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Minister disingenuous over closure of Longannet

EWING is being disingenuous when he blames Westminster for the closure of Longannet, writes Jack Ponton While it is standard practice for politicians to blame their opponents for all embarrassing events, it is disingenuous of the Scottish Government energy minister Fergus Ewing to attribute all responsibility for the impending closure of Longannet to the present Westminster government, and particularly so to imply some responsibility for the early closure of the Renewables Obligation Certificate subsidy scheme.

SNP government ‘antagonistic’ to scientific advice

by Scott MacNab THE SNP government’s “antagonism” to scientific advice is deterring the country’s top experts from working with ministers, leading scientists have warned. It emerged yesterday that the government has been unable to fill the role of chief scientific adviser (CSA) after a recruitment drive earlier this year. It is now to be re-advertised, with applications also being sought for roles on Scottish Science Advisory Council (SSAC).

A Tale of Two Climates and One Price

Note: Article first appearing in Scottish Farmer By Dr Keith Dawson A stark contrast still between Scotland and Eastern Europe and Russia with a harvest story of over abundant moisture in one and a droughtin the other!In both arenas yields have been good, where the right inputs have been applied, as they have in Ireland too. This will sadly not help prices, although Chinese demand for grain and soya imports remains stronger than for metal commodities! The Chinese currently lease almost 10% of Ukrainian arable land. The weakness of the rouble and increases in the Eastern harvest output...

Herald Agenda: Government's closed mind on GM crops will exact a heavy price

By Tony Trewavas and Keith Dawson   The sweet potato, often called a yam, is a familiar vegetable on our supermarket shelves. It is a swollen root and its orange flesh is rich in the precursor of vitamin A. It provides nourishment equivalent to the potato (although unrelated) but will grow in poor as well as soil-rich circumstances. It has been available for some 20 years and freely sold. If you have eaten sweet potato in the last 20 years you have eaten your first GM meal. Some 8,000 years ago, a soil bacterium called agrobacterium, inserted two of its genes into the sweet potato...

Scientists hit out at "silly" zero emissions ferry project

SCIENTISTS have blasted attempts by a Scottish Government quango to create zero emissions ferry powered by hydrogen as a "silly idea". The Herald revealed that Caledonian Maritume Assets Ltd, the public body which owns the majority of Scotland's vessels and ferry infrastructure, is preparing to apply for EU funding for the project after an initial feasibility study - part funded by £200,000 from Scottish Enterprise - indicated that the technology was "not impossible". The vessel would be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell which could be recharged while...

Scottish Government energy policy is flawed

by JACK PONTON AND JOHN WILLIAMS DASH for wind has left us facing a power supply crisis as generation is not balanced by demand, say Jack Ponton and John Williams. There is a developing crisis in Scotland’s electricity supply, created by the policies of successive UK governments but exacerbated by the Scottish Government. At times there will be a shortage which could lead to power cuts. At others, there will be an excess which cannot be used. This is a consequence of the huge increase in intermittent wind-generated electricity. Subsidies make wind power the logical investment...

Scotland faces energy crisis by 2020

Dash for Scottish renewables is creating an “economic cuckoo” which threatens security of Scotland’s energy supplies. Scientific Alliance Scotland has welcomed a report written by Professor Jack Ponton of the Alliance and John Williams, Chairman of the Borders Network of Conservation Groups, which claims that by 2020 Scotland will be generating a huge surplus of heavily subsidised renewable electricity which it can neither use, sell nor store.  The report, published in the energy sector’s Scottish Energy News, states that the costs of producing this surplus...

Britain’s energy policy went from weird to bizarre

THE answer to Britain’s power supply is beneath our feet, writes Stuart Young. There has been much discussion recently about the unintended consequences of certain decisions, actions, or lack of action, regarding UK energy policy. Last autumn extensive media attention was devoted to the possibility of power cuts. That prompted me to look at the sequence of events leading to a once great nation not having a reliable electricity generation and distribution system. I found a number of unexpected and perhaps unpredictable consequences, but I also found a number of unexpected and...

Time to sort the facts from the fiction on GM crops

There has been some correspondence back and forth in this newspaper recently about the thorny issue of GM crops. There has been some correspondence back and forth in this newspaper recently about the thorny issue of GM crops. Genetic modification became a commercial reality in the mid-1990s and, since then, few topics seem to have generated so much misinformation and mud-slinging. The scientific evidence is clear; GM crops currently approved are as safe as any other variety of the same crop. Attempts to "prove" otherwise are a clear example of anti-science bias, with...

Examination of WWF Scotland’s Claims for Wind Generation

Conducted by Stuart Young in collaboration with Dr George M Lindsay.

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7 October 2015; Letter in The Times on the safety of low doses of radiation, as Chernobyl becomes a wildlife haven.