July 1, 2009


Letters to the Editor and other People Speak

FROM-The Herald

Public hears only one side in the debate on global warming

Mike Robinson's letter (June 30), about Scotland's leadership in climate-change action, is almost pure politics, referring only to the increasingly questioned government-funded Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Even that biased work (which starts with the assumption that our CO2 is to blame) is full of stated scientific uncertainties.

Only the "Summary for (government) Policymakers" carries the "confirmed" scare stories we keep hearing about. Many of the 2500 scientists whom we are told agree do not. Their work was used and they may have reviewed materials, but fewer than 60 were selected by governments to help write the summary, which was never agreed by the remaining scientists.

The real science is that the influence of CO2 on global temperature is minuscule (and by humans even smaller). It needs positive feedback from clouds - and post-IPCC, peer-reviewed science increasingly confirms that clouds create zero or negative feedback. Without the positive feedback, the CO2 case is lost.

There has been virtually no global warming for almost 10 years; sea-level rise, steady for decades, is now falling; upper oceans are cooling; Arctic sea ice has fluctuated for at least 30 recorded years; and so on. There is so much real, hard evidence like this to demonstrate that, apart from the ongoing natural warming since the Little Ice Age, our climate is barely being affected by us.

The science is not settled. The public only hears one side. We need scientific debate.

M Wood, Aberdeen.

Mike Robinson claims "there is no credible evidence that anything other than human emissions are causing climate change". This is simply untrue. There are many other causes, but by far the most important is the decimation of the rainforests, currently running at 146 acres every five minutes. Until that started, at least 40 years ago, the rainforests had protected us from most of the effects of carbon dioxide, from both natural and human causes.

The United Nations has done nothing whatsoever about the destruction of the rainforests. For that it should be subject to major criticism, because it has the authority to force the relevant nations to stop the destruction.

Peter M Spinney, Mugdock, Stirlingshire.

The introduction to the Scottish Government's Climate Change Delivery Plan has a single paragraph on technology policy and five paragraphs on behaviour change, suggesting "public attitudes need to be improved". Rather than blaming the public for wanting a better life through increased energy use, the government should revisit its views on technology policy.

Through extensive use of nuclear power, France has a carbon emission per unit of electrical energy production of around 20% of the UK, while electricity costs are among the lowest in Europe. This is an example of how electrical energy production can be decarbonised by 80%, not in 2050 but in 2009.

Energy policy must be driven by technical innovation, future societal need and recognition that low-cost energy production is an overwhelmingly civilising influence. If we follow policies based on ideology, we risk socially regressive energy poverty and authoritarian measures to limit energy use in future.

Colin R McInnes, Glasgow.


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