When our gas guzzlers are not always bad
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Credit: Illustration: Cathy Wilcox
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When our gas guzzlers are not always bad
Victoria’s sales of electric vehicles as a proportion of new vehicle sales is only 8.5per cent (The Age, 31/7). I also heard someone on ABC Radio National complaining that China’s vast fleet of EVs are really “coal cars” because of the country’s heavy reliance on coal-fired electricity. The facts may give us pause: Victoria’s electricity is currently sourced from 21per cent renewables, China’s from 26per cent renewables. We have “coal cars” too.
Until we get renewables up to at least 60per cent of total generation, we are actually creating more emissions by choosing EVs than by sticking to our gas guzzlers. So Victoria’s slower EV adoption rate is a bonus for the environment. And as for China, a big motivation towards EVs there is to cut its serious urban air pollution problems. Total emissions there are seen as a secondary problem.
William Puls, Mentone
The many benefits of opening up a campus
It makes very good sense for the University of Melbourne to tear down some of its buildings (The Age, 31/7). What greater way to educate our future generation about the dangers of climate change than to plant more trees? The demolition of the buildings will not only open up space for use by the community, it will provide green space for the planting of trees and a greater vision for the future.
Julie Ottobre, Sorrento
Speeding the transition from gas to electricity
No gas connections for new houses from January1 in Victoria. Great. But we need much more action: for example, we must direct the gas supply companies that no street mains are to be replaced. Instead, if a pipe is “unsafe”, then the affected homes must be assisted to convert to electricity, and that street main must be closed forever.
Lawrence Reddaway, Hawthorn
So-called “natural gas” is destroying our planet
Gas is not a “transitional fuel”. True, per unit of energy produced, when burnt it creates less CO2 than coal or oil. But gas is methane, which has 80times the climate damaging potency of CO2. The leaks of just a few per cent of gas that occur during its extraction, transportation and storage mean the overall climate impact of gas is at least the same as that of coal. Clever marketing has ensured this information is hidden or downplayed, allowing gas companies to enjoy an undeserved social licence. “Natural gas” is destroying our planet as surely as “natural coal”.
Richard Barnes, Canterbury
Moving away from gas because of heath benefits
The health effects of indoor air pollution by gas combustion products justifies getting households off gas, even without the climate and cost considerations. Who wouldn’t want to avoid the nitrogen dioxide that causes asthma, the carbon monoxide that is acutely toxic, and the benzene, which is carcinogenic? Gas supplies should be reserved for backing up the electricity grid until sufficient batteries and pumped hydro are available to fill the gaps in renewable generation.
Dr Ben Ewald, Cooks Hill, NSW
The exorbitant cost of conversion held me back
Unlike your correspondent (Letters, 31/7) I did not convert my gas-fired hydronic system to a heat pump. Despite a strong wish to do so, the quoted prices for a heat pump were $25,000 to $30,000 compared with $5000 for a new gas boiler. My rather crude estimate was that it would take 40 years to pay off the difference.
Michael Hipkins, Richmond
Sustainability, yes, but with a lot of air miles
Did stylist Elliot Garnaut say this with a straight face when talking about Rebecca Harding’s gown for the Logies (The Age, 31/7)? “We went to LA last month to source a vintage piece. We really wanted to put an emphasis on sustainability and embracing the circular fashion economy.” Let’s hope they did carbon offsets on theirs flights.
Vicki Jordan, Lower Plenty
Our proudly gas state
Your correspondent (Letters, 31/7) asks a couple of provocative questions about Victoria’s mandated end of gas connections to new homes. Now I find myself wondering how many folk have bought gas appliances before their new homes have been approved.
His concern, however, that the proposal threatens gas-powered electricity generation is misplaced. The Andrews government is quite pro-gas. It is still backing seismic blasting exploration for new gas next to the Twelve Apostles, in defiance of the International Energy Agency’s advice that our warming world cannot afford any new gas fields.
It seems our governments still have many questions to answer, and much more work, on how they will protect our climate, and economy, from the long-term effects of very warming and expensive fossil gas.
Linda Marks, Thornbury
Personal details for sale
There is a flip side of the coin regarding the demise of cash (The Age, 31/7). By using your credit, debit or loyalty cards, the products you buy can be directly associated to you. What do you think is in those bar or QR codes? This means your personal purchasing data can be made available to anyone willing to buy and use it. If cash goes, every item we purchase can be monitored. 1984 anyone?
Alan Williams, Port Melbourne
Pressure on housing
Infrastructure Victoria chief executive Jonathan Spear says that reducing immigration to tackle concerns about housing supply would be counter-productive (The Age, 29/7).
Perhaps he has not joined the dots that Australia has been building at record levels for years, but the demand always exceeds supply (to keep prices high). Or that builders are going bust at alarming rates due to the shortages of materials. Or the environmental impact and loss of biodiversity.
Trying to sideline discussion about whether Australians want rapid, high population growth ignores the research that says Australians do not want it, along with the fact that we cannot build our way out of this housing crisis.
Kieran Simpson, Blackburn North
Learning to compromise
The Greens have no comprehension of what negotiating in good faith means. They think it means always giving them everything they want because, well, they are the Greens.
Judy Loney, Drumcondra
True blue Aussie champs
Re “US insists total medal tally is as good as gold” (The Age, 31/7). The US can spin it anyway it likes. However, on your standard, suburban, sport-tallying method where gold scores four points, silver two points and bronze one point, Australia’s swimmers at the world swimming championships scored 64 points. The “could have been” US scored 59 points and the “need to do better Chinese” came third with 30 points.
Sam Bando, Malvern
The right to compete
I am a proud mum of three adult kids and a grandson who compete in Special Olympics Australia, representing their region Melbourne Eastern Ranges. Many people are complaining that the Commonwealth Games has been cancelled in Victoria.
However, the 2027 Special Olympics World Games will no longer be held in Perth, as planned. What is the difference between this and the Commonwealth Games? These people find it harder to compete due to their abilities. So doesn’t it matter if the Special Olympics World Games are not held in Australia?
Julie Chaplin, Upwey
In defence of Assange
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s comments regarding Julian Assange shows the total lack of push the Australian government has. It further demonstrates a grossly uneven partnership. This is a disgrace and all Australians should be outraged.
David Eames-Mayer, Balwyn
A bold step forward …
Congratulations to Defence Minister Richard Marles for successfully negotiating the arrangement to manufacture missiles in Australia for export and to bolster our own defence (The Age, 29/7). What a pity he and those who advise him were not around when the disastrous AUKUS submarine deal was struck. The current government at least realises that our admirals are no longer fighting World War II.
Ken Barnes, Glen Iris
… or shameful toadying
That Australia could begin manufacturing its own missiles within two years is a sign of the disastrous path along which the misguided AUKUS agreement is leading us. In projecting an increased warmongering vision, especially in relation to China, the federal government seems to want to go much further than “all the way with LBJ”. The ALP government is Liberal-lite. It still allows new gas and coal mines to be developed, it enables large power companies to charge extravagant prices for consumers, it has become the US’ deputy sheriff, and its so-called social housing policy is sadly deficient. To boot, it has only thrown a few thin bones to its working-class constituency. Its aggressive continuation of LNP policies is a complete abrogation of what an ALP government should be.
Greg Bailey, St Andrews
A win-win for the PM?
Be careful what you wish for. Your correspondent (Letters, 31/7) says, “A double dissolution would provide the perfect opportunity to get rid of Anthony Albanese”.
I believe a government should run its full term. However, should an early election be called, it is hard to see, given the polls at the moment, that Labor would lose. This would then give the government another full term in office, rather than the two years it currently has. I am not sure this is what your correspondent really wants.
Jo Bond, South Melbourne
Seeking out the info
For your correspondents (Letters, 31/7) who express concern about the apparent lack of detail for the Indigenous Voice to parliament, I offer the following succinct advice. Google it. There is plenty of detail available for those who want to find it.
John Togno, Mandurang
Why the opposition?
I have been volunteering for the Voice in the Bayside area, asking passersby if they would like information on the referendum. And what I have noticed is that although the majority are in favour, there are many Nos and some downright hostile reactions. If you live in an extremely wealthy area, the Voice will have no impact on your life, yet it will have an enormous impact upon the lives of Indigenous Australians. So why the opposition to it?
Samantha Keir, East Brighton
Everything will be fine
The Constitution. The latest political football with mythical goal posts. It strikes me that most of us, including yours truly, have not thought about how it impacts on our daily lives, let alone what its wording is, or what it will look like when and if it is changed. So, instead of being bamboozled by political hubris, let’s just listen to our constitutional experts. The majority of them agree that any changes if we vote Yes in the referendum will not cause societal disaster.
Eva Millane, Box Hill North
The matches we’ve missed
Thank you, Lucy Zelic (Comment, 29/7), for enlightening many of us as to why we are only watching a paltry number of FIFA Women’s World Cup games on free-to-air television. It’s more like Australia has scored a number of own goals in missing so many opportunities.
Maria Kisich, Kyneton
Take a bow, Melbourne
Last Wednesday we arrived in Melbourne from Perth for a week’s holiday. Unfortunately on Thursday Trish took a tumble which damaged her knee. Since then we have been overwhelmed by the kindness of the people of Melbourne. These included three young women who came to our aid, the staff at our hotel, the ambulance service, and the hospital where we received nothing but help. The following days have been spent on crutches and we have been overwhelmed by the willingness of the public to make our stay the best possible. The people of Melbourne have made our holiday the best it could be.
Don and Trish Phillips, White Gum Valley, WA
The better approach
It is good to see that our premier is learning, given his comments about how he will respond to the IBAC recommendations (The Age, 28/7). He said, “It does take some time and I think that doing it properly is better than doing it quickly”. It is a great pity he did not take his time and accept the recommendations of experts when considering the Commonwealth Games preparation.
Geoff McDonald, Newtown
A man to admire
Reading the story of Dr Chris Jones (The Age, 29/7), standing up for our most vulnerable detainees on Nauru, I felt two things: ashamed to be an Australian and glad that some people, like him, put principle first.
Lyn Shiells, Glen Iris
Protecting the aged
Recently, with the passing of an elderly relative, I witnessed the enormous shortcomings in the aged care system. I can only commend your correspondent (Letters, 28/7) for highlighting the systemic problems of a continually failing system. The issues raised in the royal commission, such as the lack of staffing, lack of training and lack of skills, need to be addressed to achieve a better aged care system in the future.
Doug Shaw, Sunbury
Why Assange was wrong
A number of correspondents have called for the US to drop its charges against Julian Assange. In 2010 Assange released, unvetted, a massive amount of US classified military and diplomatic documentation. That was not journalism and it would be best described as recklessly irresponsible. This was followed up by his Ecuadorean embassy pantomime performance, with its aftermath still being played out.
Dennis Walker, North Melbourne
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit: Illustration: Matt Golding
When things are going well, we’ll no longer be “cooking with gas”.
Lindsay Donahoo, Wattle Glen
Cooking with gas – moving from a metonym for progress to a symbol of guilt as we strive to lower emissions before it’s too late.
Greg Curtin, Blackburn South
Why isn’t the Andrews government going further and mandating solar as a part of every new home built?
Catherine Greenop, Colac
We probably shouldn’t use the expression “at the coalface” any more to fit with the current times and attitudes.
Rod Matthews, Fairfield
After the Commonwealth Games fiasco and cost explosions on major projects, Jacinta Allan’s title should be changed to Minister for Major Blowouts.
David Cowie, Middle Park
So Australia will make and sell more weapons (29/7) while continuing to imprison refugees who have fled war-torn countries. Colonial history marches on.
Penelope Buckley, Kew East
No, Mr Albanese, you don’t have a mandate to pass legislation if you don’t have the numbers to pass it.
Pauline Ashton, Maribyrnong
Forget an early election. We need a bill for fixed terms in Canberra.
Malcolm McDonald, Burwood
If the questionable MRH-90 Taipan helicopters are to fly, I have no doubt the top brass will pilot them to demonstrate their safety.
Bruce Dudon, Woodend
It was a vain hope that any leniency would be shown to Julian Assange by the US State Department, whose thirst for revenge can never be slaked.
Lucy Niu, Mount Waverley
The AFL grand final parade could be a Pie floater.
Bryan Fraser, St Kilda West
Bouquets for the press coverage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Brickbats for its coverage of the Ashes.
Helen Hallett, Gisborne
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