We are all – or nearly all – agreed that we must make the transition away from fossil fuels before it is too late. 

But at what pace should we travel? 

As COP28 got under way in Dubai on Friday (December 1), our columnist Andy Maciver wrote that “those who call for us to ‘put planet over profit’ are sadly the problem, not the solution”. 

Read more: We cannot afford to put planet over profit at COP28

Today a reader argues against that viewpoint

Hamish Maclaren of Stirling writes: 

"I don't suppose Andy Maciver wrote his own headline ('We cannot put planet over profit: Transition is key', the Herald, December 1) but it is surely self-evident that if we don’t put planet over profit, we are lost.

"The alternative, putting profit over planet, would be the ultimate act of conspicuous consumption: the destruction of the natural world.

"One is reminded of the famous lines from Act 3 Scene 3 of Ben Jonson’s Volpone: '…and, could we get the phoenix, Though nature lost her kind, she were our dish.'

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"I was in Dubai Airport on March 8, 2020. We taxied for an eternity past hundreds of parked Airbus A380s and I thought: 'We can’t go on like this.'

"Then with the pandemic the whole world ground to a halt, the skies emptied, and we all said to one another: 'We mustn’t go back to our bad old ways.'

"Perhaps the phoenix, a fabulous Arabian bird, the only individual of its kind, said to regenerate from its own ashes, is a metaphor for Planet Earth. We need to do all in our power to protect her. 

"Mr Maciver’s trope, 'profit for planet', is a fudge."