I NOTE the article by Ross Greer on Church of Scotland investments (“Kirk must divest from fossil fuels if it is to lead society, argues MSP", The Herald, October 23).

I am sure that we all admire the political achievements and indeed the charisma conveyed by Mr Greer, particularly as of one so young. It does seem to me however, that, along with many of his colleagues, both within Parliament and within the Kirk, that in their determined enthusiasm to seek the high moral ground, they lose sight of reality.

It may well be that they arrive at their divestment concepts without the benefit of a sound knowledge of basic economics. Their proposal, albeit intended as leading by example, that the Kirk divesting itself of all stocks and shares in the oil and gas industries, would somehow have a profound effect on the CO2 being deposited in our atmosphere, simply does not add up. Our accrued investments in Shell, BP and France’s Total, although considerable, are but a drop in the ocean, or should we say a “blob on the dipstick” of the financial reserves of these giant companies, therefore our withdrawal would have no effect whatsoever on the industry’s production of oil and gas, nor indeed on our misuse or abuse of its products. In any event, our release of these stocks and shares would simply invite other corporate investors to gobble them up and so the industry would continue unimpeded.

While we remain as shareholders, along with other influential investors we have a right to sit at the table with these companies and to bring some pressure to bear on them in respect of their very considerable research and development budgets for improving or eliminating carbon emissions. A recent science paper published by the industry reports on a proposal that redundant ocean-based wells may be converted into refineries, whereby CO2 could be extracted from the atmosphere and pumped safely into the seabed, a procedure currently and naturally executed by marine flora. Further, Mr Peter Mather BP’s UK business leader, has confirmed his company’s commitment to seriously reducing emissions, with a realistically achievable target of zero, by 2050, as opposed to the impractical demands of some campaigners for this to be achieved by 2025. Shell has also announced its commitment to financing the planting of many millions of trees, sufficient they claim to absorb all of the carbon produced by their extracting of fossil fuels.

Only the industry companies themselves have the funding and necessary technology to execute such massive undertakings, but if we the Kirk retreat from our position as stakeholders, we lose the right to sit at their table and our voice from outside would simply then become “as of one crying in the wilderness”, therefore our interests will be so much better served as partners in our endeavours to correct the health of our planet.

Ian Cooper,

Elder of Westerton Parish Church and Representative on the Church of Scotland Church and Society Council, Bearsden.

I WAS angered by the tone of Alan Simpson’s column (“Climate activists have lost the plot”, The Herald, October 24). He says that the climate protesters have alienated ordinary people because they are rich middle]class oiks. I am most certainly not rich, I was born and brought up in a working-class area of Glasgow. I am most certainly not an oik.

I have been, and still am, alienated by people who have no respect for the planet whatsoever, who have never taken any interest in what we do with the rubbish left over from over-consumption by a consumer society which does not care who dies in the production of the things we don’t need and insist on buying.

All you people out there who took no notice of David Attenborough’s nature documentaries, Rachel Carson’s book on the damage done to people, animals, insects, plants, oceans and much more – for at least 60 years the warnings have been in newspapers, television, radio, magazines, and you refused to listen.

There are hundreds of environmental pressure/information groups who have been telling the same story for the same amount of time. Now you are all saying we are going too far because we were trying to shut down the centre of London to bring attention to the fact that if we don’t stop destroying the planet we are up a certain creek without a paddle. I am alienated, what are you going to do about it?

Margaret Forbes, Kilmacolm.