Tornado...why bother?

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Re: Tornado...why bother?

Postby Tadman » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:25 am

george matthews wrote:
johnthefireman wrote:At the risk of repeating a conversation we have had often before and still disagree about, there are only a handful of main line certified steam locomotives in the UK, which run on only a handful of days in the year. Their contribution to global CO2 is infinitesimal.

But their contribution in the past was very large.


A remark completely and totally out of touch with reality. Basic accounting professors would call this a "sunk cost". I call it water under the bridge.

Mr. Matthews, if you are so bloody concerned about the environment, have you ever considered completely taking yourself off the grid? I would hazard a guess that your carbon footprint is much larger than you think.
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Re: Tornado...why bother?

Postby george matthews » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:13 pm

Tadman wrote:
george matthews wrote:
johnthefireman wrote:At the risk of repeating a conversation we have had often before and still disagree about, there are only a handful of main line certified steam locomotives in the UK, which run on only a handful of days in the year. Their contribution to global CO2 is infinitesimal.

But their contribution in the past was very large.


A remark completely and totally out of touch with reality. Basic accounting professors would call this a "sunk cost". I call it water under the bridge.

Mr. Matthews, if you are so bloody concerned about the environment, have you ever considered completely taking yourself off the grid? I would hazard a guess that your carbon footprint is much larger than you think.

Yes, I have done more in the past when I used and promoted biogas in Kenya and Nigeria. It's spreading quite well in Africa now.

I have solar heated water in southern England and some photovoltaics. Cutting CO2 is an important task that must be done soon. Burning coal needs to be discouraged. And I remember when coal smoke was a serious health hazard in London during the 1950s and many years before. The very diminished coal industry these days is a huge health benefit - and a step towards improving the atmospheric carbon problem.

When I was at school I did go down a coal mine and it seems to me intolerable that people should have to work in such conditions. I am glad that line of work is closed now.
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Re: Tornado...why bother?

Postby Statkowski » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:44 am

Yes, we must all worry ourselves sick over anything man-made, including man itself, producing any carbon dioxide at all. Burning coal is evil, it creates carbon dioxide, likewise with burning oil, natural gas, wood, or anything combustible. A steam locomotive burning coal? Oh, the horror!

Meanwhile, one volcanic eruption (e.g., Mount St. Helens) can pump more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than all "man-made" carbon dioxide created since the beginning of time.
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Re: Tornado...why bother?

Postby johnthefireman » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:26 am

I'll be completely off the grid in two or three months when I move into my new house. Solar panels for electricity, passive solar water heating, rainwater harvesting, a biodigester for sewage.

The only fossil fuel we'll use is bottled gas for cooking - sorry, George, I haven't managed to persuade the missus to use biogas yet, although I still hold out hope of converting her in the future. And of course diesel for the Land Rover, as we are 25 km from the nearest tarmac road.

I do have my eye on a steam engine, a portable agricultural engine which I helped to restore, which the owner is thinking of passing on to me as he downsizes his establishment, but don't worry, we won't be running it on coal but probably on bamboo, which burns very nicely.
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Re: Tornado...why bother?

Postby george matthews » Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:54 am

Statkowski wrote:Yes, we must all worry ourselves sick over anything man-made, including man itself, producing any carbon dioxide at all. Burning coal is evil, it creates carbon dioxide, likewise with burning oil, natural gas, wood, or anything combustible. A steam locomotive burning coal? Oh, the horror!

Meanwhile, one volcanic eruption (e.g., Mount St. Helens) can pump more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than all "man-made" carbon dioxide created since the beginning of time.

Increasing the carbon dioxide component of the atmosphere is the main - almost the only - cause of climate change. If you really think about what climate change actually amounts to, you might be less dismissive about it. It's a very serious matter to alter the climate and we need to take every measure to stop it and reverse it. Not burning coal and oil are necessary. It was the large scale adoption of coal burning steam technology that set off that change. There is a large body of knowledge about this.
Last edited by george matthews on Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tornado...why bother?

Postby george matthews » Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:58 am

johnthefireman wrote:I'll be completely off the grid in two or three months when I move into my new house. Solar panels for electricity, passive solar water heating, rainwater harvesting, a biodigester for sewage.

The only fossil fuel we'll use is bottled gas for cooking - sorry, George, I haven't managed to persuade the missus to use biogas yet, although I still hold out hope of converting her in the future. And of course diesel for the Land Rover, as we are 25 km from the nearest tarmac road.

I do have my eye on a steam engine, a portable agricultural engine which I helped to restore, which the owner is thinking of passing on to me as he downsizes his establishment, but don't worry, we won't be running it on coal but probably on bamboo, which burns very nicely.


I think there are now a lot of suppliers of biogas apparatus in Kenya. When I was in the Western Province in 1973 there was only one - though that was enough.
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Re: Tornado...why bother?

Postby johnthefireman » Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:13 pm

george matthews wrote:I think there are now a lot of suppliers of biogas apparatus in Kenya. When I was in the Western Province in 1973 there was only one - though that was enough.


Yes, there are plenty, and it's very cheap and user-friendly these days.
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Re: Tornado...why bother?

Postby johnthefireman » Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:16 pm

george matthews wrote:It was the large scale adoption of coal burning steam technology that set off that change. There is a large body of knowledge about this.


Agreed, George, but totally irrelevant to the 21st century when there is no large scale coal burning steam technology.
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Re: Tornado...why bother?

Postby george matthews » Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:40 pm

johnthefireman wrote:
george matthews wrote:It was the large scale adoption of coal burning steam technology that set off that change. There is a large body of knowledge about this.


Agreed, George, but totally irrelevant to the 21st century when there is no large scale coal burning steam technology.

President Trump hasn't grasped the facts, and he is encouraging more coal burning. I don't think he will have any effect as coal burning is everywhere in retreat for reasons beyond his influence.

We should regard coal and oil as climate regulators, to remain in the ground.
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Re: Tornado...why bother?

Postby johnthefireman » Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:30 pm

george matthews wrote:President Trump hasn't grasped the facts, and he is encouraging more coal burning. I don't think he will have any effect as coal burning is everywhere in retreat for reasons beyond his influence.


Yes, of course I agree with you that we should be discouraging industrial-scale coal burning, eg in coal-fired power stations, but we're talking in this forum about a handful of steam locomotives, not about industrial-scale coal burning.

And as you yourself say, even with Trump encouraging more coal burning, coal burning is still in retreat, ie the tide has turned in the right direction, and once again a handful of steam locomotives is not going to stem that tide.
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