Oil leaks in the Gulf – who will pay and who should pay?

We are still counting the cost of an accident; accidents will happen. So far the numbers are eleven lives, 26,000 claims for compensation, nearly one billion dollars spent so far by BP another $70 million pledged for resuscitating a lost tourist interest and $500 million on research into deep water oil spills. You can add to that the amount of time and money spent by the US Administration in supervising what attempts to be a cleanup and the time and energy spent by the Gulf States in doing the same. Continue reading

Do we understand where we are?

For the time being it seems the world is no longer worried about the environment. The IPCC and other bodies are re-writing their explanations and predictions about climate change. Perhaps they will now be balanced – a fault or quality that some detected in “the Energy Age”. For now, in an effort to provide a balanced explanation of anthropogenic climate change the scientists are relatively silent, as though they are learning a new language and are afraid to speak it until they perfected it in all its nuances. Continue reading

Borrowing your way into slavery

In the United Kingdom people are still living in denial about the extent of the deficit. It is clear from attitudes that many people think that the best way to get the nation out o recession is to spend money that we have not got. They ignore the fact that you can only spend what you have not got by borrowing money. You can only borrow from those you are prepared to lend to you. Continue reading

Ecosystems keep us cool

Our planet is the home of six billion people. There are other life forms, and most of us acknowledge their importance but we humans usually see the planet as our home, our mother earth a place created to support us and our descendants.

We have little compunction about changing those parts of the planet that are inconvenient to us. We do not care terribly if we inadvertently irreparably change parts of our planet because there seems plenty of it. We are ungrateful guests. Continue reading

The end of the polar bears may be nigh

Every time I mention polar bears in these posts I get comments from some people to the effect that polar bears are thriving as never before, which is not my view of the research. The population of polar bears is just like the curate’s egg – good in parts, which is a polite description of a rotten egg. Continue reading

Markets panic but still make money

Across the world stock markets are in panic. Panic is good for business as it creates the high swings in prices that enable dealers in the market to gamble with better leverage. Thus a bet will, if successful, pay bigger than if the prices swings were lower. After a day or two’s worth of panic share prices return, making us all wonder what was the point of the price variation, except to enable the market men to make money. However the problems may run deeper. Continue reading

Who cleans up BP’s mess?

When the banks were collapsing, not so long ago, everyone screamed for the Chief Executives of the banks to be sacked. The Chief Executives of the failing banks put out a statement through the equivalent of their trade association. which claimed that the people responsible for making the mess were best placed to clean it up. Continue reading

Moving on from the Iraq war

When a politician says that it is time to “move on” what he or she usually means that they want a public debate about a topic to stop, because they find it inconvenient to talk about it. David Miliband, former Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, thinks that we should all stop talking about the war in Iraq. Continue reading

American Rivers are getting warmer

The University of Maryland has found that rivers in the United States are getting warmer. They have analysed temperature information for 40 streams and rivers over the past 24 to 100 years and found that year by year rivers are warming. Continue reading

The new coalition’s environmental policies

The new Conservative Liberal Democrat Coalition has now published their environmental policies and they make interesting reading. The policy is in terms of its environmental friendliness better than the policies of the three major political parties; here compromise has led to improvement.

I can analyse the policies into four groups, the small, the large, the middling and the uncertain. I do not use these terms in a derogatory sense, Continue reading