COUNTRIES do not burn fossil fuels, the people living in them do. Obviously, countries with large populations have higher total emissions. It would be bizarre if San Marino had the same carbon footprint as China. But our individual responsibilities for climate change would be the same whether Scotland declared independence, or the UK joined a single world government under the UN. Pollution does not care what lines are on the map.

If Scotland has the same tonnes of global emissions as Cameroon or Niger, as Iain Wilkie (Letters, November 22) writes, but omitting the detail that we have only a fifth of the population, then on average we are each doing five times more damage. But we are not all identical, just as some people have larger houses, faster cars, and more foreign holidays, they have higher emissions. Our individual contributions are small, just as our individual tax bills are small. But they add up across millions of people.

What argument would we accept for a foreigner having the right to emit more than we do? The colonial argument that God made them to rule over us “lesser races”? A Marxist “to his needs” argument that hot countries simply need air conditioning, large countries need roads, and that we should make do with better insulation and riding bikes the comparatively short distances in our densely populated cities? So what defence do we have for higher per capita emissions than the global average, when we know that global average has to halve, and halve quickly, then halve again and again, to avoid 2C of warming?

Alan Ritchie, Glasgow.

Time to switch off again

AS demand for electricity from unreliable wind and sun increases, and fossil fuel and nuclear generation has been largely scrapped, power cuts could be likely this winter.

These might be prevented by easy economies in the home, such as accurately filling kettles, and turning off lights.

During industrial unrest and the three-day working weeks of 1973 /4, when electricity was rationed, there was a successful advertising campaign called SOS, standing for “Switch Off Something.”

Time to run that ad again perhaps?

Malcolm Parkin, Kinross.

Read more: Assisted dying must be resisted

Don't stigmatise school leavers

I FEEL that Rebecca McQuillan is right to bring Scotland’s historical reputation for a sound education to the table yet again, but it is perhaps worth considering the facts in a broader fashion (“If the SNP can’t get education right, they are in deep trouble”; The Herald, November 23).

The latest national leaving figures show that 12.4% of school leavers did so in fourth year, presumably as they were 16 and able to. It may be that while comprehensive secondary schools are morally justifiable, they may not be comprehensive enough to meet the needs of all young people.

Additionally, the figures for school leavers are very often quoted in terms of the inverse, that is, the percentage of pupils staying on after they are 16. This gives the impression that there is a stigma about leaving school at 16. This can only be because of a tacit feeling that the system failed if young people wish to leave school as soon as possible. I consider there is a certain arrogance among establishment figures who think that the pupils failed and not them.

In one sense it comes back, I feel, to the distinction between schooling and education which are often used in conversation as if they were synonymous. If a school has a motto “ Be all you can be” I suggest that there is an unwritten suffix which is “by our measure”. Schools do not hold a monopoly on learning any more than universities have.

I believe that young people leaving school at 16, to a positive destination, often find that experiential learning (and earning) "on the job" is more appropriate to them than academic study which may come later.

Bill Brown, Milngavie.

Compare and contrast

YOU report a statement from Conservative Party deputy chairman Lee Anderson for asylum seekers to be sent to Orkney if the Rwanda plan fails ("Calls for migrants to go to the Orkneys", The Herald, November 23). He says "it's a bit parky up there this time of year". That is, it will be punishment for these pesky people who keep coming to our shores.

By chance, yesterday, I watched on catch-up a BBC Alba programme in the Eorpa documentary series that focused on a young woman, a refugee from Afghanistan, who is now making a life for herself in Stornoway. Deprived of a public life in her home country by the Taliban, this young woman, speaking in excellent English, told viewers about her life here, how she is working with refugees like herself to help them assimilate into living here, cooking Afghani food for refugees and longer-term residents alike and looking forward to a positive future. We heard how she writes to her father to let him know about her every success here, and how proud he is of her.

It was a heart-warming story, an utter contrast to the blood-chilling wishes of the UK Government in regard to those less fortunate than themselves.

Patricia Fort, Glasgow.

Read more: TRNSMT: Headline acts announced for Scotland’s biggest music festival

Dullsville, SW1 1AA

THIS UK Government must be the most boring in history.

Watching Chancellor Jeremy Hunt deliver his Autumn Statement on Wednesday all I could see in the Commons were the nodding heads of dogs on the back windows of VW Beetles, Ford Escorts and Vauxhall Vivas from the 1970s.

I didn't recognise most of the MPs and I doubt many of the electorate could. They looked the same, they dressed the same. The dogs were certainly more fun to watch.

My question: Did the Tories get a job lot on shiny, ill-fitting blue and grey suits, tedious white shirts and dull blue ties?

And did they pass on their cast-offs to the Labour opposition including the light blue shirts and purple ties?

Scotland is more colourful and interesting. Yes?

Andy Stenton, Glasgow.

The Herald: Glasgow's Winter GardensGlasgow's Winter Gardens (Image: Newsquest)

Give cash to Winter Gardens

I SEE that the headline acts for TRNSMT 2024 have just been announced ("TRNSMT: Headline acts announced for Scotland’s biggest music festival", heraldscotland, November 21).

Perhaps next year Glasgow Life will do the decent thing and apply the money it receives for the rent of Glasgow Green towards restoring the Winter Gardens.

Stuart Neville, Clydebank.