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Letters / Wasting money tackling climate change

I was highly amused to see Tavish Scott endorsing WWF’s “Earth Hour” which exhorted people to save the planet from the ravages of “climate change” by switching off their lights for an hour on Saturday evening.

First, let’s be clear, such quixotic action is more likely to lead to a new generation of “Baby Boomers” than to any discernible difference on global climate. Nor indeed would the complete, permanent shutdown of all UK energy have any discernible effect – the tail cannot wag the elephant.

Second, exactly what “ravages of climate change” are we talking about? Rising seas?

According to University of Colorado, Boulder, who monitor global sea level, it has recently been rising at approximately 30mm/decade (about 1ft/century) and despite ever-increasing carbon dioxide levels, the rate of sea level rise has slowed markedly since 2005 and for the last couple of years, has dropped

This fits with the evidence of our own eyes for there has been no discernible rise in sea level at Lerwick since my youth, nor indeed, at Arrochar, where the tops of long-derelict old piers rise clear above the highest tides. So it doesn’t appear there’s an awful lot to worry about from rising seas.

“AH BUT..,” I hear warmers intone, “climate change leads to more extreme weather,” and indeed if we look at the Earth Hour website, it declares

“Global warming is the greatest threat facing our planet today. A warming planet alters weather patterns, water supplies, seasonal growth for plants and a sustainable way of life for us, and the world’s wildlife. Climate change has already started, but it’s not too late to take action. There’s still time for us all to be part of the solution.” (http://www.earthhour.org/ )

Really, what grounds do we have for believing that? Er.., none, actually.

“Aha,” I hear devout warmers say, “here we go again, it’s that grumpy old “climate change denier” flyting away about how “climate change” is tripe and we can’t afford to save the planet – he should be excommunicated pending psychoanalysis and treatment!”

For clarity, I have never once denied climate change; the climate has been changing in spectacular fashion for about five billion years and I expect it will continue to do so for a very long time, irrespective of Tavish Scott’s and WWF’s intentions to “tackle it.”

So what do I have against the Earth Hour blog statement?

It’s tosh, and I’m not alone in thinking that. In the words of Professor of Environmental Sciences, Roger Pielke Jr., University of Colorado, Boulder, we should call “Bullshit!” (http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/handy-bullshit-button-on-disasters-and.html) to any such utterances and refer the announcer to the latest report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – hitherto a kind of  “Vatican” of climate change theology. In a spectacular U-turn the IPCC report states there is no evidence that either the frequency or severity of extreme climate events is linked to global warming. The full IPPC report is available at http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX/images/uploads/SREX-All_FINAL.pdf

Among the quotes from the report highlighted by Prof Pielke Jr., are:

“There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change.”

“The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados.”

“The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses.”

Well, well!

So Mr Scott, SIC, Pete the Panda et al, why exactly should we switch our lights off annually during “Earth Hour”?

And why should the SIC continue to waste money on “tackling climate change” while hitting the weakest by cutting down on everything from schools to day clubs for the elderly?

John Tulloch
G83 7AG