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The scientists aren't right all the time.

Turn down the heating, cut out flying, drive with a light foot, turn off the TV stand-by, use low-energy light bulbs, improve home insulation.

Yes, it's all good advice to avoid waste of fossil fuels that are in limited supply and in increasing demand by the developing world.

But as for "saving the planet" from climate change, last week's Channel 4 programme, The Great Global Warming Swindle, suggested these measures might have negligible effect on climate change as the cause might not be carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere.

On Tuesday March 13, David Miliband, Secretary of State for the Environment and currently being pressed by many Labour MPs to stand against Gordon Brown for the Labour Party leadership (and the premiership), admitted to John Humprhys on the BBC Today programme that he has not watched The Great Global Warming Swindle and that, with only a grade D in A-level physics, he does not attempt to understand climate science, preferring to take the word of experts.

Only a few years ago an expert, the Chief Veterinary Officer Keith Meldrum appeared nightly on our TV screens to reassure us that mad cow disease BSE could not possibly harm humans and so beef was perfectly safe. Tell that to the relatives of those who have since died from new-variant CJD.

The experts to whom Miliband refers are the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, many of whom have vested interests in blaming the phenomenon on carbon dioxide emissions. Scientists are supposed to be objective but many are prone to human weakness.

When in 1989 Fleischman and Pons, as a result of incompetently-performed calorimetric measurements, announced to the world that they had discovered 'cold nuclear fusion' which would, with development, solve mankind's energy problems forevermore, several other research groups, within a few weeks, claimed to be able to repeat their measurements. Scientists don't want to miss the bandwagon. If they do, they will miss out on the funding. So it has been with climate research.

Until recently CO2 emissions were blamed despite there being many problems with that explanation. However, it appeared that no alternative theory was available. The Channel 4 programme has now shown that an alternative hypothesis does exist. Both theories remain unproven, yet all three of our political parties are convinced that CO2 is the culprit. Few politicians have much understanding of science so they rely on the experts.

Mr Blair has a record of appointing experts who tell him what he wants to hear (eg. Andrew ( now Lord ( Adonis, the champion of faith schools and city academies). Could Chief Scientific Officer Sir David King be another?

Dr O R BROWN, Nedderton, Northumberland

Could the experts have blundered?

AS a global warming sceptic (who will remain so, until someone explains to me, other than natural climate variability, how the Romans grew vines along Hadrian's Wall in 200AD), I was slightly amused to read a report of how explorers Ann Bancroft and Liv Anderson abandoned their intended 530-mile trek across the Arctic Ocean after Arneson suffered frostbite in her toes and extreme temperatures drained batteries in their electronic equipment.

The temperature inside their tent at was measured at 50C below zero and outside it exceeded 73C below at times.

The explorers had planned to call with regular updates to school groups by satellite phone with photographic evidence of global warming.

They said: "Temperatures we experienced weren't what we expected with global warming."

Is there any chance that Messrs Brown, Milliband, Cameron, Hulne et al could be sent on such an expedition before they finally decide to entirely blight the countryside with wind turbines, and cripple us all with fuel taxation?

BILL RICALTON, Longhorsley, Northumberland

Explosive issue

FOLLOWING the logic of Bill Richardson ("Let's move away from 'our might is right'", Voice of the North, March 10), the Western world should allow China, Iran and North Korea to further develop nuclear weapons. Goodbye planet Earth.

BILL READ, Longframlington, Northumberland

Survey is vital to give us the fullest picture

AS far as the Labour Party in my ward of Dunston Hill and Whickham East in Gateshead is concerned, Liberal Democrats are damned if we do and damned if we don't.

Labour's candidate here has attacked us for what he claims is a failure to consult residents on what the Labour-run council is doing. The claim is preposterous, as Liberal Democrats have carried out many surveys here.

So, I read with some interest the attack by Labour councillor John McElroy on the Liberal Democrats ("Pool of investment", Voice of the North, March 12) for, would you believe it, carrying out a survey of residents' views.

The survey is to gain a wider picture of residents' concerns about Dunston pool and the facilities in the building.

Coun McElroy seems to argue that just because there is an overall sum of money available for investment, we should be happy with what the council says should be done to the building and the facilities.

As one of the elected Liberal Democrat councillors for the area, I want to know what the people would like to see the money allocated to this facility spent on.

An approach can be made then to the officers of the council to argue for specific changes and improvements, as highlighted by residents and users of the facility, in the knowledge that it supports the majority of concerns raised before investing further in an already well used and well equipped leisure facility.

Many residents have raised concerns with me about the state of the building and in particular, the lack of a lift at the premises. These concerns have been raised twice directly with the leader of the council during meetings.

Therefore, carrying out a survey gives us a more detailed picture of the views of users and residents. Frankly, I can't see why Labour has a problem with this approach.

COUN YVONNE McNICOL, Liberal Democrat, Dunston Hill and Whickham East Ward, Gateshead Borough Council, Civic Centre, Regent Street, Gateshead NE8 1HH

The Labour force

OFFICIAL statistics now reveal that 25% of the region's workforce depends on the current government for a wage. As a by-product of this, our region's Labour MPs can certainly take out a long-term loan now with a degree of confidence.

The money saved by employing people to vote for them, instead of being invested in infrastructure to lure private, wealth creating business, could be used to . . . well, let's not get carried away.

PAUL DIXON, Stakeford, Northumberland


APOLOGIES to Mrs McDonogh whose letter ("Selfish indulgence", Voice of the North, March 14) should have warned of the damage she feared cannabis might do to the lives, not livers, of young people.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 16, 2007
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