"Scientists say temperatures in Antarctica have risen by half a degree Celsius since the 1950s" (your report, 22 January). This announcement is typical of the information being fed to the world's media by scientists who, some say, are anxious that they will lose funding in a climate of tightening purse strings.
The topic of warming in the Antarctic is put into perspective by correspondence from Ross Hayes, a meteorologist who works in Antarctica for Nasa, writing in a private capacity. Addressing Eric Steig, of the University of Washington in Seattle, whose warning in Nature magazine your report cites, he writes: "I feel your study is absolutely wrong ... There are very few stations in Antarctica to begin with and only a hand full (sic] with 50 years of data." He goes on: "There was a paper presented at the AMS conference in New Orleans last year noting over 70 per cent of the continent was cooling due to the ozone hole."
In a damning critique of the basis upon which the report in Nature was produced, Mr Hayes writes: "The pattern in the troposphere has reflected this trend with more maritime (warmer) air around the Antarctic peninsula, which is also where most of the automated weather stations are located for west Antarctica, which will give you the average warmer readings and skew the data for all of west Antarctica."
The conclusion to his letter is the final nail in the coffin of yet another global warming scare story. He writes: "With statistics you can make numbers go to almost any conclusion you want. It saddens me to see members of the scientific community do this for media coverage."
Is it not time this whole topic be examined in an open manner in which funding by governments and other international agencies be withheld until a true, scientific case can be made one way or the other? As things stand, there are far too many vested interests for us to reach a valid conclusion free from the influence of funding, with one side wishing to prove we are causing global warming and the other side wishing to prove the figures quoted are a country mile from the truth. We deserve to know what that truth is.
ANDREW HN GRAY
I do not share Nick Marshall's horror (Letters, 23 January) of having to "depend on expensive nuclear power" for our electricity. I see no reason why we in the UK should not enjoy the same benefits as the French, whose electricity is 80 per cent nuclear-powered and whose average electricity bills are less than one-third of ours.
Furthermore, their electricity is produced with a carbon footprint less than one-quarter of ours. In other words much cheaper electricity with substantial savings in carbon emissions.
Easter Currie Place
Ian Ross (Letters, 21 January) is absolutely correct. When there is a real demand for available electrical power generation, as in the cold weather just experienced, "wind power will always let us down".
Given that this country is now in recession, can we but hope that future investors and the banking sector will now focus their support on the long term and the urgent need for proven power generation plant, and not intermittent and wholly unreliable wind turbines. Consumers can no longer afford to be burdened with the numerous hidden subsidies and substantial costs required to support wind generation, and for so little return.