Friday, 30 September 2011

80mph? Oh no, the planet is at risk.

The government has suggested that the national maximum speed limit might be increased from 70 mph to 80 mph in two years' time, in the interim they propose a consultation exercise. Whether the outcome will be a change in the maximum permissible speed of motorcars on our roads is pretty much irrelevant to me. I have held an unblemished driving licence for decades and will not knowingly exceed a speed limit because I want it to remain unblemished. Consider me a boring prig if you will, but I prefer to live within the law whether or not I agree with it.

Today on my way back from a hack around the golf course I heard an item on this issue on BBC Radio 5 (actually not so much of a hack, I went round in 78 gross on a par 72 course, something went wrong with my usual ineffectual sporting technique - I only throw this in because I'm very proud of it and will almost certainly never do it again).

A number of statements issued by people and organisations involved in the motoring business were read and a few people were interviewed, including a former racing driver and the current Secretary of State for Transport. Some supported the proposal, some opposed it and some said it was necessary to investigate the likely consequences before changing the law. Fair enough.

What was not fair enough was that almost all contributors, including the Secretary of State, said a relevant consideration was the effect of an increase in the maximum lawful speed of motor cars on British roads on the amount of carbon dioxide exuded into the atmosphere.

It really is quite flabbergasting that the anti-carbon dioxide religion has taken hold to such an extent that a minor change in the law of England, Wales and (I believe) Northern Ireland should be thought to have a potential impact on emissions of CO2 that can be of relevance to the well-being of our planet and/or human life on our planet.

The UK (including Scotland which is in charge of speed limits through its own so-called Parliament and is unaffected by the proposed change) produces less than 2% of all carbon dioxide spewed forth by human activity. Traffic on roads carrying a speed limit lower than 70 mph will not be affected by the proposal and not all those travelling on roads to which the national speed limit applies will drive faster and spew more CO2 as a result of the maximum permissible speed being 80 rather than 70.

Against that background it is obvious beyond doubt that any additional CO2 coming from those cars that will be driven at higher speeds because of the proposed change will be such a small amount that it can make no difference to anything. It will be a small percentage (if, indeed it even reaches 1%) of the less than 2% of world emissions coming from the UK.

You can close down all human activity in the UK and the result will not have any measurable effect on the climate. Even if we accept the very direst predictions of those who claim additional human-produced carbon dioxide will cause great changes to the climate and that those changes will be detrimental to human existence, the removal of the 2% currently produced by the UK cannot affect matters to a measurable degree because other countries (especially China and India) are increasing their emissions by far more every year.

To take a proposal that might increase the UK's emissions by a tiny amount and seek to include that effect as a consideration that should affect the decision to accept or reject the proposal is, frankly, moronic.


Barnacle Bill said...

Well done on the 78 Mr. FB, good for the soul and the BP!

As for your observation about people even thinking to consider the CO2 emissions of this move. It just goes to show how pernicious the global warming fanatics are.

They'll only be happy when they are manning the turnpikes and collecting the tolls as the next stagecoach passes thru.

Anonymous said...

78? Do you do lessons?

Mark Wadsworth said...


Anonymous said...

Yes, but if a proposal is seemingly expensive, dangerous and pointless then every pro and con becomes significant. You may be sceptical about the effects of CO2 - I know I am - but the amount of fuel you burn goes up with something like the square of the speed, so a shift from 70 to 80 is, in fact, quite a large increase. In the oil crises of the 70s, the Americans reduced their speed limits to save fuel. No one said "But hey, the amount of fuel we're going to save is just, like, so minuscule in the scheme of things. If we don't burn it, someone else will."

The way things are going, it won't be too long until we're queuing for petrol rations ourselves, so this proposal just seems very gratuitous.

H.R. said...

A 78? Congratulations!

That exactly matches my best score on a front nine ;o)

Anonymous said...

Fat Bigot, it seems that your readers are much more interested in your ability to knock a ball into a hole with a stick than the main theme of your posts - like the dinner parties I get invited to, and which I fruitlessly try to transcend by reading and commenting on blogs on the web. Oh well, in case anyone's interested I'm really quite adept at throwing screwed up balls of paper into a litter bin. And I once got a 180 at darts in a pub, with witnesses. I think my best ever score at Space Invaders was 15,200. Or was it 152,000?

Anonymous said...

Fat cunt more like

TheFatBigot said...

It's been said many times by many people.

Leg-iron said...

So... if you travel at 80 mph rather than 70, your engine burns more fuel to get there but once 'ticking over' at steady speed it shouldn't make too much difference.

On the other hand, if you travel faster, you arrive sooner, so the engine is running for less time.

I'm not boing to bother with the maths because it's very, very late and I don't have figures here but I suspect that for the total journey, at least for journeys of any length, the difference in total fuel burn won't be all that much.

Certainly, when taken as part of the overall fuel usage (trains, buses, trucks and especially planes, none of whose speeds are likely to be much affected by this) over the whole country, I doubt the difference would be detectable.

I must confess disinterest. I can't think of anywhere I want to get to in that much of a hurry.

Anonymous said...


Once at a steady speed, all the resistance of wind and tyre friction is proportional to the square of the speed, I believe. This doesn't make much difference up to, say, 50 mph and as you imply there is an 'overhead' of just running the engine at all, which is why car mpg figures are just about optimum at a steady 56, but above that it begins to change. A Google search on "mpg" "steady 70" and "steady 80" seems to provide anecdotal evidence that it does make quite a lot of difference e.g.

"Just this weekend, I found that at a steady 80, it gets about 13-14 MPG and at a steady 70, it gets 19 MPG. Man that wind resistance curve is steep for those extra 10 MPH... "

I'm sure there are more scientific figures out there as well if I could find them!

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