FOSSIL fuels have created a world which is the best it has ever been in terms of life expectancy, health, wealth, knowledge and technology of all kinds. Not every country participates in this success to the same extent but you cannot have a functioning western-type economy or a sophisticated society of any kind without cheap and reliable energy. Fossil fuels have propelled human progress from the 1700s, through the industrial revolution and until the present day. Oil and gas yield not just energy but thousands of by-products that vary from convenient to so vital that we couldn’t function without them.

Iain Macwhirter (“The heat is on in the crucial battle to achieve net zero”, The Herald, July 20) seems to think that Britain owes the world recompense for the “damage” caused by contributing to the greatest phase of progress in human history. Further, he thinks that renewable energy is reducing in cost, will yield millions of jobs (despite these being conspicuously absent so far: see "Think-tank: UK’S green strategy denying Scots thousands of jobs", The Herald, July 21) and that Scotland can phase out conventional electricity generation and rely solely on wind. What happens when the wind doesn’t blow and how do we compensate for that?

According to US Investment Bank JP Morgan, global adoption of wind and solar stood at two per cent of world energy consumption up to December 2021. The BP Energy Review for 2021 has the figure at five per cent. After two decades of demonising nuclear power and fossil fuels and after untold billions in subsidies we are still only at a minuscule level of take-up. This is the market speaking and it is loudly saying that it does not fancy expensive and unreliable sources of power. By currently building hundreds of coal and gas-fired power stations, is the eastern half of the globe missing something or is it the West which is being wilfully stupid? In China, electricity consumption per capita is half of that in the West. In India it is one-sixth. Energy demand in Asia will grow and grow and will be fuelled by cheap and reliable coal, oil and gas for decades to come. Any “moral and economic” responsibility – as Mr Macwhirter puts it – on Britain's part to pursue the green dream at the expense of its economy, the wellbeing of the British people and the fabric of the society we live in is a virtue-signalling nonsense. In any area except that of green virtue, a British attempt to influence the international community would be derided as a forlorn attempt to return to the days of empire. You can’t have it both ways.

Western thought leadership should be going into how the world adapts to a slightly warming planet, not trying to dictate energy strategy to half the globe who clearly have no intention of listening. History will make a laughing stock of those who, through misguided self-harm, undermine well-proven energy systems and endanger the societies that depend on them.

Andy Cartwright, Glasgow.


RECENT media coverage has once again graphically depicted the horrors of raging wildfires ("Fire chiefs warn of wildfires after ‘wake-up call’", The Herald, June 21).

Politicians, planners and local councillors seem to be blissfully unaware that wind turbines pose a significant, deadly, and growing threat to rural communities, livestock, wildlife and habitats.

Our once-beautiful countryside is now littered with the perfect incendiary device. Hundreds have been built in forests, on fragile, peat-covered moorland, in reality a tinder-dry touch paper at the moment.

Poor maintenance, oil leaks and extremely high gear ratios mean wind turbines pose an increasing risk of spontaneous combustion and collapse. This is happening alarmingly often, particularly in Germany where they are known as “Tickende Zeitbomben” – “Ticking Time Bombs”.

If one or more of these giant turbines bursts into flames, scattering debris and sparks, they can start a rapidly-spreading, raging inferno because they are impossible to extinguish at such a height.

What country-wide, specialist equipment is available, at a moment’s notice, to extinguish fires at such a height? Will the ever-so-green wind industry pay for this potential disaster, risk to life, and the catastrophic clean-up costs?

George Herraghty, Elgin.


I HAVE just returned from a pleasant break in East Devon, where I saw at first hand confirmation of a situation being experienced in Scotland, but not to the same degree as that down south.

We stayed in a small hotel in a coastal resort with several hotels, coffee shops, bars and restaurants. Without exception, all of these premises had notices advertising for staff, and equally alarmingly, notices advising of restricted opening hours or in the case of hotels, stating that they would not be open to non-residents. This, I was told, was due to inability to attract staff. We found the same in other towns we visited.

The financial loss to those businesses through these restrictions must be considerable.

At a time when our country needs maximum business productivity, when will our Government realise that the restrictions on immigration, combined with the veto on asylum seekers' ability to be gainfully employed, is hobbling our businesses to an unacceptable degree?

Many of these people would jump at the opportunity to contribute to our economy. To answer those who would say that we still have unemployed citizens of our own, sadly we have a hard core of people who do not want to work, and there seems no answer to that conundrum.

Sandy Farr, Barrhead.


YESTERDAY I decided to take a drive to St Andrews, the home of golf and where you would expect Scottish hospitality to be to the fore.

Both my wife and I were both desirous to use the toilet facilities near to the Museum of Golf, but noticed that the car park was closed and double yellow lines were everywhere.

I turned into the entrance to the car park and noticed a sentry box and decided to ask the gentleman inside who was dressed in a yellow jacket if I could park for a moment to use the facilities. Before I had got out of my car, this raging bull came thundering towards me and screamed that I couldn't park there.

I couldn't explain our predicament to the jobsworth and left.

Scottish hospitality? No chance.

Neil Stewart, Balfron.


DAVE Henderson (Letters, July 21) reminds us that most politicians have no more (I would omit the "most") idea of what the future holds than any of us.

I have a card sent by a daughter in 2006, bearing the inscription "What this country needs is more unemployed politicians"; author Angela Davis.

David Miller, Milngavie.