I never thought I would fear the summer, but now I do. This year I am grateful that we had a cool, wet summer. But next year? I will never be able to happily anticipate the season again. Instead, I will dread its heat – although not as much as those in unliveable places where lives are being destroyed by fire and floods. That is why Rishi Sunak’s dog-whistle weakening of already pitifully inadequate action on the climate emergency is despicable and deadly (Rishi Sunak announces U-turn on key green targets, 20 September).
I am one of those this policy change is designed to appeal to. The cost of living hits me hard and I live month to month. There’s no way I can replace my ageing hybrid with an electric car. A heat pump is an impossible dream even if I didn’t live in private rented accommodation. But this pretence of caring about people like me is a cynical betrayal of what really matters. If Sunak really wanted to make our lives better then he would act faster on net zero and give us a true green new deal.
• I’m writing to express my anger, as a 17-year-old, at Rishi Sunak making the political choice to drop net zero policies. It will impact every single one of us. This is desperate populism from a desperate party willing to risk the lives of future generations to secure another term in office.
What will “Global Britain” say to China or a Trump-led US when they also conclude that they have done enough to slow global warming? Sunak’s willingness to throw a spanner in the works of global green policy to chase a few points in the polls shows Zac Goldsmith was right: he is “simply uninterested” in the future of our planet.
• While it is of course important that we reach net zero, what is more important is how much more CO2 is released before we get there. It is the cumulative emissions over those years that will determine quite how disastrous global heating will be in the decades to come. This is why cutting our emissions as much and as quickly as possible is so much more important than the actual date when net zero is achieved. Unfortunately, in reiterating his commitment to reaching net zero by 2050, while relaxing measures to cut emissions soon, Rishi Sunak shows us he just doesn’t get this.
Chair, Hope Valley Climate Action
• Born and bred in the UK, and having lived in France for many years, I was surprised – to put it mildly – that Rishi Sunak chose to announce his U-turn on climate targets on the same day that King Charles, on a state visit to France, made a strong appeal for climate action (Report, 21 September). One can only deplore this latest manifestation of “perfide Albion”: infighting on an international stage, with the inevitable loss of credibility for the country.
• So the prime minister is taking a middle road between those who want far tougher climate action and those who do not believe humans are causing climate breakdown at all. Perhaps when he takes his next helicopter jaunt he should try steering a course based half on the idea the world is round and half that it’s flat. The result is likely to be just as disastrous as his climate policy.
• Those people vandalising Ulez-related kit may never know the pain, sadness and fear suffered by my husband as he slowly died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. I wouldn’t wish that awful, terrifying death on anybody. But I do wish those denying that clean air policies are needed could spend some time with those who spend their lives toting oxygen cylinders to allow them a little longer with their loved ones. Then the clean air sceptics might understand how cruel they are.