IN a previous letter (October 21) I asked for a rational explanation as to why Scotland needs to do more than it is already doing to combat climate change.

In response Dr Hamish Maclaren dishes up two servings of red herring (October 22): per capita emissions and doing the right thing.

A country’s relative contribution to current global carbon dioxide emissions and the environmental consequences of that contribution are proportional to the total amount of carbon dioxide it is producing, but not to emissions per individual, a value that is affected by an additional variable - the size of its population.

Dr Maclaren’s second serving begs the question: What is the right thing to do?

For example, Professor James McKelvie (Herald Letters, October 21) pointed out that, though climate change activists are urging us to switch from gas heating to electricity, “this is the wrong thing to do in the current circumstances”.

A further example relates to the fact that our increasing reliance on renewable energy is resulting in the depletion of terrestrial sources of rare elements used in batteries and photovoltaic cells.

This is leading to the expansion of deep-sea mining and the destruction of some of the most fragile and unexplored ecosystems on the planet.

Is that the right thing to do? The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Dr Iain Wilkie,



WHILE I agree with Prof McKelvie’s analysis of the proposal to stop using gas, there is one matter which he does not mention - the cost to the consumer.

A rough example from a recent annual energy usage in my flat will give an idea of the costs involved.

My usage was 9000 kWh for gas, costing £350, and 900 kWh for electricity, costing £160. If my gas heating and cooking had been electric this would have meant an additional cost of £1250 per annum (£1,600-£350), or about £100 a month extra.

If electricity prices are to remain at this level, this would be a considerable burden for low-income households or for pensioners without reasonable company pensions.

Louie Macari,


THE UK has only some 0.88 per cent of the world population, a statistic that rarely appears in these pages. Yet we produce over one per cent of the world CO2 emissions directly, and closer to double that when we account for all the goods manufactured overseas that we import.

Claiming that we are not part of the cause of the climate crisis is akin to applauding Eintracht Frankfurt for the three goals that they scored in the European Cup Final at Hampden in 1960, and ignoring the seven that they conceded to Real Madrid.

Perhaps if we are unwilling to cut our emissions, the fairest thing to do would be to dramatically increase immigration until we can match Chinese or even Indian carbon consumption per capita.

Alan Ritchie, Glasgow.

THOUSANDS of Extinction Rebellion supporters with their actions are disrupting workers, including vital services employees, trying to get to work. Those demonstrators receiving welfare should have it suspended.

Their excuse is that the planet is in danger. If this is so, then why are there are no demonstrations in China, Russia and India, which are responsible for over 40 per cent of global emissions? Cowardice?

If all these demonstrators, high-octane celebrities, taxpayer-funded green politicians and others around the world were to lead by example and never attend music festivals or showbiz events, drive or travel in a fossil-fuelled vehicle or have goods delivered by one, and declare that they will turn off their gas supply and will not fly, will eat no meat and only have one child, then the emissions problem would be solved.

Will the long-suffering public see such pledges? We know the answer: talk is easy.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.

IT is very easy to mock the Extinction Rebellion protesters, not least for the disruption they have occasioned.The recent incident, when protesters were dragged from the top of a London Underground train, was regrettable, and it is notable that Extinction Rebellion saw fit to apologise to commuters for the disruption.

But it is important to acknowledge that the protests have done more than anything else to keep climate change - the most important issue our time, bar none - near the top of the political agenda and uppermost in people’s minds.

One day we or our grandchildren will be grateful for the action of such strong-minded protestors.

A Stewart,