in his ill-informed rant about global warming and economic aspects of green energy initiatives (Yorkshire Post, October 25), Mr Barrie Frost displays several areas of misunderstanding and confusion.
He does himself no favours by propagating the common fallacy that King Canute (properly Cnut – he was Danish) tried to turn the tides. In fact Cnut did what he did on an East Anglian beach to show he could not influence that natural force.
In the same way, modern mankind cannot stop the winds blowing, but it is quite possible that our actions can unwittingly change the ways they blow. It has also for example been demonstrated how to induce rain to fall.
Mr Frost considers that no recent change in global mean temperatures (GMT) over 16 years, and a ‘less than one degree’ rise in the past 130 years, casts doubt on concerns about human influence on global climate – but let us agree that global warming (and alternate cooling) is a real phenomenon, clearly evidenced in the geological record. The debate is about the possible extent of human influence on the underlying atmospheric processes.
Climate is the aggregate of weather patterns over extended timescales – hundreds of thousands of years, not a few decades – so Mr Frost’s 16 and 130-year intervals mean little in themselves. They must be set against the long-term evidence of just four or five degrees variance in GMT over millennia, between the ice ages and intervening climatic highs. On this basis, a near-one degree change just over a century can reasonably be felt alarming.
Living as he does in Filey, Mr Frost should be concerned about sea levels. If land-borne polar ice melt in Greenland and Antarctica continues to accelerate as current evidence portends, he may get his feet wet.
Also, ice-cold north polar meltwater floating on the warmer but denser salt-laden sea water has the potential to cut off the gulf stream current which is responsible for the relatively benign climate we are used to in Britain. So global warming overall could mean wet and very cold in Filey!
All these scientifically well-evidenced processes have the potential to combine into a tipping point that leads to runaway temperature rise and another possible mass extinction event for our planet. Maybe that extremity is scare-mongering, but equally it might not be far off. The precautionary approach recognises there are many available ways to stop things getting worse, and their economic cost is less than the alternative!
From: David F Chambers, Sladeburn Drive, Northallerton.
THE sun came out this morning as I read Barrie Frost’s letter (Yorkshire Post, October 25) on global warming threats and the deluded actions taken in response. I’ve been banging on about this for many years. Look at the reliability of long-term weather forecasting. Is this a normal basis for running the country?
Let us not hear another word about rising fuel bills while our money is being lavished on installing, maintaining and connecting windmills.
As Mr Frost suggests, global warming is not happening – well, one degree over the past 130 years.
That has nowt to do with humans, and there’s nowt that humans could do about it even if it were true.
Many allegations of weakness against our own Prime Minister are unjustified, but he could put the matter beyond argument by standing up and refusing to expend another penny in the name of global warming.
Of course, his Lib Dem partners, Greenpeace, the BBC, the Church, Prince Charles and others could suffer a collective attach of the vapours, but he could boast about the savings achieved as much as he saw fit. It could even prove to be his last chance of re-election.