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Sunday, December 03, 2006


This letter was in the Scotsman a few days ago from Jim Sillars, who broke away from UK Labourto form the Scottish Labour Party & later joinrd the SNP
According to Canon Kenyon Wright (Letters, 23 November), there is to be no more discussion about the claims of the global warming brigade that will destroy the planet. But are we really to take him seriously when he calls for an end to any scientific debate?

We hear time and again that manmade is the cause of global warming. Yet it is an extremely small share of greenhouse gases and that the man-made content is minuscule, 0.117 per cent; that water vapour represents 95 per cent of such gases, with 99.9 per cent of it not man-made.

Take the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's claim, based on model assumptions, that warming during the 20th century was entirely caused by man-made emissions. That may be true, but it may not be, because other climate scientists put forward the proposition that the cause could lie in land-use changes, particularly the explosion in urban development worldwide and deforestation.

Given the differences in opinion among scientists, the case for and against global warming by humans is not proven, and that more, not less, open debate is required.

Grange Loan

This was in response to the 2nd of 2 letters from Canon Kenyon Wright putting the Christian view - that global warming is the new armageddon & to avoid it we must all put on hair shirts & nobody discuss heretical ideas about us not heading for catastrophe.

Good to see Mr Sillars willing to put his head above the parapet like this while the numpties of Holyrood follow the catastrophe line. He also appears to have had an intellectual conversion to the sort of free marketism I support -"Jim Sillars argues that the left no longer offers a credible vision for an independent Scotland, and the centre-right, free-market ideology advocated by the SNP is the only might only be the SNP's centre-right economic guru, Jim Mather, who is putting forward ideas for the future of an independent Scotland"

The Canon's first letter was in response to a short letter of mine & was replied to by 2 puting the sceptical line, to which he again replied which Mr Sillars & another letter from Dr Lindsay. If you have been following the online comments the debate where contributions are not subject to editorial policy, the response has been even more onesidedly sceptical. Progress is clearly being made.

My previous unprinted response to the Canon's first letter has already been put up here. This is my 2nd unprinted reply (basically a shortened version of the first) but I am happy since Sillars' words carry more weight than mine.
Canon Kenyon Wright's letters ( 9 & 23 Nov.), originally in response to mine ( 1 Nov.) have been certain of the existence of "scientific consensus" on warming because Al Gore has produced a book (which came out 10 years ago) & film. He did not comment on my previous mention of the Oregon Petition to which 17,100 scientists put their name against the claims of catastrophic warming. It seems that those loudest in claims of a scientific consensus are politicians, journalists & indeed theologians but the existence of this petition & organisations such as the very eminent Professor Singer's SEPP prove that the "consensus", as with so many consensii is not as wide as proponents say.

More important than the opinions of the "great & good", more important even than the opinions & computermodels of scientists, are the facts. It is a fact that since 1999 the world has not got warmer.

We are told "no past rate of warming comes anywhere near that of the present" but climatologists, historians & archaeologists agree that the Medieval Warming was as warm as now & the Late Roman (when grapes grew at York) probably significantly warmer. Sea levels are still only increasing at about 0.6mm a year as they have since the last ice age. The Hockey Stick theory of a current sudden sharp increase, of which both the IPCC & Gore made extensive use, has been shown to be mathematically flawed in that almost whatever figures are fed in out pops the same prediction,

That it took an independent sceptical researcher Stephen McIntyre to actually check the maths after the IPCC had been using it for years is not indicative of good science not being on the sceptical side.

Finally the Canon's previous letter included a plea that even if warming can't be proved we should take drastic (Kyoto has been costed at $400 million a day) action on the "precautionary principle". Of course under this same principle we should be currently forced to take equally drastic action to protect us from global cooling which used to be the "environmentalist's" bete noire. To be fair, this would not be as impossible as it sounds since their patent remedy for an ice age was ending air flights, pollution & modern technology generally - exactly the same as their remedy for warming. The "precautionary principle", in its current extreme form, once defined by the late Sir Humphrey Appleby as "while many things should be done nothing should ever or done for the first time" is merely the institutionalisation of Luddism (& civil service practice) & should be treated with suspicion.

The climate has always moved up & down, up normally being better, & those who wish to panic us into more restrictions & higher taxes are doing us no favours.

Jim has another letter in the Scotsman today
re-emphasising what he said. He also has another making fun of Labour in the Herald
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