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Hundreds of concerned Scots turned out today calling upon the Scottish Government to double the budget for cycling and walking, or “active travel”.

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Pictured are Edinburgh father Ryan Elfman (correct) with his son Finn (correct, aged 9 months)


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Edinburgh mum Sarah Phizacklea and her 16 month-old son, Robin.

Gathering outside St Andrew’s House, campaigners urged finance minister John Swinney to double the funding currently available for active travel to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector.

The demonstration was lead by Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) – a coalition of green and other charity groups and organisations.


Colin Hattersley Photography

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  1. The science is that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. The known science tells us that doubling the level of CO2 over the next century will cause about 1C rise in global temperature. That is half the level at which warming is thought to become harmful. There’s some debate about “things” that might increase that. But as better people than me have said, this speculation is hocus pocus non-science. It might be higher, it could also be lower – and not much evidence either way.

    The big question boils down to “what caused the rise in the 20th century which was higher than CO2 warming alone can explain”. On one side are academics in their ivory towers who dream up exotic ideas that always seem to end up cost us lots of money. On the other are people who use science in real life who can see the climate has always changed from natural variation and know that statistically the whole 20th century warming can be explained by natural variation.

    It is a complex debate, with many uncertainties, but what we do know is that CO2 is also a benefit to plants. Arctic ice has shown a decline but Antarctic ice is at a maximum. As the last 15 plus years without warming shows, the climate models, which all predicted warming, do not predict the climate. There have not been the predicted increases in extreme weather.

    And yes … let’s have more cycle lanes, but that is something worth doing on its own which is just undermined by being linked to non-science and failed predictions.

    And if you want to stop climate change … you are doing a King Canute** and trying to stop something that happens naturally.

    **The real Canute was a sceptic … demonstrating to his courtiers that it was stupid to try to stop the tide.

  2. Having come back from Amsterdam a few days ago, I can’t help but notice the very different cycling cultures. In Amsterdam cycles are everywhere and it appears people just get on their bike and cycle in their ordinary clothes.

    In contrast, in Scotland people have this daft idea they must wear special clothing and hats.

    I think part of the reason Scots don’t cycle is that children are being taught that they can only cycle if they get dressed up in some ridiculous garb, whereas in Holland the culture is that anyone cycles because it is just as natural as walking.

    That may be because they already have cycle lanes so it is already safe, but in all the time I was there I didn’t see a single mountain bike or racing mike and only a couple of people had helmets. A large number didn’t even have lights at night.

    I can’t help wondering whether the reason cycling is so common in Holland is because you just get on a cycle in your ordinary clothes and go and the reason it is rejected by most people in Scotland is because cyclists are led to believe they can’t go anywhere without dayglow orange superman – pants. WHICH DON’T LOOK COOL!

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