David Pencheon on the NHS carbon reduction strategy

David Pencheon We have no right to steal from future generations. At the end of this month, the consultation will close on the proposed carbon reduction strategy for the NHS in England. This country is the first in the world to start legislating on climate change, the most serious and urgent health threat to current and future generations. Doctors, scientists, and other health professionals have a special responsibility to urge our colleagues, communities, policy makers, and politicians to take this threat seriously now by concerted action. You can show your support easily by encouraging the NHS to be a leading sustainable organisation by giving your feedback here. This is happening on our watch and will be our legacy.

18 September 2008
David Pencheon is a UK trained public health doctor and is currently director of the NHS Sustainable Development Unit (England).

  • Dr John Ashcroft

    I agree to some degree with the sentiments, but the green lobby can and does get it wrong, usually by ignoring the science. The politicians and media also jump on the band waggon and poor decisions made and taxpayers money is wasted.

    So a rant, and a littel science on WIND FARMS …are popular because the goverment is stuffing taxpayers money into them. The amount of energy in wind is proportional to the cube of the wind velocity.. if wind 5m/sec= 5KW then wind at 15m/sec=135kw. So energy is only generated for a small part of the time. It comes irregularly and cannot be stored. This means that for every 4 megawatt of wind turbine capacity, you generate on average only 1MW of power, and have to have 4 MW of power plant switching on and off, which makes it work less effficiently. Electricity only represents 25% of our power consumption, so the most energy you can realistically replace is 6% of energy with wind or renewables… unless you start looking at full blown hydrogen economy.

    Converting electricity to hydrogen could allow storage, and then you could use the hydrogen to produce electricity when the wind doesnt blow. Sounds good, but the conversion to hydrogen at best is only 50% effiecient, and the conversion back is at best 50%. So the overall effieciency is only 25%. So to produce the 3MW of electricity when the wind doesnt blow needs 12MW of electricity which needs 48MW of installed windturbine capacity, or 52MW of turbines it total to produce the 4MW of electricity. So you need 13 times the number of power lines than you would from a normal power plant and vast hydrolysis factories, and a LOT of turbines…. maddness.

    But better is combined heat and power, CHP. We had the opportunity to do this in Ilkeston a few years ago when it was decided that to get rid of our cosl fired heating at our local community hospital. But the CE of the PCT decided to go with gas boilers…. 250K, but then expansion of the hospital with a DTC ( now only running at 30% capacity, more taxpayers money wasted, dont go there) streached the capasity of the grid… new substation.. 250k, and then made it apparent that the emergency generators were not up to spec… another 250k.

    I kept saying that CHP unit would have done it all, and would have cost use nothing (you just pay for the electricity and heat you use, and thats cheaper than tariff) but who listens to a GP. NHS managers just know it all, unlike city bankers, they are masters of there own universe, covering up their failures with bureaucracy more successfully, and moving on to bigger and better thinks before the S..t hits the fan