Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Different Points of View

I have lifted the following two letters from today's Daily Telegraph. I trust they won't mind. If they do, they'll be removed.

Meantime, consider the diversity of opinion between an expert, Philip Stott and a protester (and, to be cruel, NIMBY). They sum up the problem with the climate change debate. Cold facts versus warm fuzzy feelings.

Sir - Last week rain fell not only on the rag-bag of climate-change activists camped outside Heathrow, it also poured on the whole global-warming parade.

First, new research indicates that our climate may be only one third as sensitive to C02 as has been assumed.

Secondly, corrected temperature figures for America from Nasa indicate that the hottest year in the 20th century was 1934, not in the 1990s.

Thirdly, recent satellite figures from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration demonstrate no mean global warming since 1998. Indeed, the curve has flattened to below 1998 levels.

And finally, our British weather continues to contradict all predictions.

When will our politicians, especially David Cameron, recognise that carbon claptrap, not global warming, is the danger for our economic future?

Philip Stott, Emeritus Professor of Biogeography in the University of London, Gravesend, Kent

Sir - Camping at the "Camp for Climate Action" over the past six days has been surreal but exhilarating. Lying in a tent at sunset, next to my daughter, and watching the planes - so beautiful, and yet so destructive - land and take off has been especially disturbing.

We know from the latest science (Hansen et al, "Climate Change and Trace Gases", Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, May 18) that "recent greenhouse gas emissions place the Earth perilously close to dramatic climate change that could run out of control".

If we continue along our current path we risk triggering a situation "out of humanity's control, such that devastating sea-level rise will inevitably occur". Indeed, the impact would "probably exceed" that which occurred 3.5 million years ago, when temperatures increased by no more than three degrees above today's levels, but sea levels rose by some 25 metres.

Control of greenhouse gases must, therefore, "play a critical role in preserving a planet resembling the one in which civilisation developed".

By permitting a third runway at Heathrow - and the dramatic rise in carbon dioxide emissions that will inevitably accompany it - the Government is effectively committing itself to the destruction of the world as we know it.

Gabriel Carlyle, Heathrow, Middlesex


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1:06 AM  

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