Boris Johnson’s stance is not without precedent
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CLIMATE CHANGE & RENEWABLES
Boris Johnson’s stance is not without precedent
The article by your Europe correspondent about Boris Johnson’s climate change stance (“Under the canopy”, Insight, 30/10) characterises it is an unlikely one for a conservative politician.
Often forgotten is the stance taken in the late 1980s by then UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher over a similarly crucial global climate threat: the destruction, by our use of synthetic gases, of the ozone layer, which protects us from life-destroying ultraviolet radiation.
Baroness Thatcher, unusually for a politician, was trained in science: she early on understood the threat and was instrumental in ensuring the early adoption by the global community of measures to turn the situation around.
We can now see those efforts bearing fruit: let us hope Mr Johnson’s endeavours have a similarly successful outcome.
Peter Price, Southbank
After the power outage, our battery got us through
After an extreme storm in Bendigo on Thursday afternoon, our area lost power from the grid for more than eight hours. Up to this point we had had a sunny day so our house battery was full.
As our suburb lost power, our system instantaneously switched to battery. We were able to do all the things that we normally do with our solar power overnight and the next morning. That evening we drove to the supermarket in our electric vehicle. It was full of free fuel from our solar panels. No $1.70-ish petrol for us.
The following morning our battery was still half full, the sun came out, so it filled up yet again. For the last year we have been 87 per cent self powered.
Of course there will be times when we have to draw from the grid but, we put much more power back into the grid than what we use over a 12-month period. We accept that perhaps we need to continue to modify the way we live and we believe this is worthwhile, because by doing so we will be leaving a better place for our children and grandchildren to live in.
Trish Randles, Strathdale
There is no ‘Australian way’ for this
Can someone explain to Mr Morrison that there is no “Australian way” when it comes to climate change.
Climate change doesn’t recognise borders. Like the pandemic, it needs an international and systematic response. We could start in our own neighbourhood, as many extremely serious environmental problems are taking place right now in Western Papua, Indonesia, Malaysia and, of course, China.
We also need to sort out our own backyard: the Murray-Darling Basin problems, excessive heat in the cities, the coral bleaching problem, land clearing, antiquated public transport, too many
cars, etc. etc. We don’t need a plan to get another mob of feeble politicians re-elected.
Jeff McCormack, Javoricko, Czech Republic
We apparently live in some Disneyland
As usual, Ross Gittins nails it (“Praying for costless climate change: Lord, send a miracle”, Business, 30/10). Scott Morrison and his spineless Coalition mimics take us all for mugs with a “plan” for costless climate change.
We apparently live in some Disneyland, where there are no costs associated with past excesses or policy failures. Our Prime Minister resembles a health guru assuring morbidly obese clients that they can reduce weight with no changes to diet or lifestyle, because a miracle drug is just around the corner.
Norman Huon, Port Melbourne
The future is not with gas
On Friday morning, sitting in my well-lit house, I enjoyed bacon, an egg, mushrooms and a coffee followed by a hot shower, courtesy of my solar panels and contemplated the future of our planet if we don’t phase out gas appliances in the home (“Thank heavens for gas”, Letters, 30/10).
Barry Doyle, Portarlington
Living with pokies
Thank you for the excellent article (“Pokies reform in spotlight”, Insight, 30/10) on whether Victoria will ever be able to manage its poker machine problem.
It’s good and beyond time that Crown Resorts royal commissioner Ray Finkelstein understands that a compulsory pre-commitment scheme is essential for Victoria to manage its pokie machines safely in a way that respects the rights of pokie users to basic consumer protections.
It will be important for the wider Victorian community and prominent consumer protection and health promotion organisations to closely monitor the implementation of this recommendation.
Victoria can live with pokie machines if we regulate them so that potential gamblers know about their risks and harms and have a measure of control over their use. At present, they don’t.
Hopefully, our state government will plan to withdraw gradually from the saturation point pokie machines have reached in our neighbourhoods – the clubs and pubs in suburbs and country towns – because this is where most of the harm, sadness and loss occurs
Kate Sommerville, Richmond
There is no problem to fix
Your correspondent claims that our voting system is open to abuse (“… it does need fixing”, Letters, 31/10), but the Australian Electoral Commission has found almost no evidence of voter fraud over multiple elections.
Compulsory voter ID laws are unnecessary and would simply add expense and complexity to our voting process, as well as disenfranchising many voters. The laws are, quite simply, a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.
James Proctor, Maiden Gully
Bert Newton was a regular customer at the bank where I worked. He would stand in line, no wig, and nobody would recognise him.
It always amused us staff to watch the customers as soon as Bert started speaking to us. You could just see them looking around thinking “I recognise that voice” but not quite sure who or where.
Marie Nash, Balwyn
Patriotism is a good thing when it means taking pride in Australia’s physical beauty and our unique flora and fauna, barracking for people representing our country and basking in their reflected glory. But we should be wary of those who appropriate patriotism for their political messaging.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Australian flag lapel pin and face mask are harmless enough. They at least reminded US President Joe Biden where he came from.
But when Mr Morrison labels his sham climate “policy” as “the Australian way” and shares this to the world in our name he is straying into cynical and manipulative political marketing. This ploy is redolent of prime minister John Howard’s “we will decide who comes to Australia” slogan.
Deceit and delay may be the Australian way for some, but if opinion polls mean anything, most Australians are eager for more real action on climate change and are embarrassed by this government’s continuing obfuscation on the issue and its vapid non-policy.
Scott Morrison is certainly not the first politician who tries to sell himself or a dud policy by disingenuously embracing jingoistic patriotism, but Australians would be wise to recall the words of Samuel Johnson: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”
Graeme Henchel, Yarra Glen
It’s bigger than politics
The writing is on the wall, writ large, when it comes to climate change and the ability for Australia to be a major force for global good, pivoting from digging fossil fuels out of the ground to harnessing the almost limitless supply of renewable energy sources.
The “plan” produced by the government in recent weeks is an embarrassment to Australia as a nation, and disrespectful to the population as a whole who want a sustainable future for their descendants, not to mention the battered flora and fauna of our fragile planet.
This issue is bigger than politics. Collaborate, co-operate and consult with true experts to generate a spin-free road map towards a sustainable future. The clock is well and truly ticking.
Stephen Smith, Elwood
The underground option
Your correspondent who was so glad that he has gas as an alternative to electric power should consider why his gas is working and not the electricity (“Thank heavens for gas”, Letters, 30/10).
This is because gas is put underground, while electricity is supplied by unsafe and unsightly overhead wiring. This leaves electricity supply at the whim of nature, bushfire and overhead contact by trucks, etc.
When considering the immense cost of repair and the ramifications of lack of power to areas, surely there should be consideration of putting the electricity supply underground, especially in areas where supply is constantly at risk.
Doris LeRoy, Altona
A catastrophic act
Saturday marked 15 years since the release of the landmark Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, which definitively concluded that “the benefits of strong, early action on climate change far outweigh the costs of not acting”.
It is a catastrophic act of culpability that a decade-and-a-half later Australia, an affluent nation generating one of the highest per-capita levels of carbon pollution, remains a recalcitrant laggard rather than global leader in heeding this wisdom, even if only for our self-interest.
Rod Duncan, Brunswick East
Let’s see what emerges
So Facebook is transitioning to the new corporate name of Meta – probably in an attempt to separate the business arm from the considerable negative press about Facebook the product.
Is it a transition or a metamorphosis? The answer to that question will be determined by whether a butterfly emerges, or just another grub.
Mark Thomson, Beaumaris
He’s right about this
I have never been a particular fan of the right-wing politics of Liberal senator Eric Abetz during his lengthy parliamentary career, but I concur wholeheartedly with him when he says that Australia would be “duty bound” to help defend Taiwan in a war with China and with his push for “full diplomatic relations” with the democratic island nation amid its growing diplomatic tensions with the People’s Republic of China.
Yes, Senator Abetz, Australia should definitely end its “One China” policy with regard to Taiwan, even if doing this does anger our country’s largest trading partner – China.
Eric Palm, Gympie, Qld
A diversionary tactic
While our Prime Minister is overseas telling everyone how he will save the world by doing the bare minimum, one of his team runs up the flagpole the fabulous idea of lengthening voting queues by having us fumble for our identity papers to prove we are entitled to vote.
I have a number of thoughts on voting matters, but why should I waste time by considering this piece of fluff when I should be focused on what our marketing man is doing in Scotland?
Then again, the distraction worked, at least for a day or two.
Andrew Moloney, Frankston
It’s feasible now
Parnell Palme McGuinness (“We’ll COP a bill to woo the green dollars”, Opinion, 31/10) repeats the mantra that “for many years, renewable technology wasn’t capable of powering a developed economy” and “still isn’t”.
This ignores the huge developments in wind and solar energy that have actually made it perfectly possible to fully power a developed economy like ours.
Certainly it requires a lot of investment, but it is investment in our children’s future. Widespread wind and solar from places where there is a lot of sun and wind, connected to a much strengthened Australia-wide electricity grid and backed up by battery and pumped hydro storage, is perfectly feasible for Australia now. It just requires some vision from the federal government – that’s where the problem is.
Scott Morrison talks about “technology not taxes”, but we need the taxes to pay for the technology, which already exists. The economic returns on that investment of our taxes will be widespread as Australia becomes a clean energy superpower exporting “green” energy and materials.
But more particularly, it is an investment in helping to make the world a safer place for our children.
Keith Burrows, Fairfield
I know that whether or not Bill Gates, Andrew Forrest and Harry and Meghan fly in private jets is not the main issue when it comes to addressing climate change.
Or whether or not those of us who are more fortunate in life live inan unnecessarily large house (or houses).
But if billionaires (and the prosperous) won’t accept the smallest inconvenience or change in their lives, we can’t ask a Queensland coal miner to lose their job.
Stephen Minns, South Yarra
Here we go again
And so it came to pass that “Chaddy” was open again. The faithful, drawn by its irresistible gravitational pull, flocked in their multitudes and there was no space for “social distancing”.
And despite signs and announcements stating that masks must be worn in the centre, and exhortations to “do the right thing”, the usual cohort of those too tough, too cool and too sexy to mask up paraded conspicuously, while COVID “safety officers” and “security guards” either ignored them or looked on impotently.
Deborah Morrison, Malvern East
AND ANOTHER THING
The bath is overflowing. But don’t panic, the tap will be turned off in 29 years’ time.
Graeme Perry, Skye
I don’t know how Scott Morrison is going to sell his climate policy to the meeting in Glasgow when he hasn’t sold it to us, the Australian public.
Rita Reid, Port Melbourne
The only significant “carbon capture” we will see is the capture of the Nationals by the coal lobby.
John Uren, Blackburn
If it is “not taxes” funding our transition to zero carbon and the National Party’s sweetener then what is?
Frank Gallo, Coburg
The nations that burn coal together stay together, all of a sudden China’s our best mate in the coal stakes.
Greg Bardin, Altona North
Will I need ID to get a democracy sausage?
Marisa Spiller, Harrietville
If a person goes to a voting booth but is not allowed to vote because they can’t produce appropriate ID, will they then get a fine for not complying with compulsory voting laws?
Peter Neuhold, Elsternwick
Perhaps Crown casino should follow in Facebook’s steps and rebrand. The Laundromat seems apposite.
David Price, Camberwell
Millions spent unnecessarily for PPE? It was a mad rush and I expected worse (“Millions wasted in COVID scramble”, The Age, 28/120). Well done to those concerned.
Rex Niven, Eltham
The outpouring of public emotion following the passing of Bert Newton is palpable. Quite touching and well deserved.
Michael Gamble, Belmont
There goes a big part of Melbourne. Farewell, Bert.
Paul Custance, Highett
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