DESPITE the best endeavours of those who would describe themselves as climate-change deniers, the subject of climate change continues to force its way onto the political and news agendas, with increasing urgency.

Yesterday a particularly arresting suggestion was put forward: the planting of billions of trees across the world, which could capture two-thirds of the carbons that humans have added to the atmosphere - a prospect described by scientists as ‘mind-blowing’.

Their analysis discovered some 1.7 billion hectares of land, currently devoid of trees, on which 1.2 trillion native tree saplings would grow.

That climate change is once again being talked about seriously is partly due to the tireless efforts of people such as the young Swedish activist, Greta Thunberg, and the Extinction Rebellion organisation.

It is clear, however, as Ed Miliband pointed out in a powerful article earlier this week, that the climate emergency and economic justice have to be treated as one, not as separate issues. If we carry on with this approach, he cautioned, we will not succeed.

Only by linking the two can a ‘broad and durable coalition’ can be assembled that will sustain an ‘unprecedented transformation’ to cities and towns with low-carbon futures: places that are green and clean, with good air quality and green industries, and powered by renewables.

It is a worthy ambition, but as to whether it can be achieved, one can only guess. In the meantime, it is surely important that we do as much as we can. Scotland’s Flow Country is a good example.

The collective bid to grant UNESCO World Heritage Site status to the rolling expanse of peat bog that lies across Caithness and Sutherland is to be commended.

Not only is the area home to much wildlife, it also soaks up substantial volumes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But at the same time it is feared that if not enough protective measures are put in place, the vast reservoir of carbon that lies beneath the surface could be released into the atmosphere, with grim results for the country’s efforts to tackle climate change.

Professor Iain Stewart makes a convincing case for the area to be granted the status. In the degradation of the blanket peat lies the danger of it potentially being released back into the atmosphere, which would make climate change even worse.

As Scotland’s environmental secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, warned last month when announcing an £11 million package to repair and restore Scotland’s peatland areas, the impact of peatland degradation on climate change cannot be overstated, especially in Scotland, where around a quarter of the country is covered in peat soil.

If all the CO2 from that peatland were to be released, she added, it would be the equivalent of more than 120 years of Scotland’s emissions being produced at once.

The ongoing battle against climate change has, within it, countless smaller emergencies.

The case for granting World Heritage Site status to the Flow Country must count as one of them.

Thanks for the memories, Kirsty

FANS of Radio 4’s long-running programme, Desert Island Discs, grew to admire Kirsty Young. She proved herself highly adept at handling a wide range of castaways, from Sir Tom Jones to Bruce Springsteen, Tom Hanks and Sir David Attenborough, knowing exactly when to ask a gently probing question and when to remain quiet and let her guest do the talking.

Young said yesterday that she will be stepping down from the programme, having taken a break last year after falling ill.

Her enforced absence, she said, has altered her perspective on what she should do next, She will be much missed, and we wish her well in whatever it is she does indeed decide will be her next challenge.