THE phrase “Global Warming” has been quietly changing to “Climate Change” (Looking Around Tuesday). Why? Because it has just appeared that temperatures have not risen in the last 10 years. This variation over the last 10 years is completely irrelevant as the period is far too short in meteorological times to draw any conclusions.

Anyone who has studied the earth sciences puts climate change into a different perspective. Just a few moments ago (in geological time 14000 years) the latest phase of global warming commenced in the UK when the ice sheet which extended from the Arctic to Manchester started to retreat. It still continues retreating. Edinburgh Castle lies on a dead volcano while Arthur's Seat was a lava flow. The Royal Mile was formed from the detritus of an ice flow 1000 feet thick while in the nearby mines where I worked the seam roofs were criss-crossed with fossilised tubers from the tropical swamps which formed the coal. These are monstrous climatic variations. They continue still.

Some 550 million years ago South America started to split from Gondwanaland just where Brazil and Nigeria were joined and headed west several thousand miles – look in atlas to see the jig-saw like fit. On the other side of this super continent India separated from Somalia and headed north finally being blocked by Mongolia around 60 million B.C. The sub-continent continued to move raising Everest out of the sea bed to 29000 feet. This is the mind bending scale in time, distance and magnitude of the changes that have occurred. They continue still. Everest continues north (2 ½ inches annually) and up (7 inches/year). Minute? No problem here but when pent up as with the clash of the tectonic plates (the scientific name for Continental Drift) of the Pacific/North America and of Australia/Eurasia then we have the disasters of the San Francisco Earthquake (1908) and the Boxing Day Tsunami (2004). Closer to home we have Mounts Etna, Stromboli and Vesuvius (remember Pompeii A.D.79) still simmering from the strains of the Eurasian/African plates. These catastrophes will continue. In general people with my mining background do believe that the climate is changing, that it always has and always will. We agree that the industrial revolution and humans contribute to pollution and that it should be minimised but we are sceptical over the degree of man's puny damage compared to the effects of nature which are both gigantic and unstoppable. We should continue to limit man's activity but the major way would be through birth control, itself super complex, plus a political no-no in the States or the Holy See. To be practical we must adapt to change not dream of controlling it.

Mike Lillico, Playa de Palma


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