It is disappointing to read of the continuing protests against coal mining in Cumbria when it has been repeatedly explained that the coal will be mined anyway, and mining at some distant location will simply mean additional CO2 release from transport sources, not to mention the loss of jobs from Cumbria.

Just to put the whole problem in perspective, the UK imported 6.9 million tons of coal (largely from Columbia, Russia and the USA). Of this, 3.0 million tons was used by the steel industry (which cannot, at present, be substituted) and 2.9 for power production (which is being rapidly phased out).

The objectors to Cumbrian coal would be better advised to switch their attentions to more meaningful targets. For example, perhaps the investment in the HS transport link (which is controversial) could be switched to building 4 to 5 nuclear power stations (a carbon-free source of electricity) which the government accepts as necessary but claims they cannot finance and is hoping for a bail-out by others, notably China.

Actually, by far the greatest environmental threat we are facing is the explosive population growth, at present largely in Africa. People are responsible for global warming and the more people there are the more the planet will warm.

At present, this problem is virtually ignored by authorities in spite of the fact that action could spectacularly reign in this ticking time bomb. Why don’t the activists direct their attentions to this truly alarming situation which underlies all climate change problems?

Dr. Kent Brooks

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