At the End of the Day

Welcome to the 250th At the End of the Day.

As I poked my head gingerly out of the back door of the house here in South West France an hour ago, I couldn’t help but notice that it’s snowing. This is towards the end of February in the South of France, and it is snowing. What the hell is going on here?

Well, nothing that unusual.

In a statement to the Commons environment committee, Paul Smith, a retired auditor of food safety standards and a meat auditor of 40 years’ experience, cast doubt on the system used by supermarkets to police meat suppliers. He accused supermarkets of having an “incestuous and inappropriate” relationship with such sources of food…and their regulators. You read it here first.

Tim Yeo and Boris Johnson have been mucking about with environmental emissions…apparently for commercial gain. More later this morning about that naughtiness.

Germany has a major nuclear waste problem. For almost 50 years, the former Asse II salt mine in the northwestern state of Lower Saxony has been used as an underground repository for nuclear and other harmful waste. Some 126,000 barrels of nuclear waste are in the massive mine complex. To make matters worse, the system of tunnels is in danger of collapsing. So then, a bit late for Merkel to be “rejecting” nuclear power, nicht wahr?

Meanwhile Bloomberg brings news of BP’s attempt to convince a US court that its Gulf of Mexico oil spill didn’t amount to gross negligence. Sounds like a toughie to me, especially as the blowout and explosion aboard the company’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 workers and spilled more than 4 million barrels of oil into the said Gulf. The prosecution case piles pain onto the agony here, arguing that BP – over-budget and behind schedule for the Macondo well – cut corners and ignored tests showing unsafe pressure levels as it tried to complete the project. They also claim that Halliburton’s cement job was defective and that Transocean disabled safety systems and failed to maintain the rig and adequately train its crew. So it’s over to the Defence lawyers re this one.

And finally Centrica, the owner of British Gas, faces a consumer backlash amid reports it is about to announce a 15% increase in profits, taking the figure to some £2.8billion. It’s hard to see this as anything other than a profits bonanza on the back of spiralling bills for struggling customers. I see this as an environmental issue primarily in the sense of the Centrica management being a bunch of arseholes whose very presence on the planet is of serious ecological concern.

And so ends another day

on a planet in the Milky Way.