Malcolm (Wicks) in the middle
Science and innovation minister Malcolm Wicks is one of the privileged few to have visited Antarctica. We met him on his return.
What did you learn?
The word awesome really did come to mind. On an emotional level, it's just another reminder that our planet is a very beautiful thing.
One of the things that really struck me in Antarctica is this extraordinary timeline it's telling us about our planet.
Often, they're drilling down 40,000 years into the ice, which gives you a truly unique insight into the evolution of the planet.
Did the visit influence your thoughts on climate change?
To be shown on the map an expanse of ice that's collapsed, that really does bring it home.
Now, I could have read about that but seeing and understanding what they mean does have real impact.
Malcolm on seeing the effects of climate change firsthand
As science minister, you seem to be trying to empower people through a better understanding of science.
We need to enhance public understanding in plain English so that "we the people" can relate breakthrough possibilities in science to what's acceptable in our democracy.
You've talked about GM being an example of public debate that "wasn't good in terms of public understanding." Can you explain what you mean?
It was an example of how the public felt scared by something they didn't really understand. They saw it as this threatening thing.
You also mention nuclear. Do you think people might feel a bit cynical about any consultation exercises on nuclear power?
We can't pretend that we the Government don't have a position on nuclear but we must listen to people's voices. We live in a very cynical age. At the moment, our politics is stained by cynicism and I'm not saying that's all one way. We have to acknowledge some responsibility for that.
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