DICTIONARIES define 'emergency' along the lines 'a sudden, serious and dangerous event or situation which needs immediate action to deal with it'. Climate change has been known about by intelligent people since at least the Millennium and by the more discerning for far longer than that.

Also unless a miracle is achieved by science or humanity it will be with us for the next 100 to 200 years. So we have a problem, a big problem, but not an emergency.

Now, I am all in favour of efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but let us be realistic about it and not do society and the economy unjustified harm. Let me just conduct a little thought experiment.

Let us suppose that the 1,000 square miles of the Yorkshire Dales rather suddenly and unaccountably acquired a layer of peat 100 feet thick.

That would be acquired by drawing down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The latest figures show that carbon dioxide concentrations are 418 parts per million (ppm).

The effects of the sudden accumulation of peat would reduce that figure by about 30ppm. Not significant enough to have a major impact on climate change and an indication of how puny are the effects of local authorities and indeed the country to effect change.

At the most the UK contributes two per cent to atmospheric carbon dioxide. Becoming carbon neutral is hardly going to affect the situation. For change to occur the big producers, China, the USA and India need to act.

In the meantime I suggest we manage to live with the changed circumstances.

There will be much more changeable weather, violent storms, flooding, droughts and fewer frosts and less snow. Changes will be forced on farming; there will be new pests and plant species. Also a greater movement of people affected worldwide. We will just have to adapt.

Bernard Peel

Cross Hills