I was reading a recent edition of the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph in which it was reported that the famous, and internationally highly-regarded, polar explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, speaking about the climate change issue, said: "It has become very emotive. Listening to the scientists that accompany us on our expeditions, it’s quite clear that they aren’t convinced either way." What a breath of fresh air – someone with a great deal of experience saying that the Emperor just might indeed be naked.

Staying with environmental issues, Norbord is standing up for the whole industry in a novel way (see p10) and taking its case to the streets. In support of the "Use Wood Wisely" campaign against legislation that promotes the burning of virgin wood, Norbord’s campaigners dressed up as (wise) owls. They then encouraged attendees at the Biomass Awards, held in London, to "Get Wood Wise". I get a lot of invitations to attend, or to publicise, various biomass events, conferences or exhibitions. I don’t respond favourably. Why would the editor of a magazine for an industry which relies on wood for its very existence want to support such events in any way? I suggest you don’t ask a public relations company that question and expect a sensible answer because they don’t understand the situation either!

Of course panel mills burn wood for energy but that is a by-product and very different to making burning the primary use of the wood. The European Panel Federation is working hard to get that message across, and to get the EU subsidy policy for biomass electricity generators changed, but it needs the help of every panel maker – and not just in Europe as this is a global problem.

Another interesting development (see p14) is the formation of a new ‘super umbrella’ organisation for Brazil’s forest-based industies, to replace the existing associations representing individual sectors of the industry. That way, the entire industry can presumably speak with one voice. I wonder if other geographical areas of the world might pick up on that idea? It often seems that such an organisation in each area would make the industry better able to respond with one voice to stupidities such as EU subsidies for those who would burn our raw material. I have to mention the excellent article by Bernard Fuller of CFPA on page 30. If you are uncertain about which way the North American economy and market are going, this is a mustread story with excellent data from a man who time and again is proved right in his forecasts. We are lucky to have his contributions.

Finally, I would like to mention that WBPI is looking for a North America correspondent to provide on-the-ground coverage of that market. Maybe you have good knowledge of the industry, or you know of somebody who has? We are looking for a resident of the US or Canada. Please take a look at the advertisement on p47 for more details.