Dear Ms Mount

Thank you for your email dated 23rd November 2008, addressed to Jeffrey Titford MEP.  Mr Titford has asked me to reply on his behalf.

Mr Titford has carefully noted what you have to say about climate change and your request that he support a drastic cut in carbon emissions by 2020.  However, he believes that such targets are impossible to meet and are based on what is essentially a false premise.

The idea that manmade carbon emissions are entirely responsible for global warming is highly debatable and is based on questionable and selective scientific data backed up by political dogma.  We have almost reached a point where anyone who dares challenge this orthodoxy is branded a heretic.  Moreover, a drastic cut, such as you suggest, would have a dramatic effect on quality of life and would make many of our industries and businesses uncompetitive.  This would lead to job losses and poverty.

Mr Titford strongly believes in reducing pollution and in recycling but refuses to accept the doomsday scenarios currently being propagated.  The earth is a living planet and of course climate will change.  The temperature rises and falls in phases which are often linked with sunspot activity.  Even the global warming propagandists accept that over the next few years we are going into a cooling phase but conveniently add the qualification that temperatures will begin to rise again in a few years time.  This is to get them out of a rather large hole they have dug for themselves following their alarmist predictions that temperatures were going to consistently rise and cause massive global problems.

Mr Titford is also greatly concerned that demands for emission reductions are damaging the ability of developing countries to maximise their potential.  It would be ironic if the West’s obsession with climate change were to end up inflicting greater poverty on the Third World.

You should also be aware that Mr Titford was elected on a platform of withdrawal from the European Union.  Therefore, he believes that Britain’s best interests lie outside of the EU and he opposes the principle of the European Commission, an unelected body, laying down laws which are binding on member states.  This goes against all the principles of democracy and accountability.  We already have a situation where 75% of all new legislation passing through our Parliament at Westminster originates with the Commission.  There is no proper scrutiny and our Parliament acts as a mere rubber-stamp.  This is a highly dangerous form of government by bureaucratic diktat and does not bode well for the future of our country.

Thank you again for letting us have your thoughts on this subject.

Yours sincerely

Stuart Gulleford
Political Advisor to Jeffrey Titford MEP

My response

Dear Stuart,

Thank you for outlining Mr Titford’s position.  I have a number of concerns with the points you raise in your email.

I am concerned about your interpretation of climate science.  As a an undergraduate reading Geography at Cambridge University, I have spent the past two years learning from world-class scientists about climate change.  I find the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) compelling, given the evidence I have seen and analysed.  I strongly recommend you read their 2007 Summary for Policy Makers. This is peer-reviewed science and reflects the consensus of the world’s most eminent scientists.

You mention that global temperatures rise and fall with sunspot activity.  I do not have a problem with this claim, but with the context in which you use this statement.  The global warming that concerns me is not that on a decadal timescale, as that of sunspot cycles.  The past two million years have seen a series of glacial and interglacial periods, which have come about due to the way the Earth’s climate system responds to variations in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun.  The difference with the warming we are seeing today, is that it is due to anthropogenic forcing rather than natural forcing.  This graph of temperature variations since 1000AD shows the temperature variations associated with sunspot cycles to be tiny compared to the sharp rise in temperature since the Industrial Revolution in England.

The internationally-recognised Stern Review, (conducted by Lord Stern in 2005, the then Head of the Government Economic Service and former World Bank Chief Economist) reports that taking action to mitigate climate change now is the “pro growth strategy”.  I disagree that this would lead to job losses; indeed, the current financial crisis provides an opportunity to create jobs and boost the economy by investing in the clean, renewable energy infrastructure that we need if we are to live sustainably.

Emissions reductions do not damage the potential of poorer countries to develop.  Wealth generation will be greatly harmed by climate change impacts, so it makes economic sense to reduce emissions right away.  Furthermore, there is great potential for investment in sustainable development in both poorer and richer countries.  Investment in renewable energy sources, for example, will provide jobs and also ensure that people do not have to suffer the health problems that result from burning fossil fuels, such as respiratory diseases.  Poor health is a key factor that holds back economic development, as ill people are less able to participate in the economy.

The target of reducing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide to 350ppm is not impossible to meet, as you claim.  There have been numerous credible proposals put forward for achieving this target.  Oliver Tickell’s book, Kyoto2, makes one such proposal, with a reasoned analysis that takes into account the latest science and uses a combination of economic mechanisms and government regulation.

I am not saying this because I relish the thought of catastrophic climate change.  The prospect of growing up on a warming planet whose climate system is changing frightens me.  Already, the World Health Organisation reports that 160,000 people per year are dying as a result of climate change.  Water, already a scarce resource in many parts of the world, is becoming harder to come by.  Changes such as this have repercussions outside their immediate area, as people are forced to migrate in search of the resources no longer provided by their degrading local environment.

I urge you and Mr Titford to reconsider your position on this deeply important issue.  If you would like more information, do not hesitate to ask me.

Amy Mount