Letters: climate protestors would do better to boycott China

13 November 2021

9:00 AM

13 November 2021

9:00 AM


Sir: May I place some of Nigel Lawson’s comments in a sensible historical context (‘Stupid fuels’, 6 November)?

First, he notes that the difference between the average annual temperature in Finland and in Singapore is at present 22°C. However, he is wrong to suggest that we should therefore not be concerned about a predicted rise in the average global temperature of a few degrees. The average global temperature during ice ages was only about 6°C colder than today, but that difference was enough to make the planet unrecognisable: much of the northern hemisphere’s land was covered in glaciers several thousand feet thick, and the sea level was 100 metres lower.

Second, it is misleading to describe the rate of recent warming as ‘barely perceptible’. The warming over the past century has been around 16 times faster than the warming which took place when the Earth was emerging from the last ice age. The rate of warming is so important, because it affects the ability of humankind and ecosystems to adapt.

Dr Michael Pounds


The big issue

Sir: While I am in agreement with Nigel Lawson, I still wish that the climate protestors would do something useful. In order to advance their cause it is surely sensible to boycott goods from countries such as China, which refuse to take action on their CO2 and methane. I feel sure that the population at large would participate, since it would return jobs to our shores, where we could manufacture responsibly and also send a message that we do not tolerate genocide.

J.C. McNeil


Private eye

Sir: Dot Wordsworth is of course right about the pronunciation of scallop, and about their 200 dear little forget-me-not blue eyes (Mind your language, 6 November). She might have added that those eyes (I think uniquely) use mirrors instead of lenses. Physics allows three ways to focus an image: the pinhole, the lens, and the parabolic mirror. Our eyes and cameras have the lens, abalones and Nautilus the crude pinhole. Scallops and our large telescope designers independently discovered the mirror principle. Isn’t that interesting?

Richard Dawkins


Good housekeeping

Sir: James Forsyth (Politics, 6 November) outlines the various problems facing Conservative ministers in dealing with the National Health Service. May I suggest two solutions? One is that the taxpayers’ money taken for social and health services in recent times is put to social services. The second is that, wherever possible, the smaller, cottage hospitals should be revived. Many convalescing patients are taking up ‘acute’ beds because there is nowhere to put them. They are not ready to go home: maybe they need a little medical supervision, or maybe there is no one at home to care for them. There was a great rush to close down the old, small hospitals, but we most certainly need them now.

Sally A. Williams (Former chair of an NHS Trust)

Dinas Cross, Pembrokeshire

Just seventeen

Sir: Peter Hanington’s enthusiastic article (‘Why I love haikus’, 6 November) draws attention to the appearance of haikus in literature. Not to be overlooked is the novel The Unfortunates by Laurie Graham, occasionally of your parish, which has a character who produces a haiku for every significant event in this epic tale.

John Sharpe

Petersfield, Hampshire

Men’s health

Sir: Taki is correct (High life, 6 November). My late father was the post-war secretary of the Queen’s Club, and it is true that ‘the second biggest tennis tournament in the land had just one shower in the men’s locker room’. But what he omits to say is that this same dressing room (to use its correct, English term) had a long row of the largest and most comfortable baths to be found anywhere, filled to the brim with hot water by one of the dressing-room attendants. I was a child at the time, but I don’t recall Lew Hoad complaining.

Richard Ritchie

London SW18

Family circle

Sir: I have much sympathy with Theo Hobson over his concern to see his daughter confirmed (‘In good faith’, 30 October). The struggle all of us have over faith is how to reconcile what we encounter as fact in our daily lives with how far we can stretch our understanding of what might be possible. We can get hooked up on so many aspects of faith, some more believable than others, that we lose sight of the help and confidence it can give us. Faith is not so much about what we believe or do not believe. It is about experiencing a power greater than our own that can open our eyes wider to the world around us and to what might lie beyond.

The Revd Anthony Bush

Holworth, Dorset

Reader’s digest

Sir: I much enjoyed Scott Bradfield’s review of Burning Boy: The Life and Work of Stephen Crane (Books, 30 October), but he misstates the town where Crane spent his last years. The town is Oxted, in Surrey, also where Ford Madox Ford lived briefly (at Limpsfield) and where Joseph Conrad would visit. The local Pizza Express was until recently decorated with artwork depicting scenes from Crane’s novels including The Red Badge of Courage.

Clifford Beal

Oxted, Surrey

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