Pique oil

Dame Ellen MacArthur, 33, is to launch a new foundation next year to campaign for alternative energy sources. The solo, circumnavigator, who retired from ocean racing this week, wants to educate the public about oil, gas and coal profligacy.

She told The Sun newspaper: ‘Each of us in the UK uses the equivalent of 4.4 litres of oil per day. To put this in perspective; the biggest oil tanker in the world is a quarter of a mile long, that’s even longer than the Empire State Building is tall. When fully loaded it is so deep at 80ft that it can’t even get up the English Channel.

‘It can carry 4.12 million barrels of crude oil but, incredibly, even if it could get to us in the UK, it would last us less than three days. We have to accept that the resources we can’t live without will not be around forever.’

She might have added that the US uses about four times as much per capita as we do.