A bit of fun here - the department of food and rural affairs commissioned a report into the environmental effects of disposable nappies, and found that they were better for the environment than washable cloth nappies.
Why, then, did they hush it up?
Partly it was because they would feel stupid, having pushed the opposite line on the basis of no facts, as, for instance, in this from Westminster Council?
But there's not that much disgrace, surely, in changing policy in response to new information? The real problem is that the environmental movement has nothing to do with the environment. It is entirely driven by the age-old myth that being rich and happy is morally wrong and punishable. It is based on the religious belief that austerity is a virtue. If science weren't to tell people that, of two choices, the one that was more work was better for the environment, so much the worse for science.
To be fair, if we could actually see this report there might be problems with it. The Times accounts only for kg of CO2 emissions - CO2 is not the only pollutant, nor, in my opinion, is it even the most important. Of course it is likely to correlate well with other forms of pollution.
Here we go again - now for the bit I write after finding the facts.
The report has been "hushed up" in that, according to documents The Times claims to have seen, there has been a decision not to publicise it. But it is on DEFRA's website
The study does look at environmental impact beyond CO2 emission, and the results are similar (which is not very surprising). In fact, the Times article is surprisingly accurate, except for the claim the report was hushed up, when in fact it was published in 2007.
I also found a speech by Ben Bradshaw, from 2006, where he referred to the study, saying he "feared" that the new study (the 2007 one we're talking about) would not be able to give any "more clarity" (meaning, the desired answer) on the nappy question. Why is one answer desired and the other not? Religion.
The speech also mentions the Great Crusade of our time - the war on carrier bags - mentioning in passing that cutting down on plastic carrier bags is bad for the environment, as anyone with a brain would expect.
An important point in the nappy report was that, in the interval since the previous study, disposable nappies had become less bad for the environment. How could this be? They were 10% lighter than before, due to manufacturers cutting costs by improving design. Exactly the same thing has happened to other hate objects of the religious environmentalists - drink cans, for example, and our friend the carrier bag.
The supermarket carrier bag is a masterpiece of environmental design. It weighs less than 10 grammes, and can be reused afterwards. But its most beneficial aspect - its lightness and flimsiness - is what so outrages the pompous snobbish environmentalists. They say they are against harming the environment, but really they are against things that are cheap and tacky. But the cheaper and tackier a piece of packaging gets, the better for the environment.