Monthly Archives: May 2010

Debunking Climate Change Denial

I am not a climate change denier. My beliefs in this matter are quite straightforward: I have seen the climate of my country change over the last ten to fifteen years with warmer summers every year, there is considerable peer-reviewed evidence to back this up and we need to take concerted, sustained global action to prevent such changes resulting in large areas of the planet becoming uninhabitable and the ecosystem becoming unsustainable due to the deaths of key species.

My favourite argument against climate change is: Well, look at acid rain and the Ozone hole – we thought they’d wipe us out and they haven’t. That’s entirely because global action was taken – limits were placed on the emissions of sulphur and lead, while use of CFCs was banned globally. So far, we haven’t done the same as regards climate change.

Part of this is down to people like Christopher Monckton, a heredity peer who has taken on the mantle of champion of climate change denial. His mission, is effectively the opposite of that of Al Gore – he seeks to reassure people that there is no real change to the climate, that the planet can sort itself out and that generally we should stop worrying so much. While Gore espouses that we can’t afford to be wrong on this, Monckton simply states we are wrong on this, with both men using considerable bodies of statistics to back their arguments up. The climate change deniers are often quick to jump on Gore’s statistics, citing things such as changing technology and increased numbers of monitoring devices in poorly placed areas as a core reason for the higher temperature readings (despite visual evidence such as decrease in the size of both ice caps).

Help is at hand however, because now a scientist from the University of St Thomas has published an eighty-minute long review of a presentation by Monckton. In this presentation, Professor Abraham goes back to the evidence cited by Monckton, reviews it as regards Monckton’s use of the source and in some cases contacting the authors of the work in question to see if they agree with the assertions made by Monckton. I strongly recommend viewing it, as it serves to disprove many of the arguments used by Monckton, proving a number to be absolute fictions.

Sadly, the audience who need to see it most, those who would allow us to walk drive our Humvees into oblivion, likely won’t. Given the links between the Global Government conspiracy theorists and the climate change deniers and the apparent willingness to overlook all peer-reviewed evidence on the basis of mistakes made by one university and an employee of the UN who is a social scientist, not a scientist, it will likely be dismissed by deniers as another piece of propaganda which will allow those devious scientists/government/illumanati to destroy our way of life.

The Fight For Union Terrace Continues

I have been following the progress of Sir Ian Wood’s plans for a philanthropic legacy in Aberdeen with some interest. Wood, who turned his family shipbuilding business into one of Scotland’s biggest fabrication and engineering firms, is seeking to raise Union Terrace Gardens, covering the duel carriageway and railway which pass through the city centre and creating a new plaza which would stretch from the front of the Trinity Centre to His Majesty’s Theater and from the Cally Hotel to rear of Belmont Street.

Like the other major development in Aberdeenshire – Trump’s golf course – the raising of Union Terrace Gardens seems to be somewhat divisive, with local campaigns both for and against the plan. There are also alternative proposals involving public funding and the retention of the gardens.

My personal feeling is that raising the gardens to create a plaza is attacking a nut with a sledge-hammer. The gardens are not an unpleasant area, but the large trees and looming buildings around the area have a detrimental effect, resulting in the gardens being in shade for much of the time. While there is noise from the duel carriageway, it is barely noticeable in addition to the traffic on Union Terrace, Union Street and Rosemount Viaduct. I am hopeful that a third scheme may emerge which seeks to preserve the gardens as much as possible while improving the facilities in the area.

What Aberdeen does not need is another concrete plaza. It already has several – there is a crowded and untidy plaza outside the St. Nicholas Centre, a second plaza on top of the centre which is popular with skateboarders and underage drinkers, a large and seldom used square at the top of Union Street around the Merkat Cross and the utterly depressing plaza in front of the new Union Square shopping centre.

Union Terrace Plans - Image Used Under Fair-Use Guidelines

Even with the retention of the century old trees and the addition of a water feature, the raised gardens look to be dismal, dreich and depressing. It does not look like somewhere I’d particularly like to spend time on a summer’s day, unlike Princess Street Gardens or Glasgow Green.

Aberdeen City Council needs to reconsider the fact 55% of respondents in the consultation into the Gardens opposed the plan. It needs to look into what people genuinely want there and what would genuinely be of benifit to the city as a whole. A new plaza does not look to benifit the city.

Sir Ian would also be wise to consider what the people of Aberdeen want. While his generosity cannot be mistaken, it seems he is seeking to leave Aberdeen with the sort of legacy project which maintain the McEwan and Younger names in Edinburgh. If that is truly what he wants, he would wise to put his money towards something which the people of Aberdeen truly want and something which will stand for the ages rather become an ugly embarrassment in less then a generation. Perhaps a complete revamp of the gardens with additional funds for the Winter Gardens in Duthie Park?

Union Terrace Gardens - Date Unknown. Public Domain Image.