In an interesting letter on the burning of fossil fuels and the implications of doing so for the future, Chris Parton gives the impression that a planet warmed a few degrees by greenhouse gases might not be so bad – he notes that "life was never so vigorous" the last time we had much higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (Letters, November 14).
The difference today, which makes global warming so perilous, is that the biosphere is hugely less robust than it was in the distant past with over-fished acidified oceans, concreted over biodiverse coastal plains and extensive areas of land turned over to monocrops, poor substitutes for rain forests.
In any future battle against runaway warming, which is our future on present consumption trends, the “great Earth system” will likely fail to overcome burgeoning carbon dioxide levels.
James Hansen, a renowned paleo-climatologist and expert on the climate of Earth and Venus, has a stark warning for us. In the face of continued political inaction to stop the climate threat, he decided to calculate what it would take for Earth’s climate to repeat what happened on our sister planet Venus – a runaway greenhouse effect that would boil away the oceans and destroy all life on the planet.
He said: “I’ve come to conclude that if we burn all reserves of oil, gas and coal, there is a substantial chance we will initiate the runaway greenhouse. If we also burn the tar sands and the tar shale, I believe the Venus syndrome is a dead certainty”.
Alan J Sangster,
37 Craigmount Terrace,
The Kyoto climate change treaty is a bogus document. It needed either US or Russian signature to become viable, but both presidents rejected it on the grounds of suspect science and a danger to national economy.
Vladimir Putin eventually signed up – but not for climatic reasons: in return the EU supported his bid to enter the World Trade Organisation advantageously as a “developing country”; in addition Russia gained billions of dollars a year from the ludicrous “carbon credits” trading system.
A nasty feature of climate change zealotry is its hysterical opposition to dissenting views, going far beyond labelling opponents “deniers” or “flat-earthers”. Greens leader Caroline Lucas described flying to Spain as “morally equivalent to knifing someone in the street”. WWF Scotland suggested that failure to ensure home energy efficiency be classed as a crime.
As Climate Change Secretary, Ed Miliband declared that opposing wind farms should be “as socially unacceptable as driving without a seat belt”. At the Centre for Psycho-Social Studies in Bristol, a group of therapists, climate activists, eco-psychologists and professors met to discuss whether denial of climate change could be classified as a form of mental disorder.
The hypocrisy of a movement dedicated to minimising carbon emissions while allowing members to sell excess allowances to others exceeding their own tells the real climate change tale; it’s all about making money. The world’s fastest-growing industry is carbon credit trading, whose practitioners must be the strongest supporters of the wholly artificial case for man-made climate change.
The news that the feed-in tariff for solar panels is to be halved from December 12 is to be welcomed (“Solar energy U-turn will disadvantage householders and lead to job losses”, The Herald, November 3).
This is a most pernicious and highly unethical scheme which takes money from the poorest and most needy in our society and gives it to those rich enough to fund all upfront costs, and who have the financial security to take the risk of the scheme being abandoned before the end of its 25-year payback period.
The scheme operates in such a way that the tariff subsidies paid to monied solar panel owners are simply added to the electricity bills of the less fortunate; even of those who are already living in a state of fuel poverty.
Most people will agree that this is not to be tolerated and that the scheme should be terminated forthwith.
5 Easter Currie Place,
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