I HAVE been shocked, but not so much surprised, that while the UK remains heavily engaged in the national parlour game of Westminster-based naval-gazing and deep-seated economic woes coming to a head after 12 years of Conservative financial and cultural dogma – much of the blame for which can be pinned both on Brexit, a serious act national self-harm – not to mention a largely irrelevant fascination with Westminster musical chairs, the recent United Nations report, World Population Prospects 2022 appears to have attracted minimal media attention.

Meanwhile, with Scotland understandably focused on finding a legal way out of the coercive straitjacket that is the increasingly Disunited Kingdom and the international community similarly distracted by Vladimir Putin’s brutal and illegal war in Ukraine, COP27 has once again proved itself to be more of a talking shop and a platform for grandstanding politicians on which to make well-meaning but soon-forgotten declarations as to how they might go about mitigating the corrosive effects of global warming and the resultant climate change, an issue – exponential population growth – that is right at the heart of the impending environmental catastrophe slowly but surely unfolding before our very eyes has gone largely under-reported.

The UN report reveals that the world’s population has grown from one billion in 1800 to three billion in 1960, increasing to six billion at the advent of the new millennium to a fraction over eight billion today; the UN predicts the world’s population is set to continue growing, with conservative estimates forecasting the total population of Planet Earth will be in the order of 8.6 billion by mid-2030, 9.8 billion by mid-2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100.

These are truly remarkable and deeply troubling real-world figures and authentic predictions on growth computed using tried and tested modelling; they are also entirely unsustainable, and yet population growth rarely appears on the cause-and-effect charge sheet whenever the climate emergency is discussed and reported.

Yet the pressures placed on food production and fresh water supplies, as well as exponentially increasing population numbers occupying significantly decreasing habitable land, are already dangerous drivers of global warming and the climate change it contributes significantly to, especially prevalent in and harmful to the poorest and most deprived parts of the world.

Of course, this is not an issue that directly or adversely affects Scotland, in fact, the country’s population is in decline, hence there are financial benefits available to encourage population growth, especially now Brexit has significantly choked-off working age migrant workers, but far greater attention must surely be given, locally, nationally and especially internationally to what is, indirectly at least, the existential threat facing mankind today and into the future.

Mike Wilson, Longniddry.


WHILE it is good of Geoff Moore (Letters, November 13) to come to aid of Clark Cross in the face of climate alarmism, we all know Mr Cross is a serial contributor to your pages who can look after himself, and duly did.

Perhaps, after checking to see if his own latest missive had been published, Mr Moore turned the page to see the moving photograph of an emaciated child receiving the most basic treatment in a Somali hospital (Foces, November 13). Unlike Zimbabwe, this is firmly in East Africa and the accompanying text informed us this was the fourth failed rainy season in a row. Apparently that's okay though because a country 2,000 miles away had a decent harvest.

Isn't it time that, rather than accusing people of climate alarmism, we applauded them for it?

Duncan Dewar, Falkirk.


PERHAPS Clark Cross (Letters, November 13) should have another look at my letters, as I did not suggest that Scotland reducing its carbon emissions was going to save the planet.

The main point of my letters related to the cost of generation relative to the final cost to the customer.

At present the cost of gas is artificially high because of world prices. The cost to the wholesale supplier to extract gas from the North Sea has not increased by a significant amount but because the Government has sold off the licences to the foreign companies that Mr Cross refers to with very little control over how these unjustified profits can be controlled we are all paying through the nose for our energy.

To make matters worse thanks to Ofgem and the UK Government we are paying for electricity at the most expensive way used to generate it, which is gas sold at world trade prices.

The customers mostly affected by this are those who live in the colder regions of the UK who have no access to gas for heating but pay a premium and unjustified price for electric heating.

The cost arguments I expressed apply to the whole of the UK and not just Scotland, although the temperature in Scotland is lower and the heating costs much higher.

Some customers in Central Scotland are already paying more than £500 per month because of circumstances outwith their control. Is it right that they should be paying unjustifiable prices and living under constant stress?

Global warming has very little to do with the points I raised in my letters, although it should be a concern to all of us, especially parents and children.

The generation costs I quoted were produced by BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) which provides statistical data for the UK Government. They are compiled by really clever professional statisticians, however if Mr Cross believes he knows something they don’t perhaps he should offer them the benefit of his wisdom.

With regard to the National Grid, perhaps Mr Cross is unaware that we already have a National Grid in Scotland which, at present, is connected to the National Grid in the rest of the UK. The National Grid in the UK is also connected to the National Grid of other European countries in a similar mutually beneficial arrangement.

Even with efficiency losses that Geoff Moore refers to, hydrogen generated from surplus electricity is more efficient than feathering the wind turbines to produce no electricity. Hydrogen produced on site at the gas generation station for later use will have relatively low loss and there are lots of other uses for hydrogen under consideration so it obviously has some merit.

Most countries accept that the human race cannot go on polluting the planet and most have policies in place to replace the 1.446 billion petrol/diesel cars in a sensible and realistic way.

Iain McIntyre, Sauchie.


IT is a fundamental principle of law that those who incite a crime are as guilty of the crime as the actual perpetrator. If we apply this idea by analogy to the grievous errors over energy policy, quantitative easing and Covid measures which have led to the country’s present predicament, we would conclude that the opposition parties and the broadcast media are as much to blame as the Government.

So, when we hear Sir Keir Starmer, Nicola Sturgeon and endless BBC pundits crying Tory austerity in response to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, we should remember that they not only supported the policies which made this inevitable but wanted even more of them.

Otto Inglis, Crossgates, Fife.


WHAT is “embarrassing”, “cringeworthy”, and even “excruciating” are the repeatedly slanted attempts of Alexander McKay (Letters, November 13) and others to denigrate the First Minister and the Scottish Government. To refer to her attendance of COP27 as “horrendously expensive” while the UK Government has presided over debilitating austerity, minimal growth (now recession) and wasted billions and billions of pounds of public money due to incompetence, cronyism and fraud, not only beggars belief but demonstrates a disappointing failure to grasp the reality of the cause of the current desperate social and economic plight of the “United Kingdom” (which at this time regrettably still includes Scotland).

The fact that the same people who persistently criticise Nicola Sturgeon appear reluctant to even mention Brexit tells its own story.

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry.


THE Tory UK Government slashes budgets in Scotland. This is the same Government that has spent billions of pounds on Crossrail, even more billions on HS2. I could continue by mentioning the failure of the ferries that Chris Grayling bought that didn’t exist, or the armoured car bourach.

Anyway, enough from me as I have a flight to catch from Prestwick Airport. Good to see it made £2 million profit this year.

Donald MacKay, Crossford, Fife.


IT'S a chilling statistic that over the last five years the single-carriageway sections of the A9 have seen 20 times more fatal accidents than the dualled carriageway sections. We were promised that this main arterial route would be converted to dual carriageway by 2025 but this outcome now seems a pipe dream given that the Scottish Government has let the project slip due to other financial priorities. So the carnage is likely to continue.

Likewise the A83 Rest and Be Thankful in Argyll, which appears to have been closed more often than open due to long-predicted landslides. Along with the atrocious ferry services to the Western Isles, one can't help feeling that rural and island communities are not getting the attention they deserve from the Scottish Government.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen.