Our children will pay climate change price
The Met Office has this week again warned that some impacts of climate change are already materialising and they will impact via extremes.
Globally, 13 of the 14 warmest years on record occurred this century, according to the UN. The UK is already experiencing climate change, with the seven warmest years and four of the five wettest years all occurring from 2000 onwards, and the recent floods caused by the wettest winter on record. These impacts are being felt after just 0.7C of global warming, so the consequences of a rise of two degrees or more will be very much more severe in the UK and around the globe.
The widely adopted policy limit of 2C, once seen as the boundary between acceptable and dangerous climate change, is now viewed by many climate scientists as the threshold of very dangerous change. Growing evidence suggests that 1.5C represents a probable tipping point for large-scale methane release from permafrost and the Arctic Ocean, as well as for Greenland ice melt. On current emission trajectories, the world is heading for a 4-6C global average temperature rise by the end of the century.
Our politicians response? In January, it was revealed that Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, widely regarded as a climate sceptic, has cut his department's funding for climate change adaptation work by almost half. Ukip has promised it will ban the teaching of climate change in schools, if elected.
Our grandchildren will have a lot to thank us for.
Closing surgeries will cost in the long run
Regarding the Western Daily Press report "Stress forces more GPs to quit NHS" (March 24). I thought the NHS, like foreign aid was ring fenced, obviously I was wrong. And unlike foreign aid, where our Government keeps on giving more money, our National Health Service is getting less.
We can't do without good health and proper education, but it seems that our so-called "intelligent" Government has lost the plot.
I was appalled, but not surprised, when I heard of one example of David Cameron's latest decisions – closing small doctors' surgeries like the one at Coniston in the Lake District, which has its own pharmacy and minor injury clinic. The nearest hospital being an hour's drive away and the next doctors' surgery four miles away. In the winter months the road can be impassable.
Our Government seems to forget that, even though, as far as they are concerned, small doctors' surgeries are not viable, they are a vital part of people's lives. As long as their patients are happy with their doctors, that is what really matters, but all this Government is concerned about is saving money, which is ironic when closing these successful small practises could cost the NHS far more in the long run, apart from patients having to suffer more. To add insult to injury, the Government has the cheek to put up the price of prescriptions in April.
Winscombe, North Somerset
Has Farage 'gone native' over Crimea?
Ukip figures such as Nigel Farage and the Earl of Dartmouth are regular talking heads on the Russian state-owned news channel, Russia Today. The station has now been widely recognised as a propaganda tool for Putin and the Russian government.
I was therefore unsurprised, although still dismayed, to hear Ukip leader Nigel Farage attacking the EU over what has happened in the Crimea, and not Russia's illegal incursion into sovereign Ukrianian territory. They talk about people "going native" but perhaps Mr Farage has taken this to a whole new level. With his regular appearances on a station dubbed the Kremlin mouthpiece by many commentators he appears to now be increasingly silent on criticising the Russian president. I know Ukip only likes to blame the EU for everything, but surely his actions are very unpatriotic and hypocritical to his belief in the sovereignty of the nation state?
Parents have little sympathy with strike
If the loud-mouthed, militant crowds of teachers who took to the streets on Wednesday this week are truly representative of those we trust to educate our children, I despair. Teachers are well-rewarded for the work they do, and to strike with little or no notice shows utter contempt for pupils and their parents.
If parents take children on holiday during term time – they are hit with substantial fines. Perhaps the Department of Education should consider fining or even sacking teachers who abandon their charges during term time.
I suspect that the vast majority of parents have little sympathy for striking teachers.
Curfew proposals are cruel and impractical
Clive Harrington (Western Daily Press, March 25) wants all pet cats to have a 24-hour curfew. His idea is not only ludicrously cruel but impractical and typical of those ignorant of the biology and behaviour of other species.
He aims his criticism at the wrong target, which is the irresponsible breeding of too many cats by those who see them as toys to be thrown away when bored or the cat that has tried to protect itself from being poked and pulled by children. It is the irresponsible breeding of cats which is the core problem, not the cat, which is the victim.
Does Mr Harrington help or give money to the overworked charities which are having to deal with the callousness, cruelty and ignorance which cause the problem yet only get criticism.
To try to keep all cats in all the time is cruel because the domestic cat has much of its wild instincts and some, not all, need to roam. Yes keeping cats in at night is a good thing but the stupid idea that cats like other animals are a fashion item and where they are kept indoors which leads to them being de-clawed and having other mutilations inflicted on them as in the United States is an abomination.
In response to those seeking to scapegoat cats for any demise of birds, how many garden or farm in a bird friendly way, so if any curfew was to be used then I am sure the majority of the decent people would want a curfew on the all-night binge drinkers who plague our streets, costing the councils, the NHS and police money and valuable time.