Safeguarding the future (Richard and Victoria Gibson)

This is a letter to all the candidates for the Northern Isles in the General Election.

Evidence that climate change will seriously threaten our lives grows daily and yet none of you appear to have given serious consideration on how this threat should be met.

The new government will represent us at the Paris Climate Change Conference in November and we need to know how you propose to safeguard our future before we vote.

Richard and Victoria Gibson
10 Commercial Street,


Add Your Comment
  • Charles Tait

    • April 29th, 2015 18:21

    Of course they wont, because it would be immediate electoral suicide, or so they think. The public is not so stupid as the politicians and would be politicians seem to think. Of course there are naysayers as there always will be. However the Liberal’s viewpoint is very clear – it is in the strong economic interest of the country to adapt to and prepare for posible changes in climate. The main problem is that the yappy Sturgeon, noisy Labour, grubby Tories and unheard Liberals are all scared of any of the real issues. The Greens have policies so bizarre as to be mostly voteless while UKIP does have some good ideas, but as with the Greens swamp them with such vile things as to be a bad joke. The should be a “not any of the above box”!

    • Robert Smith

      • April 30th, 2015 8:30

      No Charles, an in depth study showed that by far and away the best economic policy regarding climate change was the “do nothing” option.

      • John Tulloch

        • April 30th, 2015 13:27

        Absolutely, Robert.

        Imagine our grandparents being told not to burn coal, in case we would unable to.cope with bad weather, now! 🙂

        We have plenty of extreme weather to deal with, right now, without worrying about what it will be like in 100 years time.

        Our “grandchildren” will ‘laugh themselves silly’ at the nonsense we’re getting up to now!

  • John Tulloch

    • April 29th, 2015 20:18

    The authors write:

    “Evidence that climate change will seriously threaten our lives grows daily…….”

    I follow climate change news with great interest yet I have yet to become aware of any “evidence that climate change will seriously threaten our lives”, what is this evidence?

  • David Spence

    • April 29th, 2015 21:32

    I hope this gets on, as it is quite relevant.

    As long as humans put greed and profit (Capitalists) ahead of anything else, the problems of climate change, global warming, pollution and the mass slaughter of wild life will never ever be resolved.

    The most dangerous species on this planet are humans, but moreso Capitalists, as they have no morals when it comes to making money and profits. It is because of people like this which has been responsible for much of the problems we face today in this world.

    It may be a sweeping statement, but lets look at the evidence of what Capitalism really is. A country of less than 5% of the worlds population, consumes 31% of all global resources, consumes 27% of all fossil fuels, produces 25% of all pollution and has far, far too much control on international affairs. This country is our so-called ally, but in real terms, it only thinks of itself, and puts selfishness, greed and profits its number 1 priority. This country our, soon to be kicked out hopefully, vile Tory Government would love to emulate.

    Using Wind Power as a source of energy causes just as much destruction and pollution, and, in terms of economics, is not worthy of consideration.

    The only reason Viking Energy is still, probably, going ahead is nothing to do with going green, saving the atmosphere, giving Shetland further income (which is a joke in comparison to the cost of the project) but to do, like all Capitalist Plans, with the minority making money at the cost to everybody else. As said ‘ Putting Selfishness, Greed and Profits ahead of anything else ‘ is 100% guaranteed to fail.

    • Robert Smith

      • April 30th, 2015 8:37

      Totally agree about wind energy but have to disagree about capitalism. It has been such a success we can get up to all sorts of weird behaviour like recycling, playing with battery cars and vegetarianism. The countries smashed by socialism have no such choice and are terribly polluting.

      • Robert Duncan

        • May 1st, 2015 11:55

        Mr Smith, I have seen you across various media, using the term “socialism” as a pejorative term for seemingly anything you disagree with.

        Socialism exists within capitalism. It is not communism. It is just a different approach to capitalism than the neoliberalism most of the Western world has pursued in recent decades.

      • Robert Smith

        • May 1st, 2015 17:39

        Mr Duncan,
        I use the term “socialism” in it’s original sense … where the state takes precedence over the individual. I accept no distinction between socialism/progressivism/communism/social semocratism because the end result is identical.
        Neoliberalism was crushed under the heel of Brown/Clinton/EU commission corporatism. Neoliberalism is sorely needed now.

      • Brian Smith

        • May 1st, 2015 18:31

        Go back to school, Robert.

    • Johan Adamson

      • May 1st, 2015 10:54

      Robert Smith LOL at the weird behaviour comment. I wish there was still a great movement to be veggie because these cow they are using up all our CO2 and not producing food of the type we need to be eating.

      But I agree, the only green policies which are followed are the ones which money can be made out of, like projects to harvest subsidy from wind turbines of which there are many.

  • David Spence

    • April 30th, 2015 8:50

    John T. The evidence is there through scientific monitoring of how local, regional and, to a degree, national weather patterns have changed. As well as this, the scientific evidence that pollution caused by human activity has increased by the method(s) of monitoring the impact in regards to the rise of temperatures, again, from local, regional and further in the afield.

    To say, as we would be lead to believe, human activity has had zero impact on the weather and how this weather is changing would be arrogant at the extreme, and highly dangerous to ignore this impact and continue to pollute the planet on the basis ‘ Oh, it is just the planet going through its usual cycles of temperature change via the weather. Nothing to worry about ‘.

    It seems to me, like many things, that something very drastic has to happen before action is taken. Are we waiting for this event?

    Obviously people with an invested interest in the oil/gas/car (although car pollution accounts for 5% of all pollution) industries or other associated industries will plead ignorant because they do not want to see their money being wasted on the decline of use within their industry and subsequently criticize, lambaste any scientific data which may have a negative impact on their investment.

    It reminds me of the situation of car seat belts being used, where car companies like Ford and other US car manufacturers opposed the use of seat belts as it would increase production costs. However, given the evidence that car seat belts did save lives, legislation was put through to make it law. Despite the evidence indicating that many people had lost their lives by not wearing a seat belt, the car manufacturers still tried their damnedest to prevent such a law going through.

    This situation in regards to the impact of global warming and climate change is the exact same scenario as the seat belt situation, where ignorance and economics were determining the outcome and not to take any preventative action for the longer term consequences despite the warnings and evidence.

  • John Tulloch

    • April 30th, 2015 14:23


    What you have quoted isn’t evidence”, it is ‘hearsay’. Forget Greenpeace, WWF, etc., where’s the scientific evidence that “our lives are under serious threat” from ‘climate change'”.

    Nobody with ANY credibility has EVER said that humans have no impact on the climate. I was told at school the average human radiates 120W of heat. We eat food and breathe in, among other things, oxygen, and breathe out carbon dioxide, therefore, we affect the climate, as does every other living and inanimate thing.

    The argument is about whether human-caused carbon dioxide emissions are likely to cause dangerous changes, e.g. more frequent or severe hurricanes, biblical famines, floods, etc.

    Global temperature has steadily increased for about two hundred years, since the end of the Little Ice Age, when it was much colder; prior to which it was as warm as it is now, during the Medieval Warming; prior to that it was colder during the Dark Ages and; as warm, again, during the Roman Warming. These periods lasted hundreds of years.

    Gradual warming does not imply impending catastrophe. The world warmed after the last ice age, was that bad? Were any of the warm periods bad? No. Crops burgeoned, prosperity blossomed and civilisation advanced.

    Local/regional climate changes have always happened and always will and humans do have local – controllable – effects e.g. de-forestation causing retreat of Kilimanjaro snow.

    The bad times occurred during the Dark Ages and the Little Ice Age when famine raged through Europe and millions starved.

  • David Spence

    • April 30th, 2015 17:12

    John, I suspect when the Right Brothers invented a machine that could fly, would have been regarded as ‘ hearsay ‘ and more than likely dismissed.

    I find it quite hypocritical of people to believe that the sciences should be part of our national curriculum (Physics, Chemistry, Biology etc) and our advancements in technology as a result of the science behind them, but when it comes to Climate Change, Global Warming, we dismiss the scientific evidence straight away because it is totally and utterly impossible for human activity to cause any form of pollution and for this to affect the atmosphere and environments within that 5 mile high band of gases we call ‘ air ‘.

    My question would be to all those people who think Climate Change/Global Warming is not happening to come with evidence (which, like what they are doing, can be dismissed as hearsay, unfounded speculation etc etc) that human activity is not causing a change to the atmosphere.

    Ice core samples from the Arctic and Antarctic have shown the average amount of CO2 in the atmosphere for the past 750,000 years has been between 220 – 250 parts per miliion. In the past 300 or so years, this has increased to 370 – 400 parts per million. Even if you take into consideration natural events like volcanic eruptions within that 300 year period, this would have very little affect on the atmosphere. The most significant contributor to CO2 levels increasing over the past 300 years has been this of human activity as a result of the Industrial Revolution and the use of fossil fuels as an energy source, which has increased to levels where its impact is now having an affect on our atmosphere.

    Yes John, we breath in Oxygen and produce CO2 as a bi-product, but plants, plankton in the oceans also breath in CO2 and produce Oxygen, so our breathing has little or no affect on the atmosphere. However, the industries which are heavily dependent on fossil fuels do affect the atmosphere with the CO2 emissions they create.

    But, it is not only CO2 which is being produce at a tremendous rate, Methane, Hydrogen, Carbon Monoxide (other green houses gases) are also being produce as a consequence of human activity. The industry which is the largest contributor to greenhouse gases production is this of Agriculture. Agriculture does far more damage not only to the atmosphere but to the environment in terms of wildlife and eco-systems. This is an industry has been untouched in terms of criticism. We have been brainwashed into believing that car pollution is the sole contributor, when in reality, it is agriculture is far, far more polluting. Again though, we remain silent about this purely for economic reasons, and nothing else. Also to take into consideration, the amount of natural habitat that has been destroyed and replace with fields of grain, produces far, far less oxygen than what was before………so, basically, as oxygen production drops, greenhouses gases increase.

    • John Tulloch

      • May 1st, 2015 15:00


      The Wright Brothers built a machine which could be physically witnessed becoming airborne.

      By contrast, the climate doom mongers have made predictions about rising temperatures which have not come true, meaning that their theories have not been validated.

      That’s how science works, you invent a theory to explain how something works, make predictions using it and see if they come true. If the predictions come true, the theory will gain some credibility, if not, it’s back to the drawing board.

      BTW Beware of ‘hearsay’, in fact, the ice core data clearly showed that rising temperatures PRECEDE increasing carbon dioxide levels by several hundred years, NOT the other way round!

      Nobody is “denying science”, some people have proposed a doomsday theory which science itself is disproving.

      You think capitalism is corrupt and should recall that science operates within that culture and has itself become big business, especially, where attracting government money is concerned.

      My own rude awakening came on the day of the ‘Climategate’ revelations when the release of e-mails revealed global warming scientists were acting in a shockingly corrupt manner.

      Outcomes of this corruption include soaring fuel poverty and wind farms being railroaded through on small rural communities like Shetland, Loch Ness and the beautiful Clyde Valley with an accompanying copious flow of money from the poor to the rich.

      • David Spence

        • May 1st, 2015 18:09

        I agree with you John, on the sudden increase of ‘ alternative cleaner energy resources ‘ as a consequence of the propaganda in recent years of the impending doom of global warming and climate change and the change in attitudes towards using fossil fuel as a energy resource. As our present situation in regards to Viking Energy Project confirms, even if the cost of such a project, I think, is not justified.

        I also agree in the principles of science being lead by theory and the theory being proven correct through data analysis, observation and other sources of information to validate the theory…………….afterall, this is the basis of all sciences, I would say.

        However though John, the data findings in regards to global temperatures today as well as in the past can be, like many theories I guess, interpreted in many different ways to suit your choice of whether you are positive or negative towards the potential practicality of the theory in terms of the findings and consequences related. I feel that this is very much a scenario of ‘ lets wait and see before we do anything ‘ is a dangerous precedent in which to base your future actions on. Yes, the data can be still gathered to either confirm or disprove the consequences of human activity on the environment, but I do suspect though, it could be some time before action may be taken, if at all.

        I suspect that nature doesn’t move at a speed, in terms of any environmental changes, sea level rises etc etc; which may be observable within a human life time or even greater, but I do not think it should be completely dismissed entirely. As they say ‘ Time may give a more definitive answer ‘. As for what this time may be, if at all, is still unanswerable.

      • John Tulloch

        • May 1st, 2015 22:17


        You say: “very much a scenario of ‘ lets wait and see before we do anything ‘ is a dangerous precedent in which to base your future actions on”….. and:

        “…..I do suspect though, it could be some time before action may be taken, if at all”.

        I’m afraid a great deal of action – misguided action – has already been taken, on the basis of a ‘presumptive diagnosis’. For example (continuing in a medical vein):

        “You have the symptoms of a migraine, Mr X, but it could also be a brain tumour so, going by the ‘Precautionary Principle’, I’m prescribing immediate chemo-therapy and radio-therapy – maximum doses, of course, …. just in case!”

  • Johan Adamson

    • May 1st, 2015 11:03

    None of the parties have really spoken about a lot of things which are important to us. They are too busy doing each other down and taking up the cudgels of sensationalist headlines.

    One of the best vote winners was last nights gem from the labour leader; he would rather not speak to his comrades, the more-left-than-labour-SNP, so will inflict a Tory government on us, just because of fear we are going to leave the UK. Really? Like the logic there.

  • James Leask

    • May 1st, 2015 11:25

    What no one seems to mention is that more lives in the UK would be saved from global warming. Age concern say that: “Each winter, 1 older person dies needlessly every 7 minutes from the cold – that’s 200 deaths a day that could be prevented.” and the MET office say that: “The UK is expected to see more milder, wetter winters”. Thus many older people would be saved. The UK would have a warmer climate which everyone seems to wish it had at the moment.

    Global warming should be seen as something to embrace and adapt to, we have to if the environmentalists are right, as it sounds like nothing can stop it. The sea level has changed all through history with villages now under water or miles from the sea from when they were built. The weather has also changed with such things as the mini ice age and the medieval warm period. Humans are the ultimate adapters and animals will also adapt (its called natural selection). Necessity is the mother of invention also, so i am sure technology will help. That is if it is even happening as the doom mongers say…

  • Jim MacLeod

    • May 1st, 2015 14:57

    Conveniently ignoring the numbers that die because of hot weather…. 760 in one “spell” :

    • John Tulloch

      • May 1st, 2015 18:01

      Mmmh! Maybe we’ll have to ban holidays in the Med, next?

      That would make an excellent contribution to reducing our ‘carbon footprint’?

      Here’s a better idea. Let’s have cheap energy and then people will be able to afford to keep themselves warm in cold weather and keep themselves cool in hot weather.

  • John Tulloch

    • May 2nd, 2015 11:25

    Never mind what politicians and Greenpeace, FoE and WWF say, what does science itself say?

    Average global temperature has been rising for two hundred years, since the end of the Little Ice Age.

    Satellite monitoring began in 1979 and the most recent data from University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH) who do the number-crunching, show that despite ever-increasing CO2 levels:

    1. Global temperature has not risen since 1997.

    2. The overall trend since 1979 (which includes the rapid rise of the late1980s/early 1990s gave rise to alarm over potential catastrophe) is 0.114C/decade, 1.14C/century.

    A range of temperature rise of 1C – 2C is expected to be beneficial for the world due to increased rainfall, longer growing seasons and CO2-enhanced plant growth, conditions likely to apply for two hundred years.

    Given that technology will likely advance as much in the next two hundred years as in the last, it seems likely our descendants will be manyfold better-equipped than we to deal with any ill effects that may arise.

    The creation of worldwide poverty in the interests of preventing the climate from improving is both damaging and incredible folly.

  • John Tulloch

    • May 2nd, 2015 17:55

    It seems the authors of this letter are going to be disappointed, the reason the candidates aren’t talking about ‘climate change’ is because nobody is interested in it, any more.

    A recent poll of British public opinion put ‘Environment’ last among voters’ current concerns.

    I’m reminded of an occasion when I raised the subject of ‘climate change’ with an old Argyll man who responded, colourfully, along the lines of:

    “Climate change, my ‘posterior’! They must think we’re flippin’ stupid!”

    People aren’t stupid and the cat’s well and truly out of the bag.

  • David Spence

    • May 3rd, 2015 1:38

    John, I would expect that this number crunching the UAH does also takes into consideration the amount of natural habitat that destroyed by replacing it with less oxygenating plants like crops etc etc. I believe that nearly 30% of the natural habitat of the Amazon Rain Forest (was producing a large percentage of the oxygen we breath) as a result of felling as well as crop production. I also believe that much of the natural habitats of Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and other areas in this part of the world has also experience felling on an industrial scale and replaced with palm oil production. Again, this is a part of the world which also produces a large percentage of the planets oxygen.

    As said, has the UAH taken this into consideration when it is calculating levels of gas in the atmosphere and the potential harm this could cause if it is not addressed?

    • John Tulloch

      • May 3rd, 2015 15:56


      UAH doesn’t monitor gas levels, they measure average global temperature and despite rising CO2 levels (measured at Mauna Loa, Hawaii), temperature rise has defied doom-mongers’ predictions.

      Felling of rainforest affects the earth’s ‘carbon sink’ capacity, however, that going on doesn’t confirm catastrophic global warming theory as fact.

      Felling is a local issue and controllable but local people need to live, too.

      Satellite monitoring shows the earth has been becoming greener for thirty years; here’s a snippet from an excellent article by Dr Matt Ridley:

      “The latest …..satellite data……… confirms … greening of the Earth…… going on for 30 years. Between 1982 and 2011, 20.5% of the world’s vegetated area got greener, while just 3% grew browner; the rest showed no change.

      What explains this…? Man-made nitrogen fertilizer ……. is having little effect on forests. There are essentially two possibilities: climate and carbon dioxide itself.

      Warmer, wetter weather should cause more vegetation to grow. But even without warming, an increase in carbon dioxide should itself accelerate growth rates of plants. CO2 is a scarce resource …. and plants grow faster with higher levels of CO2.

      Dr. Myneni ……. concludes that 50% (of the vegetation increase) is due to …… warming or rainfall, and roughly 50% to carbon dioxide fertilization itself……

      The inescapable…… conclusion is that human use of fossil fuels has been causing greening of the planet…… first, by displacing firewood; second, by warming the climate; third, by raising carbon dioxide levels, which raise plant growth rates.

  • iantinkler

    • May 9th, 2015 11:07

    Now we have the Tories in Westminster with any luck the one billion pounds cost of The Interconnector will be better spent on real priorities. The SNP cry out for social justice, one billion spent the needy, Scotland’s starving destitute, those ravaged by austerity and the educationally deprived would be a better option. I so hope the political class for once puts the money where it matters, I will not however hold my breath!.

    • John Tulloch

      • May 9th, 2015 12:57

      Take heart from this article,Ian. Here’s a snippet from David Cameron on wind farms:

      “Frankly I think we have got enough on-shore wind and we have enough to be going on with, almost 10 per cent of our electricity needs, and I think we should give local people a say if they want to block these sorts of projects.”

      Och, he’ll laekly mak a’ exception fir Vikin’ Energy, da Eenglish fokk’ll be blyde ta help da SNP oot an finance da “Saudi Arabia o’ Renewables”?

      • Mike Grant

        • May 9th, 2015 17:07

        Speaking of which, I seem to recall a passing mention that Fergus Ewing hinted that windfarm subsidies might well be drastically reduced at some point…. I wonder if Viking Energy has bothered planning for such a contingency? It would be a wee bit unfortunate if we ended up with scores of abandoned, half-built aerogenerator towers all over the landscape!

  • iantinkler

    • May 9th, 2015 15:56

    Sad about the liberals, but at least the Tories are no longer shackled to the green loonies climate fear brigade. By all means use renewables and thorium nuclear, but not concrete based windmills on peat land about 1000 miles from where the power is required. Only the scientifically totally ignorant or utterly stupid would consider that option.


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