SIR – Nick Turner makes a good point (Letters, October 19th) regarding the difficulty Earth's ever-increasing population poses for the climate emergency struggle: as practically everything everyone does in the course of going about their day pollutes in one way or another, an extra 550m of us by 2050 sure isn't going to make things any easier.
What's more, I fully agree with him that ‘all manner of people are climbing on the bandwagon.’ It's truly sick what some people and businesses will do to greenwash their personas. Sicker still, of course, is the bottom-feeding behaviour of the political classes for whom no low is too low as long as there is an environmentally-friendly vote in it for them. In fact, so covetous are they of votes that they will often sneakily use one of their colleagues’ ones during voting time in the Dáil chamber!
I take issue, however, with some of Mr Turner's other sentiments. He congratulates Mr Streeton's ‘realistic approach’ (October 12th), seems to dismiss the taking into account of young people's views as a fad, and finishes by suggesting we should condescend to those same young people and other activists by telling them the target of 0% carbon emissions by 2050 is ludicrous.
Admittedly, he explicitly links that ludicrousness to the massive projected increase in population; but his implicit undertone is that young people's idealism is unwarranted and has no place in the debate.
Mr Turner instead advocates realism. To this I say, we must be daring and always dream big. Lofty goals are very much the order of the day when it comes to tackling problems on a planetary scale.
In honesty, my main motivation for replying to Mr Turner was to counter his attack on the idealism of the young. Yes, I'm concerned about global heating, but I'm far from perfect in this regard – I'm warm tonight thanks to kerosene, and I undertake many unnecessary / pointless journeys thanks to petrol.
What's in some ways more important for me, though, is that young people are free, nay, encouraged to ask big questions, make drastic, sweeping changes, and rewrite the script to reflect new thinking.