The sound and fury signified nothing. The COP27 bunfight was a cop-out

A protester at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh. The consensus is there was in the end no meaningful progress towards the 1.5 degree goal <i>(Image: PA)</i>
A protester at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh. The consensus is there was in the end no meaningful progress towards the 1.5 degree goal (Image: PA)

SO that’s another COP over (“Climate reparations ‘breakthrough’", The Herald, November 21), but once again with precious little to show for it. No meaningful agreement on phasing out fossil fuels or on any other initiative to combat global pollution. The participants publicly acknowledge and bemoan the lack of any discernible progress since COP26 last November but show no serious inclination to improve their dismal performance before the next bunfight in another 12 months’ time.

The "loss and damage funding" promised to the poorer nations who bear the brunt of climate change must seem to them like miserable crumbs of comfort tossed nonchalantly from the groaning tables of the wealthy nations who continue to create most of the pollution but who seem disinclined to reduce it.

The conference’s negligible outcome is by no means unexpected and must surely be viewed critically against its phenomenal cost, both monetary and in terms of global pollution. Ninety heads of state and some 35,000 representatives from 190 countries across the globe travelled millions of miles, at staggering expense, to attend an extravagant and self-indulgent jamboree which, after 12 days, achieved very little to benefit humankind.

Given the straitened circumstances in which we presently live, a large degree of scepticism can surely be forgiven over the exorbitantly wasteful damp squib that is COP. Full of sound and fury but signifying nothing.
Iain Stuart, Glasgow

Qatar protests ring hollow

AT the World Cup, we are seeing minor protests like wearing rainbow hats and One Love armbands not being tolerated by Qatar causing apparent outrage in western media ("Issue of the day: Armband on the run", The Herald, November 22). I am afraid I am not moved by any of it.

When the competition was allocated to Qatar, everyone knew their rules and culture so whether they like it or not, competitors and visitors should simply accept that and get on with it. If they really had strong feelings then football associations throughout Europe in particular should have simply refused to go and supporters should not go either. No chance of that though with so much money and prestige attached and let’s not get on the disapproving bandwagon in Scotland, as the SFA and Tartan Army would love to be there.
Duncan Sooman, Milngavie

• IS it not unwise, maybe hypocritical and even culturally imperialist for so many Western virtue-signallers to condemn the Qatari authorities so vehemently and publicly, when it was a mere 55 years ago that England decriminalised homosexuality (and 41 years ago in Scotland)? Maybe we did not impose the death penalty but suicide often followed.

Conversely, the very brave Iranian team all deserve our unequivocal support.
John Birkett, St Andrews

Hands off our Witherspoon

I REFER to Mark Smith’s article on the controversy around the question of the possible removal of the statue of John Witherspoon located on the campus of Princeton University ("Will a Scottish icon be torn down for the wrong reasons?", The Herald, November 21). The vexed subject of the application of today’s moral values and judgments to the thoughts and actions of our predecessors of many generations ago arises again, as in Bristol over Edward Colston, in Edinburgh over David Hume, and in Oxford over Cecil Rhodes.

Two universities, the University of the West of Scotland (formerly Paisley) and Princeton sought to recognise and honour the association of Witherspoon with both the town of Paisley and Princeton University. The statue outside the entrance to the university in Paisley was unveiled in June 2001 and the one at Princeton was unveiled later that year in November. Sandy Stoddart, appointed in 2008 to be the Queen’s Sculptor in Ordinary in Scotland, was the sculptor of both statues .

John Witherspoon was a minister in Ayrshire and Paisley before leaving to go to America to take up the position of principal of Princeton in New Jersey in 1768. He was the only clergyman to sign the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Mr Smith ends his article by referring to the "good" in Witherspoon’s legacy and by saying: "I just hope the university has the strength to see it and let the statue stay." I in turn hope that his views prevail and that similar protestations for removal do not break out in Paisley with regard to the statue located there. If they do, I hope that they are resisted.
Ian W Thomson, Lenzie

Calmac has missed the boat

I READ with interest the letters from Ian Gray (November 18) and Laurence Wade (November 21) that both referred to the former Calmac vessel MV Saturn, operating as the MV Orcadia from 2015 to 2021 in Orkney and the Pentland Firth.

Whilst it would have been ironic if CMAL/Calmac had acquired the vessel given the long period of time that it gave good service in the Calmac fleet, sadly the opportunity has been lost. The Orcadia was sold to Cretan Cargo Lines in 2021 and left Orkney under tow for Perama, Greece, during November 2021, arriving there in December 2021. The vessel has been renamed MV Orion, has undergone extensive modification to increase freight capacity and is about to enter service for its new owners working on their freight services in the Aegean Sea alongside their three other vessels.

Whilst the vessel is now 45 years old it clearly has more life left in its hull and machinery. A vessel like this would have provided additional security for Calmac freight customers on the Islay service where the whisky industry is suffering with lack of capacity for hazardous liquid tanker lorries.
Kevin A McCallum, Glasgow

Walsh, the Pontius Pilot

I HAD to laugh when I read your report that Willie Walsh, the director general of IATA (the International Air Transport Association), has called for the dismissal of Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye, should there be further disruption at the airport (“Walsh in broadside at boss of Heathrow”, The Herald, November 22). Is this the same Willie Walsh who, as chief executive of British Airways, took full responsibility for the debacle that followed the opening of BA’s new T5 at Heathrow, and then sacked two underlings?

Of course Mr Walsh isn’t the only leader who takes “full responsibility” for what happens on their watch, but operates under the motto: “I’m responsible. You’re fired.”
Doug Maughan, Dunblane


TODAY, Tuesday, is another one of those infrequent (but interesting to geeks like me) reversible dates, 22/11/22.
Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop


Letters should not exceed 500 words. We reserve the right to edit submissions.