The Spectator

Letters: Britain can be zero carbon – but only by becoming poorer

Letters: Britain can be zero carbon – but only by becoming poorer
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A green and poor land?

Sir: Your editorial (8 February) is a timely warning about what the government’s headlong drive to carbon zero really means. We seem to be intent on wrecking our economy in order to further reduce our 1 per cent portion of the world’s greenhouse gases. But while we are scrapping our petrol and diesel cars along with our gas heating and cooking, Asian countries are building coal-fired power stations because the 21st-century world needs electricity and that is the cheapest and quickest way to provide it. Their emissions are already many times higher than the UK’s. This problem is surely what the UN’s climate change conference in Glasgow in November should be dealing with. By 2050 the UK is in danger of being very green and very poor, with the atmosphere above us in a far worse state than it is now.

Ivor Williams

Tavistock, Devon

What will we eat?

Sir: With large acreages of good farmland already given over to the growing of biomass crops for gas, and now a demand from the Climate Change Committee for one field in five to be given back to nature, what are we all to eat? I would be interested in seeing a true costing of windfarms, taking into account all the excavations and concrete for roads and hardstanding for cranes, as well as the huge bases required. How many of the turbines are currently manufactured in this country?

And then we come to HS2. What is going to power all the machinery required for this project? It is all slightly worrying.

Jim Reid

Angus, Scotland

Dresden’s army connections

Sir: Regarding the discussion between A.N. Wilson and Sinclair McKay (‘Was Dresden a war crime?’, 8 February), many other factors merit consideration. When Czechoslovakia was occupied in March 1939, the German 4th Infantry Division employed was based at Dresden, which was also the home of the headquarters of the 4th Military District. A major infantry training school had long been located there. It was decidedly a military town, as well as being a government communications and administrative centre.

Dresden’s position on the River Elbe, its autobahn connection to Berlin and good east to west road service made it a strategic place for the siting of supply, equipment and manpower depots. Before the war, Dresden’s industries manufactured high-value products such as optical and precision instruments, and doubtless these were expanded to include equipments and components used in V weapons, U boats, tanks, artillery and so on.

One cannot claim that Dresden was undefended. The RAF had to fly some 700 miles over mainly enemy territory well-provided with searchlight and AA batteries controlled by an effective radar system, plus night fighters. Of the first wave of 254 Lancasters despatched, ten did not reach Dresden and six others were shot down over the city. We need to view the Dresden attacks in the context of a vicious war which had yet to be won. Not as an isolated incident; nor with sentimentality or the benefit of hindsight.

Derek Walker

York

Remember the Blitz

Sir: I am an 82-year-old Londoner who experienced the Blitz. I still clearly remember the terror of endless nights in the dripping-wet, bone-cold, dank, smelly Anderson shelter. I was surprised neither A.N. Wilson nor Sinclair McKay referred to the comparative death tolls in British and German cities. From 7 September 1940, London was systematically bombed by the Luftwaffe for 56 of the following 57 days and nights. More than 40,000 civilians were killed by Luftwaffe bombing during the war, almost half of them in London.

At the time of Dresden, Britain’s citizens had been suffering six years of indescribable misery at the hands of the German people, not just of Hitler and his ministers. There may have been an element of revenge, but Churchill and Harris were trying to end the agony inflicted on Britain and Europe twice in 30 years.

Jon Stone

Broughton Hackett, Worcestershire

Not what my Bible says

Sir: I was surprised to read the Revd Michael Coren’s article (‘Gospel truth’, 8 February). Contrary to what he asserts, the Bible’s message on same-sex relationships is as plain as a pikestaff to anyone who reads the text with a modicum of thought. The Old Testament couldn’t be clearer on the fact that any sexual relationships outside of heterosexual marriage are sinful. The New Testament couldn’t be clearer on the fact that Jesus Christ endorsed the Old Testament law in its entirety.

Whereas the Bible sees the friendship of David and Jonathan (‘your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women’ — 2 Sam. 1:26) as a precious thing between men, the Revd Coren’s philosophy cheapens it to the point of nudge-nudge wink-wink gossip. This is a free country and those who want to cast the Bible’s authority aside and live as they please are free to do so: but to distort Scripture to suit their own ends is another matter entirely.

Dr Stephen J. Morris

Shrewsbury, Shropshire

Hidden gem

Sir: It is curiously inconsistent that Hugh MacDiarmid, part of the bedrock of Scottish Nationalism, hated the English, as John Lloyd rightly states (‘Howling Gaels’, 8 February). MacDiarmid’s Collected Poems, published after his death, included a poem written by the English poet Edward Thomas, a Londoner who was killed in the Battle of Arras in 1917. When this mistake — or plagiarism — was pointed out to the publisher, they apparently had not noticed.

At least its inclusion ensured that there was one decent poem in the collection.

Richard Emeny

The Edward Thomas Fellowship, North Petherton, Somerset