Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Was Copenhagen Sabotaged?

David King, former chief scientific advisor to Tony Blair, thinks so. Le Monde has relayed the story. Of course the conference probably would have failed anyway: the political basis for an agreement just wasn't there. But the stolen e-mails didn't help matters and probably set back the argument in the United States by quite a bit.

The Concorde Trial

Charles Bremner, who is a pilot as well as a journalist, offers this observation about the Concorde trial:

There is a feeling in the flying world that the real culprits were the French and British governments which drove the extraordinary but financially disastrous project from the 1960s. Olivier Metzner, the lawyer for Continental, is openly charging cover-up. "They wanted to protect the Concorde and the image of France that it presented," Metzner said at the start of the trial today. Concorde's flaws had been known for two decades before the crash and nothing had been done to rectify them, he said (Metzner, you may recall, is the legal ace who won the acquittal of Dominique de Villepin last week).

Paul Krugman: Words to Live By

Paul Krugman laments the power of conventional wisdom:

Meanwhile, the Times has an editorial on the troubles of the euro, which is perfectly fine as far as it goes. But by focusing on Greece, it might lead readers to believe that the euro’s woes are essentially fiscal — that the problem is spendthrift governments that never lived within their means.

Not so. The biggest trouble spot isn’t Greece, it’s Spain — which was running budget surpluses just a few years ago. True, Spain is running big deficits now — but that’s because of its economic collapse. And underlying that collapse is the real problem with the euro: one-size-fits-all monetary policy, which offers no relief to countries that suffer adverse shocks.

Against conventional wisdom, the gods themselves …

Hell No, He Won't Go

President Obama won't attend the Madrid summit (Times article here). I haven't seen a reaction from Sarkozy yet, but I imagine it will be crisp (h/t Leo) Yet who can blame Obama, after Copenhagen, for avoiding another European junket without tangible results? On the other hand, with "change we can believe in" looking ever more remote, the prospect of a more multilateral world, with not one but many "shining cities on a hill," looks increasingly like a pipe dream.

Thick as Thieves

Ah, so they've reconciled, Le Figaro tells us. Jean-François Copé and Nicolas Sarkozy, that is. Why? They need each other? Maybe. The Villepin mess? Sarko doesn't want to be caught in an internal crossfire. Ambition recognizing ambition? The burqa affair? Whatever. For the nonce, they have decided to sing in the same key as they stare at themselves in the mirror every morning, dreaming of becoming president (even being president doesn't prevent dreams of becoming one, particularly as the role seems to become more difficult to inhabit every day).

Chercheurs of the World ...

... unite, and go to Paris. The mayor's office has a program of support for foreign researchers who want to work in the City of Light. (h/t Patrick Weil)