Archive | December 2013

Snow in the Middle East is no joke

I don’t agree with Gordon W Triggs about much, but I’ve always taken him to be an educated person.

However, his latest letter (‘More green taxes needed’, Evening Post, 21 December) displays ignorance on several levels.

 Anyone with even a basic grasp of meteorology could explain how differential warming in the atmosphere could lead to snow in the Middle East for the first time in over a century; particularly as it followed the warmest November on record worldwide. 

But of more concern is his crass ignorance of the plight of children in the Middle East.

No amount of “snow ball fights and skating” could distract the children of Syria from the nightmare that their lives have become.

And as a result of “the recent extreme weather event” the beleaguered children of Gaza have found themselves wading through waist-high freezing water in order to get to school.

Rather than using the plight of the children of the Middle East in order to score petty points, perhaps Gordon Triggs should take consolation in the words of Sir Bob Geldof (‘Feed the World’) and, “tonight thank God it’s them instead of you.”



Fracking – an energy bonanza, but for whom?

Test DrillingCouncillor Ioan Richard’s personal dislike for “the green brigade” appears to be clouding his judgement when it comes to proposals to extract Coal Bed Methane from the former South Wales coalfields (‘Fracking could boost south west Wales’, South Wales Evening Post, 7 December).

In comparing these new technologies to coal mining, he fails to appreciate that we are not talking about a few mines, but about hundreds, possibly thousands of well-heads spread across the valleys, including his home ward of Mawr.

Methane may be “the cleanest of all fossil fuels”, but it is still a fossil fuel and a potent greenhouse gas.  Its global warming potential is less than carbon dioxide when it is burned, but significantly greater if it leaks into the atmosphere.

Evidence from the USA and Australia shows that all gas wells leak eventually, and that many of them leak methane into the atmosphere from day one.

Added to the very real risk of methane leaks are issues around water usage, water pollution, air pollution, industrialisation of the countryside, and infrastructure requirements on a scale that will dwarf the disruption caused by wind-farm development.  All for very little benefit to local communities.

The drive to exploit shale gas, Coal Bed Methane and Underground Coal Gasification has nothing to do with energy security.  It is purely about profit, with little regard for the environment or for the communities that will suffer as a result.

The best way to bring about a “home developed energy bonanza” is wholesale development of renewable energy coupled with energy efficiency.  This would create far more jobs than the proposed “new dash for gas”; sustainable, long term jobs.

It would also provide us with energy security for as long as the sun, the wind and the waves might last.

The Pickled Gherkin

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Christopher Patrick Ross

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