A new comprehensive Danish research project has debunked the myth that Norse settlers were forced to abandon Greenland because of the adverse climate conditions. The research by Christian Koch Madsen, a PhD student at the National Museum of Denmark, showed that the Norsemen actually stayed on the island for as much as 200 years longer, despite living in a hostile environment that continued to get colder. “The stories we’ve heard until now – about the Vikings leaving because the climate worsened – are simply not correct,” Koch told the science website Videnskab.dk. “They actually stayed there a long time and were far better at acclimatising that we previously believed.” –Christian Wenande, The Copenhagen Post, 16 March 2015
The European Union is being outpaced by the rest of the world on business conditions, a trend that hampers the economic recovery and limits future growth, according to a study from employers’ federation BusinessEurope. “In the race to attract global investment, we more than halved our share.” Overall on energy, “we have much higher political costs in Europe,” Beyrer said, citing renewable-energy policies that cause “market distortion” and environmental efforts that are out of sync with global standards. If the rest of the world doesn’t sign on to the EU’s ambitions for reducing emissions targets, he said it may be time for Europe to “discuss our level of ambition” to avoid economic damage. –Rebecca Christie, Bloomberg, 16 March 2015
European Union governments have reasserted their authority over their national energy policies, before leaders meet to discuss the bloc’s plans for Energy Union on Thursday (19 March). The new design should ensure “the right of Member States to decide their own energy mix is respected,” states the leaked paper, which is dated yesterday (16 March). “Energy security can also be increased by having recourse to indigenous measures, as well as safe and sustainable low carbon technologies,” the new conclusions say. Environmental campaigners fear this keeps the door open for national governments to frack for natural gas, and mine and use other fossil fuels. —EurActiv, 17 March 2015
For anti-GMO activists like Greenpeace, the problem with accepting Golden Rice is this. If they oppose it, they condemn millions of children to blindness and even death. If they support it, the exception will be the thin end of a wedge that splits open their closed-minded opposition to genetic engineering in food. This would look like an embarrassing retreat. Saving face before Western donors and media obviously trumps the lives of a few million poor children in third world countries. By opposing the scientific means by which these deaths can be avoided, environmental extremists are imposing a kind of medieval iniquity upon the world, in which witches are burnt for interfering with nature and the deaths of children must be accepted as the will of an angered god. And they call this “progressive”. –Ivo Vegter, Daily Maverick, 17 March 2015
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