Your article, “‘The climate is changing before our eyes’ as heat soars in 2012” (29 November) is a masterclass in how to sensationalise the presentation of data so that a relatively thin story fills almost half a page.
The “faux” graph of rising temperatures has an exaggerated scale in which temperature changes of two hundredths of one degree are represented by increments of almost one centimetre. The selective use of shading from pale orange to bright red suggests the change has been from cool to sweltering, when the overall variation is 11 hundredths of one degree.
The cardinal sin, though, is that the graph starts with data from 2012 as the low point, then presents data from apparently random years between 1998 and 2010 to suggest a steadily rising temperature trend. The graphic fails to support the argument advanced in the piece. Sensationalism does little to advance genuine debate on an important issue.
A look at the Neta website (which monitors energy production) shows the folly of the UK’s and Scottish Government’s renewable energy policy. The elements producing our electricity today are gas: 28.5 per cent; coal: 45.2 per cent; nuclear: 18.4 per cent; others: 6.2 per cent and, the saviour of the planet, wind: 1.7 per cent. Is this why billions of pounds in subsidies have been given to foreign developers? The SNP will shut down Scotland’s nuclear and coal-fired plants in the not too distant future. Thirteen countries already generate more than 30 per cent of their electricity from nuclear; 77.7 per cent in the case of France.
Wind turbines are ready to be scrapped after 20 years but modern nuclear reactors have an operating life of three times that.
Then there is coal. Germany’s environmental minister said he was building 23 new coal-fired plants because wind electricity from their 22,200 wind turbines was “unaffordable and unreliable”. There are now 1,231 new coal-fired plants proposed worldwide. Many countries are capitalising on cheap coal and shale gas to revitalising their industries. Why not us?