A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Don't forget your genetically-modified vote.....

There is still a chance to vote on: 'Is the EU right to lift its ban on GM food?' (EU Business, May 19, on the right-hand side of the page).

Go, go, go, it's close. At the time of this posting, the voting statistics were as follows:-

834 votes;
Yes: 46%;
No: 44%;
Not Sure: 8%.

Philip, looking for his first can. "You'll have had your tea, then?" (Famous Edinburgh saying).
Monsanto wins one.....

'Monsanto wins Canada seed battle' (BBC Online Business News, May 21):

Field of canola (oilseed rape) in flower, Canada. Courtesy of the Canola Council of Canada."Monsanto has won a legal battle against a Canadian farmer it accused of growing a form of genetically-modified rapeseed it had patented without paying for it."

Interesting outcome to what has been a Canadian Battle Royal for the green bunnies!

Philip, patently interested.
Двойной общаться.....

Europe соглашается позволить Россию в организацию международной торговли (WTO); Президент Путин говорит что Россия приблизит к ратифицировать протокол kyoto. Вы услышали их здесь.

Now the BBC catches up with EnviroSpin: 'Putin U-turn could rescue Kyoto' (BBC Europe News Online, May 21). And here's something new - for once I agree with Greenpeace. Be cautious - nothing is cut and dried!

Philip - so let's see what really happens on the ground!
Well! Well! 'The Oil Age' gets a new lease of life.....

So 'The Oil Age' is over? Think again, folks. Previous gloomy projections were just too slick:

'Oil: never cry wolf. Why the Petroleum Age is far from over' (See: Maugeri, Science [2004], 304: 1114-1115).

Here is a full report in The Scotsman (May 21): 'Doomsters are wrong - there's plenty of oil':

"According to a paper in the latest edition of Science magazine, proven world oil reserves exceed one trillion barrels. Overall, the paper reckons that the world retains more than three trillion barrels of recoverable oil resources.

Far from oil 'running out' as some might have it, the big story of the oil industry over the past 50 years has been the way in which technological change has continuously worked, not only to yield up new discoveries but also to upgrade the size and extent of existing fields."

When will we ever learn. The doomsters get it wrong, time after time - on population, on food production, now probably on oil - and, just wait, it will be the same miserable tale on climate change. Surely we must leave them all to ruminate among themselves, with Eeyore, the Old Grey Donkey, in a boggy place, going obsessively over failed plots and fantasies, like Saruman, and watching The Day after Tomorrow over and over again. It's the film they deserve. [Give me The Lord of the Rings any day - it's more realistic! And Harry Potter is far more fun.]

And here is an excellent comment on The Day after Tomorrow - 'Science, and fiction' (Sp!ked Online, May 19):

"NASA has been accused of seeking to stifle the debate about The Day After Tomorrow, by advising its researchers not to reply to media enquiries about the film. NASA says, quite reasonably, that it does not want to do work promoting a film without coming to a formal promotional agreement with the filmmakers. Would that the broader scientific community had adopted a similar attitude, then we could look forward to enjoying The Day After Tomorrow for its entertainment value, rather than wasting time assessing its scientific credentials - which all scientists know, and most scientists admit, are bogus."

Meanwhile, the nodding donkeys look like being around for a long time to come.

Philip, oiling the wheels of rationality. Lunch.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Time to vote on the Corn Laws.....

Here is your chance to vote on: 'Is the EU right to lift its ban on GM food?' (EU Business, May 19, on the right-hand side of the page).

At the time of this posting, the voting statistics were as follows:-

243 votes;
Yes: 54%;
No: 19%;
Not Sure: 25%.

Philip, with his vote already in the can.
Воля они, они не соединят танцульку?.....

Thank goodness, Vlad the Vacillator strikes again:-

'Russia Kyoto decision unlikely at EU summit' (The Russia Daily Journal, May 20):

"Russia is unlikely to give in to European pressure and agree to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on the environment at Friday's EU summit, a government source said on Thursday. The government source said Energy and Industry Minister Viktor Khristenko would ask Thursday's government meeting to postpone the deadline for a decision to August 20.

'Mr Khristenko has signed a request to the government to extend the deadline for examining Kyoto by three months,' the source told Reuters. Previously, the government was to decide by Thursday. 'There will be no unified position so it is very unlikely that there can be an announcement at the summit.'"

"Oh! It would be fun in Moscow, Masha!" It's just like Russian roulette, or even the 'Lobster-Quadrille' (with deepest curtsies to Lewis Carroll):

"Will you sign a little faster?" said the EeeUuu* to the Bear,
"There's an Eagle close behind us, and he's making us despair.
See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!
They are waiting on Kyoto-- will you come and join the dance?
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you join the dance?"

"You can really have no notion how delightful it will be
When they take us with the lobsters, boiling, into the rising sea!"
But the Bear replied "Too far, too far!" and gave a look askance --
Said he thanked the EeeUuu kindly, but he would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, could not join the dance.

*Footnote: an EeeUuu is a self-important, multi-bodied animal that is good at emitting talk, but not at walking the walk (it tends to sit many cross-legged, confused, but with a smug grin). It is well known to pretend to dance quadrilles whilst being a thoroughly wet wallflower. It also wants everybody else to be a carbon copy of itself.

So it's still: Воля они, они не соединят танцульку?

Philip, singing Да- да да- да да- да да--, all the way to tea.....
Search me.....

If you're in an EnviroSpin (and who isn't these days!), then you can now Search Me with the all new, fully-customized 'EnviroSpin Watch Google Search' - permanently at the foot of the current blog page. I have also moved the hit counter to the bottom (from the side bar) because, despite all my wonderful HTML tags, I just couldn't get the new version to align right! C'est la vie!

Wow! And I hope to add other exciting facilities in the future.

Philip, off for a steaming cup of java.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

'Kyoto-ism', or Russia and Kyoto: from the samovar's spout.....

An illuminating report of the important Breakfast Meeting on the Kyoto Protocol held with Andrei Illarionov, chief advisor to President Vladimir Putin, at The Adam Smith Institite on Tuesday, May 18: 'Kyoto "a totalitarian ideology", says top Putin advisor':

"Andrei Illarionov, chief advisor to President Vladimir Putin, addressed an audience at the Adam Smith Institute today on key policy issues. Clarifying Russia's position on Kyoto, he said: 'Kyoto would result in an economic holocaust for Russia. Kyoto-ism is another example of totalitarian ideology like Marxism, communism and socialism. Russia has imported those ideas from Europe and suffered badly in the twentieth century. Kyoto-ism would lead to the creation of bureaucratic monsters at national and supra-national levels that - through allocation of emissions quotas - would be a blow against basic human freedoms and human rights, and would decide the fate of nations, companies and people worldwide.'

He went on to describe the science behind Kyoto as 'deeply flawed'. Viewed over the past 100 years, the increase in global temperatures may appear significant. However, over a longer period it becomes obvious that global temperatures vary a great deal - largely as a result of natural phenomena. The current global temperature is lower than has been observed at other times in the past 1000 years.

Last Friday Russia's Academy of Sciences concluded that the Kyoto Protocol 'has no scientific foundation'. It also stated that the Protocol does not achieve the goals of the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change, and in fact would be economically harmful to Russia and global development generally."

Да, да деиствительно! Хорошее сказанное. [Help! I hope that's right for "Yes, yes indeed! Well said!"]

Philip, with Mr. Illarionov all the way. Tea anyone?
Hey, I'm back and to good news.....

First, I'm delighted to say that Vesuvius failed to erupt and bury Dr. S and me under a mound of mud as we pottered around Herculaneum or ate delicious vongole by the Neapolitan sea.

Secondly, the 'European Union lifts GM food ban' (BBC Online News, May 19). A six-year moratorium on genetically-modified food has been lifted by the European Commission. Here is a more formal announcement: 'Commission authorises import of canned GM-sweet corn under new strict labelling conditions - consumers can choose'. I hope to be the first to choose to buy a can from my local supermarket - nay, I want the green bunnies to be there protesting so that I can buy 10 tins just to annoy them. Always canny, you see.

Thirdly, Russian scientists break any consensus that might have existed on 'global warming' and the Kyoto Protocol..... and even The Groaniad reports it: 'Scientists hand Putin weapon to kill Kyoto treaty' (The Guardian, May 19 - but not, you will note, reported by its environmental(ist) bunnies):

"Leading Russian scientists told President Vladimir Putin yesterday that the Kyoto emissions treaty discriminates against Russia, would damage its economy and would not significantly reduce global warming, increasing the chance that the Kremlin will refuse to ratify the agreement.

Experts from the Russian Academy of Sciences submitted a report to the Kremlin containing their long-awaited assessment of the scientific virtues of the pact for Russia. The document, according to the Interfax news agency, said: 'Its effectiveness in reducing the concentration of greenhouse gases in line with the framework convention on the climate change is low.'

The scientists added that global warming was occurring, but that to conclude that 'the warming is occurring exclusively due to anthropogenic pollutants, namely, manmade emissions' was questionable."

Good stuff. And lastly, there is my favourite holiday reading, the new Michael Dibdin 'Aurelio Zen' detective mystery, Medusa. In Zen's own words: "People would shake their heads and exchange fashionable worries about climate changing, but in truth it had always been like this." Dibdin is on top form again with Medusa, by the way. Do read it.

Well, it's nice to be back, though the Amalfi coast is a glorious memory, if not, I fear, Crapi!

Philip, in sunny mood. Lunch.

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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