in marshlands somewhere, where they can get dirty and muddy to their hearts content ) - let them enjoy themselves without spoiling the air for everyone else

    2 - cut all funding for "green" research, all subsidies for "green" technology and redirect it to fusion tech development.

    3 - capture an asteroid or two, park them in an Earth orbit and build some processing plants there, then drop the products down to Earth as required (may need to team up with Russians and the Chinese for this, perhaps).

    1. 1of10

      3 - Capture an asteroid

      "...3 - capture an asteroid or two, park them in an Earth orbit and build some processing plants there, then drop the products down to Earth as required (may need to team up with Russians and the Chinese for this, perhaps)..."

      Please let me redevelop your suggestion...

      3 - Capture an asteroid, ship all the climate change lunatics+politicians to it... add a propulsion system without trajectory control and send the asteroid to deep space.

      as result the CO2 problem is solved... without need of extra tax system based on unjustified theories.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        You're really close with this....

        3 - Capture an asteroid, ship all the climate change lunatics+politicians to it... add a propulsion system without trajectory control and send the asteroid to the sun.

        1. adamb13

          got it backwards

          We should actually put all the climate change deniers and skeptics on the sun-bound asteroid, since by their actions they seem to actually desire living on an overheated, barren, lifeless rock of a planet.

  62. Malcolm Boura 2

    Naturism one, prudes nil

    Nice to see an article that backs up what British Naturism have been saying for some time.

  63. Ken 16 Silver badge

    stopping washing may not make much difference to CO2

    but it will probably result in a population reduction over time

    (mines the one that stands up by itself)

    1. Anonymous John


      I've already done that coat joke.

  64. 1of10

    Terrifying CO2 consequences...

    That Dr was absolutely right!

    If I was him, I would have proposed further than just coffee and washing...

    Let’s stop everything and go back to the cave... like we used to be 30m years BC... and without use of fire to prevent CO2 production.

    Let’s stop the Earths rotation to stop the cycle of night-and-day as well... since plants/sea/oceans process CO2 and release O2 during the day and at night their invert the process, consuming O2 and releasing CO2. So Earths rotation is stopped and we all have just “Day” then CO2 will be reduced… beside more time for people to work… so governments will be happy about.

    Let’s call all space agencies like NASA, ESA etc, to stop sending rockets to SPACE... each time they send one it produces enough CO2 with a footprint the size of country such as US.

    Let’s stop all planes from flying and go back to balloons

    Let’s stop all diesel shipping and reintroduce sailing ships only.

    Let’s call all scientists and politicians to stop tectonic movement; avoiding the movement of all continents it will reduce considerably eruption of Volcanoes.

    Lets add a prohibition on Volcanoes activity or introduce a Carbon Tax on Volcanoes since are known to be responsible for release massive quantities of CO2 and dust to atmosphere with enough size to cover entire continent and sometimes entire world.

    Well... I'm now so terrified of these climate change consequences (not man made)... we are gonna die soon if all this isn't stopped!!!! :)

    I'm going to start buying O2 bottles right away just in case we run out of air...


  65. rciafardone

    Antropogenic Climate change is BS!!!

    nothing else to add.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Carbon-free nuclear"?

    Been at the wacky baccy Lewis? Or perhaps you should be disclosing your shareholdings in uranium mining/nuclear power.

    1. markp 1

      welll.... sorta

      Nuclear Power CAN be zero-carbon...

      ...but only if all the machinery involved in mining, extracting, shipping, storing, reprocessing and disposing of the fuel is electrically powered, by the selfsame nuclear plant. I am compelled to wonder how much of the output of a typical british nuke plant would be accounted for by the string of Euclid superheavy dumpers or the lift equipment pulling the stuff up out of the ground (depending on whether it's open cast or shaft mining), the seperation, extraction and refining equipment, etc. Plus the train that brings the resulting uranium to the powerplant, and the spent stuff to wherever it will be dum.... I mean, stored.


      Incidentally, relatively very little of this is currently electrically powered (the dumpers are diesel-electric or hydraulic, as are most UK freight trains; and if it goes by plane or boat at any point...), and the most likely stuff e.g. lifts, refiners, cannot be guaranteed to themselves be using clean energy. So a great deal of fossil fuel is being consumed to get the "clean" (hmm! only when properly handled and stored, and we all have off days, says the ex- nuc med tech) fuel from seam to substation.

      Now, if we can start talking Fusion or Covering The Sahara In Organic High Efficiency Solar Panels?

  67. adamb13

    Of course it will require sacrifices!

    Did you really think we could continue with this standard of living indefinitely? And that somehow the 5 billion people who aren't consuming as much can live like us without any natural consequences?

    Look around at our planet... not just at CO2 but at the multitude of ways we have changed our planet's natural systems. We have disturbed so much, and there will be consequences as the services our planet provides for us (such as climate regulation and sustenance) start to change. And yet, with so much at stake, you balk at wearing clothes twice or forgoing a luxury item such as coffee. That is selfish, reactionary, obstructionist, and irresponsible.

    Our planet is not a car... we cannot just trade it in for a new one when the transmission starts to slip or the a/c breaks, but that is the mentality too many of us have. And in this article, you have done nothing but reinforce this mentality. Be proud.

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