by Jerome a Paris
Wed Jun 15th, 2011 at 10:26:01 AM EST
Two stories from the UK and one from France today:
UK ministers ignored 'peak oil' warnings, report shows
The government was warned by its own civil servants two years ago that there could be "significant negative economic consequences" to the UK posed by near-term "peak oil" energy shortages. (...)
The report on the risks and impacts of a potential future decline in oil production has just been published – but only after the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) was repeatedly threatened under the Freedom of Information Act with forced disclosure.
|Les Français se fient à la science, pas aux chercheurs|
A la question "Avez-vous confiance dans les scientifiques pour dire la vérité sur les résultats et les conséquences de leurs travaux ?", une minorité de Français répond par l'affirmative.
|The French trust science, but not scientists|
A minority only of the French give a positive answer to the question: "do you trust scientists to tell you the truth about the results and consequences of their studies?"
|Il apparaît aussi – même si la question n'a pas été explicitement posée – que le taux de confiance est le plus bas dans les domaines où l'indépendance des chercheurs, à l'égard du pouvoir politique ou de l'industrie, est cruciale. C'est le cas, là encore, pour les OGM ou le nucléaire. ||It is clear - even though the question was not explicitly asked, that trust is lowest in areas where the independence of scientists from corporate or political power is crucial. This is the case, for instance, with respect to GMOs and nuclear power.|
Secret memos expose link between oil firms and invasion of Iraq
Plans to exploit Iraq's oil reserves were discussed by government ministers and the world's largest oil companies the year before Britain took a leading role in invading Iraq, government documents show.
What these articles have in common is the temptation for those in power to take decisions in a crucial sector, energy, behind the scenes and with as little input from the population as possible. This naturally means not providing to the population all relevant information, especially if it is not compatible with the preferred decisions. It is good to see that people are not unaware of that - but sadly the result seems to be confusion (including mistrust for those who should be providing the information, be it scientists or the media), apathy, and difficulty to oppose the policy choices of the elites. When people are actually given an (almost) honest choice, like the recent Italian referendum, their choices are unambiguous.
Of course, this is probably why information is withheld and policies prepared out of view...