I REFER to the Herald’s feature article ‘Earth Overshoot Day’ (July 25), which is concerned with how humanity is consuming more than can be renewed – a concern that ought to worry all who care for our children’s future.

The feature concentrates on investment in wind, thus perpetuating a public perception that this is our route to salvation. In doing so it diverts attention from much more serious contributors to the earth’s problems.

At the same time, it is creating problems for Scotland’s ecology and energy security – and the more esoteric, but important, need to protect landscape and space for people to escape from the increasingly mechanised and stressful lives we lead.

The generation of electricity contributes approximately 20 per cent to the UK’s total carbon emissions, the same amount as private cars, almost the same amount from domestic heating and cooking, about 10 per cent from commercial transport and five per cent from public transport. The remainder comes from manufacturing and commercial activities.

The true situation is much worse when account is taken of imports (raw materials, white and brown goods, food, etc). This proxy contribution exceeds the UK’s total domestic contribution (376 million tonnes in 2017) by some margin (420 million tonnes for imports in 2017).

Therefore, if we consider the full impact of our current lifestyle, we can see that, at best, generating electricity solely from green energy will reduce our carbon emissions by less than 10 per cent. For politicians to suggest that we can be a net zero carbon economy by 2045 is naïve, or for the cynically inclined disingenuous.

Encouraging windfarm investment is an easy policy for our political leaders. It is much more challenging to legislate to restrict our consumption and deal effectively with the economic and employment consequences. Regrettably, this is the only way to save our planet.

Norman McNab,


Ill-mannered barmaid

IN his article Rab McNeill tells of visiting a pub and having a less than happy experience (“Tears For Beers”, Herald Magazine, July 25). It put me in mind of a poem by the Irish poet James Stephens (1882-1950) which is called “A Glass of Beer”.

Stephens, when he described his encounter with a barmaid, called her “the lanky hank of a she in the inn over there”. Her manners were so bad that the poet also called her a “whey-faced slut; a parboiled ape” and hoped that the “High King of Glory permit her to get the mange”. Needless to say, the poet was thrown out of the house “on the back of my head”.

At least the unfortunate Rab eventually had his pint before gladly leaving the pub. Bad manners don’t seem to have changed much in the intervening times.

Thelma Edwards,

Hume, Kelso.

Another lockdown?

THE recent,welcome, news that coronavirus-related deaths and infections were down seemed to make many people drop their guard, but have we all been premature? The answer would seem to be an emphatic ‘yes’.

China is in the grip of a huge new surge and many other countries are still struggling to shake off the virus. Spain has seen a rise in infections, so no wonder people arriving here from that country have to self-isolate for two weeks.

Masks are all very well, though they ought to have been introduced months ago. Another big lockdown in this country would be appalling economically but it might be the only realistic answer.

S Fisher,