COP26’s deforestation initiative is welcome but too little too late, with no clear delivery mechanisms; $12bn won’t even touch the sides, as the Prime Minister of Belize angrily commented. We need practical solutions backed by funds. We have tokenism.

Conserving and restoring both tropical and temperate forests ought to be a no-brainer. Increasing natural sequestration in nature’s carbon sinks has to be integral to stabilising CO2 levels, at the same time as reducing emissions.

Lower income countries with tropical rain forest (TRF) need economic development.

They see their TRF resource as providing such opportunities. If they forgo development, then they are putting their own citizens at a disadvantage, even people currently struggling to survive. The average salary in the DR Congo is below $800 a year.

The biggest impacts of climate change hit the poorer south the hardest.

The Congo TRF was losing 300,000 hectares of forest cover annually but this doubled by 2020, yet it still sequesters 600 million tonnes annually, roughly equal to 30 per cent of US transportation emissions. That’s a useful counterbalance.

We urgently need to restore and sustain the carbon sink benefits that the TRF provides as part of global carbon management.

A targeted solution would be for developed nations to lease or sponsor large defined areas of both primary and secondary forest and pay local people to preserve, conserve and restore the benefits they bring to global climate management – sort of an international countryside stewardship scheme. We wouldn’t be paying them for doing nothing, but for doing nothing damaging – exactly the same principle that underlies agri-environment subsidies in the UK.

Annual revenues then aim to halt felling in such secured forest areas, and provide stable revenues and employment for local populations who have to be the custodians.

For nations like Belize it represents compensation for revenues foregone, and there are already trial TRF conservation projects as demonstrators.

A forest custodianship option needs to be in addition to the $100bn per annum commitment to help poorer nations in dealing with the climate crisis outlined at Paris, though still unmet.

The UN has a target of 0.7% of gross national income on foreign aid yet the UK Government (despite this being enshrined in law) has cut this budget.

Yet it is entirely in our own interests to ensure that the current rates of climate change are slowed and reduced.

Specifying TRF conservation is easily understood and ought to gain wider public support as an investment objective, unlike foreign aid in general.

The developed world is still not taking the climate crisis seriously. COP26 will be remembered for world leaders going through the blah blah motions. But we need immediate actions, taking a problem solving and focussed approach to assist those TRF nations to limit damaging developments to those threatened environments.

We need to sustain these for all of our welfare, let alone for their intrinsic worth.

Tony Philpin, Isle of Gigha.


THE rhetoric on global warming is heating up (“It's clear – COP26 must deliver or we're doomed”, October 31). Yet a recent news story is inconvenient for climate alarmists. The Amundsen-Scott research station at the South Pole has recorded the coldest ever winter (April to September) on record, with the average being minus 61.1 degrees centigrade. And sea ice levels were the fifth highest on record.

It's time for the science of climate change to be independently reviewed by a body whose members do not depend on climate alarmism to sustain their careers.

Geoff Moore, Alness.


I AM convinced that radical change is required if we are to survive the multitude of challenges which face humanity. The foundations of my conviction are found in the following quotes, “justice” being central to each.

The Archbishop of Canterbury hopes “the plight of communities most affected by climate change will be highlighted at COP26. It is their voices that I hope are heard, along with those of everyone on the burning front lines of climate injustice: the poorest, most vulnerable, and marginalised people already living with droughts, floods and vanishing natural resources.”

Pope Francis on BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day asserted that “climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic have ... raised numerous doubts and concerns about our economic systems and the way we organise our societies”.

Muslims across the UK and Ireland issued a united rallying call on October 18 demanding climate justice, a just transition to a green economy and more support for the most vulnerable.

Last year the Church of Scotland Assembly Trustees reminded us of the Kirk’s calling “to transform the unjust structures of society ... to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the Earth”.

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, a founding rabbi of EcoSynagogue, reminds us that “the Hebrew Bible sees human beings as guardians of the Earth, entrusted to work it for the benefit of all life. The Bible’s central values are justice and compassion.”

Many other faiths have signed The Glasgow Multi-faith Declaration for COP26 (see for complete list).

And of course those attending churches, mosques, synagogues and temples participate in weekly calls for renewal founded on radical change in our lifestyles in order to restore justice for humanity and the Earth and all its forms of life.

However, it is not only faith communities who call for fundamental systemic change. There are calls from academia, with Professor Simon Lewis of University College London and University of Leeds, reminding us that “the Covid vaccines scandal has shown how new technology and market approaches have left billions vulnerable ... it is a battle not only over reducing carbon emissions, but also over the rules of a new phase of capitalism that will affect us all.”

And nearer to home Professor Ronald MacDonald of Glasgow University in Neil Mackay’s Big Read of October 11 last year maintained that “change is needed immediately and it’s got to be radical, almost revolutionary”.

John Milne, Uddingston.


AWAY from all the pomp and ceremony surrounding the COP26 summit in Glasgow, I was astonished to read of problems faced by a number of women in trying to reach their homes in the west end of the city after roads were closed to enable conference dignitaries to attend a reception.

Following the recent murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa south of the Border, who were single women out alone in the dark, I find it incredible that Police Scotland should bar women from crossing roads to reach home and instead send them on circuitous routes, including the crossing of a dark Kelvingrove Park. It's little wonder that some were reportedly terrified as a consequence of the police action, which went against their legal duty to protect life and what we should expect from the police.

It's disappointing that Nicola Sturgeon, who purports to champion women's causes, appears to have made little criticism of the police action, so it's surely appropriate for the Chief Constable, Iain Livingstone, to tell the public why this was allowed to happen.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen.


NATIONALIST voters, myself being among them, regularly argue that the mainstream media, newspapers and the Scottish news are overly biased in their regular opposition to the Scottish Government. We argue that a hysterical, hyperbole-ridden narrative has been built by those in favour of maintaining the Union against our overwhelmingly chosen representation. The rebuttal to this complaint is that critique of government is essential and acts on behalf of all political stances. This of course is correct and always should be so in any fair democracy.

But this week alone, Anas Sarwar and the Labour Party, after weeks of traducing the city of Glasgow in respects to its cleanliness, has met with a faction of the GMB union, and I can only assume offered them support and encouragement, to go on strike despite them being offered what they were seeking in the first place. In a week when the eyes of the world are on Glasgow, Mr Sarwar has seemingly grasped the opportunity to embarrass the Government for maximum impact.

So where is the accountability? Why aren't the press asking him to explain himself? Is it tacit acceptance to fit the SNP-bad narrative?

The people of Scotland and Glasgow were shamed this week in front of the watching world by Mr Sarwar and the Labour Party, and the silence of those who proclaim accountability from all political parties are what can only be described as suspiciously apparent.

Or maybe I and the SNP support are overly paranoid, eh?

Gavin Ferguson, Coatbridge.


TV programme after TV programme sees their audience collapse with the format or presenters changed for ludicrous, indefensible woke reasons.

Dr Who and A Question Of Sport are two recent examples.

Now we can add Sky Sports News to the list, with popular host and Hartlepool fan Jeff Stelling quitting live on air.

It was hardly a surprise, given Charlie Nicholas, Phil Thompson and Matt Le Tissier had already been axed.

Their crime was to be three white men in their middle years, but three men who had spontaneity, experience, intelligence, rapport and friendship.

Watching the tick-box replacements with their Estuary English, who it seems to me are not the brightest, inarticulate, and who have no knowledge of football in Scotland, is deeply disturbing. Stelling has an encyclopaedic knowledge and love of Scottish football.

Woke attitudes spread like knotweed. Nearer to home, BBC Scotland has an outstanding format with Sportscene with Jonathan Sutherland, Michael Stewart and Steven Thomson, but when was the last time we saw all three together?

John V Lloyd, Inverkeithing.