Readers' letters: Climate conference has not been perfect, but it is a success

COP26 has been a success in that it has got the issues at play beyond the bubble and in to wider public consciousness. That is priceless.
Britain's President for COP26 Alok Sharma gestures during the final stages of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in GlasgowBritain's President for COP26 Alok Sharma gestures during the final stages of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow
Britain's President for COP26 Alok Sharma gestures during the final stages of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow

Like many people, I couldn’t tell you where the last conference was, whose idea they were in the first place or what had previously been agreed. We all know about it now.

The infrastructure of Glasgow and the Central Belt has been able to deal with an international event, the police undertook their role with good humour and common sense, and the protestors protested without getting up to any nonsense that would have detracted from the issues at hand. There have been no nasty incidents to reflect badly on people, and that is very much to the credit of all those involved.

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I have been very impressed with Alok Sharma who shouldered responsibility for the organisation of the event while US envoy John Kerry has shown that the USA are engaged again, and we should all take confidence from that.

Progress has been made, but we know now that they is a rolling programme of improvements, and that whatever has not been covered of in 2021 in Glasgow will be taken up again in 1922 in Egypt.

When Greta Thunberg gets home and has time to reflect on things, she will hopefully realize that “Blah, blah, blah” is not an accurate summary of what has taken place.

This now is a lifetime’s work for all of us, including Greta, and we should look at things from that perspective.

Victor Clements, Aberfeldy

COP26 failure

The world is currently going through a period of warming 1.1 degrees above pre-industrial levels. That is what has caused the fires, flooding, droughts and more severe hurricanes and typhoons.

The difference between 2 degrees of warming versus 1.5 of pre-industrial levels is:

The doubling of the loss of plant species. Which are essential for human survival in terms of food security.

The tripling of the loss of insect species.

Artic ice is 10 times more likely to melt at 2 degrees than at 1.5.

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Currently the world is heading for 2.4 degrees of warming. This will leave parts of the world uninhabitable.

The COP26 agreement has left the system that has allowed this to happen to remain in place. The business as usual approach is literally a crime against humanity.

It speeds up the mass extinction of the human race. All to ensure that quarterly profits for corporations can keep expanding.

Just 100 companies are responsible for 71 per cent of all global CO2 emissions.

The damage that capitalism has done will be more than the aggregate value of all the goods made since the start of the industrial revolution.

Past prosperity will be paid for by curtailment of life on Earth in the near future.

The reason why action has not been taken is because fossil fuel companies and the banks who lend to them have funded networks of climate change denial for decades.

An alliance of 77 Island nations including China had argued for a loss and damage finance facility. This was to compensate for the damage suffered through rich-nation pollution. Howeve,r the EU, UK and US have sabotaged this.

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Contrast this with the £trillions these government's ploughed in to save the world financial system. The £100 billion pledged in 2009 to mitigate the effects of Climate Change has not been paid.

The Paris Agreement target of 1.5 degrees is dead.

Alan Hinnrichs, Dundee

Foreign aid

Given that foreign aid is a matter reserved to the UK government and Scots contribute their fair share via taxation, why is the First Minister diverting £millions intended for devolved matters to a climate justice fund?

Why are we spending more on international aid than other UK citizens, and shouldn’t Audit Scotland be questioning this dubious budgetary manipulation?

Andrew Kemp, Rosyth

Gender laws

The language used by Laura Waddell in her recent article,'People must stop demonising trans minority' (Scotsman, 4 November) resembles that used by 'trans activists' attempting to silence women speaking out against 'gender theory', ie the idea, without any scientific basis, that to simply feel like a woman is to be a woman or to feel like a man is to be a man.

Scottish government support for this ideology is evident in the Gender Recognition (Reform) (Scotland) Bill which has prompted the formation of grassroots women's groups such as 'For Women Scotland' and 'Women Won't Wheesht' who are campaigning to protect women's and girls' sex-based rights to safety, privacy and dignity.

Under the present Gender Recognition Act (2004) people aged 18 or over wishing to be recognised for all legal purposes as the opposite sex must provide evidence of having lived in that sex for two years and a diagnosis of gender dysphoria (discomfort or distress with one's birth sex accompanied by a strong desire to change it). Both a medical and psychological report are also needed.

Finally, they must appear before a gender recognition panel before a decision is made as to whether or not they receive a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC).

Thus the Act, as required by the European Convention on Human Rights, has inbuilt safeguards that provide a balance between the rights of the 'transsexual' person concerned and those of women and girls.

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Under the new proposals, male-bodied individuals aged 16 and over 'self-identifying' as women would receive a GRC within a drastically reduced time-frame (three months living as a woman before applying for a GRC and a three-month reflection period) without the need for either a diagnosis of 'Gender Dysphoria' or any medical or psychological oversight following a statutory declaration that they 'intend' to live in their 'acquired gender' for life.

These 'transgender' women would then be able to gain access to women's and girls' private spaces such changing rooms, toilets, dormitories, prisons, and refuges.

With the safeguards in the 2004 GRA removed, the increased threat to women's and girls' privacy and security from predatory men should be obvious. As well as changing the eligible category from 'transsexual' to 'transgender' (not defined in law) this Bill also substantially changes the conditions that entitle a person to obtain a GRC at the moment.

Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to re-introduce this Bill, paused during lock-down, to the Scottish Parliament where, given the considerable number of MSPs who are so-called 'trans allies' it will almost certainly be passed but would soon surely become the target of a legal challenge.

Cate MacDonald, Falkirk

The little people

As history largely ignores "we little people" I was pleased to note the annual accounts for the Crown Room (The Scottish Regalia) for the year 1830/31.

In it Sir Edward Ferguson, deputy keeper of the Scottish Regalia mentions as under: "To Mrs Dingwall for cleaning and washing Crown Room stairs from 25 November 1929 to 25 November 1830 - 52 Weeks at 1/6 £ 3.18.00"

And "5345 Tickets at 1/-each from 5 January 1830 to 5 January 1830 £ 267.05.00"

Who was Mrs Dingwall? Any answers would be welcome.

Robert M Dunn, Edinburgh

Vaccine confusion

I was given an appointment to attend Craigmillar Health Centre for my Covid booster and flu vaccine on Saturday.

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It is at the opposite side of town from home, but rather than opting to try to change the venue I took the bus and duly turned up shortly before the appointed time. The centre was clearly shut, all doors locked and no lights on. A walk round the building confirmed this.

A phone call to the Lothian Vaccine Centre elicited the response that they were probably out for lunch and would be back shortly! I was unconvinced and asked if I could go elsewhere. There were very few choices available and I opted for Ingliston. The Vaccine Centre agreed to send an email to Ingliston advising them I was on my way.

Some time later, I arrived at Ingliston where thankfully I received both innoculations. However, the registration officer at Ingliston said this was happening all the time and she believed that Craigmillar Health Centre was not open at weekends.

Why is this such a shambles? We are all being encouraged to have our Covid booster and flu vaccine. The NHS seems to be keen in making it difficult for the public to do so.

Helen McBride, Edinburgh

Women in sport

We are constantly being encouraged to get more girls to play sport.

In Saturday’s “Weekend Sport” there was only one picture of a woman, Cindy Crawford, and she is not even playing a sport! The article about the women’s rugby team playing Japan had a picture of their coach, a man!

It’s not surprising that girls think sport is not for them.

Marion Cantley, Edinburgh

Carbon cares

JHR Hampson (Letter, 11 November) appears to suggest that the present global warming is merely part of the natural process whereby the Earth warms and cools in cycles, causing the advance and retreat of ice sheets.He is correct that 'carbon is not the sole influencer', but it has lately become the main influencer. Man-made greenhouse gas emissions have overtaken the natural cycle, making it irrelevant. We might have been heading for a cooling period, with advance of the ice sheets but our emissions have overtaken that and set us on course for an intense heating.

Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh

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