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The weather

Eddie Mair | 10:33 UK time, Friday, 27 April 2007

As you may know from the Newsletter, we're planning to talk about the weather tonight - and how the warmer weather is changing behaviour.

The Met Office have just released figures showing that April is likely to be the warmest one since records began in England more than 300 years ago. The Central England Temperature observations are the world's longest running temperature series and date back to 1659. The Provisional figure for April 2007 is 11.1 °C - that's 3.2 °C above the long term average. Meterologists say in addition, the 12-month rolling period ending in April 2007 is also set to be the warmest ever. Nearly 2°C above the long term average for the period.

Here's what I want to know: whether the changing weather has changed your behaviour in any way - perhaps through caring for the environment more, or buying a new picnic basket late in March. Are you taking weekends away earlier, unleashing your summer wardrobe in April or running round the house turning everything off? If you have changed something - please use the comment link. Although we're interested in environmental measures, we're perhaps even more keen to know whether your've changed your daily habits....in the garden, leaving the window open at night etc. We may use your comment on air tonight.

As it happens, we also got this email about the weather from Alan Searle:

"If March winds and April showers bring on May flowers, what does blazing August sunshine in April bring on? I would hazard a guess that this brings on drought, crop failure and hunger.

Europe seems to have been having scorching summer weather for several weeks now which, following on from a winter (2006/2007) which never really arrived, should certainly give great cause for concern. However, although I hear people talking about vague, long-term targets for tackling global warming, the only concrete advice seems to be to tell the public to switch to energy-efficient light-bulbs. Although this is something we should do, I really can't see how this will save the planet when we are still enjoying a host of environmental no-nos such as:

1. Cheap flights and exotic holidays
2. Air-conditioned motoring comfort
3. Homes packed with energy-hungry gadgets 4. Out-of-town, car-centric living and shopping 5. Temperature-controlled working and shopping spaces 6. Rain-forests cut down to make way for cash-crops (e.g. exotic produce and cattle-feed for Europe) 7. Out-of-season fruit and veg air-freighted in from the other side of the planet.
8. ... and, of course, packaging, packaging, packaging!

If we don't start taking real action (rather than 'placebo' measures) IMMEDIATELY, then it will simply be too late. Indeed, it may already be too late!"

Comments

  1. At 10:40 AM on 27 Apr 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    If its that warm why are my feet still cold in bed?

  2. At 10:48 AM on 27 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Alan Searle,

    Well, there's a set of habits to be changed for a start! And why don't we try peace instead of war while we're at it?

    XX. The aim and result of war necessarily is not peace but victory, and any victory won by violence necessarily justifies the violence that won it and leads to further violence. If we are serious about innovation, must we not conclude that we need something new to replace our perpetual "war to end war?"

    XXI. What leads to peace is not violence but peaceableness, which is not passivity, but an alert, informed, practiced, and active state of being. We should recognize that while we have extravagantly subsidized the means of war, we have almost totally neglected the ways of peaceableness. We have, for example, several national military academies, but not one peace academy. We have ignored the teachings and the examples of Christ, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and other peaceable leaders. And here we have an inescapable duty to notice also that war is profitable, whereas the means of peaceableness, being cheap or free, make no money.

    XXII. The key to peaceableness is continuous practice. It is wrong to suppose that we can exploit and impoverish the poorer countries, while arming them and instructing them in the newest means of war, and then reasonably expect them to be peaceable.

    XXIII. We must not again allow public emotion or the public media to caricature our enemies. If our enemies are now to be some nations of Islam, then we should undertake to know those enemies. Our schools should begin to teach the histories, cultures, arts, and language of the Islamic nations. And our leaders should have the humility and the wisdom to ask the reasons some of those people have for hating us.

    XXIV. Starting with the economies of food and farming, we should promote at home, and encourage abroad, the ideal of local self-sufficiency. We should recognize that this is the surest, the safest, and the cheapest way for the world to live. We should not countenance the loss or destruction of any local capacity to produce necessary goods

    XXV. We should reconsider and renew and extend our efforts to protect the natural foundations of the human economy: soil, water, and air. We should protect every intact ecosystem and watershed that we have left, and begin restoration of those that have been damaged.

    XXVI. The complexity of our present trouble suggests as never before that we need to change our present concept of education. Education is not properly an industry, and its proper use is not to serve industries, either by job-training or by industry-subsidized research. It's proper use is to enable citizens to live lives that are economically, politically, socially, and culturally responsible. This cannot be done by gathering or "accessing" what we now call "information" - which is to say facts without context and therefore without priority. A proper education enables young people to put their lives in order, which means knowing what things are more important than other things; it means putting first things first.

    XXVII. The first thing we must begin to teach our children (and learn ourselves) is that we cannot spend and consume endlessly. We have got to learn to save and conserve. We do need a "new economy", but one that is founded on thrift and care, on saving and conserving, not on excess and waste. An economy based on waste is inherently and hopelessly violent, and war is its inevitable by-product. We need a peaceable economy.
    -- Wendell Berry

    xx
    ed
    Friday April 27, 2007 at 10:52:21 GMT

  3. At 10:55 AM on 27 Apr 2007, Kate O'Mara wrote:

    Eddie,

    The weather? Tonight? ... I'll love it.

    Mwah! Mwah! Mwah!!!

  4. At 10:56 AM on 27 Apr 2007, Perky wrote:

    What newsletter??? Silly question really.

    As I'm moving down to Surrey from Yorkshire later this year, I've made several trips down there since Christmas. It's clearly several degrees warmer just 250 miles south and this was noticeable with spring flowers - daffodils already nearly past their best the week before Easter when mine were only just budding. I am quite concerned about moving to an area that's likely to have a permanent hose-pipe ban and will suffer more from warmer weather all-year-round - or that might be more susceptible to flooding.

    I do try to do environmentally-friendly things. I collect rainwater so that I can water the garden with it, I'm on a water meter and have taught my kids to turn off the tap whilst brushing their teeth, and to have quick showers rather than baths. I've also bought an Eco-kettle, which helps you to only boil the water you need.

    I also compost and re-cycle and try not to use the car too much. All the lightbulbs that can be are energy-efficient and we holiday in the UK. I refuse to buy stuff in the shops that's over-packaged, and I get as much locally-produced food as I can, but I still need to work on my plastic shopping bag use.

    What annoys me, however, is those people who say "Oh, I can't be bothered with that" or "I won't start caring about the environment until big industry starts caring about the environment". I know that, for many people, the changing weather and environmental issues in general come second to wider political, social and economic issues, but I don't think that's a good reason to ignore it. Make small things like the above part of your everyday life and you can still contribute to a change whilst caring about other things.

    Sorry - that went on for far longer than I was intending it to!

  5. At 11:02 AM on 27 Apr 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Well I'm really going to have to give up on the lawn -- water is just getting too expensive - and there seems to be less rainfall than a decade ago, or perhaps that's my imagination.

    Last year we invested in cavity wall insulation and topped up the loft insulation to make the upper bedrooms cooler in the summer months. Some were finding the temperature too hot. So closed curtains in the daytime and windows closed to keep it cool.

    The plus side is that business is looking good and it seems that the number of tourists deciding to stay for holidays in the UK may be on the increase. If this trend increases then there may be a few air miles saved.

  6. At 11:10 AM on 27 Apr 2007, Gladys Friday wrote:

    I'm going to the hole-in-the-wall.

  7. At 11:11 AM on 27 Apr 2007, Rachel wrote:

    I know climate change is a Bad Thing and I do think that we should all do our bit to stop it happening and put pressure on our governments to commit themselves to measures that will help. But part of me is longing for this weather to continue until September. It is the same part of me that finds that breakfast in the garden puts a smile on my fact for the rest of the day. And the part of me that is secretly gleeful when my children have to be dragged in from the garden at 8 oclock on a sunny April evening, after hours of active play, instead of being slumped in front of the telly.

    And it's great that summer holidays in the UK are no longer spent dodging downpours and you can actually plan a picnic. The long autumn, warmer winter and earlier spring have slashed my oil bills - we didn't start using the central heating until November and switched it off at the end of March. The tumble dryer hasn't been used in a month, and we've been cooking less too. Salads and grills instead of roasts and stews.

    So, I am enjoying the weather even as I realise that, as a resident of East Anglia, I may be one of the first to get my feet wet as sea levels rise.

  8. At 11:14 AM on 27 Apr 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    On a serious note I have always tried to be as 'green' as poss; I save water from showers/baths to flush the loo and water plants. Lights only when necessary and try to keep gas usage to a minimum. Recycle etc and try and walk whenever possible; use environmentally sound cleaning products. Its not difficult and I don't knwo why people seem so resistant to making minor changes...I'm sure it must all add up.

    Whilst not sceptically about warming weather (something is definitely happening) I do have a problem with the 'warmest since records began' thing. With all respect 348 years is not really going to give much of a picture for planet thats been going for how long?? maybe 1000 years of records would give a true picture of all cycles and patterns.

    I think one of the problems is, with many things not just the environment, that we as a society have have a very 'here and now' mentality. Some long term problems need long term solutions.

  9. At 11:17 AM on 27 Apr 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    "I won't start caring about the environment until big industry starts caring about the environment".

    Well, I will believe the Government cares about the evironment when it bans bonfires. These are my bête noir.

    [Oh dear, can't remember the gender of bête. How fortunate the French are not to have to deal with PC language.]

  10. At 11:21 AM on 27 Apr 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    I do remember feeling the biting cold every morning as I waited for the school bus many years back. I haven't felt that kind of cold in this country for a long time. I don't think it's just becasue I wear a more sensible coat. Or no longer wait for the school bus.

  11. At 11:24 AM on 27 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Bully for you, Perky!

  12. At 11:30 AM on 27 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    WW,

    My feet were so warm under the duvet I didn't want to get up. Room for more.
    xx
    ed

  13. At 11:32 AM on 27 Apr 2007, Jane Aire wrote:

    I agree with Perky, we all have to do what we can. History does not tell us to wait for big business or the government(s) to take the lead. Changing behaviour isn't something that happens by passing a law but by word of mouth and people doing what they think is right.

    I choose not to drive, or fly and I shop locally, not because of any feeble tax incentive but because I have to live with the choices I make.

  14. At 11:42 AM on 27 Apr 2007, Belinda wrote:

    As a direct answer to your question Eddie, there have been a few changes: For example, two years ago, we had to keep the heating on until May. This year, we have not used it since the end of February.

    On a wider level, we are living more sustainably than ever before, but this is coincidental to the current Green movement rather than a result of it. We grow our own vegetables, use public transport and walk anywhere under 5 miles away, shop locally and use our own bags, only buy essentials and we generally get them from second-hand places, and have learned survival/handicraft skills such as carpentry, weaving/spinning and wood-carving. We also never have on more than one light on in the house (or use oil-lamps itstead) and recycle as much water as we can.
    These things are just our way of life rather than any deliberate foray into eco-living, and most of these measures have been driven by finances (or the lack of them!). We are looking at other ways to live simpler though (any ideas Ed?), so perhaps I will have more to add in the future.

  15. At 11:45 AM on 27 Apr 2007, Chris C wrote:

    Re changing behaviour because of warmer weather:
    my favourite lager contains only 94.8% water, so I now have to drink more of this low H2O brand than previously to protect myself from dehydration.

    I also find that the more I rehydrate myself the happier I become!

    The only downside is that I occasionally burn my forehead when it hits hot pavements.

  16. At 11:50 AM on 27 Apr 2007, Bête Noire wrote:

    Vyle, I'm truly shocked and disappointed that should need to enquire - but I am female!

  17. At 11:58 AM on 27 Apr 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re; witchiewoman (8) , Who said:

    On a serious note I have always tried to be as 'green' as poss; I save water from showers/baths to flush the loo and water plants. Lights only when necessary and try to keep gas usage to a minimum ----------------------------------------

    My Mum who lives opposite is like you, the house is always dark and cold - the meals always undercooked - and the garden smells of Radox, although the plants are very clean :-)

  18. At 12:10 PM on 27 Apr 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Well, I'm a cold weather person; I get uncomfortable in temperatures above around 55F (whatever that is in centimetres) so this weather is pretty awful for me at the moment and I'm dreading the actual summer weather.

    I think I'll be holidaying in the fridge this year.

  19. At 12:14 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Jonnie (17) Hahahaha! :-)

  20. At 12:18 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Annasee wrote:

    Great newsletter today Eddie. No, I really mean it. And so early too. Unfortunately I'll miss the programme again today - someone is inconsiderately getting married at prime time listening hour. I really should put something in my contracts forbidding it...

    Seems like "the weather people" are going to be ever more important. Maybe you should have been nicer in your comment about them yesterday? Soon it might be that THEY have an hour's programme about the climate/weather forecast, & YOU get the little 2 minute slot at the end to give us the news headlines. What about that then???

  21. At 12:28 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Belinda,

    "When you only have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail." -- Maslow

    Premature quotation! Grrr! (3)

  22. At 12:36 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Member of the Public wrote:

    Thanks to one of the high priestesses of the global warming cult we now have a sure fire way of saving the planet. Pop star Sheryl Crow’s solution is so deceptively simple and blindingly obvious it is a wonder that no one has thought of it before.

    What we need, the singer explained this week, is a new law limiting people to just a single sheet of toilet paper “in any one sitting”. In the unlikely event of this strategy failing to halt climate change in its tracks, Sheryl has a cunning back up plan. She has designed a frock with detachable sleeves that you wipe your nose on, thereby saving on the use of paper tissues.

    How we will manufacture and launder the snotty sleeves without using any raw materials or energy isn’t specified, but no doubt Sheryl will be soon bringing her giant intellect to bear on defying the laws of physics. Not to be outdone did anyone notice that the Church of England is also preaching the gospel of Greenpeace? I suppose it makes a change from constantly apologising for being Christian.

    The CofE has devised an 11th commandment – “Thou shalt use a toaster” – because toasters, apparently, are kinder to the planet than grills.

    These are just two global warming stories from the past week – and I promise I haven’t made them up – which lead us to a number of irrefutable conclusions.

    1) Global warmists are completely nuts.

    2)This has nothing to do with science. Global warmism is a primitive religious cult that requires its credulous followers to make pointless sacrifices in order to appease the angry earth gods.

    3)Global warmism hysteria may destroy economies and curtail people’s lives, but it won’t make the blindest difference to climate change.

    4)If we all limited our toilet paper consumption and dashed out to buy new toasters, what would be the impact on average global temperatures in 50 years time? Let me just tap the figures into my magic global warming calculator. Oh look, there’s the answer – precisely zero.

    5)This has nothing to do with the environment; rather it is a way of increasing control over people’s lives. Crow’s new loo law would probably require a small army of Toilet Paper Limitation Enforcement Officers – advertised in the Guardian at £55,000 a year plus index linked pension – to kick down the lavvy door to make sure poor old Aunty Marjory hasn’t exceeded her daily quota.

    If the global warmist doom mongers are to be believed and sea levels will rise 100m and the earth will fry over the next 100 years, then there is precious little we can do about it. Even banning all flying (except for global warmist celebrities, of course) and forcing 4x4s off the road will not be enough to save us.

    If the global warmists are wrong, we can safely ignore them; if they are right, we might as well enjoy the earth while still we can. So go on, push the boat out, use six sheets instead of one. Just remember to wash your hands before you pop the bread under the grill.

  23. At 12:37 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Charles Hatton wrote:


    Here's a thought ...

    If I organise a classical concert and 500 people come, is that an environmental disaster? 500+ totally unnecessary journeys as well as all the lighting, heating & electricity?

    In reducing your impact, how far do you go?

  24. At 12:44 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Dan D Lion wrote:

    I love this weather - I can happily go for walks after work while it's warm AND light.

    Why then will our noble leaders STILL not let us have an extra hour of daylight in the winter?????

    For most of us who work, warmer winters with lighter evenings would be far more beneficial than lighter mornings.

  25. At 12:46 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Eamo wrote:

    Charles (22) interesting point. I caught a bit of a programme on R4 last night about the huge impact of fans travelling to football matches, which I'd never really thought about before. In the meantime, I'm saving the planet single-handedly by ignoring football entirely and composting my teabags :-)

  26. At 12:49 PM on 27 Apr 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Well I thought your clip was funny Eddie !

    I was waiting for all the feedback.

    Scorchio !

  27. At 12:50 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Duchess wrote:

    Yes, global warming has changed my life: I've taken up synchronised sweating. Not nice.

  28. At 12:59 PM on 27 Apr 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Here's a thought ...

    If I was the head of programming for a classical Network to which very few people listened to. 500 DAB and FM transmitters floating around drawing hundreds of Kilowatts which is totally unnecessary.

    In reducing our impact, how far should we go?

  29. At 01:01 PM on 27 Apr 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    Ed (12) - you are a gent!

    Johnnie - :) I bet she has a cat too!

  30. At 01:03 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    SSC (18) - My wife has the same problem with hot weather; I prefer to use it as an excuse for resting, but don't like above 20C.

    Bete Noire (16) Thank you for correcting me. I am ashamed of my amnesia.

    Ed I (21) I had a neighbour whose only hand-tool seemed to be a hammer. Obviously as a frequent user of power tools he wasn't green. We still use a hand mower quite often.

    Charles Hatton (22) If I win tickets to Glastonbury when I open a carton of joghourt, I'll be ashamed to give them away, now.

  31. At 01:04 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Charles (22),

    If you use local talent and work to a local market, the damage is much reduced, and if it's good weather, hold it outdoors without lights or amplification, as classical music should be.
    xx
    ed

  32. At 01:26 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    Trying to do all the good things cited here, but the most current and immediate effect is that I'm in the greenhouse and the garden about two to three weeks earlier than even three years ago. Which is why I don't have time to post at greater length now.

    Very worried about possible water shortage though as our ten water butts are no longer full and we've had only half an inch of rain in the last month.

  33. At 01:29 PM on 27 Apr 2007, John H. wrote:

    Charles Hatton (22), I think you pose an interesting question. I know it's a "thought experiment", but it's worth engaging in. At one extreme, we really should just all give up living - completely and immediately. I understand that this would probably result in a fairly major environmental disaster in the (very) short term as our rotting corpses decomposed, releasing all sort so noxious gases into the air (because there would be nobody around to dispose of them in any other way). Presumably, this would add to environmental carbon levels as some of the carbon from all of our bodies was put back into circulation. I wonder. Anyway, I'm sure it would all sort itself out pretty quickly and "nature" could just get on with it. Some external observer might, in a few thousand years, note that the earth's temperature had stabilised (by which I mean gone back to the sort of variation that has occurred throughout geological time) or had in fact soared, indicating that it wasn't really humankind that was causing the problem. But at least we wouldn't have to fret.

    Now, if that is a little extreme, and we accept that what seems to be on the horizon is unacceptable, then where is the point of acceptability? It's a very difficult question because, as the comments on here suggest, what some people think is an acceptable life style would be unbearable to others. Perhaps we need to implement certain strategies at a national level - along with all other "developed" countries - that act to reduce our energy usage. As we do this, perhaps we should be less condemnatory about the countries that running like hell to catch up and even less so about those countries which are not even in the race yet. Reduction in energy usage brings with it its own rewards in terms of reduced costs. The technologies and expertise developed will be products that can be sold around the world so whilst emissions will rise sharply in the short term, they can be expected to stabilise in the long term. As somebody has already said, small rises in temperatures might also act to reduce energy consumption (lower heating bills) and you can be certain that rising energy prices will act as an excellent motivator to be more efficient.

    But the bottom line is that: (1) demanding "hair shirt" behaviour in countries like the UK will never get anywhere whilst we all know that energy usage is soaring in rapidly developing countries; (2) demanding that people, who cannot imagine a standard of living such we enjoy, cease their race towards industrialisation isn't going to work - and is probably immoral; and (3) we don't really know what will happen in the relatively short term, never mind beyond that. Because of these things, I think we would have a much better message if we concentrated on saving money - and the development of products and services that help us to do that. For the moment, I will continue to think that more efficient cars are more realistic than fewer cars and fewer miles. Especially when there are a few billion people in the world who will want to get to the "having a car" stage before they decide not to use it.

    That was a bit gobby, wasn't it?

  34. At 01:36 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Jane & Perky, (earlier attempt lies in limbo),

    Perhaps a search on "voluntary simplicity" would be of interest?
    xx
    ed

    Maliciously premature again ;-(

  35. At 01:40 PM on 27 Apr 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Well I'm shocked!

    What a popular poll this has turned out to be.

    Just logged in and this is what we have:-

    Should Eddie Mair present Have I got News for you?

    -------------------------------------

    Poll Results

    "YES"
    25 of 30 total votes (83.3%)

    "NO"
    5 of 30 total votes (16.7%)

    According to Big Sister three people had voted 'no' in the first half an hour! That sounds very strange as 22 people must have voted yes subsequently.

  36. At 01:48 PM on 27 Apr 2007, FMcD wrote:

    Things that have changed with warmer weather:

    - very little time spent scraping frost off the car last winter
    - heating turned off at the end of March
    - picnics on the beach in early April
    - bedroom window open at night nearly all year round (but maybe that's my age!)
    - walks on the beach with the dog every night after work instead of dragging him around the block wrapped up in winter woolies (me, not the dog!)
    - 2 holidays booked for later this year, both in the UK
    - started mowing the lawn in February
    - completely missed crocuses (crocii?) and snowdrops this year. We seemed to go straight into daffodils and tulips.
    - started wearing sandals instead of boots in late March.

    My biggest concern is that I'm quite comfortable with the current temperature, so I'm going to feel much too hot when summer REALLY gets going.

  37. At 01:53 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Teacher wrote:

    Jonnie - your understanding of mathematics is appalling!

  38. At 01:58 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Chrissie the Trekkie wrote:

    The temperature in the conservatory hit 40C at the beginning of April - way too early.

  39. At 02:32 PM on 27 Apr 2007, barryd wrote:

    Ah but the benefits. Little summer dresses.

    Not sure that Eddie should consider them though. I doubt he has the legs.

    (My main change was finally giving in and getting a cheapo portable aircon unit 2 years ago. Now I'm considering getting an expensive one)

  40. At 02:43 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Blimey! I don't think I've ever agreed with anything posted by Member of the Public before!

    I do try to do everything I can in terms of greener living and I recognise it as an important issue, where "country X isn't doing anything so why should I?" is utterly the wrong attitude. However, the bandwagon-boarding of many 'celebs' and the trivia-obsessed end of the media speculation turns me off completely and adds nothing to the debate. I've said here before that I'm sick of hearing about it and it is exactly that kind of thing to which I refer.

    Much sympathy too with John H's (33) three bottom lines -- although quite how that works is another matter altogether. Which is the very bottom, Gobby? ;-)

  41. At 02:52 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Peter Jones wrote:

    I think Rachel (7) has a point. We all know that taken from a global perspective Global Warming is a 'bad thing' however from the perspective of your back garden it's wonderful ! The only reason I would ever want to move abroad is because I'm jealous of the way they can live a lot of their lives outdoors. That's increasingly possible for us these days - who knows what the cultural impact of that will be. I'm not suggesting for a moment that we shouldn't be environmentally responsible, nor am I ignoring parts of the world devastated by drought and so on, but you have to admit as far as the UK is concerned at the moment it's a bizarre sort of crisis

  42. At 03:05 PM on 27 Apr 2007, John H. wrote:

    I know this is destined for failure, but yesterday I linked to a site promoting an air powered car. I'd never heard of that before yesterday and since the site I linked to was a site claiming to have developed the vehicle (clumsy language that, because clearly the site hadn't developed the car - you know, the company behind the site), it's a bit difficult to judge it. But that's the sort of thing that I believe deserves a bit of attention. Is it legit? Or bogus? Because if it's legit, then it's a potentially very significant development. I just 'oogled a bit and found an early BBC report from 2002. But as far as I know, I've never heard anything about it before. For goodness sake, it's a car that runs on compressed air. They're claiming more than 100km range on a charge of air costing a couple of euros. This is something I want to know about. In fact, so much so, I signed up to get more information when they become available, but think I bought one! Oops.

  43. At 03:20 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    John H (33),

    "For the moment, I will continue to think that more efficient cars are more realistic than fewer cars and fewer miles."

    Will that reduce congestion? or will we learn to love sitting in our cars in traffic jams? And will the reduction in heating bills offset the increase in airconditioning bills?

    We can't expect ourselves to slow down and we can't morally ask the followers not to catch up? Sounds like Catch 22.

    "Perhaps we need to implement certain strategies at a national level - along with all other "developed" countries - that act to reduce our energy usage."

    Perhaps?
    xx
    ed

  44. At 03:20 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Can't stop long, I'm just haviong a couple of minute's break from a meeting. Can I just point out that the comment from Sheryl Crow has been revelaed to be a joke? Check out her website for confirmation...

    FFred

  45. At 03:27 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Frances O wrote:

    'Costing the Earth' on at the moment (1500 on) is about the carbon, er, bootprint of football. It's B-I-G!

    One little snotter said he didn't "believe" in recycling. It was all right for other people, he opined. As he roared off in his Dad's car.

  46. At 03:33 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    John H (33),

    "For the moment, I will continue to think that more efficient cars are more realistic than fewer cars and fewer miles."

    Will that reduce congestion? or will we learn to love sitting in our cars in traffic jams? And will the reduction in heating bills offset the increase in airconditioning bills?

    We can't expect ourselves to slow down and we can't morally ask the followers not to catch up? Sounds like Catch 22.

    "Perhaps we need to implement certain strategies at a national level - along with all other "developed" countries - that act to reduce our energy usage."

    Perhaps?
    xx
    ed

    502'd!

  47. At 03:33 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Gillian wrote:

    Ffred (43) Now you tell me! I've spent my afternoon splitting toilet rolls into individual sheets, working out a daily allowance for each member of the family and rationing them into individually-named polly pockets. I feel such a fool! ;o)

  48. At 03:43 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Gillian wrote:

    Ed I - When was the last time you sat in a traffic jam?! ;o)

  49. At 03:56 PM on 27 Apr 2007, mittfh wrote:

    I remember reading somewhere that even if everyone immediately reduced carbon emissions to 0, it would still take about 50-100 years to have any effect.

    Somewhat surprisingly, one of the biggest contributors to global warming isn't sitting in front of a computer at the moment, but sitting in a field, munching grass, and saying "Moo!"

    Here are a couple of links (let's see if HTML can make them look tidier)...

    Courtesy of the Indy

    And Newsnight's Ethical Man (plus oodles of commenters)

    Personally, I'm of the persuasion that humans are designed to be omnivores, not carnivores or herbivores. Eat less meat, but perhaps not cut it out entirely.

    But overall, perhaps the best thing to do is a strategy of mitigation and adaptation. Climate change is happening, and we're unlikely to stop it any time soon, so we might as well adapt to the new climate, and, if possible, mitigate against some of its effects (e.g. build homes that can stand up to storms, don't build on clifftops or in floodplains etc.)

    For example, albeit with different intentions, the UK at least has been cleaning up its act over the past few decades with regards to pollution - Londoners don't experience "Peasoupers" any more, the switch to unleaded fuel and catalytic converters (apparently diesels are now fitted with something similar) has certainly improved air quality in towns/cities - although pollution can still be smelt/tasted in high traffic areas, and buildings aren't blackening up anywhere near as much as in the past.

    I hope when building the next generation of new towns, designers still stick to the same traffic flow principles: minimise frontages on through routes and provide limited numbers of junctions to keep traffic moving, separate pedestrians and motorists (roads in trenches, pedestrians at ground level or above - unlike some cities which did the opposite), and if possible, make pedestrian routes to local amenities open and direct to encourage people to walk to the local shops and schools rather than drive there (cuts congestion and pollution as well as increasing fitness).

    Anyway, this comment's already far too long, I'll hand over and let someone else have a go...

  50. At 04:07 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Gillian (46),

    Well asked! It was around a year ago when my London-based daughter wanted us to fill the car with stuff to bring back to Scotland to store. Then the clutch release failed and I had to manage a fully laden car in an A40 traffic jam without a clutch.....Good thing I'm a cousin of the Dukes of Hazzard! ;-) Made it to Leamington for the night and the AA man fixed it in two minutes....
    xx
    ed

  51. At 04:07 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Relative poverty is a great incentive to not having a huge carbon footprint; it's a lot cheaper to put on another jumper or wear a vest than it is to turn up the central heating! Not having a 4x4, nor having the faintest desire to fly to Hong Kong for a weekend break (in fact I can't think of anything more ghastly!) and having good local shops, I shan't be changing my behaviour much in response to climate change -- if that's what's happening, and I agree that we need to think in terms of centuries and millenia rather than years or decades when we look at climate patterns; 1976 wasn't a very cold wet year, as I remember it, f'rinstance.

    I wasn't going to buy a patio heater before, and I am definitely not going to need to buy one now. So that isn't a change in behaviour.

    I can't help feeling that a government that was serious about reducing the carbon footprint might not feel able to ban air-travel or 4x4s because we've become used to them and started to regard them as our inalienable right, but before we have all become accustomed to the idea that outdoors ought to be heated to be as cosy as our kitchens perhaps they could ban the production, sale and use of these things. Or maybe somebody can explain why anyone *needs* a patio heater, as opposed to just wanting one?

    I can think of only one reason, really. Or maybe it's an excuse. Joined-up thinking doesn't seem always to be this government's strongest point, and they have banned smoking in public places without stopping to think that the 25% of the population who still smoke may not give up on the spot. Seems a bit sad that every pub in the country is going to feel it has to try to heat the back garden for the smokers, doesn't it.

  52. At 04:19 PM on 27 Apr 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: Teacher 37

    Mmmm I agree - it all looked so complicated !

    I think I meant 23 ( as they were subsequent votes. I can't quite get my head around it though.

  53. At 04:33 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Perky wrote:

    There are too many examples of non-joined-up-thinking on this issue to highlight here - like the smoking issue that Chris Ghoti raises above.

    One I've just read about concerns a village near one of the secondary schools we're considering for our children when we move. Having spent several thousand pounds on a safe cycleway to encourage the village children to walk and cycle to school rather than drive, the council then changed the school admissions criteria so that the same children have to travel up to 13 miles to get to their allocated school.

  54. At 05:04 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Electric Dragon wrote:

    John H: re compressed air car.

    How are they compressing the air? Using a compressor. How is the compressor powered? With an electric motor, powered from the mains supply. So, just another electric car then, one that stores its energy in a compressed air tank rather than a battery, fuel cell or hydrogen tank.

    Remember the First Law of Thermodynamics - "You can't get something for nothing".

  55. At 05:21 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Frances O wrote:

    OOh, Rachel! You got read out!

    Actually, I have a sort of guilty schizophrenia about this; I love warm weather, but I can see the global picture and so I'm a bit of a recycling bore, I walk when I can (and, if I must, use hideously expensive public transport), and if I have a holiday this year it'll be in Scotland or Wales.

    If the weather holds.

    And there's the problem; cold, wet weather here means we Brits go abroad for a bit of sunshine. Global warming, which we've helped to cause, may keep us here. But at what cost?

    I do believe that if each of us does what we can, all the small steps towards looking after our planet will add up to something pretty big.

    While we're waiting for governments and industry to catch up.

  56. At 05:27 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Simple Simon wrote:

    April has become the season of dust and police sirens... is it my imagination or are sirens louder in the summer?

  57. At 05:33 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Fiona wrote:

    Been in back to back meetings all afternoon so no time to add much to the many varied comments.

    However I am intrigued to know - how did you make it from the A40 to Leamington without a clutch, Ed ??

  58. At 05:43 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Ed Addis wrote:

    Wouldn't you just know it? A warm month and out comes all the nonsense about global warming again!

    Why is it that people can't understand the simple truth that individual warm spots don't prove anything?

    Take into account that:

    1 the warm April has been here in the UK - it's not a global average temperature high
    2 there's always going to be a warmest April *some* time - and a warmest January, February etc, and a warmest year - but that doesn't have to mean there's a trend

    Also bear in mind that, even if there is a trend (stats show a rise of about 2/3 deg C in the past century), that doesn't mean that human activities are responsible.

    Forget the computer models trotted out by the pro-lobby. The real science says that adding more CO2 to the atmosphere can make little difference, and that in all the hundreds of thousands of years of records, rising CO2 has *never* led to rising temperatures.

    Enjoy the warm weather, but don't start getting paranoid - there's nothing we can do about it, and the chances are we'll be moaning about a freezing April next year!

  59. At 06:11 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Rachel wrote:

    Coo Frances (55) did I really? Blush. I missed that bit, being stuck in an ENT waiting room beginning to curse global warming daughter and I sweltered. The last time I had a letter read out on PM, I was 15. It was some naive rant about Thatcherite education policies, I think. One letter every 25 years is a good average, I think.

  60. At 06:32 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Fiona (57),

    In College days i drove a car without a clutch for months, because it was foreign and took a while to sail across the Atlantic. You learn how to synchronise engine and gear speed (and a synchromesh gearbox helps you.)

    It's probably mostly a 'man' thing. ;-)

    Ed Addis, Sheer balderdash!

    xx
    ed

  61. At 06:40 PM on 27 Apr 2007, J R Sothen wrote:

    The Met Office seems to have abandoned scientific method and gone over to the new GW religion, whose basic tenet is: 'the weather is getting hotter and it is humankind's fault'. There are several problems with this religious belief:

    1 The Little Ice Age, which started in the 17th century, must have skewed the average figures downwards, thus making our temperatures now seem more extreme than they are.

    2 The locations at which these readings were taken have changed over time; so, the Met Office is not comparing like with like.

    3 The reliability of the readings is lower the older they are.

    4 Nobdoy has yet demonstrated the 'carbon-dioxide-causes-global-warming' idea (I hesitate to glorify it with the title 'theory' or 'hypothesis').

    5 Why does the Met Office discount the influence of the sun? (Oh, I forgot, humans would not be to blame then.)

    6 Nobody has demonstrated a scientific method for measuring the contributions of volcanoes, trees, humans, etc. 'Scientists' once maintained that fingerprint evidence was unchallengeable, ditto DNA evidence ('1 chance in 73 million - how many did they test?), and (last but not least) that the earth was flat.

    I support efforts to use earth's resources wisely but will remain unconvinced by the scaremongers till they show me undisputable facts. Is that really too much to ask?

  62. At 06:55 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Ed Addis wrote:

    Not very intelligent comment, Ed Iglehart. Is that the substance of your argument pro human-induced global warming? Doesn't seem that you really know anything about it, in which case wouldn't it be better to keep your views to yourself?

  63. At 07:18 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Ed Addis wrote:

    Bravo J R Sothen! Very well said. The whole bandwagon is out of control.

    To add to your points:

    The energy absorption bands of CO2 (the 'engine' of the greenhouse effect) are near to saturation. This means that nearly all the energy available for absorption by CO2 is already being mopped up by the existing CO2. Hence adding more can make little difference.

    Furthermore, the climate records show that throughout the eras where records are available, rises in CO2 levels have always lagged behind rises in temperature, and so cannot have caused them.

    These are well documented facts, but the climate scientists keep very quiet about them - it's virtually impossible to get a straight answer for those guys about this - because they're not convenient and don't fit the currently fashionable ideas.

    When I did my Physics degree, back in 1971, I learnt that the scientific method involved developing theories to fit the facts, not selecting and inventing facts to suit the theory, as is the case here!

  64. At 10:28 PM on 27 Apr 2007, lurker wrote:

    Ed Addis & JR Sothen: So you're all for burning all the oil and coal in a global frenzy of consumerism and to hell with the consequences (for, according to you, there are none, or little more to suffer)? There's plenty more of them stored under the earth's surface, and we can waste far more of it on making new glass/aluminium rather than recycling the stuff already made, if you want to prove your point.

    Have you noticed the ice sheets are melting at unpresended rates (in human history). I suppose you disagree with the sea level rise this will cause, whether it was human activity or increased solar radiation. (Or is this some propaganda as well?).

    The science is not perfect, but are you seriously arguing that the majority of scientists have been brainwashed into giving governments new sources of taxes? Whatever happened to the "precautionary principle"? Explain the "Hockey Stick" graph and it's correlation with the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.

    I could go on.

    Lurker, PhD, BSc. (physical sciences).

  65. At 12:26 AM on 28 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Thanks Lurker,

    You outrank me, 'cause I've only got a BSc in Chemistry and extensive postgraduate studies in human ecology, but I'll take the scientific concensus a little more seriously than our two trolls who probably haven't even seen the IPCC reports, much less read them.

    Vaya con Gaia
    ed
    28/04/2007 at 00:27:27 GMT

  66. At 07:15 AM on 28 Apr 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    At the risk of turning the Frog into Gardners' Question Time (when are you going to be presenting *that* Eddie?)...

    Stainless Steel Cat, Glasgow, upwards-facing garden, thick clay soil...

    What are the immplications of watering your garden with second-hand soapy water? Does the detergent damage the plants?

    I imagine it's not a good idea to put it on or near veg, but what about lawns and shrubs?

    I have a narrow path at the back of the house then a high wall leading to a 25 degree sloped garden, so no room for a water butt. It's also a council house so I probably couldn't get the downspout diverted into one even if I had room.

  67. At 08:04 AM on 28 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Feline Inox,

    I've no expertise on the matter of 'grey water', , but common sense (far to uncommon these days) tells me it can't be much worse than sending it to the sea via the sewage system. It'll get there soon enough.

    The longer the water avoids the human drainage system, the longer it stays in Nature's domain, I reckon. I've long thought throwing rainwater "away" is one of our most wasteful practices, and it's retention is so easy when you're designing a roof or taking charge of any sloping ground.

    For decades, my immediate neighbours and I have been digging ponds to hold the water as high in the landscape as possible, where it can be used by livestock or directed to lower, drought-prone areas when needed. Planting woodlands near the ridgelines serves a similar purpose, both capturing and holding rainfall.

    xx
    ed

  68. At 10:54 AM on 28 Apr 2007, mittfh wrote:

    CO2 is used by the media as the main "culprit" of global warming, but it isn't the only greenhouse gas.

    "Greenhouse gases include water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone." (Wikipedia)

    In fact, for a comprehensive analysis of global warming / climate change / greenhouse effect, examine both the relevant articles and discussion pages on Wikipedia (not to mention the pages related to a certain Al Gore film). The main articles largely explain the scientific basis, the discussion pages contain lots of both pro- and anti- opinions. Just a word of warning: don't try printing out the articles:
    Global warming: 15 pages / discussion: 80 pages
    Global warming controversy: 25 pages / discussion: 42 pages
    Greenhouse effect: 7 pages / discussion: 18 pages
    Climate change: 13 pages / discussion: 10 pages
    Scientific opinion on climate change: 9 pages / discussion: 57 pages
    An Inconvenient Truth: 14 pages / discussion: 19 pages

  69. At 11:28 AM on 28 Apr 2007, Carol Clark wrote:

    I'm all for the lovely hot weather - having spent the last fortnight in the garden pulling weeds..... but an earthquake..... not quite shaking me out of bed, but certainly making me have an earlier than normal on a Saturday coffee....

    Is this another consequence of global warming (well everything else gets blamed on it!)

  70. At 02:17 PM on 28 Apr 2007, lurker wrote:

    Ed Iglehart, this week's New Scientist has an article that reveals that one piece of evidence that the climate change denyers have jumped on (the ocean's surface was cooling down) turned out to be some instrumentation error, and that it is warming as predicted by the models which include human influence.

    Mittfh, you are right regarding other gasses (methane is far more effective), or indeed where they are generated/emitted.

    Stainless Steel Cat, are you sure the council would not allow you to divert water from your house's downpipe? As for grey water, there has been a lot of research on this topic, and probably you can find many references using a search engine. Grey water is used by some exhibitors at Chelsea Flower Show (and no doubt the other RHS shows). But equally I would suggest that you may wish to choose your soap/detergent with care before you start using a dilute solution of it in the garden

    Is this really Malicious?

  71. At 02:30 PM on 28 Apr 2007, nikki noodle wrote:

    I think there is also the imminent prospect of new technology.

    When people's household energy budget per annum is about half (or the same) as the cost of installation of solar panels, then a lot of people will install solar panels.

    Or a wind turbine, or loads of insulation.

    Those that can't will see their house price tumble, as they attempt to get out of the cities and into the countryside.

    At around about the same time, these 'alternative' cars will become available, and all the supermarkets will stock garage-forecourts with compressed air, electricity or hydrogen or what ever is the trendy energy.

    it will just all be shockingly expensive *before* we get to that point.

    nikki

  72. At 04:24 PM on 28 Apr 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Lurker (70):

    Thanks for that, I've never heard the phrase "grey water" before today.

    Summarising from the appropriately named "CAT Information Service":

    Bath and shower water is easiest to reuse on the garden as and soap or shampoo should be well diluted. Kitchen sink water is probably too contaminated with grease, oil etc. so best to avoid it.

  73. At 04:27 PM on 28 Apr 2007, Ed Addis wrote:

    lurker and Ed Iglehart:

    I think you'll find that the so-called 'hockey-stick' graph is long discredited. I notice that you don't make any answer to the two scientific points I raised - saturation, and the climate record. If you could give me some *sensible* answers to those, I might even start to believe that there's something more in this than just opportunism, and a nice gravy train of juicy research grants, votes, space-fillers for the media and conferences in nice parts of the world.

    Wishful thinking - you can't answer those points, because there are no answers, any more than there's one single shred of actual physical evidence that CO2 causes warming.

  74. At 06:59 PM on 28 Apr 2007, Humph wrote:

    I hope that you will forgive me if I do not feed the trolls on this thread. In my opinion they are too many in number to explain that 1 + 1 = 2 (pun not intended). Sorry but there are some things that happen to be true.

    H.

  75. At 08:34 AM on 29 Apr 2007, ALAN Kelly wrote:

    Why is it so bad that its getting warmer, stop cheap flights o/k, its getting warmer so why fly. Inport food, no need we getting more crops and better crops now. Put up new power stations again, not needed its warmer so we need less power. Also the old need not spend so much money on heat in stead older people can eat more, so we will need less hospitals. Cut down on big cars or all cars, no need people will not drive so much, if its warmer, its nice some times to walk or ride a bike! or just sit in the sun down at the pub or in your garden. the list goes on and on of good things, and just think if the ice caps do melt we will have lots more fresh water and more rain so we grow more crops and around we go again. also we will need less oil so we could just keep a little more in the ground for our kids, so why did i hear it was a bad thing thats its getting warmer i think not.

  76. At 09:33 AM on 29 Apr 2007, Gillian wrote:

    Humph (74) As said on Planet Earth,''Frog(ger)s' ears are tuned to hear only the call of their own kind.'' ;o)

  77. At 11:49 AM on 29 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Alan (75),

    It's far from certain it will get that much warmer uniformly, or that more crops will grow better. The advice to local farmers was that the autumn (planting time not currently safe due to wet) will be longer before the winter rains begins and severely limit access to the land - equipment bogs down and seriously disturbs the soil structure. Winter wet seems likely to extend further into the Spring, so early cultivation and planting is curtailed.

    I have to admit my observations locally are different, extending some 35 years (in arrears). I have noticed more frequent earlier ends to rain, sometimes with no significant rainfall between February and late April or even early May.

    The advisors also indicated a frequent very dry period between July and August, at times so severe as to dessicate the roots of many shallow-rooted crops. I have observed this quite often, notably 75 and 76, but on several more summers and more frequently of late.

    It's not simple, and full of uncertainty, and many large adjustments will be needed. A certain amount of Anthropogenic (human-caused) climate disruption is already bought in an irrevocable contract for which our payment received was the 'benefits' of the industrial revolution, which has nearly destroyed the work of the Neolithic (Agrarian) revolution.

    The Chinese are losing topsoil at a rate unprecedented in the forty centuries they have farmed the same soil.

    On the basis of the data of Wolff, Kellner and Carpenter, or of Hall, the people of the United States and of Europe are pouring into the sea, lakes or rivers and into the underground waters from 5,794,300 to 12,000,000 pounds of nitrogen; 1,881,900 to 4,151,000 pounds of potassium, and 777,200 to 3,057,600 pounds of phosphorus per million of adult population annually, and this waste we esteem one of the great achievements of our civilization. In the Far East, for more than thirty centuries, these enormous wastes have been religiously saved and today the four hundred million of adult population send back to their fields annually 150,000 tons of phosphorus; 376,000 tons of potassium, and 1,158,000 tons of nitrogen comprised in a gross weight exceeding 182 million tons, gathered from every home, from the country villages and from the great cities like Hankow-Wuchang-Hanyang with its 1,770,000 people swarming on a land area delimited by a radius of four miles.
    F H King, Farmers of Forty Centuries, 1911
    http://www.soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/010122king/ffc9.html

    Everywhere else mechanised and chemically fertilised agriculture has been embraced has been sending topsoil to the sea at an accelerating rate.

    There are hopeful possibilities as well, but we will have to change our focus from Money, which is only a stand-in for ENERGY, to a more balanced view. There is also the spectre of 213,000 more Earth-altering Homo (self-styled) Sapiens every single day of the year. A million and a half more of us every week.

    Houb Salaam
    ed
    29/04/2007 at 11:50:38 GMT

  78. At 12:07 PM on 29 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    How true, Gillian!
    ☆☆☆☆☆
    ed

  79. At 12:58 PM on 29 Apr 2007, Gillian wrote:

    eD I (77) But I'm a bit confused as to what kind of Frogger Sheila on the Beach is......

  80. At 01:34 PM on 29 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Gillian (78), I'm amused/pleased that her 'support group' referred her to the PM Beach. Was it due to googling "PM programme"?
    Result

    We're a' Jock Tamson's bairns.

    xx
    ed

  81. At 02:10 PM on 29 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    PUSH!

  82. At 04:17 PM on 29 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    PUSH AGAIN

    Alan (75),

    It's far from certain it will get that much warmer uniformly, or that more crops will grow better. The advice to local farmers was that the autumn (planting time not currently safe due to wet) will be longer before the winter rains begins and severely limit access to the land - equipment bogs down and seriously disturbs the soil structure. Winter wet seems likely to extend further into the Spring, so early cultivation and planting is curtailed.

    I have to admit my observations locally are different, extending some 35 years (in arrears). I have noticed more frequent earlier ends to rain, sometimes with no significant rainfall between February and late April or even early May.

    The advisors also indicated a frequent very dry period between July and August, at times so severe as to dessicate the roots of many shallow-rooted crops. I have observed this quite often, notably 75 and 76, but on several more summers and more frequently of late.

    It's not simple, and full of uncertainty, and many large adjustments will be needed. A certain amount of Anthropogenic (human-caused) climate disruption is already bought in an irrevocable contract for which our payment received was the 'benefits' of the industrial revolution, which has nearly destroyed the work of the Neolithic (Agrarian) revolution.

    The Chinese are losing topsoil at a rate unprecedented in the forty centuries they have farmed the same soil.

    On the basis of the data of Wolff, Kellner and Carpenter, or of Hall, the people of the United States and of Europe are pouring into the sea, lakes or rivers and into the underground waters from 5,794,300 to 12,000,000 pounds of nitrogen; 1,881,900 to 4,151,000 pounds of potassium, and 777,200 to 3,057,600 pounds of phosphorus per million of adult population annually, and this waste we esteem one of the great achievements of our civilization. In the Far East, for more than thirty centuries, these enormous wastes have been religiously saved and today the four hundred million of adult population send back to their fields annually 150,000 tons of phosphorus; 376,000 tons of potassium, and 1,158,000 tons of nitrogen comprised in a gross weight exceeding 182 million tons, gathered from every home, from the country villages and from the great cities like Hankow-Wuchang-Hanyang with its 1,770,000 people swarming on a land area delimited by a radius of four miles.
    F H King, Farmers of Forty Centuries, 1911
    http://www.soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/010122king/ffc9.html

    Everywhere else mechanised and chemically fertilised agriculture has been embraced has been sending topsoil to the sea at an accelerating rate.

    There are hopeful possibilities as well, but we will have to change our focus from Money, which is only a stand-in for ENERGY, to a more balanced view. There is also the spectre of 213,000 more Earth-altering Homo (self-styled) Sapiens every single day of the year. A million and a half more of us every week.

    Houb Salaam
    ed
    29/04/2007 at 11:50:38 GMT

  83. At 04:42 PM on 29 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Alan (75),
    "Inport food, no need we getting more crops and better crops now."

    Actually, we're getting less self-sufficient, foodwise, at an alarming rate.

    Self-sufficiency
    Average
    1994-96
    2004 2006
    From: chart 6.4 AUK 2005
    UK self-sufficiency in food as a percentage of:
    All food 72.4 61.9 60.0
    Indigenous type food 85.3 74.6 73.3
    DEFRA

    For a decadal decline of 16% and falling.

    An alternate view.
    Houb Salaam
    ed
    29/04/2007 at 16:44:45 GMT

  84. At 05:22 PM on 29 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Is someone arbitrarily preventing us from answering some posts? I have posted two cordial answers to Alan, but they remain in limbo, as does a direct and courteous answer to Charles Hatton on the fun with stans thread, posted two days ago.

    What's the frogging problem?
    Grrrr
    ed

  85. At 05:38 PM on 29 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Rachel (59),

    I'm sort of an Ent, too! ;-)
    xx
    ed

  86. At 10:11 PM on 29 Apr 2007, anth wrote:

    Stainless Steel Cat #72

    I have an idea that would selectively divert water from kitchen sinks either to a storage tank (for the garden) or the drains, based upon how polluted the water is. So water washing salads would be diverted to your water butt, for example, while fatty laden water from washing up would go to the drains.

    But no funding, sadly.

  87. At 09:14 AM on 30 Apr 2007, Ed Addis wrote:

    Humph (74)

    I presume that you're deeply religious?

    The touching faith you display in the global warming line peddled by the activists, in the absence of any hard supporting evidence, is characteristic of the unquestioning belief normally associated with religion.

    'Some things just happen to be true', indeed!

    What hope is there of keeping any control of the activities of politicians when there are people like you who just accept any old rubbish they're told without question?

  88. At 10:40 AM on 30 Apr 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    Ed Addis (87)

    Why do you think "...unquestioning belief [is] normally associated with religion"?

    Anyone in this country who adheres to any 'religion' will be doing so in the face of decades of attack by secular humanists, through both the educational system and the media. The likelihood of their belief being unquestioning is negligible.

    http://www.albertmohler.com/commentary_read.php?cdate=2006-09-26

  89. At 11:03 AM on 30 Apr 2007, Humph wrote:

    Okay then, Ed Addis (87), let us have a look at some of the science of the greenhouse effect shall we? Carbon dioxide is made up of two different elements: carbon and oxygen. The former has a relaxed electron configuration of 1s2, 2s2, 2p2. The electron configuration of the latter is 1s2, 2s2, 2p4. The ultra-violet and visible wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) cause excitation of electrons within an elements shell; to cause excitation outside of the element, a process known as ionisation, requires X-rays. But neither of these elements have any unsaturated inner shells. You do not get these until you start going through the transition metals. So both elements are transparent to UV light and any UV passing through will be unaffected. The same is true of polymerised silicon dioxide, or glass.

    The light hits the ground or plants or water. Some of it is used for photosynthesis, some of it is absorbed and some of it is reflected back. Any use that is made of the light results in the energy of the light being reduced. The frequency drops, the wavelength increases so that some of what returns to the atmosphere is now in the infra-red region of the EMS. Infra-red is absorbed by the vibration of molecular bonds. Carbon dioxide has two double bonds and so manages to absorb light in the infra-red region and trap it in the atmosphere. Polymerised silicon dioxide does not have any double bonds but it does still have a large number of molecular bonds, it is a polymer after all, and so is also effective at trapping infra-red light.

    Another property of infra-red light is that it is how heat is transmitted. That is why infra-red cameras are used on police helicopters to hunt for people who are hiding in bushes. So if you make a small shed like structure with glass walls, when the sun shines on it some of the energy that gets in cannot get out again and the inside will heat up a lot more than the outside. This is called a greenhouse. Likewise if you have carbon dioxide, or indeed any other molecule that absorbs infra-red radiation, in the atmosphere then some of the energy that hits the earth cannot then escape. This is called the greenhouse effect. Please note that this has nothing to do with claims that it is all the sun’s fault for being more active at the moment; it is an earth thing for which we are part of the cause.

    You claim that carbon dioxide is not a cause of warming and that the absorption bands are near to saturation. EH??? Either it is trapping heat or it is not. You cannot have it both ways. You also presume that I must be very religious. I am not sure where you got that idea from but then I do not know where you got most of your ideas from. Once again, however, you are totally wrong.

    H.

  90. At 11:08 AM on 30 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Ed Addis (87),

    Humph has considerable scientific expertise of his own, especially with regard to atmospheric matters.
    Salaam, etc.
    ed

  91. At 11:37 AM on 30 Apr 2007, Val P wrote:

    Humph - wow, I actually understood that :o). Beautifully expressed.

  92. At 11:49 AM on 30 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Humph,

    You will deduce that I composed before your post appeared. I thought you weren't in feeding mode.
    ;-) ed

    P.S. You increased my understanding of matters and the inclusion of the nature of glass made it the best explanation I have seen of the 'greenhouse' metaphor. Why didn't I see that before? I'm a glassmaker, after all! (shame!) :-(

  93. At 11:57 AM on 30 Apr 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    Humph (89)

    "Either the CO2 is trapping heat or it is not."

    Well, even if it is (which seems most likely) that doesn't mean certain human activities are mainly the cause of rising CO2 levels. As a cynical person, I regard the CO2 bandwagon as no more than a convenient excuse for raising taxes. Cows produce more methane than most other sources, but there is no talk of taxing them.

    The growing amount of travel by motor-car is the result of government action - so tax the victims.

    VAINLY HERE

  94. At 12:13 PM on 30 Apr 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Ed Addis (58);
    Correct, to a point. I don’t suppose that the U.K. was the only place having a record warm April. I’m sure one or two other countries have recorded the same. However, globally 8 out of the 10 warmest years have been recorded within the last 10 years. That seems like a miniature trend.

    And having stated “but that doesn't have to mean there's a trend” you then immediately perform a double back flip and say that there is a trend. So which way would you like to have your statistics served?

    Au contraire to your assertion that adding more CO2 won’t cause any further temperature rise, empirical observation would suggest that positive feedbacks from CO2 concentrations actually amplify warming initially caused by other factors. Earth receives energy from the sun as it’s principle source of heat. It reflects some 30% straight back out into space as infra-red ‘black-body’ radiation. The amount re-radiated is critical to Earth maintaining a steady-state temperature. Anything which alters that outflow of radiated heat will cause the Earth environment to either warm or cool.

    Atoms of oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen, the principal atmospheric constituents do not absorb black-body radiation. CO2, methane, water vapour and other gaseous compounds however do absorb IR heat energy. This means that as levels of those gases rise less heat escapes Earth, by corollary more is retained within Earths environmental boundary. More greenhouse gases = proportionally more energy retained. More energy retained = warmer Earth.

    Atmospheric CO2 has risen by 31% since 1750 and methane by 150%. These two are widely accepted as the most significant greenhouse gases. They are now at the highest levels in the last 650 000 years according to ice core samples and the fossil record. Three-quarters of all man-made CO2 emissions in the last 20 years are due to fossil-fuel burn, the remainder to deforestation.

    As these gas levels rise, temperature rises. That, in turn, causes higher levels of atmospheric water vapour (itself a greenhouse 'gas') which brings about a positive feedback loop sending temperatures higher still.

    As temperatures rise melting of the ice-caps and glaciers reduces Earth's albedo (sunlight reflectivity) meaning that more of the energy in sunlight is absorbed and less reflected, causing further positive feedback and driving temperatures still higher.

    Historical analysis of the relationship between warming and CO2 levels shows that, within the uncertainties of matching their timescales, the temperature led by a few centuries. This then raised atmospheric CO2 levels, in part by outgassing from the oceans, causing the temperature to rise further. By amplifying each other’s response, this “positive feedback” can turn a small initial perturbation into a large climate change. There is therefore no surprise that the temperature and CO2 rise in parallel, with the temperature initially in advance.

    But in the current case, the situation is different, because human actions are raising both the temperature and CO2 level concurrently, and we are starting to observe the greenhouse response. The specific human action has been the massive upsurge in our fossil fuel energy consumption in the 250 years since the Industrial Revolution. In that time it is estimated that we have used over 200 times the sum of all previously burnt fossil fuels in human history, and two-thirds of that in the last 60 years alone. The rate of burn is still accelerating. Our use of enormous quantities of such fuels has pumped heat energy into our atmosphere, unbalancing the albedo reflectivity equation, and simultaneously raising global CO2 levels to the highest level which has ever been seen, even through over half a million years of ice-core and fossil record history.

    So, your faith in the idea that there is no man-made influence on any change in climate is not just touching, it's self-delusional. The links between certain atmospheric gaseous compounds and the retention of infra-red 'black-body' heat energy in the atmosphere is well-understood with the effects detailed above.

    The hard supporting evidence you seek is out there, should you choose to read it. But it might shatter your reality-adjusted little world, so I guess that you'd either avoid it, or find some way to dismiss it as bunkum. No matter that pretty much every scientific institute agrees on the point. Doesn't agree with your pre-conceived prejudices? Then ignore it.

    I suggest that you start with; "Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Publ. Feb 2007". Conclusions agreed by the national academies of Science of every leading industrialised country. Even the USA has now agreed with the document. The debate as to whether mankind are the major cause is over. The answer; We are indeed.

    Si.

  95. At 12:25 PM on 30 Apr 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    JR Sothen (61);
    Your point 4 (Nobody has yet demonstrated the 'carbon-dioxide-causes-global-warming'): Oh yes they have, read the IPCC report detailed just above.

    Point 5, regarding the influence of the sun. Temperature increases due to increased solar action warm up the stratosphere. Those due to the greenhouse effect are trapped in the troposphere and do not warm the stratosphere. No stratospheric warming is being seen. Therefore the warming is not due to solar influence.

    Point 6 regarding volcanoes: volcanoes pour out sulphate aerosols which actually have a cooling effect. They also produce particulates, which cause a warming effect. So their effect is minimal. Regarding humans, our effects are detailed in brief above. Notably regarding our upsetting the black-body radiation balance.


    Ed Addis (62);
    In turn you seem to know little, or acknowledge little, of the enormous mass of agreed scientific opinion about global warming.

    Perhaps you had also better keep your opinions to yourself. As you recommend to Ed Iglehart?

    And (63);
    What about methane? 20 times the potency of CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Far higher rate of increase since the Industrial Revolution. And with the potential to be liberated from the tundra as it thaws out in vast quantities. It’s estimated that there is 70 billion tons held in that form alone.

    Temperature vs. CO2. The current theory “which best fits the facts” is that a rise in temperature liberates CO2, which causes the positive feedback effect that sets the whole ball rolling. See above.

    You may have done your physics degree back in 1971. Shame you didn’t keep up to date with the times.

    Hockey stick theory: The independent National Research Council backed the graph. Although it noted shortcomings they were “small in effect”. The Wegman report was commissioned by a climate change sceptic Congressman and naturally backed the views of the man paying their bills.

    Your point about saturation is answered above. Raised temperature = CO2 release = more infra-red absorption = higher temperatures = melting ice = lowered albedo = even higher temperatures = melted tundra = massive release of methane = still higher temperatures. I fail to see which part of this you don’t understand?

    The climate record point is also answered in the same simple equation. I’m not opportunistic. I don’t get a research grant. I don’t work for the media. I don’t attend conferences in nice parts of the world.

    Si.

  96. At 12:34 PM on 30 Apr 2007, lurker wrote:

    Having seen all this since my last post, I need not give explanations, when the excellent ones from Humph and Simon have already been posted.

    As for the "Hockey Stick", read the recent article in New Scientist where an improved analysis was done - not so much of a hockey stick shape any more, but the sudden rise at the end - the last 150 years or so, is still very much there. Mind you, there are some impressive-looking (visually well presented, that is) web sites written by those trying to deny the whole thing.

  97. At 12:47 PM on 30 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    It is also worth noting that the increase in methane is largely anthropogenic. There are far more ruminant herbivores (in tonnes) than ever before and their population is rising even faster than that of Homo (self-styled) Sapiens. There is more draining of wetlands, turning of soil, inappropriate forestry, etc. than ever before by an order of magnitude and with a positive exponential growth rate.

    We are accelerating towards a very visible cliff.

    Sapient? I think not.

    xx
    ed

    aitchttp://www.worldwatch.org
    (eat that, robo spam czar!)

  98. At 01:25 PM on 30 Apr 2007, Belinda wrote:

    (eat that, robo spam czar!)

    I think that's about the best name for a cartoon-style movie baddie that I have ever heard.

  99. At 01:59 PM on 30 Apr 2007, Gillian wrote:

    Ed I (97) Not sapient, but unquestionably salient! ;o)

  100. At 02:42 PM on 30 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Gillian (99) (IS THIS 100?)

    Indeed!
    xx
    ed
    Maliciously premature! (3)

  101. At 06:40 PM on 30 Apr 2007, Ed Addis wrote:

    Thanks very much for the lectures on the greenhouse effect, guys. Sorry to waste your time though, as I probably know the science at least as well as you.

    I notice that for all the bluster, *still* nobody's managed to answer the two points satisfactorily.

    Humph - you clearly don't understand the concept of saturation. Briefly - yes the CO2 is trapping heat, but there's a dynamic balance. More CO2 can hardly trap heat at a much higher rate than is already the case, because the absorption bands are near saturation. I suggest you get hold of a decent Physics text and read it up!

    Simon Worrall - your assertion that human activities are raising temperature and CO2 at the same time is rather begging the question, don't you think. Yes, we're raising CO2 levels, but if you say we're raising the temperature, you're making the assumption that higher CO2 means higher temperature, which is what you were seeking to prove in the first place, wasn't it?

    The fact is that the climate records show conclusively that raising CO2 doesn't lead to warming - if it were so, then one would have expected to see a positive feedback effect in the records, with a runaway greenhouse effect.

    Of course you can rubbish my views, but you can't change the facts. There is still not a shred of hard physical evidence that raising CO2 levels cause warming - there are plenty of calculations and models, but *no* evidence.

    It's tedious to have to keep on explaining why this bandwagon has gained the momentum it has, and why so many of the scientific community are on board. It should be obvious really from the variety of indications in this thread, and from an application of common sense regarding human nature. Suffice to say that there are many scientists who know the true picture (I've conversed with some), but don't dare to speak up and endanger their careers by advancing what are now heretical opinions!

    Of course you can just lap it all up as so many of you clearly have, and I guess it's got the momentum to keep rolling now anyway. Only time will expose it for the nonsense it is. I forecast that within maybe a decade it will have all blown over - just another climate scare, of which there have been so many. What's worst about this is that it discredits genuine environmental debate and makes the general public sceptical. Yes it's good to conserve finite planetary resources, but not for this silly nonsensical reason.

  102. At 09:08 PM on 30 Apr 2007, lurker wrote:

    Ed Addis,

    I assume you mean that the black body radiation from the earth is currently almost completely absorbed (in the relivent bands) by the current concentration of CO2. But a warmer earth could radiate more light [heat] in the relivent wavelengths (black body radiation being highly non-linear), thereby more CO2 could then absorb more of it. What about radiation from the polar regions, especially where the ice has gone - surely, plenty of scope for more black body radiation in the relivent bands.

    If so, do you therefore argue that the absorbed energy is disappated harmlessly into space?

    Also, where is the reference that states that CO2 has no effect on temperature "conclusively....in the climate records" . As for the positive feedback effect, I guess you mean when the temperature rises, CO2 comes out of the oceans etc. Well, perhaps this *is* a danger, (Venus is considered to be a case of run-away greenhouse effect), but we happen not to be at the tripping point (so far as we know) .

    Meanwhile, while you discount the data of the traditional "hockey stick" (though no comment on the revised one), the current rapid temperature increase is something I trust you do agree with, (just not the mechanism). You may be completely correct to say that in the past, the CO2 concentration has lagged temperature (because it comes out of the oceans etc), but this is a one-off case of *significantly* increasing CO2 (and CH4 etc) concentrations, so why should the situation not be reversed? After all, it would seem that there is something pretty dramatic going on.

    Mankind has already affected the climate; I give you the Mediterranean basin.

  103. At 09:35 PM on 30 Apr 2007, Charles Hatton wrote:

    Is it ok to fart yet? ... only I'm turning a bit purple ...

  104. At 09:48 PM on 30 Apr 2007, Charles Hatton wrote:

    Too late ...

  105. At 10:02 PM on 30 Apr 2007, RJD wrote:

    What IS that smell?

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