Ex-forecaster Heather ‘the weather’ to speak at Mareel climate change conference

Heather 'the weather' Reid
Click to enlarge

Well-known meteorologist and former BBC Scotland forecaster Heather “the weather” Reid is to attend a small conference on climate change in Mareel next month.

She will be joined by fellow meteorologist Alex Hill, also a former TV weatherman and now the Met Office’s chief adviser to the Scottish and Northern Irish governments.

The conference, entitled Change, is being sponsored by Shetland Aerogenerators, owners of the five-turbine Burradale windfarm.

Its director Angus Ward said he was “very pleased that Heather and Alex will be coming to talk about climate change”.

“This conference is not about pushing a particular point of view – climate change is a complicated subject – but about encouraging people to engage with one of the biggest issues of our time,” he said. “So we are inviting folk of all opinions and none to come along to Mareel on Thursday 6th June to find out more.”

A free screening of the film Thin Ice, about the work of climate scientists around the world, will be held in Mareel at 7pm that evening.

Geologist Simon Lamb took his camera around the world documenting the work of climate science colleagues, who have been attacked by climate change sceptics for being “alarmist” and “extremist”.

After the film, Ms Reid and Mr Hill will speak and host a Q&A session. The event is open to all.

During the day on Thursday 6th and Friday 7th June, school pupils from around Shetland will attend a showing of another film, Chasing Ice, about the rapid decline of glaciers in Greenland, Iceland and Alaska.

“I think climate change is the biggest issue facing the global community,” Ms Reid said. “It is essential that young people are aware of this issue and how it affects everybody’s lives. I’m delighted to be coming to Shetland for this exciting conference.”

Mr Hill added: “Young people will bear the brunt of climate change and it is humbling to see their commitment to making a difference. It is their future that is at stake and for me it is marvellous to be involved in an event like this.”

The two meteorologists will also be taking to pupils, and a new app depicting Shetland under high sea levels – the “likely consequence of warmer temperatures” – will be unveiled. Two pieces of art commissioned by Shetland Aerogenerators with support from Shetland Arts, one visual and one written, will also be shown for the first time.


Add Your Comment
  • John Tulloch

    • May 22nd, 2013 17:11

    “This conference is not about pushing a particular point of view” says Angus Ward, Director of Shetland Aerogenerators.

    Really, that’s not what the presenters think? From above:

    “I think climate change is the biggest issue facing the global community,” Ms Reid said.” And:

    “Mr Hill added: “Young people will bear the brunt of climate change and it is humbling to see their commitment to making a difference. It is their future that is at stake….”

    “Young people will bear the brunt of climate change”? Well, I hope it gets a bit warmer then!

    Angus and his partners in Shetland Aerogenerators have a vested interest (Viking Energy) in perpetuating the myth that building wind generators in Shetland now will make a difference to the world’s climate in 100 years time so taking it all into consideration it doesn’t sound too convincing that a particular point of view isn’t being pushed.

    Those who believe they can control the climate by using the atmospheric carbon dioxide level as a thermostat are the true “climate change deniers,” it’ll keep on changing no matter what you do.

    If the Scots and English are willing to pay the subsidies and Shetlanders want wind turbines then they should have them but spare us all this drivel about stopping the climate from changing, it’s been changing dramatically for the past five billion years and will continue to do so for a very long time to come.

  • David Spence

    • May 22nd, 2013 21:34

    You are correct John, in saying ‘ the climate has been changing since the Earthy was created 4.8 billion years ago. There has also been several ice-ages as well during the Earths existence…….at one point the whole planet was one big snowball….so to speak.

    However though John, much of the climate change has happened over many, many, many years…..hundreds if not thousands of years. Climate change today, in regards to the overall global temperature, is happening at a tremendous speed compared to previous climate changes.

    The furthest back we can go in in terms of measuring what the atmosphere (thus climate) was like accurately is around 750,000 years. Based on this, the ice-ages, for example, took thousands of years to change the environment.

    Climate change is happening at a very much accelerated pace due to ‘ human activity ‘, and this is the reason why many, many scientists are bringing this issue to our attention. Just recently, carbon in the atmosphere at reached over 400 parts per million, which has been the highest for thousands of years. This measurement has been increasing gradually for the past 300 – 350 years. Is it coincidental that ‘ the industrial revolution ‘ just happened to start at the same time carbon started to go up………….or is it just a massive lie that human activity has had ‘ no impact ‘ on the environment?

    I would find it very, very difficult to believe that human activity has had no impact on the environment in the last 300 – 400 years. The evidence, from all aspects of science, indicates human activity can only be the cause.

  • JohnTulloch, Arrochar

    • May 22nd, 2013 22:28


    I’ve just said above that even extreme alarmists like the Met Office and Dr James Hansen have acknowledged that while carbon dioxide levels have risen relentlessly global warming has been halted in its tracks for the last 16 years in stark contrast to the predictions of soaring global temperature from sources like Hansen and the Met Office.

    So what evidence can you offer to support your assertion that “climate change is happening at a very much accelerated pace due to human activity”?

  • Ali Inkster

    • May 22nd, 2013 22:38

    The industrial revolution started 350 – 400 years ago? I think not Spency. It started in the 19th century a little less than 200 years ago, and as you point out that the climate has been changing since before then, then the two can not be linked.
    Sea levels are not rising at a catastrophic rate as predicted by the climate doomsayers, temperatures are not rising but are actually falling and have been for the last 15 years, so much so that no amount of statistical manipulation can make it look any different, yet CO2 is still rising (explain that Al Gore).
    The science is by no means complete and anyone that says it is, is either very naive or a downright liar.
    Many scientists are skeptics but there is just too much money to be made by jumping on the warming band wagon and too much to be lost by disagreeing with the warming zealots.

  • Douglas Young

    • May 22nd, 2013 22:54

    I fully support wind farms the size of Burradale and Community owned ones, but not Viking which has a flawed business plan, and hope that the fall in Global Temperatures since 1998 gets a fair outing. If the conference is biased then my support ends; balance is required for young minds to debate and understand.

  • ian tinkler

    • May 23rd, 2013 8:46

    Perhaps this Mareel climate change conference is
    a waste of time and money. If you attend ask questions about this recent science.

    Onshore wind farms on deep peat found unlikely to reduce atmospheric CO2. Most recent research by Scottish Government 2013: Ref http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/9889882/Wind-farms-will-create-more-carbon-dioxide-say-scientists.html

  • JohnTulloch, Arrochar

    • May 23rd, 2013 8:46

    Labour peer Lord Donoughue, former energy spokesman, speaking in the House of Lords the other day said (David Spence, NB the last 3 sentences in the second part):

    “At first, I accepted unquestioningly, as was wrongly claimed, that there was a unanimous consensus among scientists supporting the global warming case and that only a tiny lunatic minority questioned it. But then I found a serious number of questioners, including scientists, on the internet and in this House, although many spoke in hushed tones for fear of denunciation as deniers—like neo-Nazis who deny the Holocaust. Nasty that. Now the polls show that at least half the nation is sceptical. Even media commentators have started to question, although not of course the BBC, which is still a propaganda branch of the green faith. The Met Office also remains true to the faith that the planet will boil, forecasting mild winters and barbecue summers, which never appear……………

    “My own Labour Party is rightly attached to environmental values and should continue so, but in a balanced way and not with excessive green faith and global warming ideology. It should remember our historic concern for jobs and not damage the competitiveness of the economy, and it should show concern for poor people freezing in winter with rocketing energy bills. Labour should be wary of elitist green policies which pay rich Scottish and Welsh landowners and big corporations billions, derived from green taxes on ordinary people in tower blocks in Glasgow, to rent out their estates for wind farms. This could involve the greatest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich since the 18th century enclosures. It is not clear to me that it should be a central Labour policy.”

    Politicians are not ALL fools, thank God!

    Full (excellent) speech at http://www.thegwpf.org/lord-donoughue-labour-wary-elitist-green-policies/

  • David Spence

    • May 23rd, 2013 15:48

    OK, so the evidence that global warming has reduced, if not stopped, as a consequence of …..what?

    Ali, what I was saying is the evidence of CO2 emissions started to rise as a result of the impact of the industrial revolution………..give or take a decade (I will try my best to give you an exact date in the 17th or 18th century as to when CO2 emissions started rise). The coincidence, if you want to call it that, seems very evident that the impact of the industrial revolution did have an impact on CO2 emissions given the evidence of time based factors.

    I still stand by what I have said in that ‘ I find it very difficult to believe ‘ human activity ‘ has had no impact on CO2 emissions or Global Warming ‘. Pretending or dismissing such evidence exist’s or that it is being used as a means to promote other technologies does seem to be ignorant at best or sticking your head in the sand hoping nothing will happen or it to be regarded as total and utter lies is very dangerous considering the bigger picture of doing possibly nothing.

    Yes, we can all hark on about it just being ‘ natural cycles ‘ the planet goes through as a reason to stick to the status quo in how we govern our lives (in terms of the consumption of fossil fuels etc) and say ‘ Human Activity has had no effect on the planet and the environment ‘ or, as mentioned previously, one big conspiracy theory to justify using new technologies (a more environmentally friendly means of energy and possibly promoting the use of nuclear energy as well as wind, wave, tidal, solar and thermal) as well as shifting economics where the rich get even richer and the poor get even poorer.

    One could, no doubt, think of many reasons why alternative means of producing energy other than fossil fuels, but to completely ignore and deny that humans are not damaging the atmosphere and the environment is very much walking on thin ice…..excuse the pun.

    Once upon a time, not that long ago, people were skating and playing curling on Clickimin Loch because the loch would completely freeze over. Ali, could you please explain why this is not the case now?

  • JohnTulloch, Arrochar

    • May 23rd, 2013 21:38


    I’m unaware of anyone saying “humans have NO IMPACT on climate, every organism on the planet impacts on it, the question is “How much?”

    If as you say this carbon dioxide emission problem has been causing an unprecedented rapid change in the climate then all these wonderful, hand-wringing, world-saving scientists you are telling us about would be able to show us evidence to support their claims however the fact is, their doom-laden forecasts are all consistent in one respect – they fail to materialise!

    As for the Clickimin Loch, it stopped freezing over when the Clickimin Centre was built. May I suggest you do some research on the phenomenon known as ” urban heat islands” before coming back on that subject.

    When I see convincing evidence that a catastrophe is brewing with the climate I shall be very happy to help to prevent it; until I see such evidence I shall remain sceptical.

    Question for the Shetland Climate Change Summit Mk2: What is the correct, desirable, level of atmospheric carbon dioxide which we should work towards?

  • Ali Inkster

    • May 23rd, 2013 22:09

    One picture fae times past of folk skating on the Clickimin only proves that there was a cold snap like the one we had two years ago when temperatures in Shetland dropped below -16 deg C temperatures that were recorded by everyone it seems except the met office.
    But lets have a look at the first sentence of your last comment “OK, so the evidence that global warming has reduced, if not stopped, as a consequence of …..what?”
    you tell me Spency CO2 continues to rise but temperatures are falling, so the opposite of what the politicians and “scientists” have been telling us would happen if we did not pay more taxes to the green energy brigade. when we find out that they have cherry picked the data ignoring any and every weather station that showed cooling and concentrating their efforts at weather stations that have had urban conurbations grow around them, so exaggerating the urban heat sink effect and skewing the figures to get the result they want instead of the results that are accurate.
    In the 80s you huffed and puffed about the miners,
    in the 90s you huffed and puffed about CND,
    in the 00s you huffed and puffed about the globalization of markets,
    and now you huff and puff about global warming,
    is there a pattern emerging here?
    I reckon it has a lot more to do with politics than environmentalism.

    I reckon that some folk will huff and puff about anything they think is a result of the nasty capitalist.

    So you tell me Spency if increased CO2 means increased temps why is the evidence not agreeing with the scenario?

    Now lets have a look at the decreasing ice caps and glaciers and lets see if we can come up with a reasonable explanation, could it be as some would have us believe that rising global temps are to blame, NO as we have already discovered temperatures are falling could it be the increased levels of soot thrown out by power stations in China and India that is settling on the ice making it darker and there for increasing the melt due to greater radiated heat absorbed, this explanation even ties in with the fact that the ice is expanding faster in the winter months than at any time previously recorded, something the Global warming brigade can’t explain.
    So as I said before the science is far from settled and only the naive or down right liars say it is.

  • john Irvine

    • May 23rd, 2013 22:19

    Correct me if I`m wrong, but I have been told that in the power station in Lerwick there is a large generator which has to run all the time just in case there is not enough electricity being generated at Burradale. Because of the mechanics of these generators they cannot be started up on a whim like your car, far from being eco friendly these windfarms are the opposite.
    I quote Struan Stevenson who is the Chairman of the Climate Change, Biodiversity & Sustainable Development Intergroup in the European Parliament and has also written a book on the subject. “The Rape of Britain” Wind farms and the Destruction of our Environment by Struan Stevenson MEP.
    “They despoil our unique landscape and environment; and through noise, the flicker-effect and vibration, they abuse the health and welfare of people and animals which have to live near them. Far from being an eco-friendly answer to our energy needs, windfarms are an environmental disaster being inflicted on Britain that we will live to regret”.

  • Kim Rogers

    • May 24th, 2013 2:15

    I think you both would benefit from watching the following documentary on the cloud theory. The correlations are very interesting and may explain the ‘natural cycles’ so many refer to, without understanding how they work.

  • John Tulloch

    • May 24th, 2013 10:00


    Many thanks for the excellent link which is both interesting and presented in understandable terms.

    I am aware of Svensmark’s ground-breaking work which is in the process of being confirmed by no less a body than CERN in Geneva whose scientists were officially gagged from commenting publicly on the implications of their recent results due to the incendiary nature of carbon dioxide politics.

    The same politics prevented Svensmark from getting his initial work published yet while more verification work is needed he is likely to become a household name like, say, Marie Curie for his pioneering work.

    A monstrous scandal in a profession I used to trust which sadly (and David will like this) has been corrupted and had it’s reputation dragged through the mire by big money politics.

  • David Spence

    • May 24th, 2013 13:52

    Thank you Kim, for the link regarding Climate Change and the impact of the Sun and other, possible, celestial influences (possibly the distance of the moon and how this is increasing) on the planet.

    It reminded me of, if my memory serves me correctly, the Horizon programme and the impact of the Sun influencing water and the increase of water in the rivers (in this case, the programme focused on the Amazon) correlating to the increase of Sun Spot activity on the Sun. I have tried to find a link but I have not found any. It was watching the footage from the link Kim gave which reminded me of this.

    I am not saying that Human Activity is the sole reason for Climate Change. I would suspect though, it is a contributing influence, albeit of a non natural impact.

    I know there is very much a lot of speculation as to whether human activity is having an effect on the planet, but I would not, entirely, dismiss it and give other, possibly, natural phenomena as the alternative reason for this change.

    Ali, no one can prove with 100% certainty that Human Activity is the only cause for Climate Change (said loosely) happening, but based on meteorological models, it seems if it was happening, the UK and Europe would end up being colder rather than hotter. The climate would be of more rain and gales, overall. However, this model is speculative at best, as it is based on global temperatures increasing by 1 or 1.4 degree’s Celsius, and this is not happening at the moment.

    Although there may be many variables which affects the weather and global temperatures, I do not think we should dismiss entirely the impact human activity has on the overall impact of the weather and the climate.

    Kim, John and Ali, will you be attending the conference held at the Mareel next month? I am sure it will be quite an interesting subject to engage in?

  • Ali Inkster

    • May 24th, 2013 14:45

    “I do not think we should dismiss entirely the impact human activity has on the overall impact of the weather and the climate.”

    David this statement is a very long way from the tax the shit out of it and spend billions on meaningless projects putting vast sums of money into the pockets of the few, which is where we are now and the government actions you yourself support.

  • David Spence

    • May 24th, 2013 16:39

    I agree with you Ali and John, on how there seems to be a strong emphasis on ‘ green issues ‘ and this of, as we have been spoon fed for awhile now, efforts to reduce carbon emissions and to look at alternatives forms of energy.

    I believe the Kyoto Accord tried to address this issue and for the ‘ developed world ‘ to make an effort in reducing ‘ green house gas emissions ‘ despite, at the time, the largest contributor of fossil fuel emissions the USA, signing up too it, but did not ratify the Protocol. However, I do believe the USA is made tremendous efforts in addressing the issue, and has implemented regulations governing specific industries to reduce emissions.

    I also believe that the UK and many other countries have failed in their mandate to reach expected reductions of green house gas emissions within agreed specified timeframes. I believe that the UK, under the Blair Government, only managed to achieve less than 30% of their agreed reductions.

    ‘ the government actions you yourself support.’

    I have to say Ali, I do not agree with what you have said in myself supporting a political system, either Edinburgh or Westminster, and their limited actions of addressing the issue of either the Kyoto Accord or the reduction of green house gases or justifying the millions spent and wasted on alternative sources of energy, as the VE Project has, so far, demonstrated.

    I must confess, until we can get more concrete evidence (and whether or not that information is reliable and has not be tampered by the powers that be ?) with the impact of human activity and green house gas emissions that I am of the persuasion that there are so many variables to take into consideration (including new scientific evidence and theories) one is questioning the agenda certain Governments and businesses are pushing, whether to address a problem or to put profit and taxes (as you have highlighted Ali) ahead of anything else.

    It will be interesting to attend the conference and to see whether one will be more informed or enlightened or sceptical……..not that it is like me to think of conspiracy theories and alike about capitalist’s plotting new ways of making money…eh John and Ali ? lol

  • JohnTulloch, Arrochar

    • May 24th, 2013 20:47


    No, I will be unable to attend however I very much doubt whether I would attend a one-sided evangelistic sermon about how we must atone for our fossil fuel sins by paying twice and three times the price for our electricity from so-called “green” energy sources while the government connives to keep shale gas in the ground to prevent “green” energy from looking even more expensive than it already is.

  • Kim Rogers

    • May 26th, 2013 16:03

    David, I won’t be attending the meeting either. I am not a local, in fact I am about as far from Shetland as it is possible to be, but I always enjoy reading the local debates and comparing them to those in my own country. The story is the same, only the names have been changed.

  • John Tulloch

    • June 3rd, 2013 21:50

    I shall be in Arrochar and so absent from the “Shetland Climate Change Summit Mk2” to be held at Mareel on Thursday, 6th June. It’s a one -sided affair sponsored by vested interests with no opposing scientific views to be presented.

    As an interested amateur it would be distressing to think the sitting room in which I write, a full five feet above the high water mark, was in danger of imminent inundation by the sea so it’s highly important to me that I get to understand the truth of this hotly-debated subject. To that end I’ve compiled a list of questions which I hope to read the answers to in the associated media reports.

    As a guide to my own present state of knowledge or ignorance I have included my current best answers beside each question and I challenge the presenters to refute them with evidence.

    1. Is it true that carbon dioxide (CO2) level is the main determinant of global temperature and if so, what is the correct level of atmospheric CO2 to which we should aspire to return and when exactly did it prevail on Earth?

    JT: Climate has many influences and I trongly suspect CO2 isn’t particularly important. I don’t know the “correct” level of CO2 or when it prevailed.

    2. Is it true that CO2 only reduces heat radiation to space within a small spectrum (range of frequencies) and thus its warming effect decreases with increasing concentration such that most of its warming potential has already been used up and igher concentrations will therefore have a limited effect?

    JT: TRUE.

    3. Do computer model predictions of rising temperature constitute “evidence” that global warming is man-made?

    JT: NO. They need to make predictions which are confirmed correct by observations of global temperature.

    4. Is it true that ALL the models used for predicting global temperature assume that increasing global temperature will accelerate warming further by e.g. melting ice at the poles (“positive feedback” i.e. they assume global temperature is inherently unstable and could run out of control)?

    JT: TRUE.

    5. Is it true that NONE of the computer models used for predicting global temperature considers the possibility that rising temperatures may produce a compensatory countervailing effect, say cloud cover or plants and organisms which devour carbon dioxide (“negative feedback” i.e. global temperature is inherently stable and self-regulating within a range)?

    JT: TRUE. None of the models used allows the possibility that climate is self-regulating within a range.

    6. Do the observations of flat or falling global temperature with rising CO2 over the last 15 years confirm the computer model predictions of ever-rising temperatures?

    JT: NO

    7. Are then the assumptions that CO2 is the main determinant of global temperature and that both it and climate are inherently unstable, supported by the observed hard evidence of the last 15 years?

    JT: NO

    8. The Met Office has long been in the vanguard of those forecasting “climate catastrophe” yet even they now predict no further global warming for, at least, the next five years, giving 20 years of flat or falling temperatures while carbon dioxide emissions and levels have risen remorselessly. Why did the computer models fail to predict this?

    JT: Because the models are flawed. The old computer modelling principle GIGO (“garbage in – garbage out”) applies.

    9. Given that it has been shown a large part of the alleged global warming of the last century has been falsely recorded due to artificial, localised warming at measuring sites due to increasing urbanisation and outflows from air conditioning systems and even (please?) jet engines, does this not mean that temperatures may actually have fallen significantly in the last 15 years?

    JT: Quite possibly.

    10. Assuming that, as predicted by that great oracle of weather the Met Office, the current pause in global warming extends to at least 20 years with no evidence to suggest warming hasn’t peaked, why should we urgently “decarbonise” – and ruin – our economy (and rural amenity) with highly expensive renewable energy in the face of North American competition fuelled by shale gas at a third of the price of UK gas?

    JT: Can’t think of a single valid reason.

    John Tulloch

  • John Tulloch

    • June 5th, 2013 19:49

    If anybody is thinking of attending this event they may like to consider the following graphical analysis of the performance of 73 climate computer models versus observed reality from the blog of Dr Roy Spencer, an eminent US meteorologist who runs the University of Alabama global tropospheric temperature derived from NASA satellites, whose work I have followed on and off for several years.

    He describes the performance of the computer climate models which all grossly exaggerate in their predictions of rapidly rising temperature as an “epic failure”.

    Pictures and comments at


    and if you have any misgivings about Dr Spencer’s credentials do check out the “About” section of hIs excellent blog.


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.