Scotsman Letters: Time to burst free from net zero trap

On Friday, the first day of the meteorological winter, the frost was hard all day in my village in the Scottish Borders. The air temperature at 1 m above the ground was -6.9C. The snow which had fallen on St Andrew's night remained frozen on the trees and on the ground and on rooves over the week-end.​
Snow in Glasgow at the weekend. There are fears that if Britain has a really hard winter we will will struggle to provide powerSnow in Glasgow at the weekend. There are fears that if Britain has a really hard winter we will will struggle to provide power
Snow in Glasgow at the weekend. There are fears that if Britain has a really hard winter we will will struggle to provide power

On Saturday the First Minister told the BBC in Dubai "the earth is literally on fire". Well, Mr Yousaf, if you were doing your job in Scotland, and not on a junket abroad, you would note that we are definitely not on fire. Neither is Europe – with heavy snow and low temperatures right across the continent.

On Thursday the CEO of National Gas warned that the gas grid would be "maxed out" on Friday and over the week end. The UK's gas storage is enough for only ten days. As I write gas is supplying 57 per cent of GB electricity, nuclear 11 per cent and wind 3 per cent.

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But net zero requires that all gas-fired power stations must close by 2035; Labour is committed to doing that by 2030; and the SNP/Green administration want to decarbonise Scotland faster and further than anyone. But all but one of our nuclear plants will close down by 2028, including Torness. No amount of wind machines will supply the country when the wind doesn't blow.

National Grid are scrabbling about trying to balance supply and demand, even paying some customers to turn off power between 5pm and 6.30pm. And this in the sixth largest economy in the world!

How right Shaun McLaughlin, general manager of the last deep coal mine in Britain, Kellingley, was when he criticised the policy of closing down, or rather blowing up, all our big 2GW coal-fired power stations such as Ferrybridge, Fiddler's Ferry, and Longannet.

Mr McLaughlin said prophetically: "If we have a hard winter Britain will struggle to power". We are in a net zero trap. It's time to burst free.

William Loneskie, Oxton, Lauder

Foetal rights

Few will fail to have been moved by the recent images of vulnerable, premature babies lying helplessly in the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza where, as a result of conflict, there are no functioning neo-natal facilities to sustain them.

Scientists tell us that just three weeks after fertilisation, an embryo displays cardiac activity.

Abortion is defined as the induced termination of a pregnancy with destruction of the embryo or foetus.

Susan Dalgety describe this process as "reproductive health treatment” ('Kate Forbes could be SNP leader a lot sooner than you might think', The Scotsman, December 2), a euphemism that could fairly be described as doublespeak.

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It is inherent to this view that the woman bearing the child has the sole right to make the decision to abort the foetus.

I wonder at what stage Ms Dalgety believes the developing child becomes eligible for the right to be protected?

George Rennie, Inverness

Windy weather?

On Saturday The Scotsman was filled with articles about the COP28 climate change conference being held in Dubai, rightly so. I am confident that an "agreement" will be signed by many countries, but not by the US, China and India.

I note, too, that Philip Lymbery (“COP28 must tackle carbon emissions produced by farms") claims that "the livestock sector produces more greenhouse gases than the direct emissions of the world's planes, trains and cars combined".

Cows with flatulence poisoning the world. Has any scientific establishment measured the amount of methane human beings produce? If not, I think they should do before accusing cows of being "windy".

I'd start by choosing "research groups" from the vegetarians and vegans: cauliflower, beans and, since this is Christmas, Brussels sprouts, can produce copious amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.

Lovina Roe, Perth

Tattoo appeal

Mention the words “Edinburgh Tattoo” and like “tartan” most Scots have something to say about it!

Of course, this reflects their respective success stories, and anything outstanding deserves to spread its wings. However, may I make three suggestions:That the name of “The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo” is only used for the original performance at Edinburgh Castle. (Perhaps another title like “The Edinburgh Tattoo International “ could be an alternative?) That our Edinburgh Castle Esplanade Tattoo maintains the former personal tradition of our outstanding announcer, who welcomed the overseas guests before the performance began, announced the different episodes as they entered, and finished with those wonderful lines from Sir Walter Scott: ”Breathes there a man with soul so dead, who never to himself hath said ...” .Please can we reinstate the lovely Scottish camaraderie of “Auld Lang Syne” at the end?

Deirdre Kinloch Anderson, Longniddry

Squirrel killings

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I was horrified to read in an English newspaper that thousands of baby red squirrels are being killed annually by Forestry and Land Scotland, who have been licensed by NatureScot to allow them to destroy dreys during forestry operations, even if kits or pregnant females are using them.

This wanton destruction of Scotland’s most beautiful native species, already under threat of extinction due to the depredations of invasive grey squirrels, is not only disgusting, but totally destroys any possible claim by the Scottish Government that they are friends of the environment.

They are quick enough to saddle their citizens with punitive eco-taxes and stupid “green initiatives”, yet they are prepared to destroy their endangered native species in the pursuit of Mammon and profit.

They should hang their heads in shame!

Ian McNicholas, Ebbw Vale, Wales

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