Monday, December 03, 2007
This is a reply to Paul Shaw's letter which is in turn a reply to mine. It has been published unedited.
Reports of global warming are grossly exaggerated hobgoblins
I will certainly admit to being one of those unconvinced by the claims that we are undergoing catastrophic warming. It is the case, as Paul Shaw says (Letters, November 29), that some glaciers are melting. It is also the case that some are growing and some just sitting there. That there are currently glaciers in the Alps blocking places which, in Roman times, were used as passes, means that even the glacier evidence shows nothing outwith historical experience.
The major recent piece of evidence, which sadly has gone unreported by the British media, is that it has recently been proven that US records purporting to show current extreme warming were wrong. They were distorted by the fact that recording stations, which, a century ago were in open countryside, are now deep inside cities (in one case beside the outlet for a factory's air-conditioning system). The corrected US figures now show 1934 was the warmest year on record and four of the 10 warmest were in the 1930s. To be fair, this error has not been accepted by other countries but since the fullest records were kept by the US, and an even higher proportion of urban records, this is difficult seriously to deny.
Sir David King, a political appointee, is on record as having said that by the end of this century Antarctica will be "the only habitable continent", implying a temperature rise of more than 30 degrees and has subsequently, in what the BBC reported as his "strongest warning yet", said it would be three degrees. He may not be the ultimate authority.
I pointed out in my previous letter that there have been several periods in history when global temperature was significantly warmer than now (middle ages up to 1350, late Roman and pre-5000BC). These were uniformly periods of prosperity, looked back on as golden ages. Mr Shaw did not dispute this.
The late H L Mencken said: "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." I regard the current global warming scare and, indeed, the previous global ice-age scare of the 1970s and early 1980s, among many others, as being such hobgoblins pushed by a Luddite environmentalist movement trying to justify its existence and governments trying to justify higher taxes and more regulation.
The 2nd letter takes Greenpeace to task for saying nuclear needs subsidy, & the Herald for printing this untrue claim without questioning it.
The 3rd, which is clearly from somebody who knows the subject is measured, pointing out both what we do know & what we don't & therefore all the stronger when it shoots hole in the Luddite case.
It has long been the case that online comments have been, on balance, extremely dubious about warming alarmism, but written material not sceptical. This is a heavy broadside which I think it will be difficult for the alarmists to let go unanswered so we may well be seeing a continuing debate in this lettercolumn.