YOU remind us (“Airlines unite to target net-zero”, The Herald, February 6) that British Airways has “begun off-setting carbon emissions on all its flights to destinations in the UK”. That is of course welcome news, but it should be noted that BA’s two daily flights from London to Singapore burn more fuel, and produce more CO2, than a whole week’s worth of Edinburgh to Heathrow flights, its busiest UK route. And the vast majority of BA’s operation is non-UK.

We need to stop pretending about climate change. Aeroplanes produce a lot of CO2 and technological advances are going to make only small inroads into that. Currently, aviation accounts for about two per cent of global CO2 emissions; by 2050, that figure is likely to reach at least five per cent, assuming continuing growth in flying and a reduction in emissions from other sources. So, what to do?

We could limit flying, for example by making it prohibitively expensive. I don’t believe that would be sensible. Having just retired after 30 years as a commercial pilot (with BA, flying everything from Highlands and Islands in Scotland to, yes, London-Singapore and other long-haul routes), I’ve seen the benefits and pleasure that our current generations gain from flying. International business would be almost impossible without flying – video conferencing has its place, but it just doesn’t do the job in many situations.

And we’re lucky today that so many of us can travel the world to see its great sights and learn from its diverse cultures. They say that travel broadens the mind, though I’ve always taken the view that travel only broadens the mind of broad-minded people. However, there are enough of the latter to be fairly confident that we’re not going to see the 21st century disfigured by major wars between the world’s great powers, as happened in the 20th.

If we’re going to let aviation grow, then it simply means we’re going to have to do more to cut emissions from other sources, ones where there are already alternatives that don’t produce CO2. That argument was made forcefully by David Miliband as far back as 2007, when he was Secretary of State for the Environment. We need many more electric cars, and the electricity has to come from carbon-free sources; inevitably, that has to include another generation of nuclear power. And, instead of paying wind turbine operators vast sums to take their generators off grid when their output isn’t needed, we should be using excess clean energy to produce hydrogen and using that to fuel buses and HGVs.

There’s no one solution to our climate change crisis, but there are a number of solutions already available that would go a long way to mitigate it. All we need now is the determination of our political leaders to implement them.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.

SO the UK Government wants to bring forward its plan to ban the sale of new diesel, petrol and hybrid cars by five years to 2035 ("PM: Ban sale of petrol and diesel cars five years early", The Herald, February 4, and Letters, February 6).

These people are either taking the public for fools or are scientifically illiterate. There are many inconvenient truths about batteries as US physicist Mark Mills wrote in July.

A 10,000 per cent growth in the number of electric vehicles globally would reduce oil consumption by only five per cent. Batteries built annually by the world's biggest battery factory can store just three minutes of annual US energy demand. One pound weight of oil has the energy equivalent of 60 pounds weight of batteries. To fabricate one pound of battery, 100 pounds of material have to be mined, moved and processed.

Naturally the proponents of this lunacy always claim “they're developing new batteries”. I'm highly sceptical of anything that's “just around the corner”.

Geoff Moore, Alness.