LETTERS 5.11.16

Climate maths
REG HOWARD-SMITH of the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA (“Miners are contributors”, Voice Letters, October 15, 2016) seems to love figures, so I’d like to point out a few significant figures for him.
2 – The number of degrees Celsius by which we can afford to warm the planet before feedback effects create runaway, catastrophic warming (though many argue even 2 degrees is unsafe).
1 – The number of degrees by which the planet has already warmed from pre-industrial levels.
470 – The amount of CO2 (in gigatons) humans can afford to emit before we will push warming above the 2 degree threshold – the carbon budget.
2,800 – The minimum estimate of CO2 that will be emitted should we burn all the fossil fuels already held in reserve by fossil fuel companies – 6 times the carbon budget.
0 – The number of new fossil fuel projects we can afford to open up around the world in order to stay under the carbon budget.
40 – The amount of CO2 (in gigatons) humans are currently emitting each year.
12 – The number of years it will take us to break the carbon budget on our current trajectory. 70 billion – The number of dollars the ‘Big 4’ banks have loaned to fossil fuel projects since 2008.
6.1 billion – The number of dollars the ‘Big 4’ banks have loaned to renewable energy projects since 2008 (11 times less than the amount lent to fossil fuels).
28,000 – The number of jobs that would be created if Australia had a renewable energy target of 50 pert cent by 2020.
Perhaps Mr Howard-Smith could look beyond his own figures to understand why it is imperative that we stop banks lending money to fossil fuel projects.
Rachael Bott
Vine Street, North Perth

A right for all
IS local government minister Paul Miles working from a North Korean political dictionary in calling Perth council’s gag of speaking to the media “democratic”, because he doesn’t seem to comprehend the meaning of the word.
In a democracy, all citizens have a right to a free voice.
Councillors are also citizens and when their right to speak is denied that is discrimination which is incompatible with democracy.
As they are our representatives, we, in turn, are denied the benefit of their contribution to our understanding of local government business.
We want to know. We need to know. It is our right to know.
Gagging is not democratic. It is the opposite of democratic.
It is like saying Hitler ‘liberated’ Europe which is typical Orwellian doublespeak designed to hide the truth.
Self-serving restrictions on free speech protect the power base at the expense of transparency and fairness.
Vincent Sammut
Franklin Street, Leederville
The Ed says: This letter was edited for length

Other places need your help
I HOPE Michael Sutherland will excuse my not “going away and playing bowls”, as he once told my daughter I should do when I was lobbying politicians against forced local government amalgamations and the City of Perth bill.
Rather than complain (with some justification) that he didn’t get due credit for the right-turn ban trial at the Walcott Street/Beaufort Street intersection (“Beaucott breakthrough”, Voice, October 29, 2016), Mr Sutherland might take a constructive role at other places in his electorate that are problematic for pedestrians and, with the recent introduction of high-frequency bus routes such as the 960, increasingly for public transport users.
The 960 is a major improvement to bus services along Alexander Drive and will generate substantially-increased patronage. However, all users will need to cross this busy (over 30,000 vehicles per day) road once for each return trip.
It is over 1.5km between the controlled pedestrian crossing points at Central Avenue and Woodrow Avenue. Halfway between them are the Terry Tyzak Aquatic Centre and Yokine Reserve, which also generate a lot of potential pedestrian movements – although crossing Alexander Drive there is so dangerous that many people will be driving effectively just to cross the road.
This would be a prime location for a pedestrian (and cyclist) bridge, linking communities on both sides of the road and providing access to sporting/recreation facilities and to public transport.
Ian Ker
Vincent Street, Mt Lawley

Look after it
TO the person who stole from our Highgate verge (on the remote chance this finds its way to you), we used to have three plants lined up in a row; now there are two.
My son and I planted them as root stock, mere twigs barely an inch high as part of the “adopt a verge” program.
I have hand-watered them through two long summers and have admired their first bloom, inspired by the recent warmer weather no doubt.
We now have two and you have one.
You now have an obligation to look after it as well as I did. I hope it thrives in your garden and gives you much pleasure.
Think of us and its two mates every time you take in the beauty of its flowers.
We miss it.
Simon Hehir
Lord Street, Highgate
P.s. I will be eternally intrigued by something: Why did you think you had the right to take it?

Blowing the carbon budget
REG HOWARD-SMITH (“Miners contribute”, Letters, October 15, 2016) needs to be informed that scientists say that to have even a two-thirds chance of staying below a 2 degree warming of the planet, we can only release 800 gigatons more CO2 into the atmosphere.
This is called the ‘Carbon Budget’.
In a report by Oil Change International, the Norwegian energy consultant Rystad showed that coal mines, oil and gas wells currently in operation worldwide contain 942 gigatons worth of CO2.
That blows the budget.
If you are in a hole, stop digging.
Eddie Marynowicz
Shakespeare St, Mt Hawthorn

NPL4947-6006inthePark-100x130_Voice-GCR

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