ACCORDING to new research by Nasa, the Earth’s poles are showing record low sea-ice levels.
On March 3, Antarctica had its lowest extent of sea ice at the end of summer ever recorded by satellites. Antarctica has had decades of moderate sea ice expansion. However, last month, the combined sea ice levels in the Arctic and in Antarctica were at record low levels.
Sea ice maximum extent in the Arctic has declined by an average of 2.8 per cent per decade since 1979, but the summertime minimum extent losses are almost five times larger, at 13.5 per cent per decade, according to Nasa.
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Meanwhile, Donald Trump has ripped up US commitments under the Paris agreement to reduce CO2 emissions.
Extreme weather and scorching temperatures have continued into 2017, despite the absence of an El Niño effect, which warmed oceans in 2016, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s annual report.
Globally averaged sea surface temperatures were also the warmest on record; global sea levels continued to rise; and Arctic sea-ice extent was well below average for most of the year.
TERRORISTS ARE NOT REPRESENTATIVES OF BRITISH MUSLIMS
THAT London has again been targeted should not come as a surprise. So why was I surprised at the vitriol expressed so very quickly on various media platforms, all aimed at “Muslims”? This crazed individual, possibly named as Khalid Masood, is no more representative of Muslims than claiming Thomas Hamilton was representative of Scotland. And yes, I have heard it more than once, and again this morning on BBC Radio Scotland, that Muslims “should be doing more”.
More what? Joining vigils, condemning violence, praying and offering support and solidarity, fundraising for victims? We do, whether those attacks are in France, Brussels, Syria, Baghdad, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bali. I could go on without mentioning the “aggressors” or attempting to name “innocent victims”, just as, in the same way, history is littered with the maxim of one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter.
But, in light of the early reporting yesterday before police comments followed up with facts, there were media reports of “Islamist killers”, and then misreporting by the veteran Simon Israel, so I shouldn’t be all that surprised at the furore emerging.
We need to be able to stand back, mourn, and unite, not in a hatred or vilification of “others”, not in a rush to bring in draconian policies or instant knee-jerk reactions, but unite in an effort to continue to seek a positive future, without killing, but with more accommodation.
Perhaps this will be based on the diversity of our communities that can and do live together, sharing day-to-day activities, and in the main, day to day we succeed here.
If we don’t try then we are no better than those that seek to destroy us.
AFTER the human tragedies on Westminster Bridge and outside the Westminster Parliament is there no depth too deep for our Unionist media to descend? Andrew Neil recalls the Battle of Britain to illustrate the resilience of the Britain people and that Britain defeated the Luftwaffe “alone”. Perhaps a study of the conflict would enable him to learn that Britain required the assistance of pilots from: US, 13; France, 14; New Zealand, 110; Rhodesia, 2; Australia, 25; Canada, 93; Ireland, 10; Palestine, 1; South Africa, 19; Belgium, 29; Czechoslovakia, 90, Jamaica, 1 and Poland, 146. The number of Scots involved is not readily available, of course, but these foreigners are merely peripheral to the great British myth.
I WILL never support men of violence or condone in any way violent acts. What we saw on the streets of London this week was clearly shocking, and to the majority of people, senseless. However, the British government can not simply condemn while pretending their hands a clean.
Its foreign policy, persuaded by Blair, in Afghanistan and Iraq, by Cameron in Libya, and the proxy war May is perusing in Yemen, do nothing but inflame and bring trouble to their very door. “Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind”.
Bombing and killing thousands of innocent people in foreign lands, then retreating to fortress Britain to pull up the drawbridge behind them when the refugee’s start arriving on Europe’s shores, is not the way to make friends and influence people. Sadly, Scotland is being tarred with the same brush.
I must admit to some sympathy with Alex Neil’s attitude on keeping the two questions of independence and EU membership separate. The importance of EU membership to the independence debate is surely that it is the final, incontrovertible evidence that, in contradiction of the promises of 2014, Westminster does not listen to Scotland’s voice, however strong, and we are not treated as the “equal partners” touted. If the wishes of 62 per cent of those voting are ignored, even after a further promise from Theresa May that she will not proceed to Article 50 without the agreement of all parts of the UK, then we have no democratic input worth tuppence to Westminster decisions. Without independence, we can never affect any political decision that affects us. So EU membership is a catalyst, not an essential element in the debate on independence, and need not impact directly on that. We should be concentrating on the most effective, and in my view only, way forward to reverse the democratic deficit that forces us to accept policies that are detrimental to Scotland.
Without independence, we cannot stop the deportation of immigrants who have, at their own expense, come to set up businesses, work in our understaffed NHS and care services, pay taxes, benefit our economy and communities and help redress the imbalance of our population. Nor can we stop the huge job losses imposed by the MoD and DWP; nor the attacks on support for the disabled and vulnerable.
If we concentrate on these reasons for seeking to manage our own affairs in the normal way of any other small country, while staying, if possible, fairly closely linked to the EU, we can afterwards turn our attention to EU membership and make our own decision on that. In that scenario, we will be able to consider the advantages or otherwise for Scotland of membership, and will have learned how to leave, if that is our wish, without the antagonism, grand-standing, confusion and problems involved in the current Tory-led process. Let us have independence first, and then all other decisions are ours to make.