Thunberg ahoy! Turning the oil tanker

A Swedish teenager with an unnerving calm and clarity of message, delivered in her second language, has governments and industries quaking. The campaign she leads has climate emergencies being declared, the first national one by Nicola Sturgeon.

No industry is more at risk from the growing pressure for radical change than the oil and gas industry. Deirdre Michie, chief executive of Oil and Gas UK, representing and leading the industry, said on Tuesday it's listening to Greta Thunberg, and also wants to act for a better world.

The oil industry has seen green activists before, and it's seen them off. A recent trawl through the archives for BBC Radio 4 reflected on the fact that oil majors knew emissions were causing damage to the atmosphere, and potentially to climate, before scientists had started publishing research on it, back in 1975.

Is this time going to be any different? Perhaps. There is now a credible alternative to oil-fuelled transport, through battery power, and it may be emerging as a technology faster than you'd think possible. Don't forget that the transition from horse-drawn to horseless carriages was not gradual.

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Image caption Greta Thunberg has started an international youth movement against climate change

The Attenborough effect is also galvanising people into action. The Blue Planet 2 whale with its calf apparently killed by ingesting plastic drew attention to the despoiled state of the oceans. Not only emissions from burning fossil fuels, but detritus from the throwaway economy, is focussing minds of consumers, and therefore also politicians and producers.

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Holyrood tax: the devil's in the data

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A young scientist stunned us recently with the first ever picture of a black hole, somewhere far out in space. It was probably based on very clever science and maths.

But even if it wasn't, who was to contradict her? Who can offer an alternative vision of a black hole?

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Auld Scotia calling Nova Scotia

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With unemployment low, skill shortages are increasing, and more occupations have been found to require recruits from beyond the UK and the European Union.

A tight labour market is sure to get tighter after Brexit. With unemployment at historic lows, the strain is already showing.

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Therexit: The economic fallout

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When a corporate chief executive quits, it's sometimes worth a look at the share price. A sharp rise suggests that the boss was holding back the company, and an exit was overdue: a fall indicates that investors saw the boss's presence as an important part of its future.

So how did the market react to Theresa May's announcement? By doing nothing much. The pound weakened 0.25% against the US dollar. The FTSE250 edged up.

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Climate emergency: Who you gonna call?

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What is an emergency? When you're in government, I mean. Is it a time when extra resources are mobilised, from contingency funds? The national guard mobilised and police leave is cancelled? When laws are suspended? Martial law and a curfew imposed?

We need to find out, because an emergency has been declared - a "Climate Emergency".

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Cask Conditioned

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Raising productivity is one of the top priorities for the Scottish and British economies.

So surely we should be celebrating one of the most productive industries of all?

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Scottish Futures Trust: where to next?

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If "kicking the can down the road" is the metaphor of the political year, maybe next year will see more attention paid to recycling cans and improving roads, because infrastructure is getting a bit more attention.

Margaret Thatcher ridiculed economists for using the term infrastructure, pointing out her prime ministerial limo made do with roads.

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Brexit and the economy: the cost of kicking cans

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Whatever else happened with Brexit, a weakened pound and the widespread message that Scotland remains open to Europe - whatever England's up to - should have kept tourism from the continent at a healthy high level.

But it's not looking that way.

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What if Brexit were revoked?

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Nearly six more months to reach the end of the beginning of Brexit. That's six months of can-kicking-down-road opportunities.

It gives us the summer months to puzzle over the constitutional contradiction of a prime minister who agrees to be forced from office if she successfully gets her deal through, but won't leave if she fails.

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Brexit's effect on the case for independence

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Honesty, truth-telling, detail and difficult issues being addressed: Andrew Wilson, guru of the SNP's rebooted economic case for independence, intends to contrast the road to Scottish independence with the Brexit saga.

That sorry tale of constitutional malfunction, and a slogan on a bus, is far from finished. We're stuck somewhere around the end of the beginning.

Read full article Brexit's effect on the case for independence