Will the world’s leaders have the courage to act?
Credit:Illustration: Jim Pavlidis
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Will the world’s leaders have the courage to act?
The promises that politicians make at COP26 are unlikely to be enough to stop dangerous climate change. If we humans really want to do this, we need to dramatically change the way we live, and quickly. The trouble is the global economic system that we have created depends for its survival on levels of over-production and over-consumption that are proving too much for our poor planet to bear. The system is unable to effectively factor in the natural limits of our physical world and now we are paying the price in the form of a crisis that may well threaten our long-term survival as a species.
But these levels of production and consumption bring us so much that we enjoy and take for granted. Effective and timely action will involve changes to our wasteful lifestyle that we may not like. So it is understandable that politicians from around the world will be reluctant to agree to the changes that are necessary, but will interfere with our continued enjoyment of the benefits and also their chances of remaining in power.
Kim Bessant, Footscray
This is a critical issue that is above tribal politics
A real plan is a detailed pathway towards a desired future, transparently underpinned by well-researched evidence. The Prime Minister’s aspirational wish list of unsupported ideas is not a plan.
This lack of credibility is exacerbated by his continuing habit of mouthing things which are not true. There is not 100per cent support in the government for his plan, and 70per cent of voters do not agree that his ephemeral approach to climate change and energy management is the “Australian way”.
This is not a tribal, party-political issue, where the primary goal is to wedge the opposition. We can no longer afford the economic, environmental and health damage caused by a decade of inaction. Government by slogan and spin is costing us dearly and passing on an enormous debt and challenge to our children and grandchildren.
William Chandler, Surrey Hills
The people want real action, not empty words
Oh goodness. Another press conference from Scott Morrison full of announcements about the “Australian way” of dealing with the threats of climate change catastrophe. No action, but plans, plans, plans. Lines from My Fair Lady come to mind: “Words words, words, I’m so sick of words … Is that all you blighters can do? … Show me”.
I sadly echo Eliza Doolittle’s plea for action. Well, to be fair, the government has restored to Cabinet Keith Pitt, a coal industry advocate. Action enough for some people I guess. Not for me.
Margaret Robertson, Fitzroy North
Where are the policies and research and detail?
The government finally accepting a commitment to net zero by 2050 is welcome. However, in every other respect this “Australia plan” is extremely disappointing. There are no new policies and no revision to the 2030 targets. As a signatory to the Paris Agreement, Australia is obliged to review and increase its 2030 targets. By not doing so we are in breach of our commitments.
The plan boasts about our reductions in emissions of more than 20per cent from the 2005 levels. However, nearly all of that is because we are allowed to include as reductions land that might have been cleared but that, as a result of state regulations, has not been cleared. We have not actually reduced greenhouse emissions at all.
The plan’s reliance on future technology “breakthroughs” and “trends”, none of which are specified, is ludicrous. It confirms that this government does not get it. We need a plan for real change.
Rowan Russell, Queenscliff
How will under-funded unis develop the technology?
Scott Morrison’s insistence that Australia’s carbon reduction target will be achieved by “technology, not taxes” sits curiously with his government’s contempt for universities. He might like to remember that technological advances, like scientific advances, depend heavily on university research. Perhaps restoring and increasing university funding would help.
Juliet Flesch, Kew
We need to price carbon
Tony Abbott’s government did a great disservice to Australia by removing the emissions trading scheme in 2014 and Scott Morrison is continuing to let our community down. Pricing carbon is the most direct and efficient way to bring down emissions as made clear by UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutterres (The Age, 28/10).
Price signals and the economic imperatives they create result in rapid changes in behaviour by businesses, consumers and governments. The measures relied on in the government’s “plan” to reduce carbon emissions – new and future technology and carbon capture and storage – are vague, costly and may not be delivered in a timely way. Trying to bribe or talk polluters around instead of compelling them to change their practices via market signals will cost much to taxpayers and be too little, too late.
Jane Robins, Moonee Ponds
Our very persuasive PM
How does he do it? First, he fools Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. Then British Prime Minister Boris Johnson praises his zero policy as “heroic”. No wonder our marketing prime minister expects to fool the Australian electorate.
Geoff Payne, Mornington
Our freeloading country
Putting a price on carbon and planning to restrict the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles is driving successful research into renewable energy and battery technology in countries which are committed to addressing climate change. Scott Morrison apparently assumes Australia can reap the benefits of that work without doing much apart from producing glossy booklets.
Our Prime Minister likes football metaphors. He would have Australia prance and preen around the edges of scrums, never going for the hard ball. Then triumphant, and smirking proudly, we can blend with our perspiring teammates, leaving the field with barely a bead of sweat. Anyone with a shred of national pride will cringe as Morrison shames us again in Glasgow.
Norman Huon, Port Melbourne
Morrison must face reality
How can our Prime Minister keep preferencing the futures of National Party members and the fossil fuel industry over the futures of his daughters? Perhaps he thinks that the race to dominate space will see his girls living on another planet. He certainly is.
Anne Carroll, Brighton East
Yes PM, we all know
As Scott Morrison says, Australians know … that his climate policies are fiction, that they are designed to achieve net zero actions, that state premiers and businesses set and beat emissions targets and act as proxy for an Australian government that cannot agree and fund a national plan. He speaks with conviction, spreading his arms to include us in his confidence. Does he not see our faces? He should be afraid of what we know.
Suzanne Miles, Frankston South
Desperately seeking plans
Prime Minister, now that the bushfire season is almost upon us and given the catastrophic fires of last summer in the United States and Europe, do you have a “plan” so that we may prepare for it? Could there possibly be a connection with your plan for the COP26 summit in Glasgow? Will we be left to burn again?
Coralie Ewert, Oakleigh East
A whole lot of hot air
The spin from Canberra must surely be condemned by COP26 as a significant contribution to the heating of the planet beyond 1.5degrees, not just by 2050 but also by 2030. Scott Morrison deserves the credit.
Martin Shaw, Mirboo North
A shameful investment
Elizabeth Knight – “What would it take for Crown to actually lose its licence?” (Business, 27/10) – writes of “the non-Packer shareholders who invested in the company in good faith”. The only “faith” they showed was that there would be a continuing stream of suckers parting with portions of their hard-earned in futile defiance of gambling’s iron law – “the house always wins” – and thereby assuring shareholder dividends.
The bigger the losses, the better for shareholders. I can detect no “good” in that. Long before Ray Finkelstein’s evisceration of Crown, Blind Freddie could see that industrial-scale gambling was an intrinsically compromised business. Should all Crown shareholders be taking a good, hard look at themselves? You betcha.
Frank Hurley, Alfredton
Naughty, naughty Crown
The Age and 60 Minute journalists caught Crown with its pants down. The commissioner’s report has let them pull them back up with nothing more than a slap on the wrist.
Sam Bando, St Kilda East
Wanted, common sense
How revealing was the survey of the educational qualifications of federal MPs (The Age, 28/10)? I was struck that only a combined 13per cent had a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) or medicine degree and most of these were female.
Overall, our female MPs have higher educational qualifications than their male counterparts, yet women remain under-represented. However, it is not all about qualifications. One National MP recently said wind farms did not work at night. It is clear that we also need MPs with a good dose of common sense and real-world experience.
Amy Hiller, Kew
Young and beautiful again
Last week the streets were full of older, grey-haired walkers. This week they have been replaced by spritely, blond youngsters. Hairdressers or fountains of youth?
Paul Gooley, Ringwood East
On Wednesday (ABC News), Daniel Andrews defended his government’s bill which will curtail the chief health officer’s powers, and give the premier authority to declare a pandemic and the health minister the role of making public health orders (The Age, 27/10). Andrews said, “It’s the minister who has to answer to Parliament.” But for much of 2021 the Parliament, at the government’s behest, did not sit. Where is the ministerial accountability in that?
Thomas Hogg, East Melbourne
Isn’t 90% high enough?
Now that it seems the fully vaccinated rate in Victoria will exceed 90per cent, I do not see why the unvaccinated should be locked out of cafes, restaurants, shops, church services, footy games and so on throughout 2022.
I thought the whole point of getting our levels so high was that herd immunity would allow us all, regardless of our vaccination status, to gather safely together again and be one state. I write this as someone who is double vaccinated.
Daniel King, Dingley Village
Something is very wrong
I am struggling to understand the logic of this. So when we hit the 80per cent vaccination rate (this weekend), the unvaccinated can go retail shopping. But when 90per cent of Victorians aged over 12 are double-vaccinated, on about November, 24, those who have not received both jabs will be locked out (The Age, 28/10). Doesn’t it work the other way?
Andrew Laird, Malvern
Hours of frustration
It is comforting to hear that unvaccinated shoppers are being given a period of grace. What about double-vaccinated individuals who are unable to download proof of vaccination from a poorly designed, Kafkaesquely complicated, unnecessarily detailed myGov portal? The blogs are full of critical comments from exasperated applicants. I have lost count of the hours vainly spent at my workstation. A letter to my local MP has so far remained unanswered.
Dino Bressan, Ivanhoe
Rules before celebrities
How things change. In 2015 Johnny Depp and Amber Heard brought their dogs, Pistol and Boo, into the country in breach of quarantine laws. They were immediately informed of the possible fatal penalty and the dogs, in Barnaby Joyce speak, were told to “bugger off”, which they did. Why are we now even considering that tennis players should not have to play by the rules and be given an exemption from regulations? Have we become even more in thrall to celebrity? The Australian Open will be exciting and a great success without them. Let us hope that any player given an exemption will find their matches are boycotted.
Heather Barker, Albert Park
Trust the professionals
Perhaps those people who are advising businesses not to check the vaccination status of their customers might like to share their legal, public health, or epidemiological qualifications. As someone who does not have any of those, I will continue to trust the advice of those who do.
Michael Nicholls, Travancore
Putting others first
Our local library has issued a list of rules for us to follow when entering the building. The last one says: “Be patient and kind.” If only we could apply that rule to all of our dealings in society.
Sandra Torpey, Hawthorn
Seeking Labor’s views
Your correspondent (Letters, 27/10) says that for Labor to win the federal election, “it needs to either sharpen its message or change the leadership team”. This either/or is not the recipe for a victory. Just changing the leaders only counts if it better sells a coherent Labor message – of which to date voters have no real idea.
Peter Drum, Coburg
On reading Miki Perkins’ article – “Health fears on silica dust at quarry” (The Age, 25/10) – one has to question the long-term goals of the Ross Trust. Imagine a proposal that protected the precious 94acres of pristine habitat left on the Peninsula and provided an educational resource for sustainable practice and a progressive site for ecotourism. Wouldn’t that be something?
Kate Dalheimer, Shoreham
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
Again, smoke and mirrors from Morrison. But this time more smoke and less reflection.
Edward Combes, Wheelers Hill
The dog ate my modelling.
Craig Dickason, Heatherton
And here I was thinking the PLAN (Protect Liberals And Nationals) was about climate change.
David Gould, Richmond
Mr Morrison, your way might be uniquely Australian but it’s not my way.
Lloyd Shield, Moonee Ponds
Didn’t technology get us into this mess? What makes anyone think it will get us out of it?
Malcolm Morgan, Brunswick
No Rod Moore (27/10). Scott needs to take Sir Les Patterson to Glasgow.
Dianne Foggo, Kyneton
Our “uniquely Australian” PM has found an emissions target slogan.
Barry O’Neill, Menzies Creek
How many people make it to Parliament with a work/life experience primarily limited to their party machines?
Giuseppe Corda, Aspendale
Will voters unable to produce ID be fined for failing to comply with the compulsory voting law?
Peter Bennett, Clifton Hill
Morrison’s voting ID law is a Trump law.
Barbara Lynch, South Yarra
A wise man told me that politicians require integrity, intellect and temperament. How many of our current ones tick these boxes?
Barry James, Lilydale
Pandemic legislation. Oh Dan, in one fell swoop you’ve lost the good will you built up during COVID-19.
Lyn Beaumont, Bentleigh
Australian Open. Advantage Dan.
Terry McKiterick, Echuca
Casinos: only good for tax collectors and tax dodgers.
Keith Robinson, Glen Waverley
As Bob Dylan sang, “Money doesn’t talk, it swears”.
Chris Burgess, Port Melbourne
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