Readers’ letters - September 29

Diesel is more polluting than petrol says a reader. See letter
Diesel is more polluting than petrol says a reader. See letter

At least we’ll have tried

A friend told me recently, in words to the effect: You won’t win on this, David, it’s “a no-brainer”.

It’s there, of course we’ve got to have it.

The visible environmental effects, he implied, would not be as great as the scaremongers (my word) were predicting.

He was referring, of course, to shale gas and to the perceived need to extract this resource by fracking in order to maintain our current lifestyles, enjoyed by me as much as by him.

I pretended not to be too piqued by this slur on my intellectual abilities and tried to suggest that there was another point of view with which he seemed not to be familiar, that of the contribution made by the continuing burning of fossil fuels to that climate change which is already starting to make its potentially catastrophic effects felt.

He brushed this aside.

I tried to persuade him, suggesting that Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything would give him another perspective on inter alia shale gas extraction.

He didn’t want to read this, there were better things to do and too little time.

No matter that I asserted my readiness to read the opinions and justifications of the pro-frackers and asked why he could not reciprocate.

Klein in her book calls this a form of climate change denial.

To paraphrase: we look for a moment and then look away again or turn it into a joke, or perhaps we look and then reassure ourselves that the clever scientists will find a way out of the mess.

Perhaps we rationalise it: push on with development, wealth is the best solution to these problems.

Or we look – this is too much for me, too far off, too abstract. I’ve no time for this, I’ve too much to do.

Or, maybe if I make a few sacrifices here or there, although it will probably make no difference as the causes of the problems are still in place. Or perhaps we have seen, but then forget. Forget because we are afraid to let it hold our attention for too long.

Too much change would be necessary otherwise, and this we, I, fear.

All of these are perfectly human responses when faced with what seems an insuperable problem and therefore understandable.

Yet they are all forms of denial! I too, I find, am a denier.

And yet, Klein argues, we can do something. We accept what is happening, then we say “enough”! Otherwise, what we fear will come about.

Is climate change not the biggest crisis of them all? Perhaps we won’t win. Perhaps we cannot stop the frackers. But at least we’ll have tried.

David Cragg-James 
via email

Diesel’s more polluting

For years the wind industry and the Greens have had the misguided obsession of telling us all to lower harmless carbon dioxide, yet totalling ignoring the higher emissions of harmful and the very real health-threatening nitrogen oxide gasses.

Make no mistake, for without carbon dioxide there would be no life, as we know it, on our planet. The Continentals know the worth of carbon dioxide by pumping this gas into their greenhouses to enhance plant growth!

At last it has all now been exposed by the cheating of VW (of all companies) and readers should recognise that diesel fumes contain a cocktail of more than 40 toxic pollutants from the cancer- causing benzene, arsenic and formaldehyde to the tiny sooty particulates and nitrogen oxides – compared to petrol engines, diesels produce 22 times as many particulates, and far more nitrogen oxides. Thus the exposure truly shows the idiocy behind the Kyoto protocol in 1997 and the commitment to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide to combat so-called global warming. Where was the commitment to reduce diesel pollution?

Dave Haskell

Address supplied