WHILE Andy Maciver has a degree of positivity about our global future ("Self-indulgent environmental extremists won’t save the planet – ordinary people will", The Herald, November 2), I cannot agree with him.

We are on course for serious and irreversible change to the climate; a “code red” for humanity announced by the IPCC. There are few technical fixes which could alter our impending doom; nuclear fusion perhaps, but that is not on the horizon any time soon.

The facile nature of this was instanced by Boris Johnson blustering about “reforestation”. England has never come close to meeting its tree-planting target, a fact that is ignored by Mr Johnson's cheerleaders on the BBC. Scotland cannot possibly meet its own climate targets while being a very minor component of the UK. That was made clear by the carbon capture and green infrastructure investment, funded by UK-wide taxation, being in England ("Scottish carbon capture cluster eclipsed by ‘Red Wall’ projects", The Herald, October 20). Alister Jack was given unchallenged space on the BBC to languidly waffle about why England, being more populous than Scotland, came first. England is entitled to investment: equally so is Scotland, but we lack a voice or any leverage in the UK Cabinet. This is why Scotland needs to be self-governing.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


MARK Openshaw (Letters, November 2) can rest assured that the Scottish Government is committed to action on climate change. I agree that some targets have been missed, but that does not detract from the urgency and determination of the SNP/Greens in Government to go the extra mile and continue to reach targets in the future.

The Scottish Government declared a "climate emergency" back in 2019 and has set legally-binding targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2045, well ahead of the date set by the UK Government. In fact, CO2 omissions have been reduced by almost half in the past 30 years in Scotland. Our homes are critical to the fight against climate change, and decarbonising the heating systems of a million homes by 2030 is the aim and to that end, £1.6 billion over the lifetime of this parliament has been invested.

The Scottish Government is providing free bikes to all schoolchildren who cannot afford one. Removing fossil fuel buses by 2023 is also a target. The phasing out of cars running on petrol and diesel has a target of 2030. So much is being targeted and much has been achieved and I am sure the Scottish Government is fully aware of the need for much more to be done with urgency.

I hope Mr Openshaw can take some encouragement from the actions I have mentioned as we all await the outcome of COP26.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.


WE all know that Nicola Sturgeon is not a world leader because she is not in the room when big decisions are being made, but she is a politician with environmental obligations and expectations on her shoulders, not a commentator or campaigner, so it is not appropriate for her to be hanging out with Greta Thunberg and the other bright young things of the environmental movement when she is another politician who is letting them down and needs to be pressurised ("Thunberg: Politicians just pretend to take the climate crisis seriously", The Herald, November 2). Ms Thunberg knows this of course, and has previously said that Scotland is not a world leader in relation to climate change. Hence the awkward-looking photo opportunity.

Despite all her soundbites, Ms Sturgeon isn’t doing all that much to help. The massive investment in renewables over the last 15 years or so has been made by energy companies and UK taxpayers through their bills, not by the Scottish Government. She has missed just about every other target her Government has set for itself, and now, when all the countries of the world are being asked to work together, Ms Sturgeon could not resist the temptation of suggesting we would be better off if we pulled apart. We know this because on the opening day of COP26, that was her message in just about every mainstream newspaper. The 25,000 delegates from around the world will have noticed a one-dimensional politician with a one-dimensional agenda, and that agenda is not what they are interested in.

We don’t know what the outcome of COP26 is going to be, but Ms Sturgeon’s presence will not influence things for the good, and may well undermine it if people see that we cannot get along here on this small island. If we cannot get along, what hope is there that everyone else will agree to anything? I hope she is not going to be there every day for the next two weeks.

Victor Clements, Aberfeldy.

* REGARDING the ridiculous “nation in waiting” advertisement of the SNP ("Sturgeon slated for linking COP26 and Indy", The Herald, November 2), the only thing that Scotland is waiting for is a renewed Labour Party to find its spine and to be unafraid to call out nationalism for the divisive and destructive stupidity that it is.

John Dunlop, Ayr.


THOSE seeking money at COP26 to ward off the effects of climate change would be more convincing if they had some facts to support their fears, many of which date back to the middle of the last century, but have yet to materialise.

A representative of the Marshall Islands, for example, was certain they would be under the Pacific soon, but could not say how much the sea level had risen over the years. Likewise the Maldives in the Indian Ocean – often cited as soon to be underwater – continue apace with beach hotel development.

Various famines, droughts, oil shortages, heat waves, ice ages, and world endings have been predicted, but still fail to arrive. Unrelated film footage is constantly presented to raise the level of hysteria.

Are we being taken for an expensive ride by forces unknown, brilliantly talked up by a gullible media?

Malcolm Parkin, Kinross.


EUREKA, I’ve discovered why the modern world is such a mess. Your front-page photo of the world’s leaders at a reception in Kelvingrove Museum ("The power room", The Herald, November 2) shows seven women and about 63 men. If the ratio had been the other way round, I suspect we would be living in a safer, happier and greener world than we are now.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.


IT'S remarkable, but judging from media coverage it seems that COP26 has eradicated Covid. Sadly, I predict a resurgence in about two weeks' time.

Ian McNair, Glasgow.


IN a BBC Breakfast interview on Monday (November 1) Nicola Sturgeon, in response to a question on electrical generation in Scotland, replied: “Ninety-seven per cent of all electricity we consume in Scotland comes from renewables sources". This is wrong.

On the inside cover of a four-page advertising supplement presented with The Herald on Monday Ms Sturgeon states: “Nearly 100% of our net electricity demand comes from renewable sources,” which statement, whilst seeming to deploy careful connotative semantics, is also wrong. Inside the paper, Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland, mentions "almost 100% of our electricity needs now coming from renewables”, which is also wrong ("Sturgeon outlines Scotland’s crisis role", The Herald, November 1).

In a recent article in The Herald (September 17), Lindsay McQuade, chief executive of Scottish Power Renewables, was quoted as pointing out that “the equivalent of 97% of Scotland’s gross electricity consumption is now from renewable sources”. In the same edition Pete Wishart, chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster, is quoted as saying “in 2019 over 97% of electricity consumed in Scotland was from renewable energy sources”.

Whilst the former pronouncement seems to also deploy careful connotative semantics apparently implying but not actually stating 97% of Scotland’s electricity consumption was from renewables, the second is wrong. All of these soundbites, if unchallenged, could mislead.

The Scottish Government’s own Renewables Electricity Energy Stats for Scotland “Electricity Consumption by Fuel" tabulation, however, lists the official figures for the past year which show that 97% of Scotland’s electricity consumption actually comprised wind 44.4%, nuclear 30%, fossil fuel 12% and hydro 10.7%.

These statistics clearly identify the grid security and back-up role performed by Hunterston and Torness (nuclear power plants) and Peterhead (gas power) in supporting 42% of Scottish electricity consumption and bridging frequent wind collapse whilst providing vital voltage and frequency stabilising sources of synchronous generation which also acts as the output control reference for our renewables grid connected electronics, essential to their functionality.

DB Watson, Cumbernauld.

Read more: Can we trust the SNP to put COP26 words into action?