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Letters / Climate emergency a costly distraction

Thank you for your informative coverage of the schoolchildren’s ‘climate emergency’ march (Youths strike from school to call for climate action, SN; 21/6/19).

It’s wonderful that they are so interested in politics as to embark on this. However, an unwelcome side effect has been the politicisation of schools.

It’s clear, the schools and SIC orchestrated it, from approval of the cause, through supervision of the march, to the ‘Kool Aid’-soaked rendezvous with councillors and chief executive.

It is not the purpose of schools to support a political campaign. Schools exist to educate our children, hopefully, including life skills like critical thinking, notable here by its absence.

Given the children’s commendable interest, schools might usefully have discussed the theory, related objections and timescales in which effects like rising seas might occur. While counselling, importantly, that climate is very, very complex and climatology is in its infancy.

They could have discussed the consequences of government CO2 reduction measures like ‘green taxes’ and vast subsidies for wind farms, solar panels and the like. Consumers must pay and fuel poverty has reached epidemic proportions.

Instead, the intellectual authority of schools has been used to endorse a political slogan. A slogan deployed to great effect by another child, Greta Thunberg, a veritable ‘pied piper’ if ever there was one.

The phrase ‘climate emergency’ did not come from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It is a PR device intended to promote alarm for political advantage.

School heads and the council should know better.

On a positive note the children will now participate in the Shetland Partnership. That’s good. They may learn that “saving the planet” isn’t straightforward.

The partnership aims to halve Shetland’s lamentable fuel poverty, from 53 percent of homes to 27 percent by 2028.

Neither the means for achieving that nor progress-to-date is well known. However, it will not be easy and will not be helped by a “declaration of climate emergency”?

‘Saving the planet’ is invariably in the future. Politicians cannot fail they need only be seen to act. Whether responses are effective or wise matters not, “we have acted decisively and lead the world!”

Fuel poverty, by contrast, ‘heat or eat’ and food banks are with us now, and worsening daily as energy prices soar. Theresa May’s “2050 zero carbon” legacy will reportedly cost over £1 trillion (yes, £1,000,000,000,000). Who will suffer for that?

The fuel poor have no voice. Even Labour has abandoned them.

Sadly, post-Greta Thunberg, fuel poverty is passé, rarely mentioned. Yet it remains a festering sore on the backside of vainglorious climate jihad.

‘Climate emergency’ is a costly, unwelcome distraction, diverting billions from real problems facing society.

John Tulloch