I HAVE mixed feelings on the subject of the First Minister’s pledges of now £7 million in total to the countries hardest hit by climate change. It is a drop in a vast ocean of need, an ocean where the sea level is now rising at an alarming rate.

Some will point to the desperate needs of our own citizens who will lack food and fuel this winter.

The £7m amounts to just over £1 for each of us living in Scotland. I would happily pay a couple of extra pounds to make up for some of the nation’s angry Unionists who will decry the idea.

It would, however, be really helpful if the First Minister could provide us with some detail as to how the money will be distributed and on what it will be spent.

READ MORE: £17.6m funding boost for Scotland's green heating scheme

An unrestricted donation to, for example, the government of flood-hit Pakistan, well known for its nuclear weapons programme, would not be my first choice.

We can only hope it acts as a catalyst for the US, China, Germany, Japan, even Russia and the other large industrialised nations to play their part and come up with the serious money needed to even begin to look at the problems of global warming.

How we stop China’s massive expansion of coal-fired power stations and Brazil’s destruction of its rainforests is a mystery to me. These are problems that cannot be solved by the donation of money, money or even more money.

I have no doubt COP27 will be hailed as a success by many of the participants, but actions speak louder than words. As the delegates arrive home, perhaps they could also spare a brief thought for the estimated 60,000 political prisoners they leave behind locked up in Egypt’s jails. Many are detained without trial and languish in dire conditions with little or no medical care.

The venue for the COP meeting rotates among the five UN-identified regions: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Caribbean, and Western Europe. The countries in the region propose a candidate, and a host is usually decided at least two years in advance. The rotation cycle has not been followed very strictly.

After the 2012 COP in Doha, the event has not yet returned to Asia. Countries are sometimes not enthusiastic about hosting the event.

This is mainly due to two reasons. One, the host city incurs expenditure, not all of which is reimbursed. More to the point, the host country, which presides over the conference, is expected to demonstrate leadership in taking steps to combat climate change. This is the reason why countries such as the US, China, Russia, Japan, Australia or Canada are not keen to host COP.

Japan hosted the 1997 event that produced the Kyoto Protocol, but it was also the first country to walk out of it in 2011. Australia, which also withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol, has never hosted the conference.

COP28 is to be held in the United Arab Emirates, another venue where human rights are in short supply.

Article 155 of its new penal code provides sentences of life imprisonment or the death penalty for anyone who “intentionally commits an act that compromises the sovereignty of the state or its independence, its unity or its territorial integrity”.

Perhaps the First Minister needs to be a wee bit careful when she attends!

Brian Lawson Paisley THE big issue for me with Alister Union Jack’s peerage is nothing to do with whether or not he defers it to remain active in the House of Commons, it is how, in the first place, an honour could be bestowed by Boris Johnson – a man with little or no honour of his own.

Ni Holmes

St Andrews