RON McKay ("How private firms took shine off buried treasure", November 14) rightly says of the proposed Cambo oil project off Shetland that the Treasury will see little benefit, even if it goes ahead. The UK has mismanaged Scotland’s oil from Margaret Thatcher’s time, with a lack of forward planning and any interest in public good. Mr McKay says in 2020 the UK total revenue was £0.2 billion but presumably the damage to the planet is not costed.

Money from Cambo is likely to go to a tax haven with even less benefit, with the climate damage likely to be massive. The scientific evidence, from the International Energy Agency (IEA), says there should be no new fossil fuel projects to keep climate temperature low enough – below 1.5 degrees Centigrade. The think tank Carbon Tracker has also found that the deep drilling costs involved at Cambo will be too high to make it profitable. The "break-even oil price" from Cambo could be much higher than the marginal oil price if it is to limit global temperature. The companies involved are Siccar Point Energy and Shell.

Norway handled its North Sea oil competently and did not privatise it and taxed it and benefited considerably. It has a wealth fund. Norway has helped workers to go to renewables in which it actually invests and is in a good position to make the energy transition needed away from fossil fuels. Those countries that do this will benefit economically and the others like the UK will be worse off, with increasing weather and infrastructure problems. Scotland needs independence to tackle climate change, be a responsible international player and protect its economy.

Pol Yates, Edinburgh.


LAST week Nicola Sturgeon was outsourcing the decision on Cambo to Boris Johnson and a "rigorous climate assessment", a kind of rerun of the "five tests" Gordon Brown defined to inform a decision on joining the euro. However, Ms Sturgeon did not define the terms of such a test or what would constitute a pass or fail.

No wonder, since that would lay the ground rules for how long she could sit on the fence, so what seems to have happened is that in the shower on Tuesday morning she decided to just announce that she was against it, and lo and behold it turned out that the Labour Party, formerly the champions of workers and industry, in the shape of Monica Lennon, fed the necessary question at First Minister's Questions.

So, no matter the outcome, Ms Sturgeon wants Cambo stopped. No matter if we import the gas we need for the Grangemouth petrochemicals industry at higher financial and climate cost, no matter if potential investors in the North Sea are already having second thoughts, no matter thousand of jobs are at risk, and, amazingly, no matter she has obliterated 40 years of "it's Scotland's oil".

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.


IAIN Macwhirter asserts that “the system (at Westminster) itself is not corrupt, just some of the people who inhabit it” ("Boris could learn from Holyrood on how to stamp out Tory sleaze", November 14). I totally disagree. Any political system where you can buy a seat in the legislature (and obviously you can) for life, is corrupt.

The gift of substantial sums of money has led both Tory and Labour governments to “elevate” people to the House of Lords. Once there, the title and new address utilised for private business more than pays for any “bung” very quickly. The knowledge of the dodgy background of some of the money gifted has seen every Tory treasurer given a peerage, including Peter Cruddas, who failed the vetting procedure. Of course the real scandal is that the House of Lords still exists, but neither Labour nor Tory leaderships will ever get rid of “the best club in London” while they are guaranteed membership of it.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


FOLLOWING COP26 I recognise one particular word now featuring in the climate change debate, that word being hope, for instance in Michael Settle’s article (November 14) headlined “Hope despite dismay at last-minute change”.

If there is a book for our times it is surely The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for an Endangered Planet by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams in which it is suggested that the justification for hope is founded on "the amazing human intellect, the resilience of nature, the power of youth, and the indomitable human spirit”.

While hope lies ultimately with “the power of youth” we elders have a role to play. We must listen to them, offer them such wisdom as we may possess, walk with them, literally and metaphorically, joining them in their struggle for justice and for freedom: justice for those who are already suffering from the impacts of climate change; freedom from the systemic forces that are driving us towards disaster, from the apathy which afflicts so many and freedom from the focus on trivia which diverts our attention away from that which can be done to avoid that disaster.

We watched a door being opened by that younger generation to a future in which we can invest our hope should we decide to do so.

John Milne, Uddingston.


DR John Cameron (Letters, November 14) is right; poorer people will suffer most in meeting their part of the UK's £73 trillion bill for decarbonisation, intended to mitigate climate changes, quoted by a recent Governor of the Bank of England.

However, the Scots, famously thrifty (apart from our politicos), could justifiably rest easy in the light of the negligibility of the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) they emit, as a proportion of the world's total. It is a tenth of 0.00845%, ie, that of the UK as a whole. Therefore, there is no need at all for us to decarbonise, which could not possibly influence the climate, since we are already, virtually, at "net zero" CO2 output.

Government ministers owe us an explanation for this crazy, wasteful decarbonisation policy, set to ruin us and the nation to no purpose.

Charles Wardrop, Perth.


NINE Insulate Britain protesters have been jailed for between three and six months for breaching an injunction by blocking the M25 motorway. It is a pity that Judge Dame Victoria Sharp did not impose the maximum penalty of two years or even an unlimited fine.

However, further committal proceedings are in progress, since there have been more than 800 arrests. Many of the Insulate Britain protesters are seasoned protesters, have form and are known to the police. One of the activists made threats and said that if non-violent protests were curtailed "then things will only turn violent".

Many of these Insulate Britain protesters and those from Extinction Rebellion and Tyred of SUVs are receiving taxpayer-funded welfare benefits, so on conviction these payments should be stopped immediately since it is financing their disruptive activities. Why should taxpayers fund what is effectively anarchy?

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.


I MUST answer Clark Cross's letter (November 14) on linking aid with birth control. Families in Third World countries have no sickness benefit, old age pension, care homes or hospices, so they depend on their children to look after them. Because of the colonial system, formerly rich countries in Asia and Africa were turned into colonies, then they were turned into monocultures, thus destroying their ecosystems, and causing famines and droughts. Because of those famines and droughts, the inhabitants are lucky if two or three of their children reach adulthood, so they are lucky if there are any children still alive to look after them in their old age.

Secondly, girls who are educated do not have as many children as girls who are not educated. So if rich countries, the former colonial masters, help to set up schools the girls will only want to have two children rather than six.

Thirdly, we have to accept our role in causing the present problems by our actions when we were in control as colonial masters. This is known as the consequences, or in Buddhist terms, karma, as that is what karma is – the consequences of every thought, word and action. Another word Mr Cross should learn is compassion.

Margaret Forbes, Kilmacolm.


HOW refreshing: Ron McKay’s comments (Diary, November 14) on the Windsors' shenanigans – alleged or otherwise – brought a welcome blast of fresh air to the normal sycophantic drivel we hear regarding this privileged family. He reminded me of the wise words of James Connolly: “A people mentally poisoned by adulation of monarchy can never attain that spirit of self-reliant democracy”.

Also, I agree with his opinion on poppy wearing, as we continue to engage in futile wars: Afghanistan, or example. Remembering the dead is important but so is remembering the misery of the displaced peoples in war-torn countries. Messrs Blair and Bush should be held responsible for the illegal war that resulted in death of thousands of soldiers and civilians. We must demand that leaders are held to account for decisions made in our name.

V Nelson, Edinburgh.