PM needs to find a way forward on emissions

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CLIMATE CRISIS

PM needs to find a way forward on emissions

The report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“Exhaustive process offers no good news”, The Age, 10/8) makes disturbing but unsurprising reading. We are headed for a “global catastrophe”. This makes it even more confounding and infuriating that our federal government is refusing to set a zero emissions target by 2050.

The Great Barrier Reef destruction is receiving worldwide attention. The UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow starts on October 31 and already Australia is lagging behind many nations in supporting alternative energy projects. Wildfires are raging in the northern hemisphere with unprecedented high temperatures. More large ice masses have melted.

The Coalition has recommended that the Climate Change Bill presented to the House of Representatives recently not be adopted. Many groups supported and made submissions to the inquiry in support of the Bill initiated by NSW independent Zali Steggall. The LNP chair, Ted O’Brien, made some unconvincing arguments. One of the worst was that the government could not commit to a hard target without knowing the methodology of how it would be achieved. This is mind-blowing; the government has had years to develop a plan.

We implore the LNP to find courage to develop a way forward on this issue.
Jan Marshall, Brighton

We continue on the present trajectory at our peril
The alarm bells are ringing. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is “a code red for humanity” (“‘Still in the control cabin’: Time running out to limit warming, IPCC says”, The Age, 9/8).

Australia has already experienced the devastation of extreme bushfires and warmed about 1.4 degrees since 1910. Still, we continue to hear empty rhetoric from the government who are squabbling over whether or not we should set a net zero target for 2050. This should be an absolute minimum. Reading the IPCC report, there cannot be any doubt that climate change is a result of human activity. We continue our current trajectory at our own peril. It is my hope that our elected representatives act decisively so our children can inherit a habitable home.
Amy Hiller, Kew

Labor has to step up on emissions reduction targets
The latest IPCC climate report is yet another stark warning that we simply cannot continue to greedily plunder the planet’s resources without dire consequences for future generations. Federal Labor needs to show some leadership backbone and set ambitious emissions reduction targets, and offer a plan for a transition to a green economy – just like the Biden administration is doing in the US. This would finally offer voters a choice between the two major parties at the next federal election.
Peter Bainbridge, Altona

Power to force change is in our hands
It would be easy to sink into a quagmire of despair after reading articles detailing the IPCC’s latest report. Peter Hannam (“Seven top takeaways from the latest outlook”, The Age, 10/8) leaves no doubt we must up our ambitions on climate action immediately, while Nick O’Malley summed it up perfectly when he wrote the “document still plots a course to global catastrophe”.

With recent floods in Germany, fires in Greece and heatwaves engulfing North America the news is not unexpected, and reminds us that action is the antidote to despair and every Australian of voting age has the power to change the course of history.

If, like me, you are depressed, angry and frustrated by the Morrison government’s weak 2030 emissions reduction target, refusal to commit to net zero emissions by 2050 and commitment to a backward-looking gas-led recovery, you can choose to vote for someone who commits to real action on climate change. If enough of us step up and vote for the climate, our elected representatives can implement the changes we need to bring about a safe and hopeful future.
Matilda Bowra, Fitzroy North

THE FORUM

Legal discrimination
The story of the sacking of Steph Lentz from a Christian school because she is gay is disheartening (“Teachers in firing line over sexuality”, The Age, 10/8). Once again, religion demonstrates how it can shatter lives based on the application of regressive beliefs and associated discriminations to control people. While there are a handful of progressive religious denominations that don’t have institutionalised hang-ups and futile obsessions with controlling sex, it is bewildering that we have anti-discrimination laws to morally protect the vulnerable, but religious institutions are given an exemption to abandon that inconvenient moral. Religious freedom must not be used as a shield to legitimise discrimination.
Paul Miller, Box Hill South

Debate required
Two teachers talk of their sacking from their religious schools due to their sexuality. Same old discrimination for same-sex attracted people. Not all religious schools, however, as one of the sacked teachers point out, see LGBTQI teachers or students as an issue. The religious community as a whole needs to have the courage to question those parts of their doctrine that are at odds with society. This is not new and we all know there are many parts of the Bible, for example, that are no longer seen as relevant.

This, to me, is the debate we need to have. Not the unquestioned right to discriminate based on religion. Especially now with the federal government determined to introduce its Religious Discrimination Bill.
Ange Mackie, Coburg

There is another choice
Judith Bessant and Rob Watts (“Don’t let Labor waste a good crisis, Albanese”, The Age, 9/8) say “an increasing number of Australians believe it makes little if any difference which party is in office”. Why don’t they mention that there is another choice? Now that the UN report has warned about the climate crisis we are facing, everyone should vote for the Greens, who have the best policies on the climate emergency, inequality and a range of issues.
Barbara Trauer, Northcote

Time for drastic change
Bravo, Professors Judith Bessant and Rob Watts. For years we have been expected to swallow the ethos of the advantages of privatisation, deregulation and decreased taxation. As they have pointed out this has led to “an increasingly unequal society”, and an erosion of public services. So-called competition has also led to the increasing exploitation of workers in Australia and offshore, as companies, constantly seek to lower labour costs.

These policies and the promotion of perpetual growth go hand in hand in reducing sustainability and increasing our contribution to the rise of global temperatures. No more nibbling around the edges. It is time for a drastic change.
Rita Thorpe, Coburg

Future destroyed
Not satisfied with the cruelty award for robo-debt and refugees, the poor governance awards for sports rorts and car parks, the Prime Minister now hits the trifecta with the Australia extinction award for his failure to address climate change as he drives us ever onward into more catastrophic bushfires and floods and droughts (“Time running out to limit warming, IPCC says”, The Age, 9/8). Add failures on COVID-19 vaccination purchases, and he’s destroyed futures for us all.
Peta Colebatch, Hawthorn

Incumbent PM
The ongoing pork-barrelling and sleights of hand that pass for government spending these days are disgraceful. Does Scott Morrison understand the role of being the Prime Minister insofar that he is responsible for ministerial behaviour and therefore complicit in their actions? Or does he just choose to ignore it? I suspect the latter.

To blithely trot out the same old response that the “minister concerned is responsible” is very much his modus operandi to dodge accountability. He is not a leader, he is merely an incumbent in the office of PM.
Stephen Farrelly, Donvale

Humanist option
For the ninth time, I filled in my Census form. The first eight times, I ticked the box “No religion”. Yesterday I thought that “no religion” looks negative – an empty, barren space, a lack of beliefs. And remembered that the etymology of “religion” is from the Latin verb “religare”, to bind, to connect. So I ticked the box “Other” and wrote “Humanist”.
Mirna Cicioni, Brunswick East

Bias concerns
As a taxpayer who funds the ABC, I have increasingly become concerned at its bias in reporting political issues. I am encouraged to read that staff have been reminded of their obligations as employees (“ABC boss warns staff over social media”, The Age, 10/8). At the very least ABC journalists need to be perceived to be independent.
Sidra de Zoysa, Glen Iris

Vaccinate children
The Therapeutic Goods Administration has provisionally approved Pfizer vaccine for those 12 and over and AstraZeneca for those 18 and over. When 80 per cent of the adult population are vaccinated that leaves about 35 per cent of the total population unvaccinated. This will include a large group of totally unprotected children. We are now hearing that children are more susceptible to infection from the Delta variant and the long-term effects are largely unknown. Surely our leaders are not prepared to sacrifice the health of our children in the name of adult “freedom” and economic growth. I can only hope that we implement a concerted program to vaccinate a large proportion of children before any announcement of “freedom day” comes.
Michael Wade, Wantirna

Elitist and belittling
There is enough disparity and inequity, particularly in these difficult times, so it was disappointing to read that some residents of Hawthorn are opposing a public/cheaper housing initiative. They blame lack of consultation regarding the proposal, which may have some credence, but then go on to cite “antisocial behaviour” and pe“ople with complex needs” as a further reason for opposing the plan. This is elitist, selfish and belittling. Sadly the NIMBY apologists are alive and well.
Jenni Beer, Capel Sound

Olympic spend worthwhile
The multimillion-dollar funding was well worth it when you consider Olympic feats and medals inspire future generations to participate in a variety of sports with health benefits. Compare this to a so-called sport – the grand prix – that disrupts local sport every year, has wasted a billion dollars of taxpayers’ money and does nothing for the health or well-being of one single Victorian.
Peter Logan, South Melbourne

Only one planet
Listening to Angus Taylor’s response to the latest IPCC report – no worries, still “aiming” for net zero emissions by 2050 – I wanted to say, Wh“at planet are you on?” But unfortunately, the answer is the same one I’m on. We’re all on. And the worries, like the catastrophic consequences, are multiplying.
David Baxter, Mornington

Screening issue
Your correspondent (“A critical check missing”, Letters, 8/8) would like to see temperature scanning more widely used to screen for potential COVID-19 cases. However, the evidence now available does not support the use of temperature screening as a useful tool.

The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute concluded last year that benefits of widespread temperature screening are limited. Fever is a common symptom of COVID-19, but temperature screening has many limitations and may not be a better screener than other symptoms.
Widespread screening would be costly in terms of technology and staff resourcing. In most settings, the limitations of screening for temperature are unlikely to be outweighed by the benefits for increased detection of COVID-19.
John Togno, Mandurang

Equal fabric for all
Female athletes should have the right to be treated equally to their male counterparts: equal amounts of fabric for their uniforms.

To sexualise and exploit these amazing Olympic female athletes in unnecessarily brief uniforms in this day and age is discriminatory and antiquated. I applaud Pink for “singing out” about this issue.
Corinne Haber, Caulfield North

Vaccine appreciation
I think we should pause and be thankful for the science behind these marvellous vaccines and to the scientists who have devoted their lives to the mechanisms behind them. While listening and trying to ignore the angry, impatient and entitled, I can only be amazed at the speed and effectiveness of the development and deployment of these vaccines.

We should be thankful, patient and responsible to our community so that we can keep our hospital systems and hospital staff from being overwhelmed.
Lou Piscopo, Ascot Vale

Callous inconsistency
By ignoring calls to build effective quarantine facilities and bungling the vaccine rollout, our government has left more than 35,000 Australians stranded overseas. Now, dropping another inhumane bombshell, it has denied Australians who live and work abroad permission to return after visiting families and loved ones here (“Expats denied permission to leave”, The Age, 10/8).

This law comes into effect today. It threatens that citizens may be arbitrarily forced to remain in Australia, by denying them permission to go back to the countries in which they work and live.
Why not just announce quotas for expats wanting to return, as we have done for other Australians overseas? If we really have to be so callous in our fight against COVID, at least show some consistency.
Ernest Raetz, Northcote

AND ANOTHER THING …

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Climate change
Are we awake now Australia? Time to vote out the government tied to the fossil fuel industry.
Cynthia Humphreys, Toorak

So again Scomo will bury his head in the sand on climate change. When he comes up again, will he hope that someone else has taken responsibility for it?
Jane Taylor, Newport

Does the term “existential threat” really convey the disaster we are facing, or do we need a stronger expression to stir our politicians to serious action?
Joan Peverell, Malvern

The Coalition’s climate deferral mantras have worn so thin they are becoming transparent – the coal seams are showing through.
Greg Curtin, Blackburn South

Could someone explain to our PM the significance and implication of ignoring a Code Red so he can explain it to Angus Taylor.
Graeme Riviere, Warranwood

Our government says it is acting to reduce climate change. The only acting the government is doing is pretending it cares about the environment.
Suzanne Palmer-Holton, Seaford

Politics
Paul Fletcher, Olympic gold for subterfuge!
Ian Anderson, Ascot Vale

I thought Carporks were supposed to be vote winners. But Paul Fletcher says they are “unpopular decisions”.
Julia Thornton, Surrey Hills

Paul Fletcher. Unpopular decisions are one thing. Self-serving decisions are something else.
Les Aisen, Elsternwick

Paul Fletcher, the only “chilling effect” the early release of documents would have on cabinet ministers is the likely loss of votes.
Annie Wilson, Inverloch

Furthermore
The hardest part of a seven-day lockdown is the first two weeks.
Kerry Lewis, Williamstown

Can Harvey Norman sell me a TV set that will not show Gladys Berejiklian?
Graeme Lee, Fitzroy


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