Our other sites

Comment

Science advice
By David Eldridge
Posted 11 September 2014
In July, Corporate Europe Observatory, a campaign group that focuses on corporate influence in EU policy making, called for the scrapping of the position of Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) to the President of the European Commission. The role was created by José Manuel Barroso when he appointed Prof Anne Glover as CSA in 2012, but in an open letter to Barroso’s successor, Jean-Claude Juncker, the campaign group said: “We hope that you as the incoming Commission President will decide not to nominate a CSA and that instead the Commission will take its advice from a variety of independent, multi-disciplinary sources, with a focus on the public interest.”
 
The group has objected to Glover’s public comments on genetically modified crops, and says the role of CSA “concentrates too much influence in one person”. It is interesting that these objections are being raised even though Glover has herself spoken out about the difficulties of commissioners wanting to use selective evidence to justify policy decisions. 
 
In May, she said: “What happens at the moment – whether it’s in Commission, Parliament or Council – is that time and time again, if people don’t like what’s being proposed, what they say is that there is something wrong with the evidence. So everybody blames the evidence and nobody is honest about the fact that in many cases, understanding the evidence is the best possible platform to make the logical extension into policy.”
 
This doesn’t sound like someone misusing their “influence” on policymakers. If anything, Glover seems to be saying that little has changed in policymakers’ glib attitude to scientific evidence. Her suggestion to Jean-Claude Juncker is to create a department for evidence gathering, which would operate with independence from policy making.
 
The science and policy scene in Brussels has intensified in recent years, and is full of accusation, mistrust and frustration from NGOs, corporates and politicians alike. In a situation that is likely to heat up further, surely having independent scientific advisers is better than not having them? Hearing a voice of reason may help the Commission make policy decisions that stand the test of time.
 

Recent Columns

The headline announcement by the European Commission on 2 July sets EU-wide targets to recycle 70% of municipal waste and 80% of packaging waste by 2030 and to work towards ending the landfilling of recyclable waste by 2025. But the Commission’s plans for a “circular economy” are even more ambitious and wide ranging. 28 July 2014

A new campaign is aiming to promote the virtues of expanded polystyrene, giving the material the new consumer-friendly name of Airpop.  10 June 2014

These are interesting times for com-pounding companies. Demand for their products has recovered well after the 2008-09 economic downturn. As our article on A Schulman’s takeover of Perrite shows, some companies are showing the confidence to invest and grow. 8 May 2014

Our 3D printing feature on pages 14-17 of this issue shows a sector of contrasts. 1 April 2014

The use of natural fibres in plastic components is being investigated by a growing number of companies and research groups in automotive and other markets. 7 March 2014

When European Plastics News created its Automotive Surfaces conference, which took place in Berlin in November, one of the reasons for devising the event was the emerging trend for functional surfaces in cars. We had previously run a conference on decorative automotive plastics, covering the variety of technologies and applications in which plastics have been used to greatly improve car interiors in the past decade. Now, surfaces are acquiring functional uses, through touch screen panels and controls, and the Automotive Surfaces conference was a success because it showed how car makers and their suppliers are quickly reacting to consumer desire for this exciting development. 14 February 2014

The wave of measures by EU countries in recent years to reduce lightweight HDPE carrier bags has annoyed plastics organisations. They think it is unfair to pick on plastics and ignore other materials; they question the environmental merit of switching to paper and other alternatives; and they do not like the ramshackle environmental policy-making behind plastic bag taxes, levies and bans. 7 January 2014

At the closing press conference for K 2013, Ulrich Reifenhäuser, chairman of the exhibitors’ advisory board, said he had previously hoped the exhibition would “really inject a fresh breeze for the industry,” and that his hopes were exceeded. He may have been speaking from the experience of past events, as nothing brings the plastics industry together better than the triennial K show. 20 December 2013

Jackie Maguire, CEO at intellectual property valuation firm Coller IP, looks at the current state of 3D printing technology and the implications for intellectual property 21 November 2013

Here is a conundrum: the carbon footprint of food waste is 15 times greater than that of food packaging, yet the latter is perceived as the bigger environmental problem, according to the UK agency Wrap 8 November 2013



MOST POPULAR STORIES
Site Index [ + ]
Site Index [ - ]
Home:  europeanplasticsnews.com | Contact editorial | Contact advertising | Features List 2014 | About us
Industry:  Resin Prices | Historical Prices | Companies | Market data | Regulation | On The Move
Technology:  Materials | Machinery | Processing
End Markets:  Automotive | Packaging | Construction | Medical | Electrical/Electronic
Processes:  Injection moulding | Blow moulding | Extrusion | Thermoforming
Design:  Design Landmark | Product Development | Moulds & Dies | Resin Selector
Environment:  Recycling | Sustainability | Bioplastics
Opinion:  Comment | Blog
Classifieds:  Classifieds
View:  Mobile | Desktop
Our Events:  Upcoming Conferences | Conference reports | PDM | Product Design + Innovation | Plastics Industry Awards
Diary: Diary
Advertise with EPN
Subscribe:  EPN print
Reprints:  Reprints
List Rental:  List Rental
Crain Communications:  Crain Communications | Crain Publications

Entire contents copyright 2014 by Crain Communications Inc.
All rights reserved Terms and Conditions  Privacy Policy
European Plastics News Business Directory
European Plastics News and EuropeanPlasticsNews.com are published by Crain Communications Ltd (registered in England & Wales No. 01576350).
Registered Office: 100 New Bridge Street, London, EC4V 6JA, United Kingdom.