Letter to the Editor: I hope Mr E Kyneston feels better now that he has given us the benefit of his views in his letter “Protesters alienate those they need to persuade”, The Forester 30 August. I fear however that what I am about to say may shift him back out of his comfort zone.

Noone can now be unaware of the uncontrolled wildfires this summer all around the Mediterranean basin & those in Canada. The latter began in March & by September have burned an area of 160k sq kms. Smoke from these events which are unprecedented in their scale has cast a pall over half the area of the USA putting 70 million US residents across a dozen states under air quality alerts.

In Spain this last week, temperatures attained 44 degrees C. Uncontrolled Wildfires in the Canaries have forced 4000 residents to flee. Data up to 15 July show Southern Europe has seen “very strong heat stress” for 10 days. I watched a TV news item this week which told of the loss of the olive crop in Spain due to the excessive heat causing the trees to fail to bear fruit.

So the immediate consequences of global warming manifest as crop failure & directly on human health. Hyperthermia (as distinct from hypothermia), is when the human body absorbs more heat than it can release. The body’s ability to regulate its temperature becomes overwhelmed in the region of 40 degrees C & ends unless treatment is given, in organ failure. These events are merely the climate related ones that have been widely publicised here. See also the floods in Pakistan affecting 33m, when torrential rain caused the worst flood in living memory.

Here in the UK this damp summer does not equate to safety from the effects of climate change. It so happens that this year we sat to the north of the jet stream. But last year a mere hint of the possible was experienced on 18 & 19 July with a recorded UK milestone temperature of 40 degrees. The UK will not in time be spared extreme weather induced by climate change, places like the Forest of Dean obviously being especially vulnerable to its effects.

The catchily named “Synthesis Report summary for policymakers on climate 2023” from IPCC (google it) states amongst other things that human activity ie CO2 emissions, unequivocally caused global warming & already a temperature rise of 1.1 degrees has occurred by 2020 over 1850-1900 levels. Even “very low” emission scenarios are predicted to give rise to a trajectory of 2 degrees by the time a person born in 2020 reaches middle age & 4 degrees in a scenario of “high” emissions.

So the likely effects of even a further moderate increase in emissions over the rise already manifested of 1.1 degrees, are imponderable to put it mildly. This is why I disagree with Mr Kyneston’s contention that being “practical” entails waiting another 100 years of carrying on as usual.

It is true that we rely on everyday products based on feedstock chemicals from oil & gas that are essential to modern life. One source I read states that these amount to over 6k in number, including antiseptics, computer keyboards & monitors, heart valves, refrigerants & even wind turbine blades. That is not an argument for “maintaining the status quo of oil use” ie continuing to exploit new sources of coal, oil & gas.

The characterisation of those that protest in a peaceful manner as “do as I say not as I do” is unfair & inaccurate since everyone is complicit merely by living & growing up in modern society in which emissions are a by - product of systemic & societal functioning over & above the capacity of individuals to make choices.

To say that anyone who has ever been treated in hospital, driven a car, used a plastic carrier bag or been on a foreign holiday, is disqualified from peaceful protest, is absurd.

Andrew McDermid, Tidenham