RABBIE Burns would probably turn in his grave if he knew what the Scottish Government is doing to places like “Ye Banks and Braes O’ Bonny Doon”. The chaotic planning process is letting onshore wind farm developers circumvent local opinion when councils run out of time to adjudicate on planning applications which then become a refusal and allow the applications to go to central government.
The legislative timetable involved can obviously not cope with the increasing numbers of applications and as the Scottish Government is apparently not giving councils extra cash to fix the problem or make the legislation more flexible, inevitably more planning applications will end up being decided in Holyrood.
The more cynical among us will recognise this as a subtle ploy intended to shift decision-making away from councils and communities and strengthen central government’s stranglehold over the planning process.
I am all for increasing renewable energy but surely Scotland’s contribution to limiting emissions is negligible in comparison to the 30 percent of global emissions which China is pumping into the atmosphere. Is it worth ruining the countryside when the main culprits lie elsewhere?
Bob MacDougall, Kippen.
DEBT WE OWE THE WORLD’S CHILDREN
CLARK Cross (Letters, August 22) asks if it is “mandatory to mention ‘climate change’ at every opportunity” . My answer to Mr Cross is “yes, it most certainly is.” And why? Because the United Nations Children’s Fund recently reported that “almost half the world’s 2.2 billion children are already at an extremely high risk from the impacts of the climate crisis and pollution”.
Apparently “the impacts of the climate crisis are deeply inequitable with the top 10 countries that are at this level of risk only responsible for 0.5% of global emissions.”
So I would ask Mr Cross how he would tackle a situation which the Unicef executive director describes as being “unimaginably dire” for the world’s children, how he would “improve children’s access to essential services which can significantly increase their ability to survive these climate hazards”.
I suggest that a species which has evolved into self-consciousness without sufficient wisdom and compassion and is thus indifferent to the suffering and needless death of countless numbers of its children is not going to survive to achieve the things its further evolution would have enabled it so to do.
For the purposes of clarification, I speak from a Christian perspective.
John Milne, Uddingston.
WE MUST DEBATE THE GAS BAN
I WRITE on yet another day of high pressure and yet another day when the output of wind energy is only around five per cent of demand. That means that for the bulk of the summer Scots have had to rely on English gas turbines to keep the lights on in hospitals and to ensure supermarket freezers remain in service.
However, a ban on gas that provides about 75% of Scottish energy demand means that there needs to be a serious debate as to how to provide electricity over the winter without the need for candles and blankets over the winter. It will require around 10,000 MW of gas turbine plant, sitting idle for long periods of the year, which will be a massive cost for Scottish consumers. That raises the question as to why Holyrood refuses to address the problem and put forward a plan and an estimate of the costs on the generation of electricity when the wind does not blow and the rain falls as snow.
Ian Moir, Castle Douglas.
LET’S TALK ABOUT POPULATION GROWTH
WITH the impending global climate conference due to be held in Glasgow in November, I am reminded of a conversation I had on a ferry crossing from the South Island to the city of Wellington in New Zealand some 12 years ago.
I had met an English scientist, who was travelling around Australia and New Zealand lecturing in various universities. I asked him his views on global warming. He confirmed that it was fact although “the jury is still out on the cause” (bear in mind this was 12 years ago).
He went on to say that he did not think it was the greatest problem facing the world. It was population growth. The number of people on Earth has doubled in just 50 years. Twice the number of people to feed, meet their aspirations in housing, water supplies, use of raw materials, transport, travel and so on.
I thought of this recently when reading about the awful situation in Afghanistan.
The population of approximately 39 million people has an average age just 19 years.
The Chinese were condemned for their one-child policy and have become the second most powerful nation in the world over a very short period of time.
It seems to me that both climate change and population growth are equally deserving of remedial action in COP26.
John Ewing, Ayr.
GREENS PACT AND VIRTUE-SIGNALLING
SO the Scottish Greens are formally to prop up the minority SNP administration at Holyrood, thereby and, of crucial importance to the image-conscious First Minister, circumventing Nicola Sturgeon’s annual humiliation of having to bow down publicly to and accommodate the demands of the far-left Greens at every budget.
Not long ago, Ms Sturgeon was passionate about slashing Air Passenger Duty in Scotland to attract significantly more aircraft into Scotland, in full knowledge of the consequential environmental impact. Now, ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, we’ll undoubtedly be treated to the rhetoric of an equally passionate Ms Sturgeon claiming her new relationship with the Greens is a tangible demonstration of her environmental credentials. Fortunately, most of us are able to see through such virtue-signalling nonsense.
Martin Redfern, Melrose.
INDYREF2 IS NOW A SIDE-ISSUE
COVID is making a fool of the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon in particular. Our Government has simply no idea of how to combat this pandemic and what little success we have had so far is due to the help we have gained from Westminster.
This will be unpalatable to nationalists, but Indyref2 really is now a side-issue in comparison to the virus but Ms Sturgeon and her Green allies have not heeded this warning and are still ploughing ahead with this unwanted referendum. At the same time they are ploughing a big pit for themselves. Nothing went right for the Scottish Government in its first 100 days. There has to be a good reason for this.
Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.
CARELESSNESS OF THE SNP
STRANGE but true: things keep disappearing from the SNP.
The list so far is:
1, Peter Murrell, chief executive officer of the SNP
3, Furlough money from the UK Government (some of it was never spent on that purpose).
4, Scottish educational standards.
5, Meeting targets for hospital appointments has disappeared
6, Regular bin collections have also disappeared.
I am sure, of course, that these are all unconnected, but if I were Patrick Harvie or Lorna Slater, I would be very vigilant. You never know what is around the corner.
You could say that to make one thing disappear could be regarded as a misfortune, but to lose so many looks very careless.
Valerie Stewart, East Kilbride.
THE US AND TALIBAN MUST COLLABORATE
THERE is a nettle to grasp, a cancer to be curbed and a global threat to be eradicated in the context of Afghanistan.
That cancer is ISIS-K, the global threat is terrorism and the nettle is collaboration between the Taliban and the United States.
It would appear that ISIS-K has been shadowing the power play of the Taliban or infiltrating its forces under the pretence of sharing the same agenda until the moment came when it could instigate its own plot to subvert the Taliban regime for its own interests.
The bomb blasts at Kabul airport with the casualties and fatalities incurred were the first shots in that group’s campaign to accelerate the departure of the occupying forces and to destabilise the authority of the Taliban.
This has been done in the hope of establishing areas of the country from which they can launch terrorist attacks upon different quarters of the globe in their pursuit of setting up the Caliphate.
Dialogue with extremist zealots is not possible, all they understand being in the realm of unremitting and relentless force.
That is the nettle to be grasped by the Taliban and the US, who now need to have the sense to come together to coordinate their efforts to eradicate this cancer before it takes hold to explode in bouts of terrorism, dictated by ISIS-K, in different corners of what we call the civilised world.
Without such concerted action against a common enemy, the door will be left wide open for such atrocities.
Do those two parties not see why it is vital that they must work together in such circumstances?
Failure to do so will bring death to the doors of many innocent victims of the terrorism ISIS-K is so intent upon unleashing on the world in its burning ambition to bring about its treasured Caliphate.
Dennis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.