Avoiding excess

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Dr A McCormick (Letters, 
5 April) repeats a common misconception with his question about “controlling the Earth’s climate”. A better insight is provided by oceanographer Wally Broecker’s famous quip: “The climate is a wild beast and we are poking it with sticks.”

The aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions is to stop perturbing climate – to stop poking it – not to control it.

If we could overnight cease using fossil fuels, as Dr McCormick contemplates, the climate would still vary naturally, but we would avoid the worst excesses of climate change.

Moreover, we would also avoid the other damaging forms of pollution, such as oil spills, atmospheric mercury from coal, and smogs.

Dr McCormick’s suggestion that these positive steps might then “induce further undesirable consequences” lacks any credibility.

Roy Turnbull

Nethy Bridge

Inverness-shire

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