IT’S not entirely clear whether Lesley Riddoch in her Thursday column approves of Norway making money for its oil fund by selling hydrocarbons to the UK, but it certainly demonstrates a cannier approach to life than we see over here.

Lesley states that the Rosebank field will generate the same emissions over its lifetime as 56 coal-fired power stations running for a year, as if these will be additional contributions to global emissions.

At the same time she tells us the oil and gas produced by Rosebank will be sold into global markets, markets whose size is determined by the demand for these products. If the demand reduces then the overall emissions will fall. If demand stays the same then overall emissions will also stay the same. In this equation it doesn’t matter whether the oil comes from Rosebank or Mozambique.

READ MORE: Lesley Riddoch: Rosebank won't make a bit of difference when it comes to fuel security

As I have argued previously, the European energy and petrochemical markets are effectively integrated, so increasing production within Europe, even if it is “exported” internally from one country to another, has the effect of reducing overall European imports and hence reducing the carbon cost of transport. In addition, European crudes tend to be of higher quality, so need less energy intensive processing than those from many alternative sources.

George Kerevan mentioned in his column on Monday (Latest oil prices show we must be cannier about move to net zero) that global demand for hydrocarbons is actually rising, and herein lies the real problem.

The objective must be to address demand rather than supply, and in this respect it is much more logical for climate activists to target their ire at the UK Government’s recent announcements watering down commitments to phase out internal combustion engines and gas-fired domestic heating rather than at the approval of Rosebank.

Failure to tackle the demand issues will have a detrimental effect on overall global carbon emissions while approval of additional local production will, if anything, have a positive impact. The logic of where to put climate-change mitigation effort is absolutely clear, and it’s not about just stopping oil, however easy a target that may appear.

The issue of financing and taxation of oil and gas developments through management of the risk/reward balance is a completely separate one. Successive UK Government have failed to capture the maximum value from these resources and that is unlikely to stop now.

Cameron Crawford

HOW on earth can someone who has never wanted for anything be so greedy for more wealth that they are prepared to sacrifice a decent world for our children and grandchildren, including theirs, to survive in, let alone live decently? Three major announcements now, back-tracking on our globally recognised, legally binding climate commitments, all destined to increase the wealth of the richest at the expense of the poorest.

No-one should be under any illusions over the reasons given by PM Sunak, that these changes will help those struggling with the crisis and will make energy cheaper. How many of those skipping meals to try to feed their children, or old folk risking hypothermia as winter approaches by not heating their homes, even own a car, far less dream of affording an electric vehicle? Even the boss of the group now given the go-ahead for the Rosebank oil field has admitted in a BBC interview that their product will mainly go to Europe for refining and then be sold on, and back to us, at global prices.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf joins condemnation of UK Government's Rosebank approval

That means that our price of oil and gas, and therefore our energy prices, will still be set by the markets, as happens currently. Yet Scotland uses no gas to run power stations, but produces at least enough renewable energy for more than 90% of our needs. The companies PAY £7.36 per megawatt hour for connecting to the Grid to send 40% of it to England. If Scotland were independent, our companies could CHARGE that, meaning they would earn that amount instead of paying it, and Scotland would get the resultant tax on their profits. Remember, too, that Shell made £26 billion in the first nine months of 2022 but paid no windfall tax.

So who will benefit from these changes? More oil and gas being produced and sold around the world for more years means higher profits for the big companies and higher dividends being paid to shareholders for more years, while energy bills remain exorbitant and the poor struggle while the planet burns. Nice work for the Tory MPs, Tory lords and donors who own thousands, perhaps millions, of shares.

What's worse, Starmer has stated that he has no intention of cancelling these damaging licences or any of Sunak’s changes to our international commitments if Labour come to power.

P Davidson

I READ with interest the article by Paul StJohn Mackintosh in last weekend’s Sunday National about Charles Rennie Mackintosh (CRM) in Port Vendres and the PO area of France (A warm welcome from devotees of Mackintosh, Sep 24).

In the early 2000s I went into the tourist office in Port Vendres to ask if there was anything about CRM to be visited in the town in which he had spent his last four years. I was met by looks of complete incomprehension., then was told the only Mackintosh they knew was an Apple Mac.

A few years later Robin Crichton, a Scot living in the area at that time, initiated an interest in CRM in the area. He and his local team created the Mackintosh trail and published a book about it. This team put a huge amount of work into making CRM’s presence known in the area. Thanks to them, the celebrations of CRM in this article were possible.

Madeline Macphail
via email