IN the middle of all this panic about a few degrees increase in temperature (and with sleet in the wind as I write this, a bit of warmth would be welcome), it is as well to be aware of the hoodwinking which is going on about this subject.

I got an invitation last week to a conference at which zero carbon is to be discussed. So I replied saying that zero carbon was an impossibility (and probably an irrelevant one too) in building.

The nearest we can get to zero carbon is in the construction of an igloo. By hand, with a knife. Yet even here (ignoring the carbon footprint of the knife) there is an increase in carbon emissions – albeit a slight one – from the respiration of the igloo-builder.

A well-informed local authority planner recently asked if a proposal on which I was working could be zero-carbon? Not in a million years, I told him. Not ever.

Arthur Quarmby