Feeds

Sceptic becomes UK Environment - but not Climate - Secretary

New Minister for Nimbys takes up portfolio

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Comment Green campaigners are aghast at the news that a fairly blunt climate-change sceptic has been appointed to the post of Environment Secretary in the latest ministerial reshuffle - but they are no doubt also somewhat consoled by the fact that in the British government this post has very little to do with matters of climate change.

The man in question, North Shropshire Tory MP Owen Paterson, may be relatively obscure to Reg readers - he was Northern Ireland secretary until now. However his positions on energy matters are well known: he is an advocate of shale gas extraction and an enemy of windfarms and the "subsidies" (actually special invisible levies added to electricity bills) which are the only reason any renewable powerplants exist.

However these matters lie completely outside his new departmental portfolio: they are handled by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, which remains in the hands of the Lib Dem Edward Davey - though he is far less Green than some of his predecessors (for instance Chris Huhne).

As head of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Paterson - should he prove to be one of the unusual brand of minister able to bend both his civil servants and his cabinet colleagues to his will - can affect matters such as pollution, building permissions, farming practices etc. As such he can have only a relatively minor impact on the big climate/energy debate, which as one would expect is primarily a matter for the energy and climate ministry.

Paterson may well get involved in the Heathrow third-runway debate (in favour), but this isn't really a climate matter: a new European runway will probably be built no matter what happens, the only debate is about where it will be - and the serious political opposition to it being near London as opposed to Frankfurt has its roots in noise nimbyism among affluent suburb-dwellers as much as Green considerations.

Indeed this probably serves as a good indication of what the terms "environment" and "climate change" mean in UK politics. Paterson has effectively been made Minister for Nimbys. An early challenge for the new minister will be to cope with the hot political potato of badger culls.

As to background, Paterson is an Oxford-educated public schoolboy who ran an inherited leather business until entering politics in 1997. He is an advocate of biofuelled transport in a sense, being a keen horse rider. He lists "trees", "architecture" and "history" as his other interests. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
So, just how do you say 'the mutt's nuts' in French?
Vital linguistic question interrupts LOHAN spaceplane mission
95 floors in 43 SECONDS: Hitachi's new ultra-high-speed lift
Guangzhou skyscraper denizens to hold on to hats
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
STEALTHY NANOROBOTS dress up as viruses, prepare to sneak into YOUR BODY
Cloaking techniques nicked from viruses tackle roadblocks on way to medical frontier
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.