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Global warming debaters out of touch

I have followed the global warming debate with interest for almost three decades, during which time I have watched the metamorphism of 'greens' from 'cranks and hippies' into mainstream 'cynical politicians'.

It has also been interesting to note how many of the deniers have changed tack in recent years.

Having lost the argument that the earth is becoming warmer, the emphasis has switched to denying that humanity is actually responsible. Philip Richards' contribution (Letters last week) is typical of the straw-clutching that replaces impartial scientific research with anecdote and contrived wishful thinking.

John Bowcock, on the other hand, has not moved on from the purer denier's perspective, still preferring the rumination of has-been politicians to the view of the IPCC and the huge body of irrefutable data that supports it.

Informed scientific opinion advises us that the earth is getting warmer and that human activity is largely responsible. Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 are higher today than at any time in the last 100,000 years, and the sharp spike observed since the start of the Industrial Revolution is due, primarily, to the release of carbon products hitherto buried for millions of years.

'Sunspots' notwithstanding, regrettably the only response available to the international community is to reduce human dependency on fossil fuels, painful as that may be, or else the future of our grandchildren is in serious jeopardy.

With regard to transport, Paul Withrington (Letters last week) has hit on the problem, but fails to connect to the obvious solution. Dispersed land use must give way to more sustainable forms of development, where people can live and work within a reduced spatial context, requiring less motorised travel.

It is not about "bullying people out of cars", but public policy must reconstruct the framework of travel incentives to influence personal choices, in order to deliver these sustainable outcomes in an appropriate timescale.


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