Sunday, 1 April 2012

UK government prefers to launch cruise missiles than scientific cruises

I found out this week that, thanks to various government cuts and the like,the National Oceanography Centre is going to have massive staff cuts. Fair enough, one might say, given the "current economic climate" but I'm more worried about the actual climate, to be honest.

It always annoys me when things that we excel at as a nation, like our oceanographic science, are hit so hard when the actual numbers are, in government terms, peanuts. How much are we talking? £1.5 million. Sounds like a lot until you consider that the annual military budget for the country is approx. £37 billion, while the annual science budget is about £4.6 billion... and cruise missiles weigh in at £500,000 a pop. So, for the cost of three cruise missiles*, we could have safeguarded the NOC and its invaluable work understanding global climate and working out how to fight/mitigate climate change. There can't be that many people who wouldn't consider that a fair swap. Sadly, it seems, they're in government.

*or six dinners with David Cameron.

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