Letters: We must set an example to the rest of the world and grasp the renewables future

·6-min read
Renewables is not just about wind: solar power, as well as tidal, will be part of Scotland's future
Renewables is not just about wind: solar power, as well as tidal, will be part of Scotland's future

ANDY Cartwright’s letter headlined "Pursuing green dream at the expense of our wellbeing is virtue-signalling nonsense" (The Herald, July 22) was astounding on so many levels it is difficult to know where to begin.

After 200 years of an economic system based on fossil fuels, we have a world with huge disparities of wealth, with billions living in poverty with no access to proper medical care and the poor suffering ill health disproportionately to the better off. So we could start with redefining how we measure wellbeing.

Mr Cartwright assumes that the development of fossil fuels was inevitable. But supposing that there had been no oil reserves and that we did not discover the power of coal until much later? Supposing James Watt et al had turned their attention to harnessing solar energy? Supposing we had developed cellulose instead of oil to produce so many of our products? Ironically we would have been producing a virtuous circle rather than the cycle of destruction we now find ourselves in.

A fossil fuel-based economy was an accident of nature. There is a different way forward.

Fossil fuels have been a drug that has made us superficially feel good and one which has, indeed, provided us with benefits. But we are now discovering the serious side-effects of our addiction.

Mr Cartwright seems to take his information from sources which can hardly be described as impartial. He quotes JP Morgan and BP. Hardly objective sources with no vested interest in the status quo.

He also seems to think that we rely solely on wind power. What about solar, wave, tidal, hydrogen? They may be more expensive currently than fossil fuels but we should remember that fossil fuels were also expensive in their early stages of exploitation, never mind the cost in human lives, but they reduced in cost as technology developed. Bear in mind much of the real cost of fossil fuel in terms of its effect on climate change has been externalised, so it has not been nearly as cheap as we imagine. Were these costs, past and future, to be taken into account, renewables would already be seen as a no-brainer, even to the likes of Mr Cartwright.

Mr Cartwright says the markets don’t like renewables. The markets don’t like renewable energy because the markets are lazy and short-term.

The planet is not “slightly warming” as Mr Cartwright suggests. It is burning up. We must do our best to persuade India and China that fossil fuel is not the way forward. But we must set an example. That is not harking back to the days of Empire.

Mr Cartwright must be careful that he does not make his own unwitting contribution to climate change. He has made me, and I am sure many others, incandescent with frustration that these unreconstructed views still persist despite the incontrovertible evidence. I am now in danger of self-combustion. I will remove myself to a place of safety far removed from our tinder dry forests.

William Thomson, Denny.

• THE Herald, Saturday July 23, p21: "The climate change klaxon is sounding. But are our leaders really listening?".

The Herald Magazine, Saturday July 23rd, Magazine, p37: "Road test: Lamborghini Huracan STO".

Lizbeth Collie, Bankhead.

HYPOCRISY OF THE GREENS

I READ with interest the Scottish Greens' Twitter campaign to save Loch Lomond from the potential Flamingoland development . They state that this development must be stopped as ancient woodland will be destroyed and the natural beauty of the area will be devastated .

I can’t help but think there is a little hypocrisy in their campaign when all over Scotland every day areas of ancient woodlands are being cut down, tonnes of carbon-rich peat are being dug up, covered with access tracks or having hundreds of tonnes of concrete poured into it. Beautiful unspoilt rural areas are being turned into an industrialised landscapes, and local residents' daily lives are being blighted with shadow flicker and the thudding of turbine blades turning 24 hours a day. Tourism business owners nervously wait to see if those who love the peace and quiet and enjoy the wildlife and nature found there will still visit when hillsides are covered in turbines.

Can we look forward to the Greens' campaign to stop this destruction of Scotland wonderful wild lands that is being carried out by wind farm developers? No, I thought not.

Tracey Smith, Lairg.

BITING THE BULLET ON THE BOSS

I’VE been a big Bruce Springsteen fan for many years and have seen him nine times at various venues. I was therefore excited when the UK leg of the 2023 tour was announced.

I signed up for the Live Nation pre-sale for Murrayfield on Wednesday morning but failed to get tickets. Within minutes a large number of tickets were on sale on Viagogo, a secondary ticketing website, at vastly inflated prices. Secondary ticketing websites purport to be platforms for fans to re-sell unwanted tickets but in many cases (though not all) they appear to be tech-driven platforms for industrial-scale ticket touting – that is, people who have no intention of going to a concert buy tickets, thus depriving fans of the opportunity to buy them and then immediately post them on re-sale sites at two times, three times, four times face value. Both Live Nation and Ticketmaster put in place mechanisms and conditions to prevent this but they are clearly ineffective.

Not to be put off I went online for the general online sale at 9am on the Thursday morning. Despite being online at 9am and quickly entering the anti-bot codes, I joined the queue at 10,000-plus and inevitably by the time I got through the queue, all tickets had gone – except of course the platinum tickets at several hundred pounds each. Once again, pages and pages of tickets immediately appeared on Viagogo.

I later discovered that in addition to this, Live Nation/Ticketmaster had introduced dynamic pricing and ticket prices on the Ticketmaster website were going up before people’s eyes. A cynical way to extract the maximum amount of money from fans.

I hold my hands up to being a grumpy old man who is disappointed that he didn’t get tickets but I have resolved to do the following:

• I will not buy tickets from a secondary ticketing site unless they are being sold at or close to face value;

• I will not engage with dynamic ticket pricing;

• I will make a point of going to see more of the many great musicians and bands that are around and playing smaller and independent venues with tickets being sold at a fair price.

I urge everyone to do the same.

Malcolm Close, Glasgow.

YOUR MIDGE

R RUSSELL Smith (Letters, July 21) could be wrong in making anthropomorphic assumptions about midges’ attitudes. Para Handy cautioned against unwarrantable generalisation. Regarding the suggested use of paraffin as a repellent he said: “That’s only for Ro’sa’ midges; Arrocher midges wid maybe consuder parrafine a trate.”

Robin Dow, Rothesay.