Letters: Points left out of climate debate

Share
Related Topics

Dominic Lawson ("Why won't Huhne celebrate our gas windfall?", 25 October) attributes the Energy Secretary's failure to draw the public's attention to the significance of the recent discovery of vast shale gas reserves to the fact that this "comes as a most inconvenient surprise to him in his capacity as Cabinet minister responsible for Climate Change policy".

Could a similar inconvenience lie behind Mr Lawson's failure to mention another very recent finding of even greater significance: the confirmation by the independent and highly respected team at the Berkeley Earth Project of the reality of global warming?

Nigel Tuersley

Tisbury, Wiltshire

I assume your aim in giving Dominic Lawson a platform to promote his views on climate change is to try to present a balanced argument for and against anthropogenic climate change.

However, for all the misinformation spread by those who want to deny the existence of human-induced global warming, there is in fact a remarkable degree of consensus among scientists at to the effects of CO2 emissions on global temperatures. If you were to apply the same criteria of balanced argument to medicine, for example, you would need to have a columnist who regularly discussed the advantages of homeopathy over conventional medicines.

Of particular (and urgent) interest are the reasons why it is generally those on the right politically who decry any action on climate change. One can only assume it is because action to prevent climate change would require a substantial reining in of the individual freedom to consume fossil fuels. The right have promoted the individual freedom to consume into a dogma, in contrast to the original tenets of liberalism, which are that one should have the freedom to do what one wishes as long as it doesn't harm others. Our excessive emissions are harming others, and will continue to do so.

Dr Hugh Dunkerley

Brighton

An error seems to have crept in to Dominic Lawson's article on climate change. In the light of the discovery of the shale gas field around Blackpool, he welcomes the predicted failure of co-ordinated action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions among the main global players.

The last sentence reads: "That is good for any person or business worried about their fuel bills, and it is wonderful news for Blackpool, Lancashire." The end of the sentence appears to be missing, and should read, "and an absolute disaster for mankind and the future of the planet."

Jo Widdicombe

Millbrook, Cornwall

Eurosceptics embrace a mythical Britain

Steve Richards (25 October) points out the mythical nature of the "Europe" which Eurosceptics are targeting. There is an equally valid distinction to be made between the "Britain" they imagine they are living in, and Britain in reality.

Mythical "Britain" congratulates itself for avoiding the fate of countries like Italy and Spain, because it had the foresight to see that the euro was going to be a disaster. "Britain" has a vigilant parliament which opposes transfers of sovereignty to "Brussels". "Britain" faces constant attacks on its sovereignty from "Brussels", an ill-defined but hostile entity.

While public debate centres on "Britain", the real Britain is sleepwalking its way into a constitutional crisis over Scotland, which could weaken the Union far more than anything "Brussels" can dream up. Britain has an economy burdened with enormous government and personal debt precisely because it followed policies very similar to those followed by Spain and Italy earlier in this decade. However, because Britain has retained its own currency, it has been able to use devaluation in its debt reduction policy: a de facto policy of devaluing the nation's aggregate wealth.

It is true that, in Britain, EU legislation has not been effectively monitored by Parliament but that is because the executive branch here has used its dominance of the legislature to fend off serious scrutiny. The way European legislation is implemented in Britain needs looking at, but that is an internal British issue, not a fight between "Britain" and "Brussels".

David Stephen

North Tamerton, Cornwall

Steve Richards' usual incisiveness escaped him in making the point that "the plight of the Eurozone is an easy scapegoat for those ministers who made the wrong call in relation to deep spending cuts".

The spending cuts last year were predicated on the basis of the nascent global recovery which was observable at the time. However, any recovery in the British – and indeed world – economy was and is heavily geared to European economic performance, which hit the wall with the crisis in the Eurozone.

Criticism can be levelled at the Coalition for failing to recognise in June 2010 that the euro, as it is currently structured, is such a fundamentally flawed concept that the current crisis was inevitable at some point. But the crisis has derailed economic policies throughout the world and cannot be glibly dismissed as a scapegoat.

The reality is that the Coalition has to engage very actively with the EU as a whole and Germany in particular for its current fiscal policy to have a realistic chance of success. This is the real conundrum that faces David Cameron in dealing with his backbenchers, who seem to believe that Britain is a metaphorical as well as a physical island.

David Bracey

Chesham Bois, Buckinghamshire

Jack Darrant (letter, 25 October) claims that because no one under the age of 54 has had a chance to vote on our being part of Europe it's time we had a referendum on the issue.

That's nothing. We in the ancient kingdom of Surrey were violently annexed by Wessex in 825 and later subsumed into England and then into Britain. Instead of whining on about being badly treated by Winchester and London we simply got on and made the best of it. I think we have done rather well out of being part of England – even though we pay Westminster far more tax than we get back.

Just as we, in Surrey, have focused our attention on making our relationship within England work, Jack Darrant and his kind would make for a stronger Britain if they focused their energies making our relationship in Europe work. Instead of all this carping, let's celebrate what is good about Europe and address the problems, of which there are many, with vim and gusto.

Andrew Davis

Weybridge, Surrey

The EU referendum vote in Parliament shows the idiocy and the danger of the way "the people" are now given access to parliamentary debate. The 100,000 people who need to sign a petition for debate are 0.16 per cent of the population.

The idiocy is to accept that this is "representative" of anything at all. The danger is that it allows the right wing to say that "this is what the British people want". Not terribly numerate, are they?

Jenny Backwell

Hove



David Cameron appears to have won an arm-wrestling contest with his own other arm.

Mark Robertson

East Boldon, Tyne & Wear

Clegg's neoliberal 'help' for Egypt

Nick Clegg (20 October) presents a warped account of the Egyptian revolution and Britain's role, casting himself as a supporter of democracy. But his reference to British investment reveals another, corporate-led, agenda. Britain's foreign energy policy primarily sees Egypt as a gas exporter and oil transit country. BP is the largest foreign investor in the country, generating obscene profits but few jobs, in Britain or Egypt.

The Egyptian revolution demanded freedom and dignity – and social justice. But when Clegg promises $38bn through the World Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, he's standing not with the Egyptian youth, but the 1 per cent of oilmen, bankers and diplomats. These loans will increase structural poverty and debt, force neo-liberal reforms down Egypt's throat and lock the country into servicing Europe's fossil-fuel demands.

Every day in Cairo I see mass protest after protest demanding a minimum wage and workers' rights. For all his rhetoric, this bottom-up vision for a more just Egypt is directly threatened and undermined by Clegg's plans.

Mika Minio-Paluello

Platform, Cairo

Dow's link to the Olympics

I was appalled to read that so much publicity is being given to promote Dow Chemicals by the Olympic 2012 committee. The sheer hypocrisy, let alone a careless analysis of the overall record of Dow and its major effects on India's children through the Union Carbide disaster, beggar belief.

When you scan the background and interests of the senior team, including Lord Coe, you get a picture of caring individuals, some with personal direct experience of life-disabling traumas. So how come these people have allowed Dow to have such a major impact, visually and financially at London 2012?

I hope Keith Vaz's Early Day Motion will get maximum support in Parliament.

Tom Baxter

Stratford-upon-Avon

The rioters who were caught



Your report "Official: cabinet ministers wrong about cause of riots" (25 October) concludes that the riots are attributable to poverty rather than gang culture. However, the conclusions drawn from the Ministry of Justice statistics can be valid only if those rioters brought before the courts are representative of the whole.

However, we may suppose that those rioters who were stupid enough not to conceal their faces were more likely to be caught, and that those in gangs, who are more accustomed to crime, were more likely to cover their faces. David Cameron may be more right about the causes of the riots than you give him credit for.

Dr Vic Harris

Rossendale Lancashire

Perhaps the Prime Minister should visit the village of Challma Chimpans in the Cusco region of Peru, which is far away from the road network and has no electricity or running water.

There, teenagers help their parents herd animals, look after younger siblings, and collect wood for the fire. Since they do not have access to either television or computers, they cannot covet goods which they cannot afford. Despite such straitened circumstances, there are always smiles on their faces and they are very welcoming and affectionate.

Rosemary Morlin

Oxford

Light pollution



"Number 10 in the Pink" (photograph, 26 October) – how green is that? Charities as well as the environment would derive more benefit if it were decided to stop illuminating all our public buildings at night, and donate the money saved to them.

Elizabeth Wilkins

Clun, Shopshire

Warm gesture

Could I suggest to Keith O'Neill (letter, 25 October) that he take the full offer of four packs of insulation, use what he needs and give away the rest, either to an appropriate charity, or on Freecycle?

Marina Donald

Edinburgh

Remembrance

Spotted! First poppy, adorning rebel MP Adam Holloway, Newsnight, 25 October.

Eddie Johnson

Long Melford, Suffolk

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Andy Coulson  

Andy Coulson: With former News of the World editor cleared of perjury charges, what will he do next?

James Cusick James Cusick
Jack Warner  

Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Tom Peck
Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back