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Letter: Climate changes.

Byline: Dr. JOHN ETHERINGTON

SIR - In his Johannesburg speech Mr Blair said that the world faced catastrophe unless greenhouse gas emissions were curbed (page 2, September 3).

Does he have no scientific advice? Sir John Houghton, co-chair, International Panel on Climatic Change, Scientific Assessment Working Group, expresses the following opinion: ``The effect of burning fossil fuels is slow to impact on the environment and even if it were possible to eliminate emissions immediately, adverse effects would continue to increase for the next 50-100 years. The temperature of the earth's surface would continue to rise for a similar period.'' (WAG consultation document: Renewable Energy, 2002).

In simple terms, this means that there is effectively nothing we can do that will have any effect for many generations and as we live in an interglacial period when the sea level would be rising anyway our intervention may have no effect at all.

Our obsession with ineffectual forms of renewable energy such as wind and biomass, together with the pathetic belief that we can ``do a Canute'' is wasting valuable time during which we could pre-empt the problems of coastal cities and agriculture, At the same time, we could solve for ever the energy problem. Just a few percent of earth's desert surface could provide sufficient photovoltaic electricity to generate hydrogen to satisfy global energy need. There is already tested technology for flying aircraft, driving cars and heating buildings with hydrogen, making no demands on fossil fuel and generating no CO2.

The political posturing for effect, but no substance, at Johannnesburg is a shocking betrayal of the future.

Dr. JOHN ETHERINGTON Llanhowell, Pembrokeshire
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 6, 2002
Words:269
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