Sir: The crux of manmade CO2 causing climate change rests on being able to explain the thermodynamics of how 0.384% of CO2 can change the temperature of the earth, so can someone ‘please explain’ the thermodynamic function.
During the Federation Drought of 1895 – 1903 nearly half the nation’s livestock died, Australia experienced 27 drought years between 1788 and 1860, and at least 10 major droughts between 1860 and 2000.
The Great Drought, and subsequent Global Famine between 1875 and 1878, ravaged India, China and parts of Africa and South America (Maya), killed an estimated 50 Million people.
North Africa and the centre of Australia once covered in forests; the fossilized remains are still there, in the Finke Gorge National Park at Palm Valley lives the rare ‘Livistona mariae ‘a remnant of tropical forests of central Australia—a classic example of climate change.
In 1915 the Murray River dried up—it has never done that since. Explorer, Charles Sturt’s Records show in 1828 it was a blistering 53.9 °C. In January 1896 a savage blast “like a furnace” stretched across Australia from east to west and lasted for weeks. The death toll reached 437 people in the eastern states, in Bourke the heat approached 120°F (48.9°C) on three days—long before industrialisation.
So how are we to believe that climate change is a new phenomenon created by industrialisation? Politicians owe us a factual explanation, not contrived theories.
Sir: In his defence of Christianity (‘Losing our religion’, 10 August), Greg Sheridan writes as if Christianity and religion are interchangeable terms. His claim that the vast majority of people who have ever lived have believed in God may be true, but most of them were or are not Christians. And when he mentions that Christianity is the most persecuted religion, he fails to observe that much of this persecution is from adherents of other religions.
As a non-believer, I look at the harm done by followers of different religions fighting each other — and at the years of sexual and emotional abuse of children by religious orders. I cannot feel that all this is outweighed by the few virtues claimed by Mr Sheridan. Treating others as you would wish to be treated yourself is a virtue that can be exhibited just as easily by those without religious belief.
Sir: Richard Madeley extols the charm of Cornwall’s Talland Bay (‘My favourite beach’, 10 August) but omits to mention that it has long been a favourite haven of smugglers. As recently as 1979 a drugs gang was caught red-handed by police and customs officers. But in the 18th century it was a regular landing place for large quantities of contraband goods shipped in from Guernsey and hidden in the churchyard above, where many of the smugglers — including some of my ancestors — now lie buried.
Jeremy Rowett Johns
Sir: Martin Vander Weyer chooses Bridlington as his favourite beach, but it is slightly unfair to call it ‘faded, verging on melancholy’. On a fine day, park up at South Cliff car park and walk along the prom with its excellent facilities, or on the sandy beach to the harbour for fish and chips or go a boat ride around the beautiful bay.
Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Sir: I enjoyed the contributions on favourite beaches in last week’s issue. I was particularly pleased that no one mentioned my own favourite.
Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire
Sir: Carole Ford (Letters, 10 August) highlights the many issues arising from the implementation of the Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland and the resultant dramatic fall in standards in Scottish schools. A similar disaster is unfolding in Wales where the Welsh government has adopted in full the report by Professor Graham Donaldson, Successful Futures.
This report has come in for widespread criticism, not least from the Welsh Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Education in Wales. Many experts are saying it is poorly defined and leaves pupil learning to chance, with an over-emphasis on project-based learning. Professor Donaldson wants to get rid of conventional subjects, amalgamating them into ‘Areas of learning’ such as ‘Health and wellbeing’, ‘Humanities’ and ‘Science and technology’. It is worth adding that he was also involved in the Scottish reforms. The Welsh government would do well to note the Scottish experience, before they harm a generation of Welsh children.
A letter about letters
Sir: I enjoyed Dot Wordsworth’s article on post-nominal letters (‘Esquire’, 3 August) but regret she didn’t mention the military versions. I seem to remember from my days at Sandhurst many years ago that while RN and RAF can be used by those entitled, the only army regiments and corps that can use them are the Royal Artillery (RA) and the Royal Engineers (RE).
Major (Retd) W.C. Gore RE