DOES anyone actually give a Friar Tuck about reaching net zero? By “anyone” I refer, of course, to the people whose lives and futures, we’re told, are being threatened by the climate “emergency”. 

These are the millions of Scots who get on with their lives quietly and diligently outside the tiny political and media silo who insist that this all matters to their everyday existence. 

I’m in the fortunate position of having a job where I encounter daily many of the people who form yon legendary and elusive “rich tapestry” of our beloved nation. 

Not once, in the many years I’ve been doing this, have I ever heard a punter say “I’m really concerned about the climate emergency”, or “things could be worse: at least we’re making progress to net zero”, or “has anyone heard what’s happening with COP26, 27 or 28”?

Yet, merely to hint that climate change is not the most important issue in your life is to risk a fate similar to those 17th-century recusants who were paraded in the town square and publicly chastised for refusing to attend church. 

The Scottish Government has now ditched its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2030. Yet, absolutely no-one in Scotland’s reality-experienced neighbourhoods ever had a clue what that actually meant. 

They might as well have said: “We’re pledged to deliver an infrastructure within an achievable framework for producing outcomes focusing on the sustainable moonbeams and unicorn sector.” 

It is of incidental relevance to the lives of reality-experienced Scots. 

Those who derive a handsome living from the climate emergency sector can afford to focus on sustainability because they’ve accessed income streams freeing them from the everyday worries of real people. 

That is not to suggest that ordinary Scots don’t care about the future of the planet. 

Just that they care more about the immediate future of their children; the health of the elderly and infirm in their families and the wellbeing of their communities. 

They voted for politicians to improve their daily existences and those of their communities – not to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. 

It’s why no Scottish Green politician has ever won a constituency vote at any Scottish or Westminster election.  

Greed is the goal
WHEN you do free up some time to consider environmental issues, an overarching and entirely predictable truth becomes apparent: that only by dismantling the structures that support extreme capitalism and the human greed that lies at their source can you begin to address the climate emergency. 

When world leaders – including our own – target “economic growth”, how do you think this is achieved? Economic growth in rich Western societies encourages us to consume more of the world’s natural resources. 

This relies on them successfully persuading the rest of us to look the other way when this literally poisons the atmosphere and leads to the extinction of the wonderful beasts for whose welfare we’re responsible. 

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It means creating markets in products and foodstuffs made for the lowest possible outlay by paying slave wages to the world’s poorest countries. And then paying the working class in your own country as little as you can get away with so that they will always be forced to purchase cheaply-made products from the third world. 

Keeping poor countries poor and low wages lower still is – quite literally – the business plan in the world’s largest corporations. It relies on maintaining an economic chasm between the wealthiest and the poorest. 

It also rests on as few people as possible learning that last year’s COP28 was held in the United Arab Emirates, one of the world’s richest oil-producing countries. And that the man chosen to preside over this exercise in mass delusion was Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chief of the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.

Net-zero delusion
THE great net-zero delusion also rests on the refusal of “progressive nations” to act in unison to put an end to the greatest evil of our times. This was laid bare in a report by Oxfam earlier this year that revealed that the world’s five richest men more than doubled their fortunes to $869 billion in the last four years. 

In the same period, the world’s poorest 60% – disproportionately occupying those third world nations the West refuses to help – have seen their incomes diminish. The Oxfam report predicts that based on current trends, world poverty will be with us for at least another 229 years. 

I’ll go further than this. If we were serious about addressing this global evil then we’d take direct, executive action to dismantle the systems which support such evil and which is the primary cause of the climate catastrophe. The world’s largest corporations laugh at the net-zero targets and pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Indeed, they ring fence millions to encourage governments to maintain this sophistry. Those millions get them a seat at Davos and access to the most powerful people on Earth. 

All of it is designed to keep the middle-class, ponytail, and red corduroy brigade marching hither and thon in our city centres in the belief they’re making a difference. 

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Greens must go
THE Scottish Greens, meanwhile, would have us believe that matters concerning heat pumps, burning wood, cycle lanes, and returning bottles are what it’s all about. 

Now they’re threatening to leave the Scottish Government because the SNP have ditched the commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Humza Yousaf could revive his party’s flagging fortunes and his own plunging popularity by moving quickly to take the decision out of their hands. The Greens in government have been a national embarrassment. 

Worse than this: they’ve actually managed to fulfil the fantasy of the world’s most powerful polluters by contaminating the environmentalist cause.