A few days ago the death was announced of F. Sherwood Rowland, the American scientist who identified the damage being caused by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to the earth’s protective ozone layer. His pioneering scientific work and the fierce campaigning by him and his collaborators led to a UN framework agreement to tackle the problem and to [...]
Driving across the rolling farming country of northern and central France, as my wife and I have just done, you might think that French arable farmers have never had it so good. Grain prices are high and the landscape as far as the eye can see is bright yellow with rapeseed and brilliant green with [...]
The political pressures are building as we approach the next reform of Europe’s common agricultural policy. The European Commission will finalise its detailed proposals for the future of the CAP in the summer, with a view to decisions in 2012. Of course the budget issue already looms large, with President Sarkozy insisting that the EU [...]
The new Barroso Commission has wasted no time in grasping the GMO nettle, after years of delay and obfuscation. It is authorising the cultivation and use of Amflora, a new genetically modified potato for industrial use, while at the same time working on a policy which will allow individual member states to forbid the cultivation [...]
I see that the EU Council of Ministers has asked the European Commission to deliver an opinion on Iceland’s application to join the EU, just 10 days after Reykjavik submitted its formal request for membership. The Swedish presidency wants the report by the end of the year, and foreign minister Carl Bildt has implied that [...]
If you want a flavour of the political challenges we face in dealing with global climate change, then take a look at European fisheries. It’s a disaster area! We should heed the warnings it sends.
For year after year political expediency has triumphed over the evident need for drastic action to save a vital resource from [...]
In Britain’s popular culture the marketing restrictions on bendy bananas and curly cucumbers have always been associated with the Bureaucrats of Brussels. Nothing so well underpinned a public perception of meddling officials in a foreign country imposing their will on a hapless populace by setting fruit and veg dimensions by millimetre and by degree. The [...]
The surge in world food prices, oil prices at well over $110 a barrel and measures to boost the use of biofuels in the US and Europe are putting policy-makers into crisis mode.
It is extraordinary how this situation has taken fire in just a few months and how intertwined the different factors are. A perfect [...]