Wishful thinking on fossil fuels is costing us dearly
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Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson
Wishful thinking on fossil fuels is costing us dearly
The most advanced attempt to export zero-emissions hydrogen from Australia to Asia has begun production in the Latrobe Valley (The Age, 12/3). Many coal workers hope to be employed in this new industry. The trouble is, the hydrogen production will not be emissions-free. Carbon dioxide is copiously produced as well, left over from processing the coal.
The carbon dioxide will be buried in depleted gas fields (carbon capture and storage). However, there is no known successful trial anywhere on the planet where this has worked at anything approaching the scale needed. We need to face the facts: fossil fuels are not suitable resources for an emissions-free future and this wishful thinking is costing us dearly.
We must make a go of renewable resources, despite them not seeming ideal for our current lifestyles. Is it time to adapt aspects of our lives for this different future?
Jill Dumsday, Ashburton
The issue of distribution into the national grid
The impending closure of Yallourn power station (The Age, 12/3) will bring new discussions about energy sources. Regardless of the federal government’s obligations to the coal industry, coal will be phased out in time. However, some issues with renewable energy are still to be resolved.
One is distribution from new generation sites into the national grid. What seems to make most sense is local distribution. Build wind/solar generators, add batteries, and supply the local area. So, for example, Ballarat might have its own supply, or East Gippsland or Broome.
Apart from removing the distribution cost problems, this would require smaller investment for each supplier, potentially allowing local or at least Australian ownership of utilities rather than leaving decisions to market-driven overseas owners and investors.
Owen Rye, Boolarra South
Planning closure of Loy Yang A and Loy Lang B
It is recognised that the biggest polluters are the developed countries. This is a plea to governments at all levels, and to shareholders, boards and CEOs of coal companies, to do more to protect our environment and health. The UN says developed countries need all coal power stations to close by 2030. Where is the plan for Loy Yang A and Loy Yang B following the announced early closure of Yallourn? Governments need to plan this, and make sure workers and communities are looked after through transition to new roles and meaningful jobs.
Louise Keramaris, East Doncaster
Some environmental questions for Morrison
A journalist needs to ask the Prime Minister: How many tonnes of brown coal are needed to generate one tonne of hydrogen? How safe is carbon capture and storage? What will be the effect on the planet when carbon capture and storage facilities fail, as they will sometimes? The Japanese had a problem with a nuclear plant. For those who are scientifically minded, would you please publish the chemical equation that shows how the conversion operates.
Howard Brownscombe, Brighton
The difficulty with investing in local companies
Ray Peck (Letters, 10/3) suggests investing in renewable energy shares. It is hard to find them on the Australian Stock Exchange. I invested in a wind energy company which has now been taken over by an international company. Most renewable shares are on international sharemarkets.
Barbara Trauer, Northcote
Jobs for sacked workers in renewable energy
EnergyAustralia has decided to close the dirty Yallourn station four years earlier than planned. It recognises rapid advances and uptake of renewable energy are making its business model unviable. Hopefully the workers who lose their jobs will find new opportunities in renewable energy. The only people who are unable to grasp this reality is our coal-obsessed federal government. It is time the government got on board.
Ross Hudson, Mount Martha
Taking a tough approach
On behalf of the people of this world who love to breathe fresh air, I would like to thank the European Union for its push to impose carbon levies on countries with weak emissions laws – “Australia to fight EU’s carbon tariffs” (The Age, 12/3). I hope it pressures our climate change-avoiding government and drags it, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.
Colin Walker, Heidelberg
Plea for consultation
The endangered Eltham copper butterfly has been found in bushland, near Montmorency station, which is about to be cleared as part of level crossing removals (The Age, 12/3). This highlights yet again the lack of due diligence by the Level Crossing Removal Authority.
Since residents discovered the station would be demolished, relocated and rebuilt, rather than upgraded, we have requested the authority’s documentation and reports relating to alternative design options, environmental impact, safety standards and traffic assessments.
None have been provided, which makes residents question if they have been undertaken at all. The Victorian government has ignored more than 1100 residents calling for a pause in the project for genuine consultation to take place.
Jane Plunkett, Montmorency
The long vaccine wait
When will the Morrison government move on from trying to convince an already convinced public that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and get a wriggle on in actually making them available?
My wife and I are in our 70s and definitely want the vaccine, but we have no idea when or where we will be able to get it. Our GP practice is not registered to administer it and say they do not know. Our local pharmacist says he does not know if he will be administering it. We look overseas and see mass vaccination centres administering the vaccine to masses of the public. The current “safe and steady as she goes” policy seems more like dithering and disorganisation.
Malcolm Morgan, Brunswick
Being a good neighbour
With 1741 known cases, COVID-19 is out of control in our nearest neighbour, Papua New Guinea. Because it is well under control here, why not pause our vaccine rollout and redirect it to PNG where it is more urgently needed? Then Australia would lead by example to encourage wealthy nations to “adopt” poorer ones by supplying them with vaccines and expertise. Otherwise these countries where COVID-19 is rampant may never receive the vaccine. What then?
Ray Higgs, Ferntree Gully
In Advertising and Marketing For Dummies 101, you will find an entire chapter devoted to the edict that it is best to under-promise and over-deliver. The government announced in January everyone in Australia would be vaccinated by the end of October. It would appear that is not going to happen. A case of over-promising and under-delivering. Clearly Scott Morrison was absent the day that chapter was discussed.
Jack Morris, Kennington
Airlines are the winners
Airline tickets will be sold at half price to 800,000 travellers in a federal government bid to help the tourism industry survive the pandemic (The Age, 12/3). The 50per cent discount is based on what price? Call me a cynic but my gut feeling is that the airlines will apply the discount to their highest, normal fare – whatever that is – and not their usual, discounted price. If they do that, there will not be all that many cheaper fares but it will be a boon for the airlines.
David Eames-Mayer, Balwyn
Expand tourism rescue
As a former CEO of Tourism Australia, from which he was allegedly sacked, you would expect Scott Morrison to be consultative with the tourism industry which employs many thousands of people, some of whom are in dire straits.
However, it seems he did not fully engage with tourism regions and operators before he launched the rescue package. It has plenty of funds for airlines but not for grassroots operators in the targeted destinations. Also, many regions missed out. Is this rushed initiative typical of the government’s pandemic initiatives – eg, JobKeeper, where the arts, universities and overseas students were overlooked? I hope more destinations, and funds for on-the-ground operators, will be added to the tourism package.
Denise Hassett, Mount Martha
In defence of Harry
Just over a year ago, actor Hugh Grant said: “I’m rather on Harry’s side. The tabloid press effectively murdered his mother, now they’re tearing his wife to pieces.” It is time to hold “The Firm” and the tabloids to account for their destructive practices.
Irene Renzenbrink, Clifton Hill
In defence of Meghan
Royalty is an anachronism and we should be a republic. The young couple who are trying to remove themselves from its straitjacket deserve our praise, particularly Meghan Markle who has lent her strength to her young man. She is articulate, strong and kind, and those who condemn her put me in mind of the vicious remarks of some towards Lindy Chamberlain. She, too, did not cry in public or give some sections of a preying media what they wanted, pathos and sensationalism. And this is why in the eyes of some they have both been condemned.
Vaughan Greenberg, Chewton
Doing republicans’ work
The good news is that we republicans can cease grinding our teeth at every grovelling press article about the monarchy. Why is this so? It is so because Harry and Meghan are doing everything possible to destroy, from the inside, this whole anachronism.
Venise Alstergren, Toorak
The poor, poor royals
I imagine that people in war-torn Yemen were mortified to learn that Kate had made Meghan cry. It could have a devastating impact on their comfortable lives. Time for some perspective.
Allan Lowry, Brighton East
Clear the innocent
We know that neither the Queen nor Prince Philip made the racist comment prior to Archie’s birth. That leaves a lot of other royals under suspicion. Harry and Meghan need to clear the majority of royals by stating who the racist is. Otherwise the slur remains.
Keith Donovan, Mount Eliza
Struggling in the dark
I have a My Aged Care Level 2 package for assistance at home. There is a choice of 82 providers in the Geelong region where I live. There is no assessment provided of any of these, so the consumer is flying blind. Information is only provided online, with nothing in print available from My Aged Care.
I am fortunate that I had already been receiving excellent care in my home from the City of Greater Geelong for quite a few years. However, I have no idea how people, new to the system, could make an informed choice of provider. Given the dichotomy of views of the commissioners at the royal commission, I feel this will be a continuation of the current system, with no benefits to consumers. A travesty of what aged care should be about.
Jan Laidlaw, Newtown
On the footpath outside St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne are photos, complete with brief outlines, of nine Australians who, over the years, witnessed injustices committed by officials in aged care, detention centres, spying in East Timor and other agencies. They have been hounded and some even persecuted for daring to raise these issues. It would be good for everyone to see these photos.
Kerry McInerney, Mornington
Analysis of our pollies
Dan Andrews’ accident was very bad luck. As Steve Melzer (Letters, 11/3) notes, most politicians don’t have a spine, but I can assure you that after many years of medical practice, I have noted that most of them are also gutless and heartless and that is why people can see through them so easily.
Dr Mick O’Ryan, Mount Eliza
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
Who needs soap operas or reality TV when we’ve got The Hazzie and Megsie Show?
Lisa Bishop, Macleod
Meghan and Harry: yawn.
John Shearer, Wodonga
English “royalty”, Father Christmas and the tooth fairy share a reassuring fiction. Children grow out of the last two, adults cling to the former.
Des Files, Brunswick
How is it that Harry can opt out of the royal family and I can’t?
John Sutton, Brunswick West
As soon as Donald Trump ceased to be king of distraction, Meghan and Harry stepped up to the plate.
John Laurie, Newport
The old Sports Rorts is back in a new guise: Tourism Rorts. When will the Coalition learn?
Dermot Mcintosh, Bacchus Marsh
Is there a colour-coded spreadsheet behind the cheap flight scheme?
Marg Ludowyk, Brunswick
Re subsiding cheap flights. Subsidise electric vehicles instead and reduce carbon.
Barb Wright, Fitzroy
Scott Morrison, our new Minister for Marketing, Photo Opportunities and Self-preservation.
David Mandara, Hepburn Springs
Greg Lee (11/3,) I wonder how long Daniel Andrews had to wait for an ambulance and at emergency?
Pam Swirski, Berwick
Mr Morrison, an inquiry re Porter needs to be held. No amount of spin will make this go away.
Edward Lithgow, Maryborough
Please, Juliette Altermatt (12/3), don’t knock Zits’ lighthearted (and clever) humour. It’s my morning chuckle.
Vivienne Fry, Beaumaris
Is Zits in line to be “Seussed”?
Bill Pell, Emerald
Yes, parents must share the load in teaching children about respectful relationships and consent (12/3).
Glenise Michaelson, Montmorency
If Yallourn’s early closure is a sign of the times, Adani must be a sign of a stranded asset.
John Walsh, Watsonia
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