Readers' Letters: We must change how we consume energy

Your leader article (“It’s time to plan for a cleaner future”, 8 October), discussing how the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry must plan a new and greener future, is both accurate and timely.

The oil and gas industry says it is actively working to reduce its carbon emissions

At OGUK, which represents the industry, we are not only aware of the need to cut carbon emissions but are actively working to achieve it. We know our industry must transform itself.

Earlier this year we led the industry in creating a partnership with government to support and accelerate the green energy transition. The North Sea Transition Deal represents a commitment by the oil and gas industry to harness its 50 years of energy engineering experience to develop the clean technologies of the future. The first step is to minimise the emissions from the production of oil and gas in UK waters– our target is to reduce this by 50 per cent by 2030.

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We are also investing in the production of hydrogen from natural gas – a key stepping stone on the path to a hydrogen economy. The process would generate CO2, so we are also investing in carbon capture and storage schemes to permanently dispose of CO2 deep under the seabed. This technology could benefit many other energy intensive industries, including power generation.

The transition deal alone will unlock £16bn in investment by 2030, support the creation of 40,000 jobs and help cities like Aberdeen retain their central position in the UK’s energy economy.

It is, however, not just the oil and gas industry that needs to change. Right now, the UK gets 73 per cent of its total energy from oil and gas. This demand exists because 23 million UK homes are heated by gas, which also generates 40 per cent of our electricity. We also have 32 million vehicles that need petrol or diesel.

While the UK continues to use oil and gas, we should make sure as much of this is met through domestic production. If the UK’s oil and gas industry is not allowed to meet that demand, then imports will soar, with no reduction in consumer emissions.

The oil and gas industry can transform how it produces energy but that will only work if the UK’s homes, businesses, and transport systems are made to transform the way they consume it.

Jenny Stanning, External Relations Director, OGUK, London

Wind statistics

It seems that Scottish wind turbines defy the laws of physics. Jim Daly extols their virtues saying they are reliable, cheap and the nasty English, or at least the National Grid, are charging wind turbine owners – mostly foreign – too much to transmit their electricity (Letters, 11 October).

The majority of UK land turbines are in Scotland which has 8,633 turbines mostly in remote places so sending the electricity to where it is needed means higher transmission charges.

Mr Daly says nothing about the constraint payments that turbine owners get to switch off their turbines when their night-time electricity is not needed. Why? Constraint payments for these "Scottish" turbines are nearly £1 billion since 2010. Whisper it – this is added to all the electricity bills in the UK. Why should the English pay? Over the last 155 days in the UK wind turbines have supplied, on average, only – remember most are in Scotland – 19.4 per cent of our electricity. That fossil fuels supplied 43.3 per cent and nuclear supplied 15.8 per cent shows how unreliable Scottish wind and Scottish turbines really are.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian

Flying pigs

Paul McCartney – in his latest rummage for relevance – now claims it was John Lennon who wanted the Beatles to go their separate ways and not him.

If that's true, why did he form a new band with Denny Laine and Denny Seiwell, not George Harrison and Ringo Starr?

Think these Wings have pigs attached!

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

Farmed out

Lewis Finnie (Letters, 9 October) says that I used the phrase “a little corner of Scotland whilst using an article on England” to support my argument about “farming shortages”. I think he thinks he's being clever and witty. He is neither.

In order to misrepresent a letter about how labour shortages have been exacerbated by Brexit, into a letter about the constitution, he has had to invent, and put in quotes, the phrase “a little corner of Scotland”, which doesn't appear in my letter. Furthermore, he refers to an “an article about England”, which also, mysteriously, does not appear in my letter.

The fact is, that the letter made clear that it's possible the problem can be manageable in parts of the country, like in East Lothian, but be economically dire elsewhere. For example, the East of Scotland farmers group has reported that they had to discard 3.5 million broccoli heads.

Mr Finnie deserves credit for his imagination and ability to squeeze a number of errors into one small paragraph. And for clarity, the farmers' representative mentioned is an official of NFU Scotland. So it seems that criticism is welcomed, with accuracy an optional extra.

Gill Turner, Edinburgh

Double standards

So Greens co-leader, Lorna Slater plans to encourage protesters at COP26 and indeed intends to join them (Scotsman, 11 October).

She enthuses about the importance of having the absolute legal right to engage in disruptive protest. Yet the SNP administration which her party props up and in which she holds a ministerial post, seeks to ban all protests outside Holyrood, for whatever reason. Double standards, wouldn't you agree?

Martin Redfern, Melrose, Scottish Borders

Emergency calls

Perhaps the Scottish Government’s Green ministers can explain to drivers of ambulances and fire service vehicles how, when stuck in a major traffic jam caused by their eco-warrier friends blocking roads (whose tactics they approve of), they can carry out their duties to deliver sick people to hospital, and firefighters to get quickly to an emergency.

I write as a former firefighter who knows from experience just how vital a few minutes can be in stopping a fire becoming a major one, especially where saving life is concerned.

Jim Sillars, Edinburgh

Brexit chickens

With latest statistics highlighting that Scotland’s trade has plummeted since leaving the European Union, I was struck by recent research undertaken by economists at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

Using state-of-the-art modelling to look at the impact of Brexit on trade for the UK and the devolved nations, it notes that Scotland could “undo the damage” of Brexit if it joined the EU as an independent nation.

As part of its ‘Global Britain’ strategy, in the wake of Brexit the UK is pursuing a series of Free Trade Agreements with countries around the world, including Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and possibly the United States.

However, the research finds that ‘Global Britain’ yields insufficient trade creation to compensate for Brexit trade losses and any losses due to Scottish independence from the rest of the UK could be entirely removed conditional on a renewed trade deal with the EU.

The Brexit chickens are indeed coming home to roost and it is increasingly clear that the only way to insulate ourselves from the long-term damage of Tory narrow nationalism is to become an independent nation, regaining the economic and trading benefits of EU membership.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh

If the cap fits...

It is interesting to observe how the first two paragraphs of Brian Monteith’s weekly anti-SNP tirade would most succinctly describe the Tories (Sc otsman, 11 October ). “How low will they go to be trusted with the rule of law” sums up the Tories to a “T”.

Mr Monteith’s further accusations using words like: contemptuous of truth and democracy, away from civilised society, laws broken with impunity, powerfully advantaged at expense of the disadvantaged, mayhem in the civic realm with services failing and ultimate collapse. Yes, I could not think of a better way to describe Boris Johnson’s Tory Party.

Hamish McKenzie, Edinburgh

Wasted trees

With COP26 almost upon us I'm wondering just how many trees, in the form of Scottish newspaper pages, could have been saved if the SNP had accepted defeat in 2014.

Instead, in the last two weeks, the nationalist panelists and audience at the Big Indy Debate in Edinburgh sent a clear message that the SNP wouldn't win a referendum and it doesn't have a credible proposition anyway.

Then the UK Supreme Court ruled that SNP bills on the Rights of the Child and Local Self-Government were illegal, at a stroke destroying any thoughts of forcing a referendum through the courts.

The SNP should admit indpendence is over, but instead we got Nicola Sturgeon saying time – meaning the mortality of older No voters – is on her side. In doing so she sentences us to five more years of dismal hype, excuses, UK blaming and decline.

And five more years of letters like this one.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

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Analysis: Reliance on demographic trends around independence is lazy politics

Radical politics

Nicola tells us that the young are radical (or in her case nationalist), with the older population more conservative (as an adjective). As the old pass on, the young will predominate.

The flaw in her argument is that she forgets that the young mature and become more conservative with age. They come face to face with reality, and experience. If she was correct, the young would always win. Time on her side? I think not.

William Ballantine, Bo’ness, West Lothian

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