Politicians throughout Europe are belatedly waking up to the fact that Vadimir Putin can turn the tap off to a Europe heavily dependent upon Russia for gas.
Sceptics might surmise that European gas purchases have paid for Russian weaponry.
However a solution is available in the form of coal.
Europe needs energy security and coal is foremost since fracking is several years away. Coal is cheap, simple to extract, ship and burn, with proven reserves of 109 years.
China is developing nuclear energy whilst paying lip service to renewables but coal will remain their fuel for the foreseeable future.
A new energy plan in Japan is pushing the coal industry to produce more coal for its long-term electricity security.
European governments’ long-held goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are crumbling in the face of the need for energy security.
Greenhouse gas emissions in coming decades will increase and be dominated by emerging economies which are not legally bound by international targets.
European efforts to reduce emissions are futile and expensive.
Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow
Even the homeless need dentists too
DENTAL health for homeless people was on the agenda at a conference held recently in the capital (News, May 9).
Of course these poor people should be entitled to dental treatment, whether they have an address or not.
Homeless Action Scotland and Dundee Services reasearch unit were looking at ways of bypassing the need for an address to access treatment.
There is absolutely no reason for the homeless not to have vitally important dental treatment. They surely deserve all the help possible and should not be shunned just because they have no abode.
Mrs June Fleming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh
Collaboration key in inter-dependent world
AS far as the Better Together campaign for Scotland to remain within the United Kingdom goes, the evidence weighs heavily on their side.
I think Alistair Darling, who has led a campaign with minimal funding at his disposal, has done a good job on presenting clearly where Scotland’s future interests lie, within the solidarity of the UK.
Alex Salmond, who, of course, leads the ‘Yes’ campaign, does so by avoiding crucial answers to crucial questions, and there are many of them in need of a straight answer.
Whether we like it or not, inter-dependence is the reality of the modern world. Matters of vital importance to our lives, such as economic prosperity and protection of the nation, rely on international collaboration.
Chas Dennis, Niddrie Marischal Road, Edinburgh
Society’s interests should be protected
PARTICULARLY during the Thatcher times, people have been encouraged to think only of themselves. It has had the divisive effect, which was its intention, of tearing people away from their natural instinct of caring for others.
The evidence that looking after number one is wrong is all around us. Those with most wealth have most power.
A divided people are easier to manipulate - those in work against the unemployed who have to exist on benefits; the disgusting campaign against the disabled living on benefits; pitting those who work in the private sector against those in the public sector; the disgraceful bedroom tax and the continuing privatisation of public property.
The situation is not unique to this country; exactly the same thing is happening in many parts of the world, demonstrating that the capitalist system under which we live cannot solve our problems.
We can make a start to change things by identifying the essential needs everyone has in common to maximise unity. No individual or groups should have the power to restrict or withhold them in the pursuit of profit.
The most obvious list includes heating and power, water and sewage services, transport, the NHS, recreation and learning facilities and greenbelt and open spaces.
Selling these off should be stopped immediately and the public consulted.
Mr A Delahoy, Silverknowes Gardens, Edinburgh
Westminster gravy train runs off track
IF the forthcoming referendum has forced us to look at the Union and its institutions in a fresh light, chief among those institutions is the Westminster parliament itself.
I never thought I would see the day when the mother of parliaments would bcome a cesspit of immorality, populated by self-serving fraudsters and incompetent fools.
Despite all the warnings that followed Expensesgate, despite the knowledge that their every move is monitored, our parliamentarians have carried on in the same old way.
There are now too many instances to mention in this limited space of MPs and peers selling their soul for a quick buck or a cosy directorship.
The case of Maria Miller is just one example of how our MPs and Lords just don’t care.
The gravy train keeps running and if there is a ‘No’ vote in the Scottish referendum, nothing will change.
Paul Morrison, Colinton Mains Drive, Edinburgh