Letters to the Editor

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Environment - No debate on climate change

Sir, – The Rev John Cameron continues to spout his arrant nonsense on climate change (Letters, September 28), this time accusing the Pope of ‘getting his science wrong’.

He claims that there is ‘vigorous debate’ on climate issues. There is no debate. There is 97 per cent consensus of peer reviewed climate scientists on the issue, and recently papers produced by the remaining three per cent were subjected to scrutiny and found to be so severely flawed as to render their theories worthless. The only people still debating this issue are those with no scientific credentials and those with links to the huge fossil fuels industry.

This year the world has experienced record wildfires in America, Europe and Siberia (and even Greenland, and Australia in its winter!). We’ve seen heatwaves where temperature records are not just being broken but broken by significant margins. Rainfall records too, are tumbling with over 40 million people recently displaced in south east Asia.

We’ve all heard about this year’s Atlantic hurricane season, but what has surprised even the scientists is how quickly the hurricanes develop from a tropical storm to category 5 sometimes within the space of 24 hours.

Sea surface temperatures in excess of 1 degree centigrade above normal are thought to be responsible.

The list goes on – and these are not ‘inadequate computer models’ but recorded changes affecting real people.

Deniers tell us that the climate has always changed and current trends are part of that. Again this has been disproved – whether it’s changes to the earth’s orbit, solar activity, volcanoes, ozone, aerosols, none are affecting the climate to the degree that we are experiencing and which were predicted since 1859 when John Tyndall showed that even in very small quantities, molecules of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are effective absorbers and reflectors of heat.

Deniers ‘cherry pick’ their data – usually starting with 1998 (an El Nino spike in global temperature) or pointing to severe winters in places where the polar vortex has shifted, itself due to climate change.

He accuses Al Gore does of benefiting financially – but what about the $5 trillion global annual subsidy to the fossil fuel industry?

It now appears that Exxon knew about the impact of its activities on climate change over 30 years ago and spent millions since then promoting misinformation.

There is no debate about climate change, and I think we should applaud the Pope for raising awareness of an issue which if not seriously addressed will consign millions, if not billions, of people to untold suffering over the coming decades. Promoting misinformation delays action and will contribute to that suffering. – Yours, etc.,

Ian Baxter

Broomieknowe Gardens


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