Real cuts in emissions needed
It’s hardly a “blunder” when a Coalition government decision results in windfall profits to a generous donor sector in preference to the financiers of the scheme – Australian taxpayers, (Mike Seccombe, “Angus Taylor’s $3.5 billion carbon blunder”, March 19-25). Further, the government’s 2021 National Gas Infrastructure Plan announced just two weeks after last November’s COP26 conference would, if implemented, initiate some 50 to 60 years of further expansion of Australia’s methane gas industry. Ten years of the Coalition’s deceptive and irresponsible approach to tackling global heating has already locked in massive environmental damage, loss of lives, livelihoods, properties and infrastructure for several decades to come. Australians urgently need tangible greenhouse gas emissions reductions, not more taxpayer-funded accounting tricks.
– John Bushell, Surry Hills, NSW
Offsets not used for purpose
Mike Seccombe’s article prompts me to point out that the prime intent of carbon offsets is to accelerate and optimise overall decarbonisation efforts. Offsets are only meant to be used to offset hard-to-abate residual emissions once organisations have undertaken deep emissions cuts. This is not how offsets are being used. They are being used to justify the continuing extraction of fossil fuels, including new fossil fuel projects. If this practice continues, it will be impossible for the critical 1.5 degrees Celsius target limit of global warming to be met.
– Ken Russell, Redcliffe, Qld
Indigenous Australians deserve better
Thanks to Russell Marks for providing some balanced reporting on the shooting death of Kumanjayi Walker by Constable Zachary Rolfe (“The killing of Kumanjayi Walker”, March 19-25). All that became clear from the immediate post-trial media coverage and commentary is that conservative defenders of white privilege in Australia, correctly perceiving the threat this case posed to their “cause”, opted for a traditional tactic: the best defence is rapid and overwhelming attack. They have ended up protesting too much as usual, now that a fuller account of the facts are available. At the very least this calls for another royal commission. But I can imagine that Kumanjayi Walker’s family and many other Indigenous Australians will have little faith that this increasingly toothless mechanism can help to secure better outcomes for their people in the long run.
– Tor Larsen, Marrickville, NSW
Vote for responsible government
Thanks very much for your insightful editorial (“Grasshopper government” , March 19-25) which shows that, since Environment Minister Sussan Ley does not have a duty of care for children from climate change, the Morrison government doesn’t have that responsibility either. That is, shockingly, they simply “don’t care”. Most Australians are very worried that in the critical climate crisis our federal government is missing in action. Climate scientists especially urge a strong emissions reduction target by 2030 and ending new fossil fuel mining and subsidies. So in the coming election, we should vote for candidates with clear policies for climate, integrity and women, as well as various other reforms. When we have a new, energetic, responsible government, we will be better at helping the world with climate action.
– Barbara Fraser, Burwood, Vic
How to create a better future
The decision of the Federal Court that the Environment minister owes no duty of care to future generations seems to be an accurate, albeit black letter, reflection of the law as it stands, but it is not the whole truth. Of course the Environment minister owes a duty of care to future generations: that’s the point of having a minister for the Environment – to secure a sustainable, healthy environment. The fact that the law says the minister does not owe a duty of care regarding any specific project does not in any way reduce the minister’s responsibility for our environmental health overall. To fulfil this responsibility she should be pressing actively for major emissions reductions by 2030, promoting renewable energy, and demanding an immediate end to fossil fuel industry subsidies. Anything less represents a clear abrogation of her responsibilities to present and future generations.
– Chris Young, Surrey Hills, Vic
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on March 26, 2022.
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