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Gah! Looks like someone up there needs a really big science-lesson. The "polar ozone hole" and "global warming" are two pretty-much-unconnected atmospheric phenomena.

Congratulations to all those involved for raising such a large sum of money.

I wonder if Mr Vaizey and Mr Clegg are using their time away to agree the terms of the latter's defection?

What climate change? Still an unproven hypothesis, as far as I'm concerned.

The Arctic is effectively the planet’s freezer
No it isn't, the Antarctic is far colder with high mountains deep in the interior. In fact at this time of year the lowest temperatures recorded are in Eastern parts of Siberia, not even the most northerly bits but some of the bits down towards Korea, places such as Vladivostok are actually on similar latitudes to Manchester - it's the continental effect, the Arctic has much more even temperatures.

The biggest threats to sea defences are increased storm activity causing surges and yes higher sea levels, ice and snow already in the sea won't actually further raise the sea level if they melt, the biggest threat is the melting of Antarctic snows and ice, the Greenland Ice Cap is the second biggest threat and of course there is thermal expansion and melting of various glaciers about the world that drain into rivers into the seas.

So far as the depletion of the ozone layer goes, it does not raise temperatures, it merely allows more UV especially UVA through - some of the causes are shared, some greenhouse gases also interact with ozone to cause it's destruction but the main cause of depletion of the ozone layer is gases used in refrigerants and aerosols which mostly do not act as greenhouse gases to any great extent.

Not only this but in fact global warming is associated with increased snowfall in parts of the Arctic Circle especially the western side of Greenland - bits of snow and ice are always breaking off, changes in currents can have big localised effects so it's not really possible to go to one location and look and feel and take it as definite signs of something global happening, it always has to be a range of sites spread about.

What was the carbon burn for this little fund-raising exercise?

These politicians should have been at their constituencies listening to the electorate and taking on-board the concerns felt by many over so-much.

Bah humbug, de-select them.

Now, it seems, the Arctic ice-cap is metric.

Voter's priorities:

1) Europe
2) Immigration
3) Crime
Approx 4,269) 'Climate change'

This turned up on a BBC discussion forum a while back, and I stored it as I found it interesting...

"85. At 12:57 PM on 19 Oct 2006, John Finn wrote:
It’s no good – enough is enough. I can’t listen to any more drivel on ‘climate change’ from programmes like Newsnight. It was bad enough when they were simply urging the government or somebody or other to act, like some latter day King Canute, to “stop”, “tackle” or “combat” Climate Change. More recently though, we’ve been fed regular slots featuring some imbecile called “ethical man” and his crackpot wife, but Tuesday night really plumbed the depths. I am referring to the ‘debate’ between some token presence from the aviation industry and what appeared - from the level of his argument- to be a particularly bolshie 10 year old. It was chaired by Jeremy Paxman who’s clearly getting madder by the day. None of the three participants had the faintest idea what they were talking about. At some point. Paxman asked what must be the stupidest question ever which went something like “Why should millions of Africans die just because ‘we’ want to travel abroad on holiday?” What!!. Where on earth does this come from? I can only assume from some study with the usual plethora of ‘could bes’, ‘may bes’ and ‘up tos’. There is actually good reason to believe that Africa would, for reasons I’ll go into later, be one of the least affected regions in the world in the event of CO2-enhanced global warming. But first, for the benefit of the 10 year old, here is a brief background to the “Science”.

The earth warms due to the incoming solar radiation it receives from the Sun. It cools by convection, evaporation and by emitting Infra-Red (outgoing Long Wave) radiation from the earth’s surface. If the earth receives more radiation than it gets rid of – it warms up. If it gets rid of more than it receives - it cools down. Over the long term the Incoming is broadly equal to the Outgoing, implying that the earth’s mean temperature is more or less stable though there are millions of factors which, over hugely different time-scales, can disturb this state.


Without the so-called greenhouse effect the earth would absorb and emit energy at a mean temperature of –18 degrees C. This is 33 degrees C lower than the current mean global temperature of around 15 degrees C. To put this in perspective, global temperatures during the last Ice Age were around 5 or 6 degrees lower than they are to-day. In other words. the greenhouse effect is absolutely essential for the continuation of human life. So how does it work?

The earth’s atmosphere includes a number of gases – i.e. the ‘greenhouse’ gases – which warm the atmosphere by absorbing some (around 73%) of the IR radiation which is emitted from the earth’s surface. The most abundant and dominant greenhouse gas is water vapour though, because it’s individual molecules are short-lived in the atmosphere, many scientists refer to water vapour as a feedback. Other greenhouse gases include Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane plus smaller quantities of N2O, Ozone ..etc. It might seem reasonable, therefore, to think that any increase in CO2 concentrations could cause the earth to warm. But there are a couple of key questions here, i.e. does it and more importantly by how much. It might be useful here to use an analogy (not mine thanks Richard C.) to illustrate a crucial point. Imagine you are shining a torch. Now cover the torch beam with a sheet of paper. The paper will absorb some of the light and reduce the brightness of the beam. Keep covering the beam with sheets of paper until the light can no longer be seen. At this point covering the torch will have no further effect. All the light will have been absorbed (to the naked eye, at least). Now back to the CO2 increase. As we have previously implied CO2, as a greenhouse gas, can absorb IR radiation – but not all IR radiation. CO2 only absorbs in a narrow band about a peak absorption wavelength of 15 microns (wavenumber : 667 per cm). If we look at plots of the earth’s radiance emission and GHG absorption, it’s quite clear that the CO2 absorption band is already at (or very close to) ‘saturation’ point. That is, all the IR radiation which can be absorbed by CO2 is already being absorbed by the existing GH gases in the atmosphere or to refer back to our analogy we’ve already covered the torch with enough sheets of paper to prevent any light shining through.

When atmospheric CO2 concentrations were at pre-industrial levels (around 280 ppm), in the first 100m of the atmosphere (See Dr Jack Barrett’s paper at http://www.warwickhughes.com/papers/barrett_ee05.pdf), the earth’s emitted radiance was apportioned as follows;

72.9% was absorbed by GH gases; 22.5% escaped through the IR window (i.e. that region which is outside the GH gas absorption bands); leaving a remaining 4.6% for absorption in the next layer.

Doubling CO2 concentrations (to 560 ppm) alters the ratio as follows:

73.4% absorbed by GH gases; 22.5% escapes through the IR window (i.e. that region which is outside the GH gas absorption bands); leaving a remaining 4.1% for absorption in the next layer.

This is an increase of 0.5% absorption of total radiance (in the lower 100m). Bearing in mind that 73% absorption equates to a temperature increase of 33 deg C it’s hard to see how doubling CO2 can possibly result in an increase of any more than a few tenths of a degree.

I can well imagine some of the better informed readers will be pointing out that the reported rise of 0.6 degrees in the past century is already more than a “few tenths of a degree”. Others might want to draw attention to the much larger increases being forecast by IPCC modellers. If I have tine and can be bothered I’ll deal with both these issues (failing that I’ll respond if I’m specifically asked), but I did promise a comment on Africa, so here goes

The atmosphere in the tropics, including Africa, consists of high concentrations of water vapour – the dominant greenhouse gas. The absorption bands of water vapour overlap those of carbon dioxide. Hence the addition of CO2 will not have the same impact as it might in other parts of the world. Also – radiation energy and therefore wavelength varies as a function of the temperature of the emitting body. Basically the higher the temperature – the shorter the wavelength of the emitted radiation. Peak CO2 absorption wavelengths occur at colder temperatures, i.e. in the extreme latitudes towards the poles. In a nutshell CO2 should, theoretically, be most effective in the cold dry regions of the Arctic and the Antarctic. Ah - I hear you cry – isn’t this exactly what’s happening. Well - Yes and No. The Arctic has certainly warmed in the past 30 years, but it has only just reached the temperatures it reached in the 1940s. Check GISS station data for confirmation. The Antarctic, on the other hand, has actually cooled over the past 3 decades. Forget what you hear about Antarctic warming. This only refers to the Antarctic Peninsula – a small finger of land which juts out into the Southern Ocean. The climate of the Antarctic Peninsula is extremely vulnerable to fluctuations in ocean circulation. The large mass of the Antarctic interior shows a definite steady cooling trend.

Right that’s all for now. But for any interested ‘layperson’ it ’s worth reading the following

Two papers by Richard Lindzen (Professor of Atmospheric Physics at MIT)

‘Global Warming: The nature and Origin of the Alleged Scientific Consensus’ and the more recent ‘Understanding Common Climate Claims’ .

Also this highly readable and hugely significant paper by Ross McKitrick

‘What is the Hockey Stick debate about’

You’ll find all 3 on the web.


John Bull In fact the environment comes at around No 5 or 6 rank of the issues people consider important - see Mori's monthly polls . Europe comes in at No 11 nowhere near No 1 and devolution/WLQ and English Parliament barely register at all

The ozone hole is not above Mr Ellwood's head, but far beneath his feet. It is an Antarctic phenomenon. (By the way, scientists at Ohio State University announced yesterday that they are unable to detect an anthropogenic warming signal in Antarctica, which is a big problem for greenhouse theory.)

I am somewhat depressed that a Conservative politician who makes calls for grand action should seemingly base his call on an elementary mistake.

I think that's mean spirited George, and unnecessarily offensive before I edited it!

They could have put their feet up this week (the half-term recess Labour introduced is effectively a holiday for MPs), but they've raised a lot of money for charity instead. MPs have done worse things.

Many thanks to Tobias for the report and photos.

The explanation I heard refers to the Earth's tilting every 26,000 years, inducing a change of climate. Not the same as 'climate change' or 'global warming'.

Thank you for that Iain.
That really is quite funny!

Post Office closures is probably #1 concern, but oh dear, it's caused by our friend EU, and we can't discuss that, can we - that's why people list the EU so low down their concerns - they don't know how many issues it is to blame for...

Lost of amateur climatologists here - personally I prefer to listen to the experts.

Incidentally, having just come back from the US, it's interesting to see how rapidly the debate has shifted. Even previous devout naysayer Republicans are rapidly changing tack, citing the recent mounting of evidence. The blatant White House censorship of government scientists has also embarrassed them it seems - especially when the agent of censorship turns out to have no qualifications in the area whatsoever, other than as an oil energy lobbyist....

If anything is actually happening which could be called "climate change", which is itself doubtful, it may be because of variations in the sun's activity and the degree to which its magnetic field protects the earth from cosmic rays, which if they get through to the atmosphere create ionised particles, which act as nuclei for the formation of water droplets, which make up the clouds, which then reflect solar radiation back into space and reduce the solar heating of the earth's surface.

Maybe, that's if anything is actually happening. But the fundamental problem with this alternative theory is that even if there is climate change it can't be blamed on human activity, and so it doesn't give governments the same excuse to try to control the behaviour of their populations. And it certainly doesn't support the case for subsidising wind power companies, or the nuclear industry, which I have read first pushed the theory that carbon dioxide emissions would cause global warming in order to do down the coal and oil industries.


"An experiment that hints we are wrong on climate change"

When travelling to the Arctic, did Mr. Ellwood and his MP friends hitchhike to port, then take a sailing vessel? I suspect not. Perhaps he should be asked just how much gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene and other greenhouse-gas emitting fossil fuels he and his cohorts used transporting themselves, their sled dogs and supplies up there.

Come on you lot, lay off Tobias. He is a good egg. Not many MPs would organise and get stuck into a complete make over of an old church in Bournemouth. I know, I had a paintbrush, and I still have the T. shirt. That provided a real community centre for them. (with Nickking as well of course) Now he has raised a lot of money, instead of sitting on his backside. So just give over, unless you are prepared to do similar at the next forum or conference.

If anything is actually happening which could be called "climate change", which is itself doubtful, it may be because of variations in the sun's activity and the degree to which its magnetic field protects the earth from cosmic rays, which if they get through to the atmosphere create ionised particles, which act as nuclei for the formation of water droplets, which make up the clouds, which then reflect solar radiation back into space and reduce the solar heating of the earth's surface.
It's rather more complicated than that, in fact the output of solar energy is on an upward trend, but less than would explain global warming - effects of emissions of dust and dirt had actually been reducing amounts of solar energy reaching the earth, as a result of cleaner air this peaked in the late 1980's and since has been rapidly reversing so more energy from the sun is reaching the earth than for decades - since the Industrial Revolution the amounts had been in decline. Energy from the sun is in a number of forms, some of which generates heat, some light and some is in the form of UV or Infra-Red, thankfully the Van Allen Belts filter out Gamma Rays which would be fatal to life on earth and are a problem to plans to travel to Mars - Gamma Rays do not affect temperature though.

Daisies blooming in Siberia in November, people sunbathing in Central Park, New York in mid December, Moscow free from snow at New Year and Lapland having wet snow and reindeer sliding on ice formed due rapidly fluctuating temperatures and across Russia Bears unable to hibernate are all extroidinary events, the South Atlantic in recent years has had it's first ever recorded Hurricanes, the North Atlantic Drift has been found to be slowing and world Hurricane activity is at a record high. In recent years Europe has recorded record high temperatures in a number of years and most of the years since 1990 have been among the warmest on record.

The explanation I heard refers to the Earth's tilting every 26,000 years, inducing a change of climate. Not the same as 'climate change' or 'global warming'.
Haven't heard of the tilt of the earth varying much in recent years - it does vary within a few hundred metres with little difference - I think you may be referring to occasional flips in the axis that occur and these are far more than just slight climatic changes - if such a change occurred it would be on the news around the world and everywhere in the world would notice things changing one way or another.

No one would deny that Tobias Ellwood is a nice guy. The problem is that he is, in PC speak, "intellectually challenged".

You may recall that Tobias failed to recognise Sir Nicholas Winterton and other colleagues when telling for David Cameron in the Commons corridor.

it does vary within a few hundred metres with little difference
In addition that is to the seasonal changes in tilt that are going on all the time which reach their extremes at the Solstices, so in fact the earth is constantly altering it's tilt. Sometimes something causes the tilt to flip beyond the normal although eventually it rebalances - gravitational effects from large passing bodies or gigantic super volcanoes or the earth being struck by some body or major cosmic wind; it takes a lot to shift the earth's tilt even slightly outside it's dynamic equilibrium - it's a lot like a spinning top in that it turns and tilts back and forward.

The earths rotation is actually gradually slowing down very slightly, 65 million years ago an Earth Day lasted 20 hours - the earths rotation is affected by the Jet Stream which if very strong has been known to slow it resulting in satellites being out of place and having to be relocated, this happens during El Nino although it only amounts to up to a second difference - the Earth's rotation actually then catches up as the Jet Stream weakens.

A longer day of course would mean greater extremes between night and day in terms of light and temperature, however this is a very slow process. The moon (which originally was a part of the Earth - or at least the original Earth (the Earth consisting of 2 planets including one which hit the original)) is slowly moving further away from Earth and having less effects.

Sunspot cycles have been linked with cold spells and increased typhoon activity in the Pacific - they operate on an 11 year cycle.

Increased volcanic activity is adding to human activity in putting out greenhouse gases, it is believed that the last major global warming was caused by intense volcanic activity, of recent warming most of it is caused artifically though.

Still, whether the currently fashionable theory has been disastrous global cooling or catastrophic global warming I've always been against our profligate use of fossil fuels for the simple reason that they're a finite resource.

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