Keeping Coal as a Fuel Source

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These letters appeared in the Methodist Recorder, 25 May 18, and are republished here by permission. There are minor edits for clarity where necessary.

From Tim Mickleburgh

I'm sorry, but I cannot share the joy of some people about the 'death knell' for coal as a fuel source in the UK (Methodist Recorder, May 11), for we have supplies in abundance under our own soil; an energy supply that is not at the mercy of foreign governments but can be utilised as we see fit.

What is more - surely our scientists have ways in which we can use coal in a much more environmentally-friendly way than was the case in the past, so that it doesn't cause pollution problems.

I would love to see pits re-open and people getting back the well-paid jobs they once had before Mrs. Thatcher and her talk of "the enemy within".

From Howard Curnow

It is all very well for John Haigh to say (Recorder, May 11) that the UK should be reducing its reliance on fossil fuel, and "we are trying to persuade other countries to switch to renewables and so should be showing a lead", but how does he propose to accomplish this reduction and why should other countries do likewise?

It is all very well to demonise fossil fuels in general and coal in particular, but the fact remains that for the foreseeable future, we need fossil fuels to generate the electricity on which we all depend. Sun and wind cannot provide a steady, reliable supply of electricity, and without electricity, so many of the things we all rely on would become impossible.

Underlying opposition to the use of fossil fuel lies the belief (and it is a belief, not a proven fact) that recent climate change has been driven by increasing carbon dioxide levels. Granted that carbon dioxide is a 'greenhouse gas', I have yet to hear an explanation of why a seeming correlation between the levels of this gas and global temperatures over the last quarter of the 20th century is regarded as significant, when there is no such correlation over the first three-quarters of that century.


    And a repeat of what has been said elsewhere - which is worth repeating until it's understood:

    The real answers lie in a branch of physics known as quantum mechanics. The great global warming hoax essentially says the sun heats the Earth, then the Earth emits infrared radiation which can be captured by the bogus "greenhouse gases". The last step in this absurdity is that the "greenhouse gases" will re-emit infrared radiation in all directions, and one half of it will return to Earth and strike the Earth and warm it even more.

    This, of course, is not physically possible. The radiation from the colder air above cannot be absorbed by the warmer Earth below. While it is true that all objects in the universe are cooling and emitting infrared radiation as they cool, radiation from a cooler object cannot be absorbed by a warmer object; the quantum-mechanical states in the warmer object are already filled ....there is no room at the inn.

    This is a violation of the second law of thermodynamics. Heat flow must always follow the temperature vector from hot to cold... It cannot naturally flow in the opposite direction any more than a ball can roll uphill.

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