Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The systemic problems with 'biofuels' expansion begin to be headlined at last!

In a new report the UK's Royal Society suggests current EU and UK policy for biofuels may not deliver the much touted benefits and unless well understood may deliver unintended consequences. In Brussels 'Europe's environment chief has admitted that the EU did not foresee the problems raised by its policy to get 10% of Europe's road fuels from plants' and the EU is now revising its policies.

In another complex situation there is continuing European opposition to GM food imports. There is strong political will in Europe to maintain this position. In the end the US and places like the state of Victoria (Australia) may have to concede this issue because at the end of the day Europe is a bigger market than the US.

It is good that there are people who take a stand on these issues and that new, systemic understandings, are emerging. That said, if the policy developers had engaged in a systemic inquiry from the start some of these unintended consequences could have been appreciated!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

'Memo new president: let's end some fear'

Madeleine Albright's Opinion piece in yesterday's Age is well worth a read. Let's hope it is a harbinger of things to come regardless of who wins the next US election.

She observes that 'one manifestation of fear is an unwillingness to think seriously about alternative perspectives' and thus axiomatically the Bush and Howard eras in their respective countries have created environments inimical to systems thinking and practice which depend on acknowledging, surfacing and valuing multiple partial perspectives in complex situations.