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.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

We agree - er - on more hot air.....

Well! That's it then. COP 10 at Buenos Aires has ended with an agreement on - yes, you've guessed it - more informal talks in May, 2005. The US, the developing nations, and the Middle Eastern countries have very nicely put the dampers on all that European hype and hubris: 'Little agreed as climate talks end' (CNN, December 18):

"U.N. talks on climate change ended early Saturday with few steps forward as the United States, oil producers and developing giants slammed the brakes on the European Union's drive for deeper emissions cuts to stop global warming....."

Of course, emission cuts won't 'stop' (one of those immensely silly and lazy media words) climate change in any case. But never mind. Europe is inexorably moaning away despite the fact that most EU countries are failing even to meet their own Kyoto targets. Staggering hypocrisy. Luckily, the developing countries can see all too well what Europe has in mind and they are absolutely right to renounce any mandatory limits well before they appear over the horizon. Go India, say I.

But it really is a classic Feydeau farce and such a total waste of political energy.

Philip, glad another round of wittering is over. And remember - over 6,000 delegates flew to Buenos Aires. Now that is hot air! Time to raise a toast to a little more down-to-earth sense. But, oh dear! We have to prepare ourselves for Blair's G8 hot air. Still, Christmas comes first - and ,well done climate - probably snow this evening. Share a mince pie with a 'global warmer' - they need comforting.

Friday, December 17, 2004

The 'plate tectonics' of climate change.....

Reading the runes at the Buenos Aires climate-change chinwag, it looks like Italy is starting to slide away from the EU position on Kyoto (see: 'Italy calls to end Kyoto limits', Reuters UK, December 17), while America is now moving towards China and India to establish a new block with quite a different approach to the issue. This is a good thing politically. Such a block could no doubt include Australia, among others. Kyoto is now effectively buried (see: 'Buenos Aires: Kyoto's Waterloo' and 'The Kyoto Protocol is dead', both TCS, December 17).

The geopolitics of these seismic shifts is fascinating and something new for Blair and for the self-righteous, but highly hypocritical, EU block. Italy and China could both be heavily punished by any 'child of Kyoto', so they may be easily tempted by a more sensible political approach, especially one that focuses on maintaining strong, adaptive economies. Moreover, New Zealand and Japan are doing so badly by Kyoto that it is not impossible that they (and Canada) might be wooed by a more pragmatic approach post 2012. In Europe, Spain could follow Italy's lead very soon.

The 'plate tectonics' of climate change, as I like to call it, are going to be ever so fascinating in the coming years. Watch this space! There will be rift valleys all round.

Philip, hoping for seismic shifts against the hypocritical European hype. Coffee.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

All those everGREEN Christmas pantomimes.....

Here are your top ten Christmas eco-pantos, as reported by Peter Green and James Vital (Geddit!!!!) in the daily Gloomiad (particularly noted, of course, for all its Grimm fairy tales):

'Jack's GM beans could cause giant problem'

'Tree preservation orders slapped on forest around Sleeping Beauty's Castle: prince says he can't hack it'

'Snow White to sue Seven Dwarfs Mining Company Inc. over emissions: worried about melting make-up'

'Little Red Riding Hood to re-introduce wolves despite worried grandmothers'

'Cinderella says: "Have a ball in hemp, and use only organic pumpkins"'

'Aladdin says: "We must re-cycle more lamps before the genie gets out of the bottle"'

'Dick Whittington insists on walking to London: "We must all support the mayor over congestion charging"'

'Mr. Wolf gives a puff for bale insulation: "The last straw in ecohousing"'

'The Hansel and Gretel Report on obesity in children: "Toffee tiles must be replaced by high-fibre blocks"'

'Peter Pan insists Wendy House has planning permission, but admits they might not yet be off the hook - "The clock is ticking"'

plus, additionally:

'"Apples poisoned by wicked pesticides," warns Miss S White (aged 18) in latest Witch Report'

'Mother Goose sets gold standard for organic eggs'

'"Who has been melting our ice?" ask the Three Polar Bears'

'Tried the Goldilock's Diet yet? Three pounds of oats, three pints of milk, three lumps of ice, and a lie down, thrice per day. "Ooh! How can you bear it?"'

'"Constructs of beauty are quite beastly," claim Ugly Sisters'

And, as ever with the Groaniad: "It's behind you!" [Asteroid, GM crop, 'global warming', etc.]

"Oh no it isn't!"

"Oh yes it is!"

Who cares!

Philip, mulling wine all round. Christmas crackers? Pull the other one.

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

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