Thursday, November 04, 2010

Love your sceptics! Part 1

Jim Mather, Minister
I promised a report on the Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN) annual conference held today at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh - which is in my ward.

The conference began badly. The chair was Professor Jan Bebbington from St Andrews University.   Reflecting on the need for leadership she celebrated Scotland's groundbreaking 'leadership' in adopting the most stringent CO2 reduction targets in the world in the form of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.  Then she said this:
"The science dictates what we are doing"
An increasing number of people might disagree with that.

The keynote speaker was Jim Mather, the Scottish Government minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism.

His speech, whilst in thrall to the catastrophic global warming meme, was strong on being flexible and pragmatic in response to circumstances.   As you would expect from a Scottish Government minister, he was euphoric about the opportunities for renewable energy in Scotland.

I asked him how his flexibility and pragmatism would cope if the current crumbling of respect for science, upon which so much of our policy is based, were to continue.

His lengthy reply was notable for two quotations he used.  The first is the title of this post.  I think it is from Tom Peters, management consultant.  (Jim Mather loves to recount aphorisms from a wide range of gurus.)
"Love your sceptics."
The second was from Ken Cloke (conflict resolution guru this time):
"Make space for uncomfortable truths"
I must say I was encouraged that this "reach out" tone of response (remind you of Judith Curry?) was so different from some of his fellow believers at the heart of the scientific establishment.

All in all, Jim Mather was modestly encouraging.  It was the Scottish Sustainability Network Conference, after all.

Part 2 to follow.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps give Mr. Mathers a MindMap of the situation, and he'll get it.