IoS letters, emails & texts (19 October 2008)

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The Independent Online

Ruth Lea claims that "the writer and environmentalist George Monbiot has accused me of being financed by the oil companies" ("The unbelievers", The New Review, 12 October).

There are plenty of climate change deniers whose undeclared financial interests I have exposed, but Ruth Lea is not one of them. I have made no such accusation, and have no evidence that she has been paid to make her statements about climate change. Rather, she appears to have arrived at her position through native idiocy, or that well-known phenomenon of believing only the narratives that suit your interests. Her false claim about me illustrates both the paranoia of the climate change deniers and their uncomfortable relationship with the facts.George Monbiot

Machynlleth, Powys



I am afraid your judging panel were incorrect in placing Nick Clegg in the "Not-so-green List" (12 October). Under Nick's leadership, the Liberal Democrats have strengthened their unmatched commitment to protecting the environment and combating climate change. This summer, Nick called for a massive expansion of offshore wind farms and other renewable energy sources.

Nick is the only party leader arguing for a zero-carbon Britain by 2050 and calling for a shift of taxation away from work and on to pollution. Far from "losing ground" to the gimmickry of the Tories, Nick Clegg has exposed their fickle environmentalism.

Danny Alexander MPchief of staff to nick clegg mp

London SE1



Your otherwise excellent feature, "The Green List", failed to include a single reference to population growth. This is possibly the greatest threat of all to the environment. Population has been doubling every 40 years, and is growing at nearly a quarter of a million a day.

Roger Plenty

stroud, Gloucestershire





Now the bubble has burst, the much vaunted free market economy should be left to shake down to the more realistic levels of many years ago. We need to get back to real financial values and quality investment rather than the casino deregulation and leveraged manipulation popularised by the Thatcher and Reagan administrations. Instead of spending billions to prop up markets, allowing them to rationalise could be good news in the longer term.

After years of crazy price inflation, house prices are beginning to drop to more affordable levels. A reduction in market capitalisation would be a buffer on the free-spending leverage and investment that creates so much unnecessary growth in speculative empty office blocks, ruthless time-share development of sensitive environmental areas and more. The green parties should be welcoming this kick in the teeth for the endless "growth is good" mindset.

In a few years, the markets will face another trauma when they realise that oil supplies are running down rapidly and the "globalised" economy this has supported will have to rethink completely.

Brian McGavin

Wilmslow, cheshire



As a young actor rehearsing my first Pinter play (The Caretaker) for a revival at the Citizens' Theatre, Glasgow, I have not felt that I have had to "wrestle" with his writing (Janet Street-Porter, 12 October). When a Pinter play is directed and performed well, you should be guaranteed a night at the theatre you will never forget.

Eugene O'Hare

london SE1



I am writing in response to the article implying that there are safety concerns in British Energy's fleet of nuclear power plants ("Safety crisis at plants", 5 October). Nothing is further from the truth.

The article drew from an "independent nuclear analyst" who has developed many reports for Greenpeace and, more recently, supported the "Hinkley NO Nuclear" campaign seeking to stop new nuclear development at Hinkley.

The facts are: numerous nuclear generating companies from around the world have visited British Energy to learn from how we have made such marked improvement in many areas – notably in human performance;

British Energy has invested around £1bn in our plants and added more than a 1,000 new employees over the past three years to improve performance;

British Energy has a superb safety record recognised by the world-wide nuclear industry;

Performance of our fleet continues to improve with the investment in our plants and our people, with Sizewell rated as one of the world's best performing pressurised water reactors (PWR);

British Energy is the single greatest contributor to reduced CO2 emissions in the UK. Our stations avoided more than 30 million tons of CO2 emissions last year alone. To get the same reduction with transportation, you would have to remove 50 per cent of all the cars from the UK's roads.

Sensational headlines generate unnecessary public concern. Nuclear power generates secure, low carbon electricity that the people of the UK and industrialised countries need. In an issue of such importance, surely the public deserves full, accurate and balanced information.

Bill Coley

Chief executive, British energy group plc

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