Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The shape of things to come

Gene at Harry's Place just posted about the extraordinarily brave Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez. I subscribe to her blog feed, but hadn't looked at it for a while.

This post made me realise how close a world of carbon (and energy) rationing would be to that of a repressive and dysfunctional state like Cuba:

A store on Neptune Street closed yesterday so they wouldn’t have to turn on the air conditioner after exceeding the strict plan of kilowatts consumed. In a five-star hotel they tell the tourists they’re repairing the air conditioner but in reality they turn it off so the meter won’t run so fast. In both places the employees breathe the hot stuffy air while few customers venture into the large market to buy, or remain in the lobby of the luxurious accommodation.
Ms Sánchez has a suggestion for other energy efficiencies:
Obviously these measures originated in some office air-conditioned by “up there”; they occurred to those who, at three in the afternoon, didn’t have to wait for a document in a place where more than twenty people were crowded together, sweating. I would like to throw out a proposal to the architects of this program, that they extend the cuts to certain untouchable sites where the thermometer still shows less than 25 degrees Celsius. It would be good, for example, to ask the members of the National Assembly, who are meeting on August 1st, to travel to their meeting on public transport so as not to waste fuel on their chartered bus. They should, keeping with the electrical restrictions we all live with, deliberate by the light of candles, drink warm soft drinks at the break, and limit their session to only a couple of hours, to avoid the costs of using the microphones and the TV transmitters. The unanimous approval and frantic applause which characterizes all their actions don’t require much meeting time, nor the enjoyment of relaxing air conditioning.

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