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A matter of timescale

Comment
Jackie Beedie


You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” said a 16-year-old schoolgirl at the United Nations last week. She was the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg who is being promoted by environmental protesters as their spokesman, because she is young and grabs media attention.

So how have her dreams been stolen? If she dreams of the planet as a nice place to live in why does she think that will not be true? For the whole of her lifetime there will not be enough change in the climate to affect her lifestyle. It’s true the planet is heating up, and the sea levels are rising. Also there is a hugely uninformed mass of screaming protesters telling us that if we do not change our ways then we are all going to die.

They want us to give up our cars, give up our flights, give up our heating, air conditioning, use of refrigerators and washing machines and any other energy using devices. But ask them to give up their smartphones, Ah! No that’s a different story. In an attempt to travel to the USA Ms Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic on a high-tech zero emissions yacht. So instead of her and her father flying on a dirty aircraft we had two yacht crewmen flying to New York to bring the boat back and the original two flying back to the UK, so twice as many flights, double the impact than if she and her father had just flown there in the first place.

The problem with the climate change debate is timescale. The screamers would have you believe that the sea level is going to rise and drown us all by the end of next year. They would have you believe that the average temperature of the Earth is going to rise so much that England will become the new Mediterranean (that should save a lot of holiday flights). They would have you believe that the Amazon will disappear and so we will have no oxygen to breathe. They may be correct but they are out of timescale. If all the ice caps were to melt, the sea level would rise by seven metres which is actually enough to drown Bahrain but at the current rate of melt it will take 10,000 years for the ice caps to melt, even accelerated melt at a higher temperature would still take between 5,000 and 7,000 years. The Amazon is being cleared at a rate of 10 football pitches a day they scream at us. If that is true then it is going to take over 2,000 years to burn it all. As for sea level change the most pessimistic forecast has it rising by one metre by the year 2100 but most forecasts say half a metre. Even at one metre the lock gates at Amwaj will still cope.

Ms Thunberg and her band of screamers are creating a generation of worried kids. I have heard young children accusing their parents of ruining the planet for them. Same kids will not walk to school or cycle to the Rugby Club by the way. The truth is the planet is changing at its own rate, the same as it ever did. We however are changing at a far faster rate than the planet, look how much progress we have made in the last 2,000 years. Look how much progress we have made in generating energy from renewable sources in the last 20 years. At the rate we are advancing we will have 100 per cent renewable energy supply within a generation, already Scotland has had days of 100pc renewable energy across the whole country. Yes we may have affected the climate but the causes will decrease and the planet will continue to heat up because that is what it does naturally.

Finally to all you environmental activists out there, take a chill pill and have a lie down, it will be fine.

Jackie@JBeedie.com