AS someone who has retired from farming after 60 years, I have been following the climate/politics/dramatics/blah blah blah debate in Glasgow. What an unhappy wee lassie, and all those young schoolkids on the streets being dragged into something they cannot understand. When I was that age my biggest fear was the bogey man.

After 60 years of farming, when I thought I was a caretaker and improver of the land I farmed, I'm faced with part of the blame for global warming, deeper oceans and cow farts. When I farmed Southcairn on the shore of the Machars peninsula down in Wigtownshire we could find raised beaches 200 yards back from the shore, from 10,000 years before I farmed there, so the rising oceans wasn't my fault.

Cattle and other ruminants have the ability to consume and digest forage which grows on land unsuitable for the production of grain and the like and convert it into proteins (one of the important building blocks of human life).

The biggest contributor to the production of carbon/methane is the human race. Do you want to reduce their numbers?

Cattle numbers are actually lower than 40 years ago. Cattle are blamed for 2% of methane so if you reduce cattle numbers by 50% you only reduce their contribution by 1%

As a graduate of the "common sense academy" the way I see it is: the customer is always right but the consumer should always pay, so the most direct way of reducing emissions is by reducing freight by means of taxation, which means if you want something out of season from a distance there should be a tax or penalty based on its carbon footprint. Similarly, until they find a more environmental way of travel, holiday nearer home.

But then again, I'm just an old retired farmer.

David Caldwell, Turnberry.


I LISTENED to the BBC’s World at One interview today (November 10) with Robert Courts, UK Minister for Aviation in the Department for Transport. He was asked what the aviation industry is doing to curb its emissions. In response, he said he’d recently been to Bristol Airport, where they were investing in a fleet of electric baggage trolleys and pushback tugs; the latter push aircraft back from the terminal into a position where they can start engines.

This was another head-in-hands moment for me, not the first I’ve had during COP26. A large passenger aircraft flying from the UK to Singapore and back will burn around 300 tonnes of fuel and produce about 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Using electric baggage trolleys and pushback tugs before and after both sectors might save 50 kilograms of carbon dioxide; let’s be generous and call it 100 kg. That’s still only one-ten-thousandths of the carbon dioxide produced in flight, or 0.01%. We’re going to have to do a little better than that if we’re going to limit climate change.

I note that Mr Courts is a lawyer by training. Perhaps Westminster needs a lot of lawyers to cover for those MPs who choose to practise law in the Caribbean. But I’m not entirely convinced that lawyers always know so much about the practicalities of operating planes, trains and transport networks that we should be putting them in charge of the billions of our money that is spent in those areas.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.


WHILST I thoroughly enjoyed the sporting experience of taking my young family to watch Scotland beat Australia at Murrayfield last Saturday (November 6), I was appalled at the huge amounts of undifferentiated rubbish accumulating in the bins around the stadium. The large majority of this was plastic drinks cups, cans, and recyclable food packaging. There were no recycling bins available.

During COP26 this is especially shameful and reflects very poorly on those responsible. My 10-year-old son, who is learning about climate change at school, could see it as an obvious problem that could easily be rectified. Why can’t those in charge?

Dr John Farley, Dunblane.


MAY I thank Al Cowie (Letters, November 11) for adding to my list of figures of speech with his example of litotes, of which my teachers of English seem to have been unaware.

A topical example might be "These are not the best of days for the Conservative Party".

David Miller, Milngavie.


YOU note that the Grill pub in Aberdeen was a men-only establishment until 1975 ("10 of our favourite cosy pubs across Scotland to coorie up in and chase the winter away", Herald Magazine", November 6). Perhaps because this designation could have suggested that dogs weren’t admitted, the sign above the entrance read "No Ladies".

Back in those days reasonable discrimination was evidently acceptable. A Rothesay pub used to have a sign at the entrance that read "Nae yatsmen. Lepers and Campbells welcome, but nae yatsmen."

Robin Dow, Rothesay.


CONGRATULATIONS to Peter Doig with his painting selling for £30 million ("Scottish painter’s artwork sells for £30m", Tthe Herald, November 11). I noted the quote from the lady from Christie’s who said it was “oscillating between figuration and abstraction". I must put her in touch with my seven-year-old grandson who, in my opinion, has been producing work of similar quality for several years.

Michael Watson, Glasgow.