QUESTIONING the science of climate change, Councillor Cameron Rose (Letters, October 14) refers to the statistical record for global average temperature expressed as a function of time, which has shown a steady rise for the past century or more.

The hiatus in the upward trend since the turn of this century, to which Mr Rose alludes, is well explained by the science of thermodynamics and has been demonstrated to be attributable to heat transfer from the atmosphere into the oceans. Mr Rose should, perhaps, know that September 2014 has become the new warmest month on record and Nasa, which monitors these developments, anticipates that 2014 as a whole will also set a new record. So atmospheric warming is back on to its relentless upward trend.

The same letter also mentions climate sensitivity, or transient climate response (TCR in the scientific papers), which has been marginally revised downwards in a recent paper in Climate Dynamics. The hype which this paper has surprisingly generated seems to suggest that mankind is less constrained than previously thought in how long we can continue burning fossil fuels "safely". Unfortunately, even if the new sensitivity figure is more accurate than earlier estimates - by no means established - the implication is that 2050 rather than 2040 is the extended limit to the fossil fuel era, if runaway global warming is to be avoided. Practically, nothing has really changed. To reach the above goal, the rate at which the world economies have to reduce their emissions of carbon to the atmosphere continues to be very much faster than any single advanced economy has ever been able to achieve.

As has already been stressed in a previous letter, a rapid and concerted transition to renewables over the next 20-30 years is the only rational solution to the climate change threat.

Alan J Sangster,

37 Craigmount Terrace, Edinburgh.