WHILE I agree with the overall thrust of Lesley Ridoch’s article in Thursday’s National I do wonder if she sometimes views everything in Scandinavia through somewhat rose-tinted glasses (Latest Tory tactics show why Scottish Government must set out its strategy, Aug 3).

There are many reasons why Norway has been a leader in the adoption of electric vehicles, from the fact that it has a huge reserve of funds accumulated from producing oil and gas – which gives it the ability to develop the supporting infrastructure relatively painlessly – to the fact that it has a long history of building predictable, reliable, renewable hydro-electric power stations. It has used this green power to “decarbonise” its oil and gas production by insisting that operators lay cables from the shore to power their offshore production facilities, thereby enabling “zero carbon” oil.

READ MORE: Scottish expert casts doubts on PM's claims of reducing energy bills

Norway is the world’s 13th-largest hydrocarbon producer, significantly ahead of both Qatar and Nigeria, with an annual output nearly two-and-a-half times that of the UK. It has issued 47 new offshore oil and gas exploration licences this year, many within the Arctic Circle, and supplies around three-quarters of the gas imported by the UK.

It should be borne in mind also that Equinor, previously known as Statoil, a company 67% owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, is the operator of several UK oil and gas fields, including the controversial Rosebank field west of Shetland.

The Faroe Islands, an autonomous component of the Kingdom of Denmark, despite having failed for the last two decades to identify commercial hydrocarbon reserves, continues to encourage oil and gas companies to explore in its territorial waters.

READ MORE: Climate activists claim responsibility for disrupting Cycling World Championships

In other areas of environmental concern we find, for example, that the bulk of Scottish salmon farms, so much derided by environmentalists, along with much of their supporting infrastructure, are owned ultimately by Norwegian and Faroese companies. Norway, along with Iceland, has refused for many years to accept the global moratorium on whaling and in the Faroes many hundreds of small whales and dolphins are slaughtered every year, “because it’s a tradition”. This “tradition” is beneficial neither to the environment nor to the health of those who eat the unfortunate animals.

As Lesley says, there is absolutely no doubt that the UK is far from being the leader in tackling climate change that both main parties in Westminster would have us believe, and the so-called just transition seems to mean whatever the speaker or writer wants it to mean. It’s also true that there is much we can learn from approaches pioneered by our Nordic neighbours, from genuinely effective levels of domestic insulation to their extensive adoption of district and renewable heating schemes. We should not overlook, however, the fact that they are not all always the environmental poster children they are made out to be.

Cameron Crawford

AT present it is up to individuals to pay to better insulate their homes or install a greener heating system such as air-sourced heat pumps. That may be fine for those who can afford it, but not for those with landlords or who cannot afford it. The “reward” for installing such a heat pump is to experience a poorer heating system in the winter whilst paying the higher electricity prices.

Patrick Harvie, in promoting a greener environment, supports taxing the continued use of gas boilers and increasingly restricting their use and replacement. This policy again places the financial burden on individuals, albeit with good environmental goals. However, in day-to-day thinking by householders, poverty will always trump the environment. The policy will place a big burden on those already suffering poverty.

READ MORE: Anas Sarwar told to urgently clarify Labour's position on heat pumps

A solution to tackle our current domestic CO2 production while protecting the vulnerable members of our society has been suggested by Common Weal in their New Green Deal publication. A national agency managing a workforce responsible for retrofitting homes (insulating a whole street is much cheaper than having a company come to do your individual home) funded through taxation is much more progressive. A national energy agency responsible for producing green energy could be responsible for installing district heating systems powered by green energy. Having this funded through taxation (or better, by loans and fiscal measures post-independence) would manage the transition far better whilst protecting our poor and possibly our energy costs.

We must move towards a better environment without further adding to the cost-of-living crisis.

Campbell Anderson

IN your Website Comments on Aug 3, Gordon Morris makes his point about UK Labour running the Rutherglen by-election. So far so fine, but then he ends his comment by saying “the SNP are haemorrhaging votes by the barrow load!” I would ask Mr Morris what proof he has of this other than what he reads in the Unionist propaganda papers!

Drew MacLeod