YP Letters: Much hot air in scientific consensus

From: Gerald Tinsley, Boston Spa.

Polar bears on a chunk of ice - is this evidence of global warming?

THERE is a very interesting report (The Yorkshire Post, April 11) of large areas of permafrost being thawed by warmer temperatures, and releasing quantities of carbon dioxide and methane.

This is evidence that warmer global temperatures are likely to cause increases in these gases in the atmosphere.

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The “scientific consensus”, however, is that increase in these gases is the cause of the warming. A number of “scientists” found some (rather questionable) data where they were able to show a mathematical correlation between historical indicators of the carbon dioxide content in the Earth’s atmosphere and indicators of global temperatures over the same period of time. From this they concluded that increasing levels of carbon dioxide were the cause of increases in temperature.

In concluding this, they fell into a well-known statistical trap. If we show a mathematical correlation between two sets of data (A and B), it does not prove that A causes B. There are three other possibilities, all equally likely, namely that B causes A, that A and B are both caused by some other factor, or that the correlation is purely coincidental.

In any rigorous science such a correlation is regarded as an interesting lead to look for further evidence to confirm or rule out any such connection.

The report of thawing permafrost and the release of gases strongly suggests to me, however, that in this case B might cause A, meaning that the rising temperature is the cause of increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, rather than the reverse.

There is good evidence that the global climate is changing, but it always has been changing, and probably always will. There are very many possible causes, and we know very little about many of them: for example, how much heat is generated in the molten core of the Earth, and how much does it vary?

As Galileo demonstrated in 1590, we should be very wary of any “scientific consensus”. Science does not work by consensus and there are many past cases where the consensus has been proved wrong.

Wavering as a lifelong Tory

From: John Redfearn, Whitby Road, Pickering.

I HAVE voted Conservative all my life but I would have to think hard if there was an election tomorrow.

Why are bursaries being removed from trainee nurses?

Why aren’t minimum wages made at such a level as to be livable on?

Why aren’t all primary school children given free school meals so as to remove the stigma for those who receive them?

Why remove some disability payments from those who are genuinely disabled?

Why is speeding above 30mph not given a severe penalty to discourage those who do?

Why is the NHS and elderly care always short of money? And why is this not sorted as we say around here? Perhaps leadership is at fault. Maybe a new leader is required who has energy and enthusiasm to do the right thing.

So how do we pay for all this? Most people are going to need the NHS and care in old age so why not have a special tax band for those earning over £25,000 a year? Those paying it will be paying for their future care for the majority grow old and will need it.

When I was a boy, the wife and mother stayed at home to provide a happy home life and cared for both young and old. The wage earner received enough pay to cover all the bills but nowadays it takes two earners to pay the bills so no-one is at home doing the caring.

So let’s do the right thing. After all, Theresa May in her opening speech as PM, said: “Let us be the party for everyone not just the privileged few.”

A hard Brexit will cost us all

From: Kamran Hussain, Yorkshire and Humber Liberal Democrats Brexit spokesperson.

THE weekly shop is getting more expensive, as food prices saw the biggest increase for three years, figures from the Office for National Statistics have revealed. Meanwhile wage growth is expected to slow, leaving people worse off in real terms.

The figures come as British retailers suffer a third consecutive month of falling sales, with takings down one per cent compared with March last year.

The Brexit squeeze of a falling pound and rising import costs is hitting families across Yorkshire and the Humber, with higher prices in the shops leaving us all poorer. This is deeply worrying news for our economy, which has been propped up by consumer spending.

The Government must urgently act to reverse this growing squeeze on living standards. The best way to protect British consumers and businesses would be to change course on Brexit and fight to stay in the Single Market. You can’t have a hard Brexit and a strong economy.

Chat silenced by cacophony

From: ME Wright, Harrogate.

MANY will be relieved to hear that Leeds City Council is taking decisive action against noise nuisance – primarily what some, but by no means all, call “music” (The Yorkshire Post, April 12).

Is there any hope that prior to licence renewal, pubs and restaurants might be required to have a designated area where we can chat comfortably, without being in direct line-of-fire from Radio Wayne or worse – genuine “background” music, not a yelling, thumping cacophony?

All aflutter

From: Neil Richardson, Kirkheaton.

IN order to appreciate the loss of numbers among butterfly species (The Yorkshire Post, April 12), don’t readers need to know more about trends in this data, including the four worst years?