“WE must act now to safeguard the future generation,” writes Roseanna Cunningham, Scotland’s Climate Change Secretary (The Herald, September 20). She was absolutely correct, totally in line with worldwide demonstrations by millions, and yet she gave no indication of what that extra action would be.

In fact since the Scottish Government’s declaration of climate emergency in April, there has been no discernible addition to plans that were indicated months ago. Normally with an emergency you get the fire engine or the lifeboat out: you don’t just make a statement to the media.

But that is to be unfair to the Scottish Government. With the party political system as we have had it in Scotland in full yah-boo mode for the last 20 years, no party can be expected to bring forward the urgent, hard-edged, game-changing measures that are necessary, lest it be jeered, mocked by special interests, and lose the next election.

Such short-term fear is why our target to achieve net zero on global heating emissions is stuck on 2045. But 2045 is so far down the road that many of our older kids will by that time be looking for their pensions, if society in any meaningful sense has not collapsed by then.

Because 2045 doesn’t exist as a credible target. Last October the IPCC said we had only till 2030 to make massive moves to decarbonise our economies and draw carbon out of the atmosphere. Twelve years away. No, eleven – and counting.

Scientists, shocked by seeing their early predictions overwhelmed by events, now point out how speedily we have to move to prevent runaway methane releases from thawing Siberian permafrost: methane as it bubbles out being initially 80 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2.

The only credible target now is 2025. When Extinction Rebellion published that target, it got hammered. “Can’t be done” the critics carped.

Yet the Second World War was won from 1939 to 1945. If we’d said “can’t be done” in 1939, we’d have been overwhelmed, invaded and brought under vile dictatorship.

From 2019 to 2025 gives us a parallel battle to change industry, land-use, lifestyle and transport in order to save ourselves from a very vile future.

Our way ahead is a Scottish Citizens Assembly, created like a national jury, presented with the full range of scientific evidence, and invited to give its considered verdict on what we must do, in order to indicate a route to the 200 other nations and to make a signal contribution to protect humans and all other species from the effects of runaway heating.

Following the verdict of an assembly it would be incumbent on all Scottish governments thereafter to carry out the people’s plan. No more anaemic “can’t be done" – but an absolute “must be done”.

Scotsman James Watt, who dramatically improved the steam engine in 1776, is often lauded as parent of the many marvels of the Industrial Revolution.

But if the Scottish Government now steps in and shows the way against climate chaos by creating a Citizens Assembly, it can surely win a deeper and more abiding honour – forerunner of recovery, civilisation saviour.

John Aberdein, Hoy, Orkney.

NOT one expert, scientist, ecologist or climatologist has been able to tell me what the ideal global mean surface temperature ought to be. I would have thought this might have a bearing on their argument.

Tina Wilson, Kirkcaldy.

I NOTE with interest Maureen Sugden’s Issue of the Day, vanishing bird populations (The Herald, September 23). In 1964 Rachael Carson’s book Silent Spring was published. She had fought hard against the chemical industry to get it into print before she died of breast cancer. It described exactly what the connection was between pesticides, herbicides and the vanishing bird populations. She said we would waken up one day and our gardens would be silent, because there were no more birds.

The chemical industry said it was not proven. Fifty-five years down the line and we are still saying the same thing – only now we only have (if we are lucky) 10 years to stop our own destruction. I’m tearing my hair out today after feeling so good marching with young people on Friday. I am not a scientist, I was a typist, so if typists knew what was going on, scientists and politicians certainly did. Why were they not doing anything?

Margaret Forbes, Kilmacolm.

SCOTLAND has almost two-thirds of the UK’s peatlands. This is likely to be the basis of a looming scandal because research has shown that CO2 emissions from marshes and wetlands have not been properly assessed, leaving a huge hole in our greenhouse gas accounts.

These areas, rather than soaking up greenhouse gases, are releasing millions of tons of CO2 into the air every year due to the damage caused by constructing and maintaining wind farms on – as well as running their transmission clutter through – Scotland’s peat bogs.

The UN now insists that countries include emissions from peat soil. The results will be hugely embarrassing because they will totally undermine the First Minister’s much-vaunted claim that Scotland is a world leader in reducing and measuring greenhouse gas emissions.

Dr John Cameron, St Andrews.

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