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Scientific Alliance Newsletter

17.03.2007
- Putting our money where their mouth is: the government's Climate Change Bill - The reality behind the targets - Will an extra thousand railway carriages solve anything? - Double standards Putting our money where their mouth is: the government’s Climate Change Bill The government has this week published its draft Climate Change Bill. There is now a period of public consultation lasting until 11th June. The Scientific Alliance will be responding, and we encourage as many readers as possible to send their own comments. The text of the Bill and the consultation documents are available at...
09.03.2007
- Sustainable development in government - The Great Global Warming Swindle - Urban pollution Sustainable development in government Having raised some questions about the concept of sustainability last week, we now have an opportunity to see the difficulties of sustainable development in practice, in this case in the public sector. This week, the Sustainable Development Commission – the government-appointed independent advisory body and watchdog, chaired by Jonathon Porritt – issued its fifth Sustainable Development in Government report. And the results do not look good. Eleven out of the...
02.03.2007
- The myth of sustainability - Green fuel - The IPCC: maintaining the pressure - Climate change documentary - A guide to scientific uncertainty The myth of sustainability Sustainability is a term which we hear constantly, but most of us would be hard put to define. In 1987, the Brundtland report (Our Common Future) introduced a definition of sustainable development as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Few would argue with the sentiment The usual formulation is that there are three dimensions...
23.02.2007
- The pros and cons of organic agriculture - Accounting for carbon - Road pricing - The Chilling Stars The pros and cons of organic agriculture In recent days, a number of rather unexpected headlines have appeared in the press. For example, according to the Times “Buying organic food ‘can harm the planet’”. The Daily Mail’s take on the same story is “Going organic could cost the Earth”. Perhaps David Miliband’s comment of a few months ago that buying organic was a “lifestyle choice” has started a critical trend? In fact, the stories are based on a report commissioned by Defra from the...
16.02.2007
- Europen car emission standards - A step backwards for nuclear power? - Green crimes - Criticism of the Scientific Alliance European car emission standards There has been much wrangling in Brussels over proposed new targets for reduction of CO2 emissions. The net result is a proposal to set a binding goal of 130g CO2/km as the average for all new cars sold by 2012. This is higher than the figure of 120g CO2/km proposed by the environment commissioner and, as such, represents a partial success for the industrial lobby. Interestingly, car manufacturers have received strong support from...
09.02.2007
- Climate change: what are the facts and where is the balance? - Food production and the environment - GM animal produce to be labelled? Climate change: what are the facts and where is the balance? The IPPC’s Summary for Policymakers of the Working Group 1 report (physical basis of climate change) was formally launched on 2nd February in Paris. There were few changes from the widely-leaked draft, but a number of figures were added, bringing the total document length to a still-slim 21 pages. Rarely can quite so much global media attention have been focussed on such a short report. There...
02.02.2007
- Climate change: is the science really settled? - Renewable energy - The high price of tortillas - Bove for president? Climate change: is the science really settled? Today, the IPCC releases its latest report on the science of climate change. At least, that’s what the headlines will say. In fact, this is the first stage of a staggered publication of the organisation’s Fourth Assessment Report (FAR), which supersedes the third report, published in 2001. But this first tranche is not, as might be expected, the full weighty document, in which all available evidence is evaluated and...
26.01.2007
- Squabbles at the EU: facing the realities of climate change policy - Meanwhile, across the Atlantic... - GM crops are increasingly popular with farmers - Politically correct weather forecasting - The green High Street Squabbles at the EU: facing the realities of climate change policy This week, the European Commission was due to put forward legislation on binding targets for motor manufacturers to reduce the average carbon emissions of the vehicles they produce. Hot on the heels of Europe’s occupation of the green high ground following the recent announcement of a target of a 20% cut in...
19.01.2007
- Climate change: two views of Stern - Energy security - Atomic scientists get in on the act   Climate change: two views of Stern Once again, climate change is the focus of our attention. This week, Sir Nicholas Stern personally launched the book version of his eponymous review called, rather unadventurously “The economics of climate change”. At the same time, a double-barrelled critique of his work became available on the internet, prior to its publication in the respected journal World Economics later this month. The contrast could hardly be greater.   On Monday, a capacity audience...
11.01.2007
- Europe's new energy policy - The business response to climate change - Admitting the truth about organic food - Shooting the messenger Europe’s new energy policy This week saw the publication of the European Union’s latest energy policy proposals. They covers a range of issues, including opening up the market to more competition, setting binding targets for the use of biofuels and, perhaps most importantly, assuring energy security. Many of the proposals are very sensible, in particular the encouragement of new nuclear generating capacity as an important part of the mix, and the move to...

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