Readers' Letters: We must admit overpopulation harms world

President Joe Biden's motorcade heading to COP26 in Glasgow.President Joe Biden's motorcade heading to COP26 in Glasgow.
President Joe Biden's motorcade heading to COP26 in Glasgow.
Surely the single subject than can reduce emissions and contamination of our air, land and water, is simply global population-growth control.

It is a subject that no-one seems to want to talk about and yet, logic dictates that a smaller global population will automatically decrease the

ever-growing demand for the consumables that are destroying our climate.

I'm not advocating a campaign of mass-murder! Simply the improved introduction of effective methods of contraception, and decisions, particularly in developed countries, to scale back the State handouts for child support. The message has to be, “If you can't afford to support your children, then don't rely upon the State to bail you out”.

Derek Farmer, Anstruther, Fife

Welby low par

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Like most clerics, Justin Welby is an arts graduate and worked in the finance side of the oil industry. He then joined the Church of England, where he was rapidly promoted to the top job and is now deemed an expert on everything.

However, as one of the few professional scientists in the clerical ranks and having studied climate science for nearly 60 years, I take a dim view of being likened to a Nazi for having reservations about the hysteria overwhelming this complex topic.

(Rev Dr) John Cameron, St Andrews, Fife

Be realistic

The planet is not at risk. The earth has dozens of times (such as all the many ice ages and thaws) withstood far greater insults than today's climate change. Human life may be in danger, but that is a different matter. And what is the cause? It is not logical to claim that as A and B occur together that therefore one must be causing the other. Both could be caused by an unconsidered – or even deliberately ignored – factor. The coming and going of ice ages was probably caused by solar variations, so perhaps once again life here is at risk from subtle effects that we have either not picked up on or which have been ignored.

Don't get me wrong: I support ending the use of fossil fuels, but I wouldn't be surprised if doing so made not the slightest difference to the climate. By all means let's go hell for leather for clean, renewable, rather than dirty finite energy anyway, but please remain realistic about possible outcomes.

Tim Flinn, Garvald, East Lothian


We all know that Nicola Sturgeon is not a world leader because she is not in the room when big decisions are being made, but she is a politician with environmental obligations and expectations on her shoulders, not a commentator or campaigner, so it is not appropriate for her to be hanging out with Greta Thunberg and the other bright young things of the environmental movement when she is another politician who is letting them down and needs to be pressurised. Ms Thunberg knows this, of course, and has previously said that Scotland is not a world leader in relation to climate change. Hence the awkward-looking photo opportunity (your report, 2 November).

Despite all her soundbites, Ms Sturgeon isn’t doing all that much to help. The massive investment in renewables over the last 15 years or so has been made by energy companies and UK taxpayers through their bills, not by the Scottish Government. She has missed just about every other target her government has set for itself, and now, when all the countries of the world are being asked to work together, Ms Sturgeon could not resist the temptation of suggesting we would be better off if we pulled apart. We know this because on the opening day of COP26, that was her message in just about every mainstream newspaper. The 25,000 delegates from around the world will have noticed a one-dimensional politician with a one-dimensional agenda, and that agenda is not what they are interested in.

We don’t know what the outcome of COP26 is going to be, but Ms Sturgeon’s presence will not influence things for the good, and may well undermine it if people see that we cannot get along here on this small island. If we cannot get along, what hope is there that everyone else will agree to anything? I hope she is not going to be there every day for the next two weeks.

Victor Clements, Aberfeldy, Perthshire

Mixed messages

An arresting advertisement from the SNP in The Scotsman (1 November) promoting the future they hope for, but it sends conflicting messages. We see not a positive image of a great mountain like the Cuillin, but the Quiraing, a section of the biggest collapsed landscape in the country. Or maybe the SNP thinks it symbolises the landslide Indyref 2 victory they dream of?

Hamish Johnston, Inverness

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Nicola Sturgeon denies making COP26 about independence after advert row

Accept change

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What a junket! Everyone (except those who are the leading “culprits”, of course) has been scurrying to "Glass-cow" – or "Edinborrow", if you work for CNN. But, for what?

A cursory glance at the comments by many real scientists who are no longer worried about where their next pay cheque is coming from will soon disabuse the gullible about the stupendous con-trick being played out before the world's eyes about "climate change". The secret is that we have always had climate change. Past civilisations have collapsed due to climate change. "Snowball Earth" was caused by climate change. It is the natural order of things and we are experiencing changes for that very reason now.

Never, in the field of human endeavour have so many been fooled by so few.

Dave Anderson, Aberdeen

Flying hypocrites

COP26 delegates, and hangers on, have arrived by air, many on private jets, helicopters and were escorted around in huge limousines. US President Joe Biden not only arrived on Air Force One, he had a 26-vehicle motorcade from Edinburgh to Glasgow. Fifty-two private jets landed on Sunday. COP26 will create tens of thousands of extra greenhouse gases.

Delegates should have been asked how they were going to neutralise these additional emissions and if they had no plausible solution, have been told not to come – especially China and India, which refuse to commit to a time frame for Net Zero yet want a slice of the $100 billion a year Climate Cake. COP26 will be yet another talking shop creating more greenhouse gasses and hot air but no solutions, just like the previous 25 years.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian

Misplaced money

As Nicola Sturgeon says, we are not yet a nation. However, she is spending my tax money as if we were. Firstly she sends Foreign Aid to two African countries, over and above money already given by the UK government. Secondly, she has promised a million pounds to developing countries to help them with their “green” projects. Many may think this is a good use of the limited money our country has. However, those who have rats, those who have streets full of weeds and potholes, those who are homeless, those who cannot get mental health help for their children, those whose children are in classes of over 30, those who see drug related crime increasing while police numbers decrease etc may feel she and her MSPs need to use our money more wisely

Elizabeth Hands, Armadale, West Lothian

Hinkley point

Susan FG Forde (Letters, 2 November) is wrong about Hinkley Point nuclear power station. It is not being built at our expense. It is being funded mainly by Electricity de France (EDF) with some input by the China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN). Furthermore, the electricity it will produce will go to the National Grid and may even at times power Scotland.

Many of the investments to which Ms Forde objects benefit or affect the whole UK.

Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh

Bannock burned?

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Gill Turner (Letters, 2 November) is obviously a bit lacking in the detail of Scottish history. Bannockburn was actually the victory of an ambitious Anglo-Norman war lord who had crushed Scottish opposition by a prior genocidal campaign in Galloway, Lorne and Moray – there were precious few freemen in his army. The ensuing victory, although largely due to his military skill, had also a lot of luck involved – one of the weakest English kings in history unsupported by half his country. The win was most unusual, being the only one over the course of centuries – we naturally choose to forget Neville's Cross, Flodden and Solway Moss, to mention a few of the major defeats .

(Dr) A McCormick, Dumfries

Look at figures

Letters on independence appear daily on these pages and cherry picking is common to both sides. Still, it’s strange to argue, as Gill Turner does, that SNP supporters should put their fingers in their ears and whistle. Instead look at what might happen in the Holyrood elections. People vote for different reasons when seeking an MSP to represent them and when voting for the long-term future of the country.

Ignoring the facts can lead to disaster, as Brexit shows. Maybe a little factual information would be helpful. There have been three independent sets of polls in the last four weeks and they are remarkably consistent. For independence they were, successively, 45, 44 and 45 per cent, while for unity they were 49, 47 and 48 per cent. Those who were undecided varied from 6 to 9 per cent. This doesn’t suggest that there is any enthusiasm to split Scotland away from the UK. For a major constitutional change a strong majority is essential – anything close to 50 per cent, means that around half the nation is left frustrated and furious with the outcome – as the referendums in 2014 and 2016 have shown.

Helen Hughes, Edinburgh

Write to The Scotsman

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