No time to waste in the battle to save our planet

We all know we are headed for climate armageddon without drastic action (“Mission possible as UN issues survival guide for planet in crisis”, March 21). But governments prefer to risk burning in a hell of their own making rather than stopping the export and use of fossil fuels. In that case, they can see themselves facing electoral oblivion in a nation with insufficient income to pay for the continuation of the privileged life we lead, with current standards of living and the high quality healthcare, education and infrastructure we feel entitled to. There is no rosy alternative here, and we are told we must choose now. It is time to surrender our comforting denial and, in a national conversation, decide which way to go. Jennifer Briggs, Kilaben Bay

Illustration: John Shakespeare

Illustration: John Shakespeare

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s sixth report is perhaps the most pivotal document in human history. We will now certainly breach 1.5C of global warming within 10 years. Continuing expansion of fossil fuel extraction must stop immediately to avoid 2C. If we want to live on Planet Hell we don’t have to change a thing. If that seems like a poor option, then we need to start changing everything. Immediately. Addressing climate change won’t be easy and won’t be cheap, but at least it won’t cost the earth. David Sargent, Seaton (SA)

The IPCC report also points out the health hazards and medical costs from breathing in pollution. Perhaps the people who don’t believe our pollution is wrecking the planet could at least see the benefit of pollution reduction in terms of human health. This alone is reason enough to support climate action which advocates clean transport, industry and power generation. Would these same sceptics then dismiss the medical science in the same way they dismiss the climate science? Dennis O’Hara, Wanniassa (ACT)

How many more warnings do we need? The chart headed “Today’s children will suffer weather their grandparents could not imagine” shows rapid progression into an uninhabitable world that is a damning indictment of our generation. Yet as recently as last week we have seen coal company Glencore’s determination to extend its Glendell open-cut mine, which will mean millions of tonnes of additional CO2 belching into the Earth’s atmosphere. Fossil fuel behemoths have already caused much damage and it’s unbelievable that, in 2023, they are still determined to trash more of our country and the planet’s climate. Our governments at state and federal levels must call time on the industry. Rob Firth, Red Hill (ACT)

The report warns we risk “losing it all”. What does that look like? It most likely means that before the end of this century, large parts of the world will struggle to feed their populations, many nations will collapse, millions of people will leave their homelands searching for food security, many of the world’s biggest cities will be contending with seawater flooding their streets, the diversity of animal and plant life will fast disappear, and that extreme weather events will be the norm and not the exception. And that’s just in the next 70 or 80 years. While clearly this warning applies to other countries as well as Australia, it is worth bearing in mind that, with its exports as well as its domestic emissions, Australia is a serious contributor to the growing tally of emissions in the atmosphere. Catherine Rossiter, Fadden

Illustration: Cathy Wilcox

Illustration: Cathy Wilcox

Election gimmicks test the limits of our patience

There you have it, our premier’s opinion of workers living in the west – raising the speed limit on WestConnex will help “tradies” travelling from Penrith (“In poll position, main parties feel the need for speed”, March 21). No doctors and other health professionals, dentists, academics, bankers etc obviously come from the western suburbs. Perhaps he thinks those living in the western suburbs are not capable of having the same aspirations as he and his private schoolmates. Brian Cook, Forresters Beach

We are told the WestConnex was designed for a traffic speed of 90km/h. We are also told that at this speed there will be huge productivity gains. Who made the decision to set the speed at 80? Apparently, an election brings enlightenment. Michael Shipton, Balgowlah Heights

The absolute pits. Increasing speed limits to win an election. Ambit promises being made in this election can best be described as juvenile. Maybe visiting kindergartens is appropriate. D’Arcy Hardy, North Turramurra

Any mention of the privatisation of Sydney Water is of major concern (“Minns says Libs will tap water for funding”, March 21). There is no way that our most basic and necessary of utilities should ever come under discussion for privatisation, either fully or partially. Privatisation of any asset means that the underlying reason for existence is to make a profit.

There may not be many reasons for the Sydney populace to ever march on parliament, but privatisation of the water supply would be one. Stewart Copper, Maroubra

Oh dear, it’s a race to the bottom to try and win votes (“Bathurst and Orange neck and neck over juicy track proposal”, March 21). Greyhound racing is dwindling worldwide so why is Australia firmly stuck in backward-thinking ways? Let’s transition to virtual greyhound racing. Australians are a nation of dog lovers and the overwhelming majority think live greyhound racing needs to go. It’s a dog-killing industry. Michele Rossetto, St Ives

After many years, little real action actuated from Gonski’s previous needs-based education advice, when and where it was needed (“Gonski endorses children’s future fund plan”, March 21). Now with an election looming his influence has ramifications for electioneering, despite “self-called” impartiality. Janice Creenaune, Austinmer

I’m always pleased when Liberals “trot out” John Howard (Letters, March 21) because I reckon his droning delivery is a sure-fire net vote-loser. As for the wrapping paper your correspondent mentions, if you don’t re-use it when you reasonably can, it doesn’t say much for your care for the environment. Steve Cornelius, Brookvale

Australian democracy needs protecting from ‘bad faith’ News Corp

The lies told by Fox in the US deliberately manipulating a particular partisan view have been deeply disturbing to witness (“Murdoch succeeded where Putin failed. Time for a Fox hunt”, March 21). This endeavour is seemingly aimed at both financial return and political power. It has worked so far on these fronts with the further consequence of corroding American democracy at an alarming rate. Whether this corrosion was anticipated or not, it has been clear for years that this is its most damaging effect, yet Fox continues.

Malcolm Turnbull and Sharon Burrow rightly point out that Vladimir Putin himself could not have achieved this level of societal division and disturbance, but Fox has. They also rightly point out that the subversion of American democracy threatens Australia. The royal commission into News Corp can’t come quickly enough because while ever we can claim that ours is a democracy of “competing parties” and not one of “competing realities” we should be grateful. Marie Del Monte, Ashfield

Illustration: John Shakespeare

Illustration: John Shakespeare

Apart from seriously addressing the causes and effects of climate change, I can see no other more pressing issue than protecting freedom of the press. “Bad-faith actors who knowingly lie” are now colonising Sky News and dressing it up as reliable factual reporting. “We tell you the real truth” is their disingenuous mantra. A royal commission will forensically dissect this scourge and protect Australians from those who simply ignore the facts and promote harmful, divisive propaganda. Bring it on. Josie McSkimming, Coogee

Stranded priorities

Some years ago I travelled by ferry from Oban in Scotland to the Isle of Mull. As the ferry left the wharf a message came over the loudspeaker wishing the travellers a safe crossing. Transport Minister David Elliott might give adopting such a message his consideration (“Manly ferry suffers another steering failure”, March 21). Jenny Shaw, Coogee

As we contemplate the construction in Australia of nuclear submarines, surely the pinnacle of maritime technology; how is it that successive state governments can’t replace the ageing Freshwater class Manly ferries with a locally built, functional and stately double ended replacement ferries. The people want the Freshwater type replicated to enjoy the voyage on the amazing Sydney Harbour for future generations. But our state political parties remain deaf to the preferences of the people and the value of an iconic feature of Sydney Harbour. David Rafferty, Peakhurst Heights

Too soon?

It might not simply be a reluctance to revisit dark days (“How did COVID change Australia?”, March 21). Historians tell us we need enough time to get a proper perspective on our immediate past. For instance, we don’t yet know the full implications of supply chain interruptions, super withdrawals, long COVID and the long-term mental health issues, particularly among young people. Some takeaway lessons we have yet to take seriously include adequate remuneration in the care professions and the importance of good ventilation. We can predict in the future we won’t be nearly so compliant around border closures and lockdowns based on LGAs – but try telling WA it mustn’t do that again. Margaret Johnston, Paddington

Plastic (not) fantastic

It’s a daily frustrating chore to select what plastic products are permitted to be recycled as most plastic containers and wrappers are not labelled (“Plastics recycling ‘way behind’ target”, March 21). Surely it is not that hard for manufacturers to choose plastics that can be recycled and label the product with a symbol to place it within the garbage or recycling bin. Brian McDonald, Willoughby

Bad prophets

We would be even more fortunate, Mark Porter, if “wise prophets like Ken Henry and Paul Keating” demonstrated their wisdom with dignity, rather than condescension, sneering and ridicule (Letters, March 21). Hannah Lane, Manilla

Built like bricks

Remember when we thought we had the latest technology owning a telephone the size of a brick (Letters, March 21)? That was about 30 years ago. If we go ahead with lavishing an exorbitant amount of money on building those nuclear submarines, in 30 years times they will seem like dial-up internet and 100 megabyte computers in the future technological climate. Judith Rostron, Killarney Heights

Bad reception

No doubt there are multiple reasons for the drop in ABC radio ratings (Letters, March 21). However, I suspect that changes in style are significant. The magical quality of a great announcer is that they talk to Historically, ABC announcers had that quality. Then things changed. While commuting, I used to enjoy listening to Wendy Harmer on Sydney Radio.

Then the ABC decided two announcers are better than one, and Wendy was joined by Robbie. Both wonderful people, and talented, but all too often the conversation was between them. I felt that I was eavesdropping on them and that the listener was barely relevant.

That style then spread to ABC Classic (my regular radio for decades). And the ABC has added incessant, badly-produced, shouty promos. ABC radio is now off more than it is on, sadly. Peter Thompson, Grenfell

Sattler’s gift

As a 10-year-old I got two things following John Sattler’s stoicism in the 1970 grand final; a lifelong love of rugby league and a five-year ban from playing it by my mother (“His courage defined the game, but Sattler’s passing marks end of an era in league”, March 21). Col Burns, Lugarno

Fate is an amazing thing: That John Sattler should die days before his beloved Rabbitohs take on Manly again. Perfect timing. He always had it. Go Satts. Go the Bunnies. Neil Duncan, Balmain

Clive Churchill and John Sattler after the 1970 grand final.

Clive Churchill and John Sattler after the 1970 grand final.Fairfax Archive

Crunch time

Thank you, Jill Dupleix, for your informative column. I could never get it right (“How to get your pork crackling really crackly”, , March 21). Once, in a panic, I called the pork hotline: all I heard was crackling. Kenneth Smith, Orange

Lost for words

As I got off the bus into a crowd of school children and uttered the phrase so beloved by my Dad, “Let the dog see the rabbit”, I was looked at in wonderment (Letters, March 21). Let’s hope these lovely old phrases don’t get lost forever. Andrew Nelson, Chatswood West

I recently mentioned to a much younger colleague that I had seen Radio Birdman live, a badge of honour in some circles. He gave me a blank look and replied he’d never heard of Radio Birdman. Sigh, once upon a time edgy and out there, now just old. Wendy Young, Glebe

Say it right

If we are going to make a fuss about correctly pronouncing words then my vote goes to “impordent” (Letters, March 21). Eric Sekula, Turramurra

Regular mispronunciations which set my teeth on edge: hos-spit-al (hospital) and athel-letics (athletics). Rosie Miller, Randwick

Is it mischievous (pronounced “mischief-us”) to nominate “mischeevious” as the worst mispronunciation? Gerardine Grace, Leura

The digital view

Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on
The verdict is in from voters about Perrottet’s future fund for children
From K’mon Cents: ″⁣The Libs shovelling money into the pockets of the wealthy again, to the detriment of struggling families throughout the state. Only the well off will be able to afford to chip in for their children, leaving taxes paid by the poor to subsidise the government contribution. It’s a dumb policy which appeals to the greedy.″⁣

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