MICHAEL Fry’s article on November 2 ticks off many of the populist memes which have sadly become too familiar (Is COP an example of giving our rulers more power than they ought to have?, Nov 2). Challenging legitimate, democratic leadership, suggesting that the climate crisis is the work of foreign “experts in misfortune” and appealing to the common sense of “ordinary people” while railing against the profligacy of “feminist political economy”. The National is irresponsible in publishing these dog whistle, discredited ideas.

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It should be unnecessary to repeat some of the warnings published by the United Nations in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. It states unequivocally that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land in a widespread, rapid and unprecedented way since the Industrial Revolution. We have seen heatwaves, floods, droughts, violent storms, disappearance of species and deforestation.

Even if governments manage to keep to the targets they agreed in Paris in 2015, it is forecast that global warming will continue to increase without drastic action to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. As David Attenborough said in his moving opening speech on Monday, the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere is a key indicator of the instability behind carbon change.

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We must not forget that the problems caused by industrialisation belong to the Global North, while the consequences are being experienced by many in the Global South, as highlighted by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley of Barbados. Inequality is a key factor we face in the COP26 negotiations and can be mitigated by the “well-being economy” at which Fry sneers.

It would be best if Fry could keep to himself his obstinate denial of universally accepted science.

Cathie Lloyd

DECISIONS, decisions ... what to call Michael Fry’s latest column? I’m torn between “waffle”, “piffle” and “pointless ramble”. Climate change is NOT an “opinion” or “a point of view” – it’s an inescapable FACT that MUST be faced, and soon. Michael, like me (nearly 75) may not live to see the worst effects of this catastrophe, but my grandsons almost certainly WILL.

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If the Tories could get their minds off the song Money Makes the World Go Round they might just realise the kind of world they and their fellow-travellers have created. Their philosophy of never-ending commercial growth is deeply flawed and will ultimately kill most sentient lifeforms on the planet, if not reined in.

Barry Stewart

FOR too long world leaders, concerned only with economic wealth, have ignored the growing ecological crisis. In 1982 world climate scientist Professor Ehrlich warned that the future of the Earth for thousands or even millions of years would depend on what people did from that point onwards. Well, as 2022 approaches time is running out to avert an irreversible climate chain reaction. With global fires, flood and famine increasing, along with Arctic ice caps melting, this is a stark reality which has been greatly accelerated by man’s pollution and relentless exploitation of our planet’s natural resources.

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Scientific evidence is now clear that if temperatures rise by 3C, disaster will happen. Therefore this COP26 summit must produce a definite global plan of action to tackle this urgent climate emergency. If not, planet Earth will survive but mankind will not.

Grant Frazer

OUR models for smaller independent states are usually confined to European examples with the addition of New Zealand. We seldom look at the remarkable example of Costa Rica. In the context of COP26 we should note that it is a Costa Rican diplomat, Christiana Figueres, who has played an outstanding role over two decades and in particular in her work on the Paris Accord. Costa Rica also played a central role in achieving the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Costa Rica has a similar population to Scotland and around two-thirds of our land area. It is top of the human development league on its continent and has a higher life expectancy than Scotland.

It abolished its armed forces in 1949 in favour of “an army of teachers”. It has not been involved in wars or been invaded since that decision and has been generous in receiving refugees from violent conflict in its region.

There have been more than 60 years of democratic elections and it has been elected three times to the UN Security Council.

Its environmental achievements have been outstanding, with 25% of its land in special biodiversity protection and zero deforestation since 2005. More than 90% of its electricity is from renewables. Its economy is no longer based so heavily on bananas and coffee but pharmaceuticals, software development and eco-tourism have grown. So let’s raise our sights and our ambitions.

Isobel Lindsay