Time to dig deep
THE Scotsman is to be congratulated on its response to the United Nations report on climate change (Perspective, 1 April).
The message is clear – human activities, particularly burning fossil fuels, are unleashing forces which will change the climate system, causing huge problems in many countries as people struggle to cope with floods, hurricanes or drought. We have to stop polluting the atmosphere with carbon emissions or we shall descend into a climate chaos that will destroy food supplies on a vast scale.
Some people think that climate change may bring benefits, such as warmer summers and longer growing seasons, to countries in the northern hemisphere. That seems highly unlikely. As we have already seen with the increased incidence of flooding in the UK, it is more likely that we shall have a wetter and cooler climate. Here in Scotland, more rain is the last thing we need.
The SNP government has taken positive steps to reduce carbon emissions. It has built many wind farms and is generating an increasing proportion of its electricity from renewables. However, it has sacrificed some wild landscape and thus incurred the opposition of those who value the landscape more than a reduction in carbon emissions.
Perhaps it is time to investigate the benefits of geothermal energy more thoroughly?
Scotland has hundreds of disused coal mines which could now be used to produce geothermal energy. A coal mine which is a mile deep is a ready-made facility for the production of cheap energy. Geothermal could make a significant contribution to our energy supplies and it does not require any sacrifice of natural beauty – on the contrary, it helps to regenerate old mine workings.
COUNCILLOR Cameron Rose claims science is not advanced by consensus or a majority (Letter, 2 April). In fact, it cannot advance without a consensus of the majority.
Mr Rose may prefer the view of one dissenter, but he should take more heed of the majority. They are not giving a false alarm, they are giving their honest assessment of the situation. Dislike of that assessment does not justify rejection of it.
Those who point to the lack of warming over the past 15 or so years are perhaps unaware that, during that time, warming has been continuing in the oceans, causing sea levels to rise. When the oceans reach equilibrium, surface warming will probably restart.
Helene Scott (Letters, same day) should note that our planet has suffered many drastic climate changes during its 4.5 billion (sic) year lifetime. Usually these natural changes have been gradual but some have been catastrophic, leading to mass extinctions. The difference now is that the warming is largely man-made, threatening our civilisation. Is it “scaremongering” to point that out?