Monday, October 02, 2006

BBC journalism at its insightful best

This is actually an article about Cameron's using a dishwasher:

"In the latest instalment, David Cameron talks - above the yelps of his children - about his plans to "clean up" politics, as he loads his dishwasher. Would the famously green Mr Cameron not be doing the environment more of a favour were he to wash up?"

Does anyone care? If the option Cameron had chosen were, like the stories of cars accompanying his bike, significantly less environmentally friendly than some presentation of his had suggested or he was choosing to do something out of the ordinary and environmentally harmful, choking a Panda perhaps, then I can see the public interest but everyone has a dishwasher.

"In environmental circles, it's a lively debate."

Dishwasher energy efficiency? Detergent usage? I'd actually suggest it is an interminably dull debate.

"Some argue dishwashers are greener than hand washing because they use less water, detergent and power per cycle. A dishwasher can cut water consumption by up to 80% compared to hand washing in an average household, according to manufacturer Electrolux.

But others argue that when additional factors, such as the manufacture of the unit, the pollution created during distribution and the energy required to make the detergents used in them, are taken into account, it is questionable what is best."

You know what this debate suggests? That Cameron's choice of whether to handwash or use a dishwasher is utterly irrelevant to everyone but boring enviro-nerds who would be trainspotters if they didn't think their job being about the environment made a passion for dull details progressive and cool. If one is marginally more efficient it won't be enough to make dishwashers an important item in energy efficiency compared to, say, insulation so there really is no reason for the general public to care.

"When buying a dishwasher look for the EST's Energy Efficiency Recommended logo or the EU energy label. Compared to a model bought 10 years ago, a new A-rated energy-efficient dishwasher will save its owner £15 each year, according to Friends of the Earth (FoE)."

£15 a year? Score.

Now, we don't have any evidence but given that the Camerons are a quite well off family the energy efficiency of their dishwasher is almost certainly about how old it is. Given they recently moved in it is probably a modern one. However, it honestly isn't that important. This story is a litany of unimportant facts with no bearing on Cameron's environmentalism. It is a distraction from a serious debate on the environment and a bizarre manifestation of the desire to find false hypocricy in political leaders.

Just remember, this story is only possible thanks to the unique way the BBC is funded.

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