Insulate Britain activists have shone a light on a problem (Editorial, 5 October). But just as superglue is not a positive choice in terms of its biodegradability, their adhesion to the “stuck in traffic” tactic is a negative strategy. It is counterproductive to increase air pollution by creating congestion, and to alienate people who need supplies and emergency services.
If we are to deal with the climate emergency, we need public investment, but also optimism, consensus and cooperation, not conflict and obstruction. Of course, it would be lovely if the UK became a world-leading green state, with the government sending out a fleet of electric vehicles with insulation teams and eco-friendly materials to fix homes and businesses. But this is unlikely to happen under the current administration.
It would be gamechanging to see Insulate Britain protesters leading by example: abandoning roadblocks, pouring their energy into insulating the places where they live and work, and helping their communities do the same, strengthening existing action and support, so that positive momentum overtakes the current inadequate response to this urgent challenge. I live in hope.
Cop26 will underdeliver – I suspect visibly and disgracefully so (Cop26: world poised for big leap forward on climate crisis, says John Kerry, 12 October). It is absurd to expect world leaders, who represent the economic, industrial and ideological forces that have driven us towards calamity, to now steer us in the reverse direction. They are accountable to their own country, not the global community. Their role is to promote growth, trade, travel and consumption, when we need less of these things. Some place all their hopes in technological fixes, which will never be enough on their own; others make the right noises, but act as though there are far more urgent things to worry about than the survival of our species.
It is now for ordinary people to take responsibility for combating climate change, individually or in campaigning organisations and protest groups, or in their support of the growing number of enlightened businesses that can see how the wind is blowing. We need smarter direct action than that of Insulate Britain. We need creativity and humour to win the battle for hearts and minds, and the courage to call out politicians for their lack of commitment. I hope that the inevitable failure of Cop26 will galvanise the grassroots, because it is there that change will come about.
Rev Richard Bradshaw
Sowerby, North Yorkshire
Fatima Ibrahim gives a rather simplistic account of protest (Only noisy protest makes politicians take action to avoid climate catastrophe, 8 October). Yes, of course those who campaigned for votes for women were on the right side of history. But it does not automatically follow that it was the militancy of the suffragettes that brought about change, rather than the more peaceable methods of the suffragists. That case has to be made. When it comes to climate change, we must build a broad consensus for the far-reaching measures needed. This is more important than a small number of protesters bringing the spotlight on to themselves.
I am not against protest, but would caution against an approach which suggests that those who shout loudest should get their way.