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24 September 2014
Inside Out: Surprising Stories, Familiar Places

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   Coming Up : Inside Out England: Friday March 30, 2007
Blackpool storm c/o PA Images
An overwhelming 76% of our respondents agreed that the effects of climate change are noticeable in Britain.

Climate change

Inside Out investigates the impact of global warming across England, and asks if the situation is as dire as many scientists predict.

We also reveal the results of a specially commissioned survey of your views on climate change.

And we journey across England to find the best and worst places to live in relation to changing weather patterns.

Read the full Inside Out/ICM survey

Impact of global warming

Our Inside Out survey found that we are less cynical about climate change than some commentators have suggested.

An overwhelming 76% of our respondents agreed that the effects of climate change are noticeable in Britain.

Only 12% felt that climate change is not having an obvious impact.

A higher than average proportion of respondents in the North West (84%), Scotland (78%), West Midlands (77%) and South East England (77%) agreed that it had made a significant impact.

A large proportion of survey respondents (66%) attributed climate change to human activity.

Sixty one per cent of those surveyed said they would change their lifestyles in order to reduce carbon emissions.

Those living in Wales (69%), London (67%) and North West England (67%) were most inclined to change their behaviour, whilst the North East (44%) and West Midlands (54%) were the least likely to reduce their carbon footprint.

Crumbling coast

Inside Out has also been examining the geographic impact of climate change.

We asked Dr David Viner from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, to go in search of England's best and worst places to live.

He took a journey of the country from north to south and east to west to provide his very personal assessment of climate change.

Crumbling cliffs
Crumbling cliffs - 26 homes have disappeared at Happisburgh

David's trip started at the crumbling coastal resort of Happisburgh on the Norfolk coast where he met Di Wrightson.

She used to run a thriving guest house and tea rooms but now her home is in imminent danger of toppling into the sea.

Twenty six homes have already disappeared from this coastal strip.

Dr David Viner says that more coastal erosion is likely:

"Climate change brings more erratic weather so these cliffs could take a real pounding...

"And that's on top of a sea level rise as much 43 centimetres by the end of the century."

Inland from the coast, the Fens could also be a loser in the climate change stakes.

This is the lowest lying land in England - below sea level in places and only kept dry by a massive pumping operation.

In the worst case scenario predictions for global warming, this area would be reclaimed by the sea.

Best and worst places

But the Fens isn't the worst place to live as our country heats up.

Aftermath of Birmingham tornado c/o PA Images
Aftermath of the Birmingham tornado. Photo - PA Images

For that - perhaps surprisingly - we have to go inland.

Birmingham is one of England's most congested cities with 13 million journeys every year.

It also has the worst air pollution outside London.

Big cities like Birmingham fare worse during climate change because of what's called "the urban heat island effect", as David Viner explains:

"Buildings absorb the heat of the sun so they're always hotter at night. 2007 is already predicted to be the hottest on record.

"And global warming means by the end of the century it could be up to 4 degrees C hotter in Birmingham.

"More air condition uses more energy and brings more pollution. It's a vicious cycle."

Midlanders can expect drier summers and wetter winters.

The centre of England is also more susceptible to freak storms such as the tornado which hit the city in 2004.

Rising rivers

Flooding is a another big threat as climate change affects the places in which we live.

Ironbridge in Shropshire has an illustrious past - it was the cradle of the Industrial Revolution.

But the industry it spawned is the reason why our planet is warming now - and why Ironbridge itself is at risk.

Flooding fears - the River Severn at Ironbridge

The River Severn which runs from Wales to the Avon Estuary is one of the most vulnerable to flooding.

There have been 11 floods in Ironbridge since 1990 - 50 homes alone flooded in 2000.

Across the country the Environment Agency spends £500m on flood defences - and it expects to double that in 20 years.

The rising cost of dealing with flood defences is something that the Agency is going to have to live with in the future.

Winners and losers

But it's not all bad news - there are some places that will benefit from climate change.

In southern England global warming is bringing benefits to some gardeners with warmer temperatures resulting in more exotic species.

Early bees on blossom c/o PA Images
Blossom and bees in London - February 2, 2007. PA Images

At Trelissick Gardens in the South West the flowers now bloom all year round.

Head gardener Barry Champion has devoted years to charting the changes in the gardens with a flowering survey.

He's finding that some more exotic species are thriving including outdoor bananas.

Tourism could also benefit from climate change in the south, but with longer tourism seasons comes the risk of overdevelopment, and pressure for new infrastructure.

Water is also likely be also be a problem southern England, as already seen in the droughts of recent years.

Freak weather

More extreme weather can be another effect of climate change.

Mullion Harbour in Cornwall is often battered by the ferocity of the Atlantic waves.

It's managed by the National Trust, which also owns 10% of the British coastline.

Mullion Cove - dramatic storms have hit the coastline

Over the years, the Trust has spent more than £1 million repairing the outer wall - but if it breaches again, there will be only limited maintenance.

It will be given up - the latest example of managed retreat.

So where is the best place to live in terms of coping to terms with climate change?

David Viner suggests that it could be North Norfolk - inland from the crumbling cliffs and away from low-lying Fens.

It boasts a low population, an underground water supply, local food, and it will benefit from the warmer southern temperatures.

Changing climate

Now more organisations are waking up to the impact of climate change.

Dr David Viner
Changing climate - Dr David Viner investigates

Dr David Viner is one of 2,500 scientists who contributed to the intergovernmental panel on climate change report.

Its 2007 world report reveals worrying conclusions about the impact of climate change.

Its predictions stretch for decades.

David Viner believes that we must take the issue seriously now, even though the rate of climate change appears to be slow:

"That's the thing about climate change - it's happening at a relatively slow rate.

"As our BBC poll shows, some of you are still cynical about it. The changes we've already seen in England in this film, are just the start unless we, and the world, change our energy consumption."

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The climate survey
Crocus in snow

Read the full survey

The BBC commissioned the ICM Research to interview a random sample of 1,005 adults aged 18+.

This telephone survey took place between 28 February-1 March 2007.

Interviews were conducted across the country and the results were weighted to the profile of all adults.

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Best and worst places

Dr David Viner
Dr David Viner gives his views on the impact of climate change

We asked Dr David Viner to draw up his list of top ten best and worst places in England impacted by climate change.

Read his thoughts on the geographical impact of global warming.

Climate losers...

Worst affected - big cities, towns along the River Severn and coastal areas.

Birmingham - hot summer temperatures coupled with air pollution and the tendency for extreme storms and associated feature (tornados).

London - as with Birmingham it will suffer from heat wave stress in the summer months, plus water resource issues in the summer.

And while the Thames Barrier is there, the threat of storm surges will still cause a problem and pose a major threat. High air pollution in hot summers.

England's other biggest cities e.g. Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Bristol.

River Severn towns - from the Welsh border to Bristol i.e. Ironbridge.

Increased autumn and winter rainfall will lead to increased flood events right down the Severn, this will also be the case for many rivers and floodplains.

At risk areas also include Worcester, Gloucester. Tewkesbury, Upton upon Severn.

Mullion Cove, Cornwall - Whilst only a small holiday hamlet, this like may other Atlantic facing villages will be subject to increased intensity of winter storms.

The Fens
The Fens - one of the climate change losers

It is also heavily reliant on costly sea defences, which in Mullion's case will not be maintained permanently.

Happisburgh, Norfolk - severe coastal erosion and land loss, no suggestions of any serious action to prevent further loss. Sea level rise of up to one metre wouldn't be the issue, but vulnerable to more frequent extreme storms.

The Fens - Worst case scenarios have previously predicted that vast chunks of low-lying fertile land in the East of England could be re-claimed by the sea.

I don't believe this will be the case, even with a one-metre sea level rise.

But extreme weather and increase winter rain has potential for flood events in the future.

Climate winners

Three areas of England are likely to benefit from the impact of global warming:

* South and West England including Somerset and South West Devon

* The Yorkshire Dales

* North Norfolk

Somerset - warmer winters and good summers will make this a pleasant place to be as long as you are away from flood plains and the coast. Chard and Shepton Mallet are preferred.

South West Devon - away from the coast, mild winters and warm summers will make this a great place. Dartmouth and Totnes.

Weston super Mare
Weston super Mare - a potential climate change winner

North Norfolk - away from the coast.

Towns like Holt and the area around Fakenham will benefit from warmer winters, drier summers. With the low density of population water resource problems are not likely to be an issue.

Yorkshire Dales - Fantastic. Warmer winters pleasant summers (not too scorched). All hamlets away from rivers, which are susceptible to flash flooding.

Weston super Mare - Seaside resorts will draw more tourists away from the continent as Southern Spain, France and Italy become too hot.

The tourism climate index, which measures optimum conditions shows tourism moving towards northern Europe.

An issue for resorts like Weston Super Mare is potential over-development. Also, potential water supply problems.

South West Wales - Outside of England, the other best place is west of the Gower Peninsular inland from the coast and away from rivers.


Your Comments

As an American living abroad (in Thailand) I deeply appreciate your reporting with respect to climate change. This important issue is almost entirely absent in the US media and when it is represented, it is characterised as an issue that remains highly debatable scientifically. As a result of your efforts and the UK government's efforts the UK is the global pace-setter and its businesses and citizens will benefit.

I am sure many Americans share my fervent desire that our leaders and press would similarly rise to the challenge.
Suzanne Bond Hinsz

I have two main points:

Firstly: There are many cynics who point to the fact that scientists will not state the global warming case as being "proved": this is a major point of their argument and one which needs addressing.

I think that it should be pointed out that in hard science theories can never be proven, only postulated with experimental data to back the hypothesis. Theories can only ever be disproved.

Therefore it is up to cynics to come up with other models and hypothesise that fit the observed data both in terms of background and carbon modified changes and which fit in with the timescales observed (the latter being a major factor: it is the speed of the changes and the correlation with measured human activity which is so convincing).

On the BBC series 'State of the Planet' David Attenborough used a very simple illustration of what persuaded him – it was an overlay of the regular background climate change, due to solar cycles, etc.. combined with the recent trends due to CO2 emissions and modelled predications. The correlation was extremely strong and convincing

Secondly: Even if the case is not proven – as it cannot wholly be – sound risk management would state that the potential consequences are so massive that we have to assume it is valid and take evasive action. As an example, the risks to an individual, on a day to day basis, of having a car accident are actually very low – but we have to wear seat belts on every journey, since the consequences of an accident if not doing so are so significant.
Alistair Macdonald-Smith

My comment would be that it is presumptuous in the extreme to conclude that we humans are the sole cause of increasing global temperatures. A more accurate assessment would be that we are adding a minor amount of greenhouse emissions that contribute to the overall climate change we are experiencing as part of the Earth's natural hot/cold cycle.

Unfortunately, the latter does not inspire the required panic needed to promote political action and funding. Nor would accepting this as the most probable truth keep those funded and supported by money earmarked to combat the causes of global warming in liquid cash.

I think that globally, temperatures are changing, but no one cares to mention the areas where temperatures are actually dropping, where 'changing' is the operative word, not 'rising'.

To that end, I would recommend that each and every one of us carefully consider the agenda of the individual putting forward their own brand of global warming calamity. To do so reveals the uncomfortable truth that in many cases, the messenger is only using the story to further line their own organisation's pockets at the expense of our own sleepless nights.
Julian Buckley

Another irresponsible media event... You know that the East Anglian coastline is sinking, and has been since the last ice age, and not the result of recent hysteria over global warming. 1953 floods and the Lynmouth disaster were weather events which have always reminded us of the power of nature.

The recent, incomplete, IPCC review was stitched together by bureaucrats and their prognosis is a consensus of guesswork.
Why not try to present a more balanced debate, devoid of celebrities and failed politicians, incorporating the increasingly convincing scepticism about anthropogenic climate change.
J Griffiths

I'm afraid that the media's single-minded efforts in trying to convince everyone of impending disaster by man-made climate change - the justifications for which are tenuous at best - are simply distracting us from many other more important environmental issues.

I was surprised to see in a magazine this week an article which began "Given the changeable climate over the past two weeks......" when it's self-evident that climate can barely be measured in any units shorter than decades. The terms 'climate' and 'weather' have become interchangeable in some people's minds and no-one in the media appears to be trying to change that confusion. In fact last year's weather was extreme only in its lack of drama, a fact which the insurance companies are currently celebrating.

As for the effects of anthropogenic CO2 on global warming; it forms such a minor - and diminishingly important - part of greenhouse gases as to be insignificant even if the half degree increase in global temperature over the past 125 years does actually constitute a correlatable effect which I don't believe it does.

Did the media buy into the "New Ice Age" story in the 1970s? You bet!

Any catastrophe is good news for the news makers even if the facts don't stack up. But never let the facts stand in the way of a good story.
Tim James

I have just read the synopsis of the show regarding climate impact on the UK and am alarmed at the bias vitriol it has chosen to broadcast.

The programmes content and objective are instantly questionable...

More details of the Inside Out survey are required. I know no-one who took part, and a straw poll in my office/amongst friends counters the statistics quoted for your programme.

Dr David Viner is one of the 2,500 scientists who helped contribute to the intergovernmental panel on climate change report. It has since been established that far less than the 2,500 scientists involved actually approved of the outcome of the report, as many had left the panel due to understanding that the "science" behind the report was totally flawed...

The report also falls down as a result of how it was funded and therefore the aim of the report was questionable before it ever began. It, therefore, should not be presented to the public as a definitive study. It is important that if the BBC do choose to use it at all, that they also refer to more factual evidence that actually contradicts it.

"Dr David Viner says that coastal erosion is likely"... Genius! No wonder he has his own TV show! We have had sand on the planet for millions of years... Coastal erosion is not new, nor a product of climate change. Buildings in Norfolk have been falling into the sea for as long as people have been building them. Even insinuating this is a result of climate change is preposterous.

Dr David Viner states that "2007 is already predicted to be the hottest on record". Who's records? There are records that show Greenland was once Green and farmed upon as opposed to it now being covered in snow. Will 2007 be warmer than it was then? We will all be advocating the "hockey stick" temperature charts next...

Quote "But the industry it spawned is the reason why our planet is warming now - and why Ironbridge itself is at risk." It is the BBC's job to report the facts. This quote is biased and unsubstantiated... There is no link to industry and climate change and it is essential that in the show Dr David Viner expressly point out that this is only an opinion...

Mullions harbour wall is (like the cliffs in Norfolk) likely to be breached and erode due to, yes, erosion. As mentioned earlier this is not related to climate change. A man made stone structure will over time erode as a result of wind, water and salt. This man is a scientist and should try to recreate scaled controlled conditions to see this for himself...

Finally, Dr David Viner concluded "As our BBC poll shows, some of you are still cynical about it. The changes we've already seen in England in this film, are just the start unless we, and the world, change our energy consumption." The changes in the film are not the start of anything. They are clearly just examples of general climate impact and erosion. They do not demonstrate climate change and more importantly, go no way whatsoever to linking climate change to man made causes.

The entire programme is flawed, biased and in-line with the BBC's one way agenda on the issue of climate change. There is not one example of irrefutable evidence anywhere on the planet that can link humans to climate change. The only way the BBC can win over the 22 million people in this country alone (figures based on the BBC poll that confirms 34% of non-brainwashed educated people do no attribute human activity to climate change) is to open the debate up.

Allow a scientist who can prove Dr Viner to be confused... Let us see the facts... Please stop this one sided journalism now and allow the public to make an educated informed decision...
Paul Abrams

The threat of climate change to mankind does not come from the weather per se but rather from our response to the perception of the threat.

The science from the IPCC does not suggest catastrophic meltdown of the planet, one degree warming in 100 years with a sea level rise of about 34 cm is a realistic probability. Current research from US administration funded organisations such as NOAA (see their carbon tracker) are enhancing our understanding of the greenhouse effect, it may well prove that we are currently overstating its importance in the radiative forcing (planetary warming) and that CO2 emission strategies (Kyoto) will simply not bring about the desired result, but simply impact negatively on world economic growth.

Last week Bjorn Lomborg gave testimony (US House of Representatives) which outlined highly focused and cost effective ways of tackling climate change which I think many Kyoto adherents would find quite shocking.

He gives an example of a targeted malaria program costing $3 billion annually which would save 85 million lives if initiated before Kyoto ($180 billion annually “only” 140000 lives saved).Statistics aside perhaps the shock lies in recognising that the climate isn’t the problem - it’s the social policies we adopt to tackle the disease. This applies to storm surges, hurricanes and so forth. Message; think smart.
Stephen Pasek – Managing Director, plantessential

Your climate change report fails to mention:

i) the social effects of housing and agricultural loss as sea levels rise and ALL rivers increase flood threat due to that rise;
ii) the spread of sub tropical disease and pests to Britain as global temperatures rise;
iii) the positive feedback mechanisms, for example in the Arctic, that can sharply accelerate the rate of rise, and the fewer negative feedback mechanisms that could contain the rate.

Ignoring point three I suggest that to propose the possible advantageous effects of climate change can out weigh the effects of points i) and ii) is irresponsible.

I have been studying the process of global warming for some thirty years. So far the forecasts of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel have become fact and at a faster rate than predicted in some cases.

In brief we have no time to lose.
Dennis Leggett

Unable to get at truth about climate change. Suspect we are being "conned" by Governments in the interests of taxation/revenue generation. QUESTION:- Why has the discovery that CO2 build up occurs after a warming phase and not before it, thereby making it the RESULT of rather than the cause of global warming???

Why is this fact never discussed? Nor do we get told the fact that the ice is thickening significantly in Antarctica? We are usually only shown film of ice flows melting and "splashing" into the sea. I suspect we are not giving our children the true facts on which to base their judgements for the future well being of the planet.

Please ASK THESE QUESTIONS,because the honest answers are not forthcoming from our "leaders in Government Departments !!!
Guy Garlick

The climate is warming, and things are changing, that there is no doubt about.

I too am very concerned about global warming, its causes and effects. AND more importantly what we should be doing about it.
There is one massive environmental problem that seems to be being ignored though. (Arguably it is as big and may well soon be bigger than all of man's emissions each and every year...)

Over the last 25 years there has been a fall in natural sequestion, from one natural source of over 4 Gt annually, it is getting worse, and could become, much, much higher, far outstripping man's emissions... (Man emitting about 5.5 Gt annually, and rising.)

Carbon footprints etc, should not be the main concern at present.
Restoring this one natural carbon sink should be. In fact it could be far larger than that, so buying us valuable time to develop the technologies we need.

Given the size of this environmental problem we really should all be aware of it, but we are not, why?...

Recently I read through this "contemporary climate change course"...

Aric Global Climate Change website

Here is what we should be really concerned about, and what we should be doing at a far faster rate if the seemingly "unavoidable" catastrophes of climate change are to be at least attempted to be avoided, or ameliorated.

Oh dear, it's an American idea and company, is that why it is apparently being ignored, for once they seem to be right..
We (seemingly) ignore the importance of oceanic plankton blooms at our perilous...

I've recently watched Earth Story and Blue Planet, there seems a wholeness and rightness to both of these. As there appears to me at least, to the idea oceanic plankton blooms have been nature's lungs for this planet. Without them the planet will fail to "breath" and so will we.

The great climate swindle is not whether the sun or man did it, etc, etc,etc, that's almost immaterial. See this thread,
Climate Prediction

The biggest "swindle" is not looking to the oceans, and Plankton...
Many thanks to the BBC), I refuse to be "swindled" (by any side)...
Derek Alker

What a load of rubbish, aren’t we good boys doing our bit – the presenters should have spoken Chinese and directed the programme eastwards – this might have been of better use – our contributions can be likened to wearing a hair shirt – it hurts so it must be doing some good somewhere.
Bob Stanton

Why do you persist in showing the cliffs crumbling away on the East Coast, when at school we were always taught that since the United Kingdom became separated from the rest of Europe the United Kingdom has continued to tilt and, as a result the East Coast is slipping into the sea whilst the West Coast is rising?
But then we are now expected to blindly accept the new god of global warming.

Your otherwise interesting and informative programme was marred by your presenters making statements such as "Carbon emissions are causing climate change" and "We can do something to prevent climate change if we change our lifestyle", as though it is a proven fact.

Opinion on this is divided, and until it is proven one way or the other it is a theory. Until the cause of climate change is proven, your so-called scientists should respect this and state that, "Carbon emissions are a possible cause of climate change".

There is much evidence to indicate that the rise in temperature is causing the increase in naturally produced carbon dioxide and not the other way round.

The rise in temperature could possibly be caused by an increase in solar activity, and therefore may be well beyond man's ability to do anything at all about it. Until we know one way or the other, please keep an open mind and be more factual so as not to mislead.
Robert Chapman

I found your programme last week interesting, especially when your Presenter was in the South West off Wembrey Beach looking out towards the Mew Stone rock. It may be of interest to you that the warming of the Sea in Northern waters as in the Channel, North Sea and Atlantic was known some 30 to 40 years ago. I was told this is the 1970/80 era.

The person who told me was at the time the leading Planktonologist at the I.M.E.R. Lab's, now know as Plymouth Marine Laboratory...

The Laboratory he worked in carried out Plankton Surveys with ships towing a catcher at a certain depth and distance while on passage, the plankton taken in the catcher was then checked and it was found then that this was from warmer waters...
Robbie Cozens














Joe Page

"Ironbridge in Shropshire has an illustrious past - it was the cradle of the Industrial Revolution. But the industry it spawned is the reason why our planet is warming now - and why Ironbridge itself is at risk."

This is an erroneous statement.

Contrary to perceived opinion there is no definitive proof that CO2 causes global warming.

Increases in CO2 in the atmosphere may actually be caused by increasing temperature, rather than the other way round.

The earth's temperature has always fluctuated before man started pumping out CO2, as evidenced by the fact that mean temperatures were higher in the middle ages than they are now.

In fact temperature variations have occurred far faster than we are currently experiencing - such as at the end of the 18th century.

Even if CO2 is a factor man contributes a fraction of the CO2 released by natural factors such as the sea.

There are many factors involved in increasing temperature - the varying degree of activity of the sun being one of them.

The issue of man made global warming has been hijacked for political reasons, perhaps to slow industrial progress in the developing nations.

Many scientists are afraid to speak out against the hysteria as they may be labelled as being in the pockets of the oil companies.

There may be sound reasons for reducing our carbon footprint but please do not fall into the trap of thinking that man controls the climate exclusively!
Paul Dowen

Your programme on climate change was very one-sided. It is not unreasonable to assume the climate is changing but is it man-made? I don't believe it. Where is Dr Viner's proof that it is man-made? I am afraid it just does not exist. His "proof" lies purely in projections produced by computer models: adjust the parameters of the model and you can come up with any result you want. As the recent Channel 4 documentary illustrated, carbon dioxide concentration follows temperature by several hundred years - not the other way around.

There is no doubt that carbon dioxide concentration has increased. Since 1815 the concentration has grown from around 0.028% to 0.035%. But the anthropogenic contribution is only about 3%, the bulk being produced by natural means. Therefore, reducing emissions by around 20% will only reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by a fraction of a per cent. What affect will this possibly make to anything?

These computer models which Dr Viner and his ilk rely on deal with carbon dioxide and other anthropogenic greenhouse gases; but there is no model in existence dealing with water vapour, which is the major greenhouse gas. And if the earth is warmed by the greenhouse effect, it also cools by convection and evaporation. I don't think these important climatic changes are included in computer models, almost rendering them a waste of time and money.

I cannot believe that there are not a considerable number of scientists, whose voices we do not seem to hear, who do not believe these assertions. My personal belief is that the majority of scientists make these claims in order they can secure government funding.

I am not a scientist but I am an engineer who works on facts, and I don't see any facts that the climate change is man-made. How arrogant can we be to believe we can overide nature?

If the BBC provides a platform solely for the doom-merchants like Dr.Viner then lay people are only going to get one opinion. Open it up and give the sceptics more airtime.

P.S. I have lived in Madeley for 25 years and to my recollection there has always been floods in Ironbridge - sometimes more than one during a winter, and some years none at all.
Tony Byles

I am so cross - your scientist from Anglia University is making the same mistake that so many others are making - that 'thousands of scientists world-wide agree that global warming is caused by an increase in co2'.

However, this is unproven and no evidence that the relatively small amount of co2 due to man is causing global warming, was put forward on your programme. Evidence is not the opinion of many but is the result of research and scientific findings. The planet is quite capable of warming and cooling all by itself and has done so long before we came along.

Co2 is one of a number of greenhouse gases, the more significant being methane and water vapour. All greenhouse gases form naturally without our help...

Consider this why did the planet cool between 1940 and 1970 at a time when co2 produced by man was increasing? Consider this why does the planet warm, has the sun got a part to play for example?

The debate which provides evidence that the current global warming is due to man should be re-opened, before you make yourself look even more unscientific.
Barrie Johnson

Regarding the carbon neutral calculations for the farm in Reading.

I note that Professor Tim Jackson translated the energy used by the farm into carbon during the year, but there was no discussion about the offset of these emissions by natural absorption into the biomass.

If this had been considered, then the carbon neutral point would be lower and might be lowered still further by planting crops which absorb more carbon. This is an especially important point to make, as higher CO2 levels actually promote plant growth and thus the ability to absorb more carbon.
Malcolm White

Watched the programme but did`nt get any real answers. Can someone please explain why the CO2 build up occurs AFTER a warming phase and not BEFORE it??

As an engineer, this suggests to me that CO2 is the RESULT of global warming rather than the CAUSE!!

No satisfactory explanation is ever given for this phenomenon.

How much of the problem is cyclical due to our planet being on an elliptical "orbit" around the Sun and hence, over a period of years, being closer or more distant from the Sun? Accurate records do not go back far enough to be able too observe this cyclical effect with any accuracy but I feel it is highly significant to global warming .

Also I am being told the ice is thickening significantly in Antarctica, according to the geologists who frequent that region, yet television programmes only ever portray large chunks of ice breaking off the ice flows, smoking car exhausts on a line of commuting/stationary vehicles and the need for us to use alternative means of transport etc, etc to make a difference.

There just is not an alternative unless you live in London or work within a short distance of your home. Major town to major town is possible but village to village [or to the hospitals, a journey of about 8 miles] is something of an adventure taking about 4 hours to accomplish!

At the risk of appearing cynical I cannot help feeling that our "political leaders" are welcoming the current interest in this subject as a future means of generating revenue . If it didn't raise money, our government would not be as interested...
Guy Garlick

I have just watched the inside out North West programme on climate change and would like to comment as follows:

1. I am not convinced that human activity is the cause of the climate warming . It seems a few scientists have colluded to deliver a wonderful weapon for the politicians to use to create unnecessary harm and misery.

We all know how scientists gave politicians the Atom Bomb, and we now know how unsafe that has made the world.

2. I accept that regardless of doubts over the cause of climate warming, it will be beneficial to reduce pollution of our air in a sensible way.

The endless directives from the media and politicians aimed at people will not have any major effect on reducing pollution.
However it is another worry on top of all the stress of life in our ever complex way of life which will cause mental problems for many of our fellow citizens.

I feel it is damaging for the media to frighten people by suggesting that if they do not adopt the endless directives fired off at them. They will be responsible for all the predicted devastation which is forecasted.

3. The village in Cheshire where the residents have formed a co-operative to help each other save energy etc is a happy example which should be promoted by the media and politicians.

The main benefit from this group activity is a team spirit which has brought the community closer together.

The fellowship resulting is very helpful in promoting happiness.
Please can you produce programmes which are informative and also promote happiness and fellowship.

A follow-on based on communities forming their own self help groups would be a breath of fresh air.

Do not involve government politicians or experts - they will only create havoc. But use sensible people with an interest in reducing pollution and waste.
David Taylor

To improve the environment, the government has to do a lot more than what it does. The government has to improve local transport so that it is cheaper to travel on rather than travel by car, and stop wasting energy such as lighting in government buildings and using aeroplanes.

Just relying on ordinary people to save the planet by saving waste paper, glass, and tin cans, also using energy saving light bulbs won't make a lot of difference.

Why not give everybody grants for insulation for their houses?
Mr Eric Allen

I have had an interest in the climate change issue for some time and remain sceptical about man`s contribution. The Vostok ice core samples show that temperatures have been cycling over a range of some 12 deg C for the last 400,000 years.

Furthermore, during that period, carbon dioxide levels have mirrored the changes in temperature when mankind was not a factor. Climate change may be occurring, but I doubt if the proportionally small amount of carbon dioxide produced by man's activity has any significant bearing. I believe that carbon dioxide forms about 0.04% of the earth's atmosphere, the bulk of that being from natural sources.

What is needed is a real debate, not about if the climate is changing (I have no doubt that it is), but about man's contribution to the total carbon dioxide level and whether that has any PROVEN effect on global temperatures.

Perhaps the elevated temperature itself drives the carbon dioxide level up?

I would like to see both sides of this debate aired on TV by eminent scientists, not TV presenters.
J. Isles

Being a scientist, I don't totally agree with the way the carbon footprint is calculated and personally think only fossil fuels (coal and petrol) should be taken into account as gas is considered renewable over a man's lifetime (or at least when I was learning at university). But again the whole issue of carbon footprint/ greenhouse gas etc… is much more complicated than the catchy headlines...

To conclude on a positive note, I’d like to say that I like your regional programs. They are interesting when you watch them with a critical mind.
Dr Christophe Fromont, Organic Chemist

I have just seen your programme on global warming. It was very informative, but has it helped reduce pollution in any way? NO - it is just another programme/article that keeps on and on about global warming.

I have a website that when used to its full capacity will greatly help cut pollution and ease congestion in the UK to start with, then hopefully Europe. I am a struggling business with a great idea, like many others out there.

Surely that 30 minutes you have just used, should be showing businesses that companies/businesses and private individuals can use and how the effects of these companies will help reduce pollution.

I have contacted many corporations, businesses and people that go on and on about these issues but have not yet had anyone take up the challenge of doing something about it, instead of talking about it.

Perhaps this could be a great formula for its own programme / documentary each week showing struggling businesses that want to help the environment it would make great viewing and help make these companies successes and in turn help the environment.
Adrian Peck

As a cyclist, I think there are far too many cars in London. I say this because the number of cars at the side of the road blocking bus lanes and sitting on double yellow lines always astounds me, it's also very inconvenient for me and other cars when I keep having to pull out to get past them.

Why does everyone have one when cycling as cheaper, healthier, greener and more often than not, faster!
Chris, London.

Like many householders I am trying to do my bit: so far, BIODIESEL from recycled cooking oil, RAINWATER HARVESTING for loo flushing, extra insulation and energy use reduction and buying produce locally where possible.

Planned: PHOTOVOLTAIC electricity generation once I have secured the grant BIODIESEL - I am curious that this was not mentioned in the farm feature.

RAINWATER HARVESTING for flushing loos - this can be such a simple way of saving water - the system I am installing here of 2 tanks (total 700litres) is gravity fed - mains still connected in case of drought.

INSIDE OUT - great programme tonight by the way.
Christine James

An interesting programme but I'm afraid quotes like -

"Big cities like Birmingham fare worse during climate change because of what's called "the urban heat island effect", as David Viner explains:

"Buildings absorb the heat of the sun so they're always hotter at night. 2007 is already predicted to be the hottest on record.

"And global warming means by the end of the century it could be up to 4 degrees C hotter in Birmingham.

"More air condition uses more energy and brings more pollution. It's a vicious cycle."

Midlanders can expect drier summers and wetter winters.

The centre of England is also more susceptible to freak storms such as the tornado which hit the city in 2004..."

... are now the IPCC/UKCIP trademark. Of course you would expect someone who is one of 2,500 scientists to be quoting from the report.

But where is the real evidence? What is actually meant by drier summers and wetter winters? For Birmingham there is no evidence in the 200yr+ climate record of such a change.

It is not getting stormier nor are summer thunderstorms increasing or getting worse and Birmingham is as likely to have a tornado as Manchester, Cardiff, Leeds and Sheffield - it is a combination of geography and meteorology which are the determining factors.

My personnel research on summer heat in Birmingham using a 200 yr record shows that:

- the number of warm days (max >=23C) has remained almost constant over at least the past 120 years;

- the highest temperature (hottest day) has also remained near constant over the most recent 120 years;

- however there has been a change in that the duration of warmth (hrs) each summer (May-September) has increased so that warmth during a summer day now last from 9am to 18h, whereas around 50 years ago warmth only lasted from 12h-15h.

Coupled with this, days with long duration sunshine (>12 hrs) together with high UV receipt (sunburn days) have/are showing an increase over recent 10 years.
Now that is interesting!
John Kings, Meteorologist now Science teacher in Coventry

Why are you giving so much air time to these hysterical cranks?

Yes, the planet is warming but it is a natural phenomenon. This week we had an "expert" stating that global warming will cause high winds. Could he actually explain the mechanism of this engine which will drive these winds? It's easy for these experts to make statements on air but they have no actual facts.

We also heard that atomic power stations have a carbon footprint during their manufacture. Well, so do the millions of wind turbines you will need.

Also the sanctimonious fool using the train. Where does she thing the power comes from to drive that? She is polluting on someone else's doorstep. I note the train had few passengers so it was using a huge amount of energy to transport each passenger. They would have been more environmentally friendly in their cars.

Another thought for you. IF you are correct that humans are causing this, why treat the symptoms? Surely what you should be tackling in that case is the the cause, overpopulation in the world. Too many people are fouling the cage!!!!

We are all beginning to switch off to this constant dripping tap from the vociferous greens.
Dave Street

Nobody disputes global warming but as every climate scientist knew until recently what controls the weather is the activity of the sun not carbon dioxide...

Carbon dioxide follows temperature increase not the other way round.The good news is that the suns activity is forecast to decrease after 2011 so we should make the most of the warmer weather while it lasts.

I can remember the very cold winters of the 1960's when the sun was not as active This talk of excess carbon dioxide is madness - why not methane, a much more important greenhouse gas or water vapour?

Science demands proof and we have none at all, in fact the opposite...let's have some real information from real climate scientists not environmentalists with a different agenda to follow.
Tim Tasker

Another example of the biggest load of biased academic drivel - try referring to geological history scales of the changes to earth climate issues.

This is utter rubbish cleverly edited as ever by loony environmentalists who have never done a real day's work in their life other than mess around in university environments at taxpayers' expense. All they are doing is making sure they have an income - and for sure they were never taught this 20 years ago.

Far higher sea levels recorded in recent past (look at raised beaches NW Scotland) - far higher temperatures (coal and oil deposits) - far lower temperatures (formation of R Trent trench).
Roger Fell

There is no doubt that global warming is happening. However, despite numerous theories, there is absolutely no definitive proof that it is caused by carbon emissions. Such is the crusade that anyone who dares question it is considered to be committing 'high treason' whereas we need an open debate on the issue.

The government must be loving it. They can use it as an excuse to heap more taxes on us and make money.

The real stupidity in this country is the fact that so many houses have been built either by the coast or next to rivers. If this had not happened there would hardly be a problem.
Craig Pickering

Didcot A Power Station wastes almost 70% of its heat up the chimney and then dumps most of its coal ash into beautiful Radley Lakes instead of recycling it into cement and bricks and blocks. The combined extra CO2 production is about 300% more than if these wastes were avoided. So the CO2 produced could theoretically be reduced to 25% of today’s production. But that’s not the end of the story. An even greater reduction could be achieved by burning gas instead of coal.

Coal fired electricity generation has just been announced as causing the UK’s CO2 production to have INCREASED – just because it is more profitable to companies like RWE npower to use the old inefficient coal-fired plant, Didcot A, instead of the more modern, more efficient gas plant, Didcot B. And you can smell the extra pollution in the air. Have you noticed it recently?

Why then does BBC South Today promote daily the image of this polluting company by portraying its image at the start of the programme? Smoking should be banned and Didcot A should be pensioned off.

The pressure on the environment is best attacked by making the greenest decision of all.

Don’t have any children.

You can then live the most un-green selfish lifestyle of all, with the most huge carbon footprint, safe in the knowledge that looking at the big picture you will have contributed less to global warming than the most eco friendly veggie who only rides a bicycle but who has had 2 kids, 4 grandchildren, 8 grandchildren etc etc

You will contribute much less eco damage, climate change etc in the in the fullness of time.

So enjoy the Lamborghini, foreign holidays by air. Turn up the central heating. But don’t expect anyone to visit you when you get old and decrepit.
Paul Steverson


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