“WE can no longer prevaricate”; so says Sir David Attenborough (“Attenborough: Moment of climate change crisis has come”, The Herald, January 17).

As Australia burns, ice sheets and glaciers melt, sea levels rise and gales of increasing frequency and severity sweep our country, I suggest that we reflect on the proposition of Pope Francis (Laudato Si’) that the climate crisis requires radical changes to our global economy and governance.

He proposes the development of “a new economy, more attentive to ethical principles” thus taking action “to avoid perpetrating a brutal act of injustice towards the poor and future generations”.

I quote him in the belief that the time has come when, in the absence of change, the consequences of hyper-capitalism’s excesses, especially its promotion of inequality, will become increasingly unacceptable to the many even in the “developed” world who long for a more just world. While we citizens can delay no longer in changing our lifestyles to combat injustice as well as climate change what is needed even more urgently is a recognition of the need to “reinvent capitalism”.

However, I believe there to be hope with Sir Keir Starmer, leadership contender for the Labour Party, calling for economic, social and climate justice, believing that the free-market economy has failed to promote any of these. I read in his words a determination to prove wrong Margaret Thatcher’s assertion that “there is no alternative” to the current neoliberal model which has shaped global politics since the 1980s, relentlessly increasing worldwide misery.

John Milne, Uddingston.

IF I may be allowed to introduce some interesting elements into the climate change debate, I live at a place whose name in Gaelic means the place where the boats were drawn up. I am now half a mile from the shore and several metres above the water. If I take a drive to Toward I can see to my right where the beach used to be, many metres above the shore today to my left. The Holy Loch and the nearby Loch Eck used to be the same stretch of water, which is why Loch Eck (and Loch Lomond for the same reason) have exclusively a fish called powan. This is a herring which adapted to fresh water as sea levels dropped and Loch Eck was separated from the salt sea.

At the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 a big concern with both sets of troops was malaria, as mosquitoes were plentiful in a much warmer Scotland. There is a vast amount of evidence easily accessed that climate change has been a continuous factor of the world’s weather for hundreds of thousands of years. This is not to suggest that I think we should continue pouring out dangerous poisonous emissions or that we should continue to destroy our natural environment. It is to suggest that our climate, climate change and the global warming we are presently experiencing is a largely a result of relationship with the sun and how close or how far we are from it, which changes slowly and steadily on a continuous basis. A blink of an eye ago in world time we were skating on the Thames.

So no matter what we do our control of our weather will largely be determined by forces over which we have very limited control. Dealing with that should be the overriding priority.

As big a concern to me in this presently warming environment is population explosion in many parts of the world. The population of West Africa for instance is forecast to double before 2025, with Nigeria expected to reach 400 million people. Unless increased food production becomes a major concern, we are looking at real trouble. But 6,000 years ago the vast Sahara desert was instead a forest and it had been a vast desert before that and at one point partly vast sea. In recent years a Sahara Forest Project has been launched to campaign for a worldwide effort to regreen the Sahara. This strikes me as a really worthwhile project, as a potential huge increase in food production is possible with it. And in fact a huge replacement of the positive and useful growth which improves our atmosphere as our destruction of forests in many part of the world are damaging it.

Dave McEwan Hill, Sandbank, Argyll.

I WAS certain there would be a varied response to Guy Stenhouse’s recent article in The Herald Business Section on climate change ("Climate change is inevitable – we should plan for it accordingly", Herald Business, January 13) but the only published response was from John Palfreyman (Letters, January 15), who was in disagreement with Mr Stenhouse.

There is no denying that greenhouse gases are increasing and that is a significant problem that has to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Equally it cannot be denied that major ice ages have occurred over the last two billion years and that Planet Earth is currently moving towards a mid stage of the last one known as the Quaternary. There have been recent reports of further geological evidence relating to the original major, recorded ice age which occurred some two billion years ago, since which four further major ice ages have come and gone, suggesting Mr Stenhouse’s point is fair and reasonable. There is no reason to suggest that the historic planetary cycle will not continue with its current warming trend, eventually being replaced with a cooling period as the planet moves towards its next ice age in the distant future.

The concern over greenhouse gas level increases is valid and must be urgently addressed, as must be the effects of the planetary cycle. Mr Stenhouse’s tailpiece concern regarding pollutants is equally important and needs urgent ongoing attention.

Duncan Miller, Lenzie.

IF the BBC is serious about promoting awareness of the climate emergency throughout 2020 then it should do two things immediately. It should remove all episodes of Top Gear from the iPlayer and refuse to commission any more series of this programme.

Hopefully, in the very near future, we shall look at Top Gear and be embarrassed that the boorish behaviour of three “lads” adding so wilfully to and, in fact, celebrating the degradation of our planet passed for entertainment; worse still that our money was used to fund it.

It should be confined to the dustbin along with other anachronistic dinosaurs such as Love thy Neighbour and Mind Your Language.

William Thomson, Denny.

Read more: Sir David Attenborough warns climate change at 'life or death' moment