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Energy questions of going to the toilet

469280_ec284.jpgGreenbang went to the toilet today. After washing his hands, he went to dry them. Two choices – paper towel or dryer…Hmm. Paper towels equals cutting down rain forests. But a hand dryer uses a vast amount of electricity.

Why not put a normal towel in here, then? You can wash that and use it again. Ah, but that uses electricity and you’re putting crap back into the water. And you never know what people would use it for. That comes down to trusting other people’s hygiene. Not in a men’s toilet, thank you very much. Doubt it would be much cleaner in the ladies’.

But Greenbang can’t go back to the office with dirty hands. Even the weekend music festival he was at, where the toilets were disgusting, had alcoholic anti-bacterial gel to clean your hands. Doctors use that and there’s no fuss, although it’s a bit sticky and takes a few minutes to dry. And so does leaving them to dry from water, for that matter. Typing would have to wait – imagine all the business hours lost to hand drying…

All this fuss over hand drying. They were almost dry by the time Greenbang took the paper towel, well toilet roll, made a mess of that and got it all over his fat mits, but they were no longer wet.

Another man then walked to the sink, washed his hands. He part dried them with tissue paper, but they were still wet so he wentt to the dryer and did another bit there. He walked off while the blowy thing was still going and finished the ordeal by wiping his hands on his jeans – nice.

Greenbang laughed, left the toilet and thought himself a bit stupid for all this fuss over something that was almost pointless to consider. But then he sat down to read in the New York Times that the global demand for energy is set to rise 50 percent over the next 25 years:

Because the world’s population is growing and living standards are rising worldwide, energy consumption globally is expected to rise by more than 50 percent over the next 25 years. But finding supplies to match that growth is going to be increasingly tough and will require huge new investments in coming decades.

The support for that conclusion is a 476-page study titled “Facing the Hard Truths About Energy” that involved 350 participants, suggestions from more than 1,000 people, submissions by 19 foreign governments from Australia to Saudi Arabia, and dozens of subcommittees.

Some of the recommendations made by the petroleum council probably far exceed what the Bush administration was expecting, for example calling for a federal standard to manage carbon emissions and taking steps to moderate consumption.


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