Letters to the Editor, January 7, 2018
Climate sceptic and denier – a big difference
I refer to the letter by G. Bailey (“Warmer global climate does have benefits”, December 16) which once again tried to promote some long-debunked climate myths.
G. Bailey’s repeated publication of these climate myths would only serve to mislead the public and hamper efforts to mitigate human-caused climate change.
Readers can refer to our previous letters (in 2016) debunking these myths (“Established laws of physics used to make climate projections”; “The adverse impact of climate change now proved beyond doubt”).
If your correspondent reads the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or at least the Summary for Policymakers, it should not be difficult for him to find out that (to a various extent) the increase in extreme heat events, the increase in frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation, and the increase in extreme sea level events had been attributed to the human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.
It is common sense to say that extreme heat is detrimental to human health.
Extreme rainfall will increase the risk of flooding and landslides, causing disruption to socio-economic activities at least and casualties at worst.
A rising sea will increase the threat of storm surges brought by tropical cyclones.
The damage and casualties in the Pearl River Delta region caused by the storm surge of Super Typhoon Hato was a clear example.
G. Bailey claimed to be a climate “sceptic”, however, Dr John Cook, the founder of the Skeptical Science website says, “Genuine sceptics consider all the evidence in their search for the truth. Deniers, on the other hand, refuse to accept any evidence that conflicts with their predetermined views.”
The time period used by scientists to represent the pre-industrial levels differs depending on the physical quantity in question.
However, all the 195 countries signing the Paris Agreement have agreed to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, viz the conditions before human activities started to change the climate through combustion of fossil fuels. Is it so difficult for your correspondent to understand what this means?
Lee Sai-ming, senior scientific officer, Hong Kong Observatory
Will paper collectors turn into beggars?
Every day we see elderly people pushing a cart with newspapers and cardboard for recycling, but that is coming to an end. The mainland is restricting imports of paper and other materials for recycling.
Last month, for the first time, I saw a beggar with one hand on an empty cart and her other hand outstretched. She was asking for coins.
How many seniors earn a few dollars from collecting scrap paper and cardboard? Will all of them have to start begging?
Michael J. Sloboda, Tsim Sha Tsui
Bin removal can make rural trails cleaner
As of last month all rubbish bins have now been removed from Hong Kong’s hiking trails.
I think this move by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department can help to reduce the amount of rubbish left in country parks.
Hopefully people will get into the habit of taking their litter home and these rural retreats will be cleaner than before.
My only concern is that some people will resent what they see as an inconvenience and discard refuse on the trails. But if eventually the message can get across to all hikers then this can reduce the workload of cleaners in country parks.
Chloe Fun Hau-yi, Kwai Chung
Panic stations when online sites crash
When a website crashes and people panic because they fear they may have lost messages sent to them and that they sent out, that is telling us that we are relying too much on the services provided by the internet.
If there is a crash like that or their smartphone freezes, some people are so dependent on new technology that they feel helpless and confused.
Even a few years ago nobody would have reacted in such an extreme way.
I think we all need to take a step back and recognise that when something like this happens it is not the end of the world. We just need to be patient and wait for the system to come back online.
Carly Fung, Hang Hau
Dentist wanted far too much information
I refer to your editorial (“More must be done on data protection”, December 21).
Firstly, more public awareness on data protection policy education must be done.
Recently I visited a dentist for regular examination and scaling. When I was registering, I was asked to provide my Hong Kong identity card and mobile phone numbers, occupation and address. After the visit, I was told by the nurse that they would send a message via WhatsApp to remind me of the next regular examination. In that case why would they need to collect my address? This is an example of a firm collecting too much personal information from a client.
Secondly, the right retention period of the information collected is crucial.
Apart from establishing a robust data protection policy for companies to safeguard the information collected, they must also erase the information after a reasonable period after they have ended their relationship with the customer.
Michael Chan, Quarry Bay