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Australian letters


Sir: David Williamson (‘Oceans apart’, 17 June) shows that the planet is dynamic and many natural processes are not understood. This we have known for thousands of years. He does not show that human emissions of carbon dioxide drive global warming. If he did, he would also have to show that the natural emissions of carbon dioxide (97% of annual emissions) do not. Contrary to his assertion, he does ignore evidence and does not consider a relationship between submarine magmatism and ocean heating. He makes no mention that in the past atmospheric carbon dioxide was hundreds of times higher yet there were ice ages and no catastrophic global warming. This is climate change denial.
Prof. Ian Pilmer
Adelaide, Australia

Climate Maths

Sir: I believe Ian Plimer (17June, 2017) might have got his sums wrong. Of course it’s more likely I am wrong.

There are 400 molecules of CO2 for every 1,000,000 molecules of atmosphere.

Of which Australia generates 1.5%.

So, for every 1,000,000 molecules of atmosphere, 6 molecules of CO2 are generated by Australia.

Of which humans generate 3%.

So, for every 1,000,000 molecules of atmosphere, 0.18 molecules of CO2 are generated in Australia by Australians.

Therefore for every 1 molecule of CO2 generated in Australia by Australians there are 5,600,000 molecules in the atmosphere (not 6,600,000).

If you draw a circle on a piece of paper 1mm in diameter and then drew another 5,600,000 more circles, the piece of paper would have to be 5.6km long. A healthy person would take about an hour to walk this distance. If you randomly chose just 1 circle and painted it black, an appropriate colour in the circumstances, do you think you would notice this single dot during your walk?
Edwin Grimshaw
Noosa, Qld

May’s convictions

Sir: Nick Timothy seeks sympathy by revealing that his ‘loved ones’ are upset by the personal attacks to which he is now subject (Diary, 17 June). They could have been spared distress if he had not invited retaliation by swearing at senior ministers and civil servants who crossed him. How could a prim vicar’s daughter have allowed endless profanities from this ill-mannered man and his ill-tempered associate Fiona Hill? Perhaps Timothy’s most extraordinary claim is that ‘a return to traditional campaigning methods’ was planned but Lynton Crosby vetoed it. Traditionally the Tories did not contract out their campaign to consultants charging vast fees. The leader and party chairman took charge. The manifesto was carefully costed. Commitments in it were explained in detailed briefings for candidates from the Conservative Research Department.

Timothy fails to tell us what we most want to know. Did the statist manifesto reflect Mrs May’s convictions, or were he and ‘the brilliant Ben Gummer’ able to cook up the whole thing between them because she has no convictions of her own?
Alistair Lexden
House of Lords, London SW1

A brisk electoral response

Sir: Nick Timothy declares a new principle of social justice in claiming that younger people should not pay for the care of older people. The post-war generation were brought up to believe that if they paid their National Insurance contributions, the welfare state would ensure a basic level of care in their old age. And those contributions paid for the sick and elderly at the time. If a government announces a policy which appears to renege on that deal, they can expect a brisk electoral response. Change may be necessary, but to be achieved it needs public understanding and support, not a quick fix in a manifesto.
Andrew Collier
Preston, Lancs

Reflecting on the pause

Sir: Phillip Williamson’s article on the ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’ in global warming is unpersuasive (‘Oceans apart’, 17 June). It misrepresents my position materially: I say that global warming is real and partly man-made but is happening slower than models predicted and is being exaggerated as a threat because of wrong assumptions about climate sensitivity. Mr Williamson’s article contradicts itself, saying that the pause was a myth and that the pause ended; it ignores the satellite data, which shows that the pause continues; claims that temperatures have not fallen since the El Niño of last year, which is false; omits all reference to the continuing debate in the scientific literature about whether the pause was real or not; and omits to mention that the UN IPCC itself confirmed that the ‘hiatus’ happened. For somebody who took The Spectator to the press regulator last year and was humiliatingly rebuffed, it is the height of cheek for Mr Williamson to write such a poorly argued piece himself.
Matt Ridley
House of Lords, London SW1

Musical memories

Sir: As any seriously deaf person will tell you, the void left by the absence of music in our lives is probably the most difficult thing to bear. So Richard Bratby’s ‘White-knuckle ride’ (Arts, 10 June) caught me by surprise. It was such a joy to read that I lived every comment and note with him in my imagination. Thank you for bringing music back into my life.
Nadia Harris
Cape Town


Sir: I draw attention to a cricketing howler in Dot Wordsworth’s column of 17 June. She is right in saying that there is no ‘the’ before MCC, but wrong in thinking that MCC stands for Middlesex Cricket Club. The relevant terminology is Middlesex County Cricket Club (MCCC) and Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). By coincidence, the same issue showed on page 41 a notice from the University of Buckingham referring to Mike Brearley, ‘former President of the MCC’.
Stewart Francis
West Mersea, Essex

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