Governments should tax plasma screen televisions because of the large amount of energy they consume, according to a leading expert on climate change.
Professor Paul Ekins, who studies the economics of climate change, said taxing plasma screens would reflect their "greater climate change burden".
And so it begins, ladies and gentlemen; new technology stifled by government inmposed taxes. Plasma screens are, at present, in their infancy and will become more efficient. Even the BBC admits the large differences between models of plasma screen.
Philips has won a European green television of the year award with its 42ins LCD television - which has a power consumption of 210 watts. In comparison, a 42ins plasma screen uses 230 watts. Not much different? Well, there's another plasma screen, the same size, same manufacturer, which uses 365 watts.
LCD screens used to be hopelessly inefficient; their inability to handle fast-moving images meant that, even on computer laptops, your mouse cursor would leave a "ghosting" trail. The introduction of TFT technology made them better, more energy efficient and allowed larger sizes.
Technology does not stand still: when allowed to, it evolves incrementally. But that evolution costs money, and it is "early adopters" who provide the funding for that development.
"At the very least you might think that government would provide some differential incentives to accelerate the development of more energy efficient diode screens and encourage their take-up," said Professor Ekins, co-director of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC).
Yes, that's all very well, Professor, but there are still some serious issues about diode screens that have not yet been overcome.
Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) screens do not require a backlight and thus draw less power. But observers say the technology needs to overcome several technological hurdles, such as the limited lifetimes of some of the materials used in them.
Look, Professor, if you are really worried about energy consumption across the board, which obviously you should be, then there is a really simple solution.
Tax electricity to fuck. For everyone. Regardless of background, income, etc. This keeps the government out of specific markets, allows for the continuing funding of technological change, and all we are doing is taxing the externalities of electricity generation. As Timmy keeps pointing out, we have estimates for how much damage a ton of carbon dioxide does to the environment, so let's tax power accordingly.
But, of course, what with your research being funded by the government, you won't be recommending that, will you?
He added: "Unless we have policy mechanisms of that kind we will not reduce energy demand sufficiently to achieve the kinds of reductions in carbon emissions that currently are the subject of the Climate Change Bill and are going to be signed into statute if that bill goes through."
Ah, yes. Well, that is going to be an issue but I shouldn't worry too much: the government won't stick to the targets anyway.
But Robert Gross, head of technology and policy assessment at UKERC, said debates on energy efficiency could become too pre-occupied by prices and incentives.
"When you are looking at consumer appliances, buildings and vehicles and you are looking at people not responding very well to price-based incentives - for a variety of reasons - there's an absolutely fundamental role for straightforward legislation to improve the efficiency of these devices," he told journalists.
Go fuck yourself, Gross. How, precisely, will that conversation go?
Government Representative: "We have just ruled in law that your TVs only use 50 watts."
Plasma Manufacturer: "Er, but they don't. They use 200 watts."
GR: "No, they don't. We've just passed a law."
PM: "Really. Seriously. There's just no way."
GR: "We've just passed a law."
PM: "In defiance of reality. There is simply no way that..."
GR: "We've passed a law..."
What Gross means, of course, is that we will simply ban these high-power appliances. And I say that the man is a total cunt who should probably be beaten to death with his own extremely energy-conscious 12 inch LCD TV.
A survey of the five most populous European nations, carried out by the Energy Saving Trust, found that Britons were the worst energy wasters in Europe, with bad habits which could cost £11bn by 2010.
Er... Cost whom £11 billion, exactly? Cost us? Well, in that case, it's none of the government's fucking business.
Cost "the planet"? What measure of carbon dioxide damage per ton are you using? Because I've seen estimates ranging from $4 to $85?
Or is this figure just picked out of some government-funded climate change scientist's arse?
God, I hate these people with a passion.