Global warming is no joke

Independent, 4 November 2011:

There is nothing remotely funny about Mark Steel’s attempt to belittle overpopulation (“Seven Billion? That’s not a problem”, 2 November). The potentially disastrous effects of climate change depend upon world population and carbon emissions per head of population.

Our attempts to limit the rise in emissions of carbon dioxide have been spectacularly unsuccessful, as emissions have risen 40 per cent since 1990, the base-line year for the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio.

Atmospheric levels of CO2 are roughly 380 parts per million (ppm) and are likely to reach 550 or even 600 ppm by the end of this century. This will produce catastrophic and irreversible climate change.

When the Greenland ice-sheet melts, world sea levels will rise by six metres, and if the Antarctic ice sheets melt then sea levels will rise by 60 metres. That is goodbye to human civilisation as we know it.

Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Help Rescue The Planet
Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire



Boris “has failed to tackle air pollution”

Times, 26 February 2016:

Absent from Jenni Russell’s list of Boris’ failures as Mayor of London is his indifference to the public health disaster posed by air pollution (Will the real Boris Johnson please stand up Feb 25)  The recent report by the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Pediatric and Child health attributes 40,000 premature deaths annually in the UK to air pollution which in London is very largely the result of diesel emissions.

There is a lot that Boris could have done including the replacement of diesel engines in buses and taxis with LPG which reduces particulate emissions by 99 per cent. Or he could have extended the low emissions zone. Or he could have banned the most polluting taxis that fail Euro 5 standards. He did none of these things which is why Oxford Street has the highest levels of pollution in Europe — and why Boris is unfit for public office.

Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Former Chairman Campaign for Lead Free Air
Stoke Poges, Bucks


The climate change deniers club

Independent, 20 February 2016:

Your exposure of the nefarious activities of various right-wing think-tanks is timely (“Where Eurosceptics and climate change sceptics rub shoulders”, 11 February) As Bob Ward rightly says, “This small cabal is undermining the democratic process which should be based on robust and open debate”.

I have first-hand experience of this. Four years ago I organised an international conference on climate change in central London and invited Nigel Lawson to speak. He accepted “in principle”, but when I sent him the programme containing many knowledgable experts in the field of climate science, he immediately withdrew on the grounds that the other speakers on the programme were not “sufficiently eminent”.

Was what he actually meant that his absurd views on global warming would not stand scrutiny for a single minute in a room of people who actually understand the science?

Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire



Letter on diesel (1989)

Text of a letter to John Fairclough who was Chief Scientific Advisor to the Cabinet  under Thatcher from 1986-1990. The letter was sent in as Chair of CLEAR, The Campaign for Lead Free Air.  It is undated, but it must have been written in 1989 as duty on diesel fuel fell in 1989 and 1990.

In February 20156 the letter was quoted extensively by the Mail on Sunday.

John Fairclough FEng

Chief Scientific Advisor to the Cabinet

70, Whitehall

London SW1

Dear John

I read with amazement that the government is thinking of introducing a tax break in favour of diesel fuel on the grounds that it is environmentally friendly.  From the point of view of fuel efficiency and hence global warming I agree this is true, but from every other point of view it is a disaster. Volume for volume, diesel is ten times more carcinogenic than leaded petrol, and a hundred times more than a car running on unleaded and fitted with a catalytic convertor.

Furthermore diesel emissions are responsible for black smoke, and the soiling of buildings in urban areas. You only have to visit Italy or Greece, where diesel fuel is more widely used, to see the result. I hope it is not too late to prevent this lunatic proposal.

With best wishes


Dr Robin Russell-Jones MA FRCP FRCPath

Drive to cut pollution

Sunday Times, 14 February 2016:

It is all very well for cameras to photograph polluting vehicles, but what we need is intervention, not observation (“Pollution cameras to snap toxic cars”, News, last week). I am perplexed by why we tolerate a situation wherein 1,000 people die every week in the UK from air pollution, largely as a result of diesel emissions. Breathing air that does not poison our children is surely a basic right that the government seems determined to ignore.

The situation demands an urgent programme of reform, in which diesel vehicles are heavily taxed and banned from city centres. I have no doubt that this will induce the customary howls of rage from car manufacturers, but they have exhausted their credibility by rigging emissions tests and — in Volkswagen’s case — installing technology designed to hide their culpability.

Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire