I WOULD agree with Professor Becky Lunn’s statement, when advocating the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s future low-carbon energy report, that Scottish politicians do not have any easy answers in reaching “net zero” carbon emissions by 2045 (Parliaments urged to work together on energy and climate change, June 18). It will indeed be one of the biggest challenges the country has ever faced. But her arguments about supporting new nuclear seem quite peculiar to me.

All can agree that we do not have very long to respond to the climate emergency, and there is only so much money for the project given other challenges to the public purse. But it is clear that while the costs of renewables continue to come down year on year, the costs of new nuclear remain exorbitantly high. Add in the billions it costs to manage waste and build long-term facilities for storing such waste, and it weighs down this technology even more.

Scotland should rather focus on developing a wide renewable energy mix, work with councils in delivering local energy and energy demand solutions, and use the vehicle of a national energy company to provide the investment tools and the expertise to deliver it. Of course it will not be easy, but it will be much harder if we try to fund every type of energy source. We need to pick out the obvious low-carbon winners, and maximise battery storage while considering the real potential of the likes of hydrogen, marine and tidal energy as well.

At present the main problem is an energy policy drift with the UK Government that is harming all of us. Tough decisions do need to be made, but supporting new nuclear in Scotland is clearly not one of them.

Councillor Feargal Dalton
Convener of the Nuclear Free Local Authorities Scotland Forum

I MUST admit to always having been a bit suspicious of Michael Fry’s desire for independence with his perpetual sniping at the Scottish Government, nothing ever very major, just nit--picking here and there, but this week he has come right out of the closet (Are we really going to choose climate action over higher living standards, June 18).

His pronouncements vis a vis oil production, prices, Greenpeace interference with a rig in the Cromarty Firth and his opinion that climate change is something we can worry about tomorrow, or next week, or in ten years’ time expose him as an innate climate change denier.

Wake up and smell the rain, Michael: nothing, but nothing, is more important than climate change.

Humanity has some in-built urge to self-destruction. Resorting to violence and murder to solve diplomatic problems or to advance greed, genocidal invasions, slaughter of a country’s own citizens and the execution of political opponents all display a death wish, even if it is others who actually die and not the initiators of the violence. This time we have hit the jackpot. This time we have created the circumstances which are going to kill us all, and bleating about milk in your tea, steak on the dinner table and solar deprivation is not the answer.

I was surprised by Mr Fry’s support of independence, since it seems to indicate that you can take the Unionist out of the Conservative, but you sure as hell cannot take the Tory out of the Conservative.

Les Hunter

LISTENING to some of the climate activists talking about the climate emergency, one could be forgiven for thinking it was all the fault of Scottish vehicle drivers and that there wouldn’t be a problem if only we all walked or cycled everywhere. Of course the truth is somewhat at odds with this. Scotland’s direct emissions amount to less than one tenth of 1% of the global figure and is going down. China, India, Russia and the USA collectively account for over fifty per cent and their contribution is increasing. Until they come aboard the climate change train, anything we do is all but useless in global terms and no amount of screaming changes that basic fact.

That said, I suspect that we are further into the climate consequences than many believe, so we do need to press ahead with some changes in Scotland. It was, however, with some relief that I read Michael Fry’s article – a sane voice amongst the shrieking. Scotland has already got rid of its most polluting energy-producing coal generators, so in quantitative terms the next three are the gas-fired power stations, transport and housing.

Gas can account for 40% of UK electricity and there is nothing as reliable to take its place at present. Electric andhybrid vehicles are about to hit the market in transport, but anyone who has ever used battery-powered toys will quickly understand battery limitations. Hydrogen cell transport, including rail, suffers from a lack of infrastructure and outside Orkney there is only one 600bar station in Aberdeen and one 350bar station in Methill.

In housing the problems are many and varied but we could save a lot in emissions terms if landlords, including local authorities, were forced to insulate properties properly. With King Coal gone we have an opportunity to spend the next two years checking and refining our options and allowing the technology to catch up before choosing solutions.

Our students have the quickest and sharpest minds and we will need them to find solutions to extract and store greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, but before they can do that they need to complete their education in maths, physics and chemistry. Marching and protesting may give them the warm fuzzy glow that they are accomplishing something, but history teaches us that it rarely achieves anything.

Time for some rational thinking.

D R Turnbull
via email

MICHAEL Fry’s latest column (June 18th) displays the moral vacuum at the heart of the “free market” right in all its glory. It could more honestly have been headed: “Are we really going to choose our children’s and grandchildren’s lives over my right to guzzle steak pies?”.

Nick Gotts