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I'd welcome scientific debate with professor

I would be grateful if you would permit me to refute some of the allegations Professor John Barry made about me in your letters' column (Write Back, October 4). Although Prof Barry could not have known this, the allegation that I described those who hold a certain view of climate change as the "Green Brigade" is untrue. The term was included by a Belfast Telegraph headline writer. I always try to avoid such ad hominem attacks when debating scientific matters.

However, Prof Barry goes on to accuse me of "climate change denial". I totally refute this. Climate changes constantly and, no doubt, will continue to do so. But I do contest his assertions that renewables benefit us in terms of jobs (about four jobs go for every job created this way), energy security (the technology is not available to satisfactorily combat intermittency of most renewable methods) and lowering electricity prices (with power firms paying nearly double the price of conventionally generated electricity for onshore wind power and triple for offshore in a part of the world with 40% domestic fuel policy).

I would point out the evidence for fossil fuel-burning causing climate change is scientifically flawed. The conventional model used to describe the greenhouse effect requires heat to be transferred from a cooler atmosphere to a warmer planet in defiance of the laws of thermodynamics. If this were possible, we could bring a Thermos flask of cold tea to work and find it piping hot at lunchtime.

Carbon dioxide absorbs long-wave radiation (heat from the Earth's surface) in a narrow wavelength band between 13 and 16 microns. This accounts for about 3% of such radiation emitted from the surface. The resulting atmospheric temperature is approximately 1 degree higher than if there was no carbon dioxide. If the concentration were to increase, any affect on temperature would be minimal.

Indeed, there is credible, but inconclusive, evidence to indicate global temperature increases causing subsequent increases in carbon dioxide concentrations.

I would be happy to debate these matters with Prof Barry on a scientific basis - not resorting to name-calling at those who disagree with a point of view.


Lisburn, Co Antrim

Belfast Telegraph


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