Letters: As London goes for gold, we could have had tunnel vision

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THE gales that blasted Scotland show what an opportunity has been missed with the new Forth crossing.

Rather than a bridge which will be closed to high-sided vehicles whenever a decent bit of wind gets up, we could have opted for a tunnel, which could have been used in all types of weather.

Sceptics will say that it would cost too much, but that money could be recouped given that business would not fall prey to bad weather.

And when you consider that London will spend more than £9 billion on an Olympic Games that’s of precious little benefit to other parts of the country, I don’t think it would be too much to ask that for a fraction of that we could have much more than a distant memory of an event that happened hundreds of miles away.

William Marshall, Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh

Give us the facts about our fuels

WITH hardship increasing daily, now is surely the time to reject the dishonesty of man-made climate change claims.

With world industrial expansion, CO2 levels are steadily rising, yet global warming has ceased. None of the forecast horrors, such as increased hurricane activity or extinction of polar bears has occurred: the very opposite, in fact, in both cases.

It is enlightening to centre on the most outrageous claim of all, trumpeted by Al Gore, of massive sea level rises creating thousands of climate refugees in the world’s lowest-lying country, the Maldives Islands. Has anyone ever heard of plans for evacuation?

With no let-up in carbon emissions over the years of claimed global warming, this emergency should surely have arisen by now, but the islands’ sea level has never increased.

With glib talk of greater numbers of deaths from cold in Scotland, the response of our “leaders” – who are of course immune to that threat – should be absolute priority in making energy as cheap as possible. So let’s adopt facts, not claims by vested interests, and make maximum use of our traditional effective fuels.

Robert Dow, Ormiston Road, Tranent

Claims don’t keep up with progress

PROFESSOR David MacKay, the UK government’s chief scientific adviser on climate change, estimates that the cost of converting the UK’s energy infrastructure to low-carbon sources by 2050 would be around £5000 per person per year.

A more ‘business as usual’ approach, based on upgrading existing fossil fuel power stations and importing large amounts of gas and heating oil, would cost around £4600.

The calculator also lends some support to the argument that nuclear power is too expensive. A scenario based largely on expanded nuclear power costs around £5500 per person per year, making it amongst the most expensive options.

Of course, none of the assessments offered by the calculator bear in mind the actual costs of climate change itself if we continue down the fossil fuel route. The Stern review, the high-profile study of the economics of climate change published by the UK government in 2006, estimated that cost as equivalent to £6500 per person per year.

The various arguments against renewable energy, such as cost, that they can’t supply consistent power, or that they can’t be expanded fast enough to meet our needs are being proven as having been false in the first place or outdated as technology improves.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Time to look at another death

THE team who have belatedly allowed the Metropolitan Police to bring to justice two of the men involved in the 1993 racist murder of Stephen Lawrence are to be congratulated for the thoroughness with which they have conducted this high profile investigation.

Perhaps it is now time for them to investigate with similar enthusiasm the death of Blair Peach, the anti-racism campaigner who was knocked unconscious during a demonstration against the National Front in Southall in 1979 and died the next day.

The conviction of the member of the former Metropolitan Police Special Patrol Group responsible for striking Mr Peach would do much to show that the Met has indeed changed over the years.

John Hein, Montgomery Street, Edinburgh