Science “censorship”

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The Times, 26 April 2016:

Matt Ridley (“Climate change lobby wants to kill free speech”, Opinion, Apr 25) describes one form of censorship: here is another.  For 30 months now a small group of Fellows of the Royal Society, including me, have sought on several occasions formal meeting of the society to discuss downsides of the current unsophisticated mitigations of climate change that actually increase global carbon dioxide emissions in some cases.  The closure of UK aluminium smelters, and now maybe steel, compensated by imports from China, is pure folly.  In that period the Royal Society has found time for several more meetings on the downsides of climate change but our request keeps getting kicked down the road without any adequate explanation.

The collapse of many alternative energy companies worldwide was entirely predictable on basic scientific and engineering grounds, and the Royal Society is in dereliction of its duty to warn and advise governments, investors and the public of what it knew within its ranks.

Michael J. Kelly, FRS

Prince Philip Professor of Technology

University of Cambridge

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Atmosphere will respond to the laws of physics

Financial Times, 8 April 2016:

Martin Wolf’s perceptive column “Fossil fuel power plants will be stranded” (April 6) demonstrates that the world is rapidly running out of options.

We already possess conventional fossil fuel reserves equivalent to three times our carbon budget, so to keep below 2C of warming, we need to leave 80 per cent of coal, 50 per cent of gas and one-third of oil reserves in the ground. Developing further resources, in the shape of tar sands, shale oil or shale gas, is largely self-defeating as increased production in one country will require an equivalent reduction elsewhere.

This paradigm has become even more challenging since Paris which lowered the global warming limit from 2 to 1.5C. To have a 50 per cent chance of staying within this new limit, the remaining carbon budget is only 140bn tonnes, which will be spent by 2030 if current emission rates stay static, and sooner if they continue to increase.

Politicians will continue to obfuscate and delay, but the atmosphere will only respond to the laws of physics which are uncompromising and potentially lethal for most species on Earth, including our own.

Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Chair, Help Rescue the Planet,
Stoke Poges, Bucks, UK

Toxic agenda

sunday times

The Sunday Times, 3 April 2016:

It appears diesel exhaust fumes are linked to psychological problems in children, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression and anxiety.There is also data showing an IQ deficit of approximately 4 points among children highly exposed to particulates and oxides of nitrogen. Many parents will prefer to bring up their children in the country, as did I, to avoid exposure to another potent neurotoxin, lead.

Meanwhile, it is tragic that the chancellor’s “budget for the next generation” did nothing to discourage the continued use of diesel: 10p a litre on the fuel would raise £1.7bn — enough to fill the hole left by the abandoned disability cuts.

Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire