Will there be a global famine in 2050? Crops will be overwhelmed by pests in the next 30 years, scientists warn
Another of the "coming shortage" scares that Greenies often resort to, none of which have ever come true. The scare below is sheer speculation. To prove spread they needed similar population counts at two different dates. But they did not have that. All they had was "historical observation dates" for a minority of their species. Anyway, genetic engineering techniques are already reducing pest loads and should continue to do so. That is why Greenies are trying to ban it
Many of the world's most important crop-producing countries will be fully saturated with pests by the middle of the century if current trends continue, a study has found.
More than one-in-ten pest types can already be found in around half the countries that grow their host crops.
And if this spread advances at its current rate, scientists fear that a significant proportion of global crop-producing countries will be overwhelmed by pests within the next 30 years.
The research from the University of Exeter was published in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography.
COULD 'FRANKENFLIES' HELP PROTECT CROPS?
Experiments by British academics have found that GM insects could be used to wipe out fruit fly pests that damage crops such as oranges, peaches, apples and pears.
Genetically modified versions of the Mediterranean fruit fly were created earlier this year using controversial technology developed by the UK bioscience company Oxitec.
Millions of male GM flies have been created in the laboratory to include a gene which means that when they mate with wild females, any resulting female larvae die before reaching maturity.
The resulting fall in the number of female fruit flies should, in theory, lead to a collapse in the total population which will mean less damage is caused to food crops.
Oxitec has promoted the technology as an alternative to the use of harsh chemical pesticides to protect food crops and so boost yields and has held talks with UK government agencies to run trials in this country.
It describes the patterns and trends in the spread of crop pests, using global databases to investigate the factors that influence the number of countries reached by pests and the number of pests in each country.
Crop pests include fungi, bacteria, viruses, insects, nematodes, viroids and oomycetes.
'If crop pests continue to spread at current rates, many of the world's biggest crop producing nations will be inundated by the middle of the century, posing a grave threat to global food security,' said Dr Dan Bebber of the Biosciences department at the University of Exeter.
The study identifies the pests likely to be the most invasive in coming years, which includes three species of tropical root knot nematode whose larvae infect the roots of thousands of different plant species.
Another, Blumeria graminis, is a fungus that causes powdery mildew on wheat and other cereals.
And the Citrus tristeza virus (given its name meaning 'sadness' in Portuguese and Spanish by farmers in the 1930s) is also a threat, having reached 105 of 145 countries growing citrus by the year 2000.
Fungi lead the worldwide invasion of crops and are the most widely dispersed group, despite having the narrowest range of hosts.
The study looked at the current distributions of 1,901 crop pests and pathogens and historical observations of a further 424 species.
Significant use was made of historical CABI (Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International) records, which document crop pests and diseases around the world from 1822 to the present day.
'By unlocking the potential to understand the distribution of crop pests and diseases, we're moving one step closer to protecting our ability to feed a growing global population,' said Dr Timothy Holmes, Head of Technical Solutions at CABI's Plantwise Knowledge Bank.
'The hope is to turn data into positive action.'
It supports the view of previous studies that climate change is likely to significantly affect pest pressure on agriculture, with the warming Earth having a clear influence on the distribution of crop pests.
The authors also describe the global game of cat-and-mouse as crops are introduced to pest free regions and briefly thrive, before their pursuers catch up with them.
Professor Sarah Gurr of Biosciences the University of Exeter added: 'New, virulent variants of pests are constantly evolving.
'Their emergence is favoured by increased pest population sizes and their rapid life-cycles, which force diversified selection and heralds the appearance of new aggressive genotypes.
'There is hope if robust plant protection strategies and biosecurity measures are implemented, particularly in the developing world where knowledge is scant.
'Whether such precautions can slow or stop this process remains to be seen.'
The global spread of crop pests and pathogens
By Daniel P. Bebber et al.
Current country- and state-level distributions of 1901 pests and pathogens and historical observation dates for 424 species were compared with potential distributions based upon distributions of host crops. The degree of ‘saturation’, i.e. the fraction of the potential distribution occupied, was related to pest type, host range, crop production, climate and socioeconomic variables using linear models.
More than one-tenth of all pests have reached more than half the countries that grow their hosts. If current trends continue, many important crop-producing countries will be fully saturated with pests by the middle of the century. While dispersal increases with host range overall, fungi have the narrowest host range but are the most widely dispersed group. The global dispersal of some pests has been rapid, but pest assemblages remain strongly regionalized and follow the distributions of their hosts. Pest assemblages are significantly correlated with socioeconomics, climate and latitude. Tropical staple crops, with restricted latitudinal ranges, tend to be more saturated with pests and pathogens than temperate staples with broad latitudinal ranges. We list the pests likely to be the most invasive in coming years.
Despite ongoing dispersal of crop pests and pathogens, the degree of biotic homogenization of the globe remains moderate and regionally constrained, but is growing. Fungal pathogens lead the global invasion of agriculture, despite their more restricted host range. Climate change is likely to influence future distributions. Improved surveillance would reveal greater levels of invasion, particularly in developing countries.
UN Climate Chief: 'Not Very Far' from Considering 'Climate Change as a Public Health Emergency'
This is complete and utter twaddle. It's cold (winter) that kills people, not warmth. Ask any hospital administrator. A warmer world would be healthier
Secretary of State John Kerry has called climate change “the biggest challenge of all that we face right now,” and his French counterpart has warned of climate “chaos” in 500 days, and now the U.N. climate change chief is implying that climate change can be viewed on a par with the deadly Ebola outbreak.
Christiana Figueres told a World Health Organization (WHO)-hosted event in Geneva Wednesday that “we are not very far” from the point where climate change should be declared an international public health emergency, according to her prepared remarks.
Addressing a three-day global conference on health and climate – the first of its kind – Figueres said in remarks directed at WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, “Dear Margaret, as much as [I] would like you to, I am fully aware of the fact that you have not convened the international health regulations emergency committee to consider climate change as a public health emergency of international concern.”
“However, we are not very far from this,” she added.
The committee referred to by Figueres is the expert body on whose advice the WHO three weeks ago declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to be a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC).
Under international health regulations, a PHEIC is declared in a case where “an extraordinary event” is determined to constitute a public health risk through the international spread of disease; and “to potentially require a coordinated international response.”
In her speech Figueres, who is executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said that while it was easy to view climate change as “the equivalent of a disease” it was actually the symptom.
“The disease is something we rarely admit,” she said. “The disease is humanity’s unhealthy dependence on fossil fuels, deforestation and land use that depletes natural resources.”
“At the heart of an effective response to climate change is the challenge of taking responsibility for our actions and above all, making tough decisions to change the patterns that have been at the base of our development over the past 100 years, if we are to prevent severe worsening of health and quality of life conditions over the next 100 years.”
The U.N. says climate change is having an impact on health in numerous ways, including malnutrition due to crop failures arising from changing weather patterns; water scarcity; the spread of water-borne disease resulting from rising temperatures; and the effect of carbon emissions on rates of cancer and respiratory disease rates.
Speaking at the conference Wednesday, Chan linked climate change to the emergence of new human diseases. She said many of these originate in wild animals, whose populations, concentration and incursion into areas where humans live are impacted by climate variables.
But she cautioned against speculation that Ebola may be affected by climate.
“I am aware of speculation that climate change may influence the frequency of outbreaks of Ebola virus disease,” she said. “I must emphasize we have no evidence that this is the case.”
Paris agreement will be ‘universal and applicable to all countries’
Like a number of other events around the world, the conference in Geneva is looking ahead to the next major U.N. climate megaconference, in Paris, France in November 2015, when efforts will be made to finalize a global agreement on cutting “greenhouse gas” emissions.
Next month U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will host a summit in New York where world leaders will be urged to make commitments ahead of the Paris conference.
“This agreement will be universal and applicable to all countries,” Figueres said in Geneva. “It will address current and future emissions. If strong enough, it will prevent the worst and chart a course toward a world with clean air and water, abundant natural resources and happy, healthy populations, all the requirements for positive growth.”
“Seen in this light,” she added, “the climate agreement is actually a public health agreement.”
Workers suffer when militarized police and Big Green get together
While all eyes turn to the gunfire and Molotov cocktails of War Zone Ferguson, Mo., many minds turn to questions of mindless faith in the political establishment.
One such mind belongs to basketball champion turned actor and best-selling author, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, whose Monday commentary on Ferguson for Time Magazine bore the chilling headline, “The Coming Race War Won’t Be About Race.”
It will be about class warfare, he predicted — the powerful and wealthy elite against the 50 million Americans who are poor — black, Latino, and white. “Fifty million voters is a powerful block if they ever organized in an effort to pursue their common economic goals,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote.
This great icon’s class warfare insight reaches farther than he knows, into the multi-millions of marginalized, demonized, and despised workers of the resource class — loggers, coal miners, cattle ranchers, commercial fishermen, oil rig roustabouts, tunnel blasters, heavy equipment operators, and on and on — every one of us who gets dirty hands making the stuff of elite splendor and majesty. And, yes, I once shoveled foundation trenches and shouldered kegs of ten-penny brights (nails) for a living.
All these hardworking people are mocked, devalued, and destroyed by Big Green’s privileged few, as told in the recent Senate report, “How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA.” It’s a class warfare warning.
Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke (heiress of the Sperry & Hutchinson fortune, see photo) doesn’t help the poor with their economic goals using her $427,595 annual compensation or the group’s $241.8 million assets, but ruins every resource worker possible.
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s chief investment officer, Denise Strack, doesn’t help the poor with their economic goals using her $1.6 million annual compensation or the foundation’s $5.6 billion assets from the Intel fortune, but helps ruin every resource worker possible.
Big Green conducts class war with its power over the federal government. If that sounds impossible, let me tell you a story.
On July 27, 1991, thirty U.S. Forest Service agents on horseback, some armed with semi-automatic weapons and wearing bulletproof vests, raided rancher Wayne Hage’s cattle in Meadow Canyon in the Toiyabe National Forest, high in the mountains of central Nevada. The cows were drinking from disputed water and were to be impounded that day, destroying Hage’s livelihood — and dooming some of the meat supply that gave minimum-wage urban burger flippers something to flip.
The agents hoped to infuriate Hage into violence and kill him. However, he showed up with a camera, immortalized them on film, sued them, and after years in a federal court, won a ruling that he owned the water. The Forest Service had no right to impound his cattle.
A court document showed that David Young, special agent in charge of the raid, had personally brought with him several Remington Model 870 pump-action 12 gauge shotguns, Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifles, Sig Sauer P220 .45 caliber semi-automatic pistols and a Smith & Wesson Model 36 .38 caliber revolver.
On April 2, 1990, Deputy Chief of the U.S. Forest Service James C. Overbay sent a letter to his subordinate regional foresters, urging support of environmentalists in return for their help supporting larger Forest Service fish and wildlife budgets, removal of ranchers, and expansion of USFS authority and power. It said:
"Conservation groups representing the organized wildlife and fish interests across the country have given considerable effort, time, and money to help the Forest Service promote these important programs. We need the support of these groups to avoid possible reductions in fish and wildlife budgets. They would like to see the results of these efforts. We owe this to them."
A little over a year later, the Forest Service paid off rich environmentalists by ruining Wayne Hage. The service’s culture of resource stewardship was drifting far from its conservation roots to political obsequiousness and ostentatious zeal.
Overbay had already devastated other ranchers with less publicity, but it was the Hage raid that reinforced Cliven Bundy’s misguided beliefs about federal authority and led to President Obama’s Bureau of Land Management storming the Bundy ranch from attack helicopters duded up in military-grade body armor, flashing short-barreled assault rifles, and crashing around in armored vehicles – enough combat equipment to remove the tinfoil hat stigma from the black helicopter crowd’s collective head.
As John Steinbeck famously wrote in The Grapes of Wrath: “Repression works only to strengthen and knit the oppressed.” A rabble in arms materialized from all over the West to protect the Bundy ranch – ready to die. It was blatant armed insurrection, but federal prudence prevailed and the BLM stood down – prosecutors are dealing with it now.
The militarization of federal agencies has a long history but should have a short future. Big Green’s federal power grip needs to be smashed and its storm troopers disarmed.
In June, Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, introduced the Regulatory Agency Demilitarization Act, to stem the trend of federal regulatory agencies developing SWAT-like teams.
Maybe it’s unrealistic, but perhaps Abdul-Jabbar could recommend a diplomatic mission from the poor to the reviled workers of the resource class, put aside any past hurts and hates for a while, and organize in an effort to pursue their common economic goals.
Calming Fears of Climate Change in South and Southeast Asia
Debunking the threats one by one
South and Southeast Asia. Studies have focused on South and Southeast Asia due to their unique vulnerability to projected effects of climate change: a decline in agricultural production, rising sea levels, increased flooding, biodiversity loss, drought and more intense natural disasters. Countries in these regions are considered especially vulnerable because most are situated on peninsulas or islands and have highly populated coastal cities. With much of their investment and development concentrated in coastal areas, these regions have the most to lose if predictions pan out.
Maplecroft, a global risk analysis company, ranks Bangladesh as the country most at risk to climate change effects, with Cambodia, the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand not far behind. Africa and the Caribbean harbor many other at-risk countries, but the five cities at the most "extreme risk" - Dhaka, Mumbai, Kolkata, Manila and Bangkok - all lie in South or Southeast Asia. Indeed, reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) conclude climate change will slow economic growth, erode food security and trigger new poverty traps, particularly in these two regions.
Food Security. The World Health Organization (WHO) measures food security by supply, accessibility and consumption. Many observers fear rising temperatures will increase food insecurity in South and Southeast Asia. However, food production has increased dramatically over the past 50 years (see Figure I). Though Southeast Asian food production dipped in the 1970s, it recovered and has substantially increased since the 1990s.
Furthermore, the amount of arable land has remained stable in South Asia and has increased in Southeast Asia, signaling climate change has yet to have an effect on food security and that food production will be able to keep up. Indeed, agronomist and geographer Craig Idso estimates that, worldwide, increased plant production due to increased levels of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere grew in annual value from $18.5 billion in 1961 to over $140 billion by 2011 and amounted to $3.2 trillion over a 50-year period. Thus, food production in South and Southeast Asia will likely continue its upward trend beyond 2011.
Biodiversity. Another fear regarding climate change is widespread biodiversity loss. According to a study published by TRENDS in Ecology and Evolution, Southeast Asia is one of the world's richest areas in number of species and in endemism -- a species' uniqueness to a geographic location.Though the study's authors fear losses in biodiversity, none of the threats they cite - forest conversion, forest fires, hunting for bushmeat and the wildlife trade - involve climate change.
Coral Reef Bleaching. Climate change has already affected biodiversity in South and Southeast Asia, with bleached coral reefs correlating with rising sea temperatures. However, sea temperature rises appear to have tapered off in recent years, allowing the coral to adapt over time. Indeed, a study published by the Public Library of Science found that rising sea temperatures have been destroying coral reefs in Southeast Asia, but the reefs have adapted to the growing thermal stress over the past 20 years.
Rising Sea Levels. Scientists agree sea levels will continue to rise gradually, but there is no consensus on the exact range. IPCC lead scientists John Church and Neil White predict only a 28-to-34-centimeter rise - roughly one-third of one meter - by 2100. According to a World Bank report, even a one-meter sea level rise would affect only 1 percent to 2 percent of the land area, population and farmland in developing countries (see Figure II). A one meter rise would reduce GDP in the affected countries by 0.5 percent to 2 percent.
Growth and Adaptation to Climate Change. Some believe that regional economic growth has been hindered by infrastructure destruction due to more severe natural disasters. However, there is evidence that climate change has had beneficial effects on these economies so far and will continue to help over the long term. With GDP growth averaging near five and a half percent, South and Southeast Asia are among the fastest growing regions globally and appear strong enough to implement adaptation projects.
Thirteen of the 18 nations in these regions have already implemented 182 climate change-related measures to mitigate or adapt to the effects of climate change. However, the majority of these projects are designed to mitigate, rather than adapt to, climate change. Mitigation generally means projects, regulations or taxes aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases implicated in climate change. Adaptation strategies, by contrast, include focusing on natural disaster recovery and restoration, coral rehabilitation, water resource management, protecting wildlife and so forth.
Given the uncertainty in climate science, adaptation appears to be a more cost-effective approach than mitigation.
Climate Alarmism: When Is This Bozo Going Down?
Climate alarmism is like one of those pop-up Bozos. No matter how many times you bop it, up it springs. In fact, the only way to stop it, as most kids learn, is to deflate it. In this case, the air inside Bozo is your and my tax money.
Two scientific papers released last week combine for a powerful 1-2 haymaker, but, rest assured, Bozo springs eternal. The first says that human aerosol emissions are not that responsible for offsetting the warming influence of greenhouse gas emissions, while the second finds that the observed warming from human greenhouse gases is less than a lot of people think.
We aren’t at all surprised by the first result. The cooling effect of sulphate particulates, which go into the air along with carbon dioxide when fossil fuels (mainly coal) are combusted, was only invoked in the mid-1980s, when the lack of warming predicted by computer models was embarrassingly obvious.
This is the kind of thing that the iconic historian of science, Thomas Kuhn, predicted in his classic book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. When a scientific “paradigm” is assaulted by reality, increasingly ornate and bizarre explanations are put forth to keep it alive. Sulfates smelled like one of those to us back in the 1980s, and now it looks like the excuses are finally getting comeuppance.
The second result also comes as little news to us, as we have been saying for years that the human carbon dioxide emissions are not the only player in the climate change game.
The two new papers, in combination, mean that the human influence on the climate from the burning of fossil fuels is far less than what the IPCC’s ensemble of climate models says it is. This also goes for the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the EPA ,and the White House.
Rest assured, though, Bozo will rise again—despite a near-continuous barrage of blows supporting the idea that the climate’s sensitivity to human greenhouse gas emissions is far too low to justify any of the expensive and futile actions emanating from Washington and Brussels.
The aerosol paper describes research by a team of Israeli scientists led by Gerald Stanhill (from the ARO Volcani Center) who examined the causes of “solar dimming” and “solar brightening” that have taken place over the past half-century or so. Solar brightening (dimming) refers to multidecadal periods when more (less) solar radiation is reaching the surface of the earth. All else being equal (dangerous words in Science), the earth’s surface would warm during periods of brightening and cool during dimming. Solar dimming has been reported to have taken place from the 1950s through the 1980s and since then there has been a period of recovery (i.e., brightening). These patterns have been linked by many to human aerosol emissions caused by pernicious economic activity, with heavy emissions leading to global cooling from the 1950s (witness the opaque air of Pittsburgh and London) through the late 1970s and then, as air quality was cleaned up and aerosol emissions declined, an unmasking of the warming impact from greenhouse gas emissions.
This is an essential storyline that might as well have been written by Kuhn. Without invoking the previously undiscovered masking impact of human aerosols, climate models predict that far more global warming should have happened as a result of human greenhouse gas emissions than has been observed, even by the 1980s. Behaving more predictably than the climate, federal climatologists, led by Tom Wigley of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (hey, we couldn’t make up the name of that exclusively taxpayer-funded monster), relied on the aerosol “knob” to try to keep climate models from overheating.
Stanhill et al. have bad news for the feds. In their new paper, they examine the records of sunshine duration as recorded at five observation sites with long-term observations. When comparing these sunshine histories with fossil fuel use histories (a proxy for aerosol emissions) from nearby areas, they find very little correspondence. In other words, human aerosol emissions aren’t to blame for much of the solar dimming and brightening.
What may be the cause? Variations in cloud cover. According to Stanhill and colleagues:
"It is concluded that at the sites studied changes in cloud cover rather than anthropogenic aerosols emissions played the major role in determining solar dimming and brightening during the last half century and that there are reasons to suppose that these findings may have wider relevance."
Admittedly, there are only a small number of stations that were being analyzed, but Stanhill et al. have this to say:
"This conclusion may be of wider significance than the very small number of sites examined in this study would suggest as the sites sampled Temperate - Maritime, Mediterranean, Continental and Tropical climates,… and covered a wide range of rates of anthropogenic aerosol emission."
The implications are that human aerosols have played a lot smaller role in the global temperature variability of the past 50 years than is generally taken to be the case. And if human aerosols are not responsible for muting the expected temperature rise from greenhouse gas emissions, then it seems that the expected rise is too much. That is, the earth’s temperature is less sensitive to rising greenhouse gas concentrations than forecasted by governmental climate models, and therefore we should expect less warming in the future.
The second paper, published last week in Science, is yet another study trying to explain the “pause” in the rise of global average surface temperatures. Using annual data from the University of East Anglia temperature history—the one that scientists consult the most, we are now in our 18th year without a warming trend.
(For a revealing exposé on how even this data is being jimmied to fit the paradigm, see what just showed up in the most recent Weekend Australian.)
University of Washington’s Xianyao Chen and Ka-Kit Tung found that a naturally occurring change in ocean circulation features in the Atlantic Ocean can act to enhance or suppress the magnitude of heat that is transferred from the surface into the ocean depths. The authors find that this natural cycling was responsible for burying additional heat since the late 1990s while maintaining surface heating during the previous three decades. Coupled with earlier research (Tung and Zhou, 2013), they figure that a substantial portion (~40%) of the rise in the global surface temperatures that has occurred since the mid-20th century was caused by natural variability in the circulation of the Atlantic Ocean.
The implication here is pretty clear—the role that human greenhouse gas emissions play in the observed warming isn’t what it was cracked up to be. And, with a little nudge from other variables—like the sun—the quaint myth that “all scientists agree that the majority of warming since 1950 has been caused by human activity” does look more and more like another pop-up Bozo.
Taken together, the two paper combination strikes a haymaker to the alarmist mantra—that dangerous climate change will result from greenhouse gas emissions. The Stanhill paper suggests that the projected warming wasn’t so masked by sulfate aerosols, and the Chen and Tung paper argues that less of the warming is due to a human influence anyway. This combination—greater warming pressure and less temperature change—means that the IPCC and federal climate models are just way off.
Going forward, we should expect much less human-induced global warming than government-fueled climate models project.
If this refrain sounds familiar, it is because we find ourselves frequently reporting on the subject of the earth’s climate sensitivity (how much warming results for a given input of carbon dioxide). This issue is the biggest key to understanding anthropogenic climate change, and, because evidence continues to mount that the climate sensitivity is much less than advertised, there will be much more where this came from.
But Bozo, inflated by public monies, will spring eternal.
EU to ban high-energy hair dryers, smartphones and kettles
The European Union is considering pulling the plug on high-wattage hair dryers, lawn mowers and electric kettles in a follow up to its controversial ban on powerful vacuum cleaners.
The power of hairdryers could be reduced by as much as 30 per cent in order to be more eco-friendly, a draft study commissioned by Brussels suggests, threatening many of the models favoured by hairdressers and consumers for speedy blow-dries.
New proposals are expected next spring to outlaw dozens of household electrical devices that European officials regard as using too much electricity, as part of plans to meet EU targets on energy efficiency.
Current EU legislation covers televisions, washing machines, refrigerators and vacuum cleaners but not most smaller electrical appliances.
A study ordered by the European Commission, currently in draft form, has identified up to 30 electrical appliances including lawn mowers, smart phones and kettles that could be covered by the EU's Ecodesign directive outlawing high-wattage devices.
Günther Oettinger, the German EU energy commissioner, said that legislation preventing consumers from buying high-wattage appliances was necessary to fight climate change.
"We haven't got round to these devices yet, we want curb power consumption," he told Bild newspaper. "All EU countries agree that energy efficiency is the most effective method to reduce energy consumption and dependence on imports and to improve the climate. Therefore there needs to be mandatory consumption limits for small electrical appliances."
The proposals will be a controversial flagship policy for Jean-Claude Juncker when he takes power as commission president in November in order to meet a binding target for energy savings of 30 per cent across the EU by 2030.
EU bans on powerful vacuum cleaners and incandescent light bulbs have provoked a popular backlash across Europe including in traditionally pro-European countries such as Germany.
On Monday many of the best vacuum cleaners available for sale in the UK will be banned as a result of the EU energy efficiency rules that prohibit the manufacture or importing any vacuums with motors above 1,600 watts.
Tesco said sales of the most powerful vacuums had soared by as much as 94 per cent for some models after the Telegraph reported consumer group Which? urging shoppers to act quickly before they sold out forever.
The draft EC-commissioned study says hairdryers’ power input range from 900 watts to as much as 2,300 watts.
It admits that “of course, more powerful dryers may dry hair in a shorter time” but says there is “improvement potential” to cut hair dryers’ energy consumption by 30 per cent. This is based on a German scheme which awards energy efficiency labels to products which “achieve power savings of at least 30 per cent compared to standard appliances”.
Mark Coray, former president of the National Hairdressers’ Federation, said curbing the power of hairdryers would simply mean blow-drying took longer.
Mr Coray said he favoured a 2,100 watt hairdryer at his salon in Cardiff. “You have a salon environment and somebody in their lunch-break wanting to have their hair done; you have time constraints. The more powerful, the faster the blow dry – it’s as simple as that.”
He said one manufacturer had recently brought out a “green” hairdryer with a lower wattage of between 1,400 and 1,600 watts, but he was unimpressed by it. “It gets very hot but it doesn’t blow very fast,” he said.
Hairdressers liked to minimise the time they had to spend holding hairdryers because it could lead to repetitive strain injury, he added.
Herbert Reul, a conservative German MEP, said: "The commission must stop their eco-design plans. It makes no sense to regulate the detail of energy consumption, the manufacture of each product in the EU and to tell the citizen what he has to buy.”
Paul Nuttall MEP, UKip's deputy leader, said: "This is being done in the name of tackling climate change but the reality is it won't help one iota and will just make life harder for house-proud householders. I am perfectly sure grown-ups can decide which hair dryer, kettle or vacuum cleaner they want to buy without nannying EU interference."
Marlene Holzner, the European Commission’s energy spokesman, said: “It’s a big question mark if we go to regulate hairdryers at all. It’s a study we have asked consultants to do. In the final report they will reduce 30 products to 20. In January 2015 we will look at these recommendations then select from this list what to regulate and how.”
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