Environment, Science

Ahoy there, Arctic pirate! What I learnt from the Guardian

Last week the Polish organisers of the upcoming UN climate talks, scheduled to take place in Warsaw next month, came under fire from the oh-so-righteous bastion of liberal hand-wringing that is the Guardian.

arctice circle

The organisers published a blog post in which they described the possibility of building oil-drilling platforms in the new body of water. Normally this alone would be enough to set eco-keyboard warriors furiously atwitter, but the organisers went one step further, suggesting the platforms could also be used for “chasing the pirates, terrorists and ecologists that will come and hang around.”

Now it is certainly an interesting conclusion to draw: that pirates will shortly be invading the Arctic Circle, joining nefarious Dick Dastardly-style ecologists in “hanging around.” However, what has been more interesting is the subsequent backlash. Greenpeace has of course leapt up, declaring that this offhand comment shows that the Polish government’s attitude makes it unfit to host an international climate summit.

Unsurprisingly, the Guardian was quick to jump on the moral bandwagon and point out Poland’s supposedly dire environmental record. Europe’s biggest emitter of carbon is situated at Belchatow in the town’s eponymous power station. They were also keen to highlight the country’s overall reliance on coal power.
But no one seems to have looked at the reality of the issue. The fact that Poland has offered to host the summit surely implies that they may be taking an interest in reforming environmentally. In fact, they use more renewable energy than we do here in Britain.

The Guardian also quietly over-looked the fact that this new north-west passage would greatly improve maritime travel times, reducing energy use by the shipping industry. What’s more, it neglected to mention that this one comment was the result of one Polish environmental officer with access to PowerPoint, and is likely not representative of an evil government that apparently runs on coal and baby bunnies.

Nevertheless, common sense did not prevent the Polish environment minister, Martin Korolec, attempting to save face with a mild non-apology. He maintained that exploitation of the new sea would definitely be “not nice.” Take that, Guardian.

While it’s nice to have the Guardian around as a mainstay of anti-Tory resistance, it would be nicer if they were to down the mighty hummus of justice and instead picked up a sense of objectivity and proportion. And maybe bit of common sense.

22/10/2013

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benbeebe



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