A Financial Times report published today reveals the high level of equity withdrawal in the run up to the credit crunch in the summer of 2007. It is particularly worrying that equity withdrawal was highest in some of the poorest regions of the UK. Northern Ireland comes out top of the bunch - 74% of those re-mortgaging their properties in the province in 2007 withdrew equity. As a result, those who extracted large amounts of equity may owe more on their mortgage than the actual value of their property even though they bought their home well before the bubble began.
The Berkeley Earth Project , an independent study of global warming, has found that the earth has become a degree warmer over the past half century. However, the statistical uncertainty surrounding pre-1920 estimates makes it very hard to say much about long-term trends - click here for graph . This is one of my concerns with the global warming debate - we simply don't have trustworthy long-run data which looks at temperature changes over the last millennium (or two). My second concern with the global warming debate is that it is very hard to prove any sort of casual link between global warming and human activity. The scientists may be able to show correlation between global warming and our production of carbon dioxides etc., but correlation is not causation. My third concern with the debate is that those who are sceptical or agnostic are stereotyped as flat-earthers or intellectually-challenged crackpots. This only stifles debate and the progress of science itself.