PETER Devey (Letters, 10/9) will not accept that humans affect climate change, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. He is correct that Australia has always had floods and droughts, and that some past droughts (federation drought especially in 1902; centennial drought in 1888; earlier droughts in the 1840s) have been severe.
But evidence from CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology shows that modern drought periods are strongly linked to human greenhouse gas emissions. They are more intensive, more frequent, last longer and cover more extensive areas. Where is Devey’s comparative evidence for his argument?
We are currently researching past weather and climate information from the 1800s and early 1900s. This information comes from records kept by landowners in the Hunter Region and adjoining areas, as well as past bureau records. Our research will allow us to assess past weather and climate variations created by natural circulation changes, and then compare these to modern variations incorporating greenhouse gas influences. The past data is available for public access at hunterlivinghistories.com/2018/01/10/hv-climate-data.
In the near future we will seek other similar records, to create a more complete picture for the Hunter.
Associate Professor Howard Bridgman, conjoint professor, School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle
Braking plan will crash
THE new rule requiring motorists to slow down to 40km/h when passing stationary emergency vehicles with flashing red and blue lights activated is, in my opinion, fraught with danger.
Whilst I don’t disagree with the idea behind it, in certain circumstances such as when travelling on the open road, or say the M1 at 100 or 110km/h, how anyone can be expected to suddenly drop down to 40km/h when you see the flashing lights is beyond me. I can just imagine the insurance companies and panel beaters being run off their feet with multi-car accidents should this rule be enforced. The same problem exists when a driver rounds a bend in the road to be confronted with a police car that has been hiding out of sight, as they often do, with a motorist pulled up and unable to be seen until you’re right on them.
I believe this rule needs a re-think for open road situations.
Ian King, Warners Bay
Words worth reading
HOW about we have all the Letters to the Editor and Short Takes regular writers write at least one letter or short take a month that will make the people who read them smile and go through their day in good spirits? We are small fry trying to solve the world’s problems. I'm 75 next week and just hope I can read something next week that might just make me smile a little and make me want to tell another Novocastrian or Lake Macquarian to see them smile. Collectively you are the greatest band of bad sports that I have ever read. Shame, Shame, Shame.
Wal Remington, Mount Hutton
Shifting the parking pain
UNIVERSITY promotes car-free campus, the headline tells us, (‘FeW Space’, Newcastle Herald, 8/8). It would have been a good idea if the university had made plans for a car-free campus before they built the first of their large buildings on the corner of Hunter and Steel streets.
The students, teachers, ancillary staff and others already have a car park at Marketown Shopping Centre and a free bus to take them along Hunter Street. I believe this has caused the owners of Marketown to employ someone to stand at the entrances to try to prevent all-day parkers. The impost of this, besides not finding a park, will no doubt find its way onto the eventual cost of everything bought at Marketown. The two car parks at Marketown are there to accommodate the mostly elderly residents to have somewhere to park while they do their shopping.
It is great to see the inner city slowly coming back to life. If anyone else wanted to build a building of the magnitude of the one the university has already built and again intends to build, they would have to comply with all the rules and conditions and more particularly all of the parking conditions.
Fae Bray, Hamilton South
Voters worth remembering
SOON we shall be going to the polls again and, bearing in mind the recent antics in Canberra, Australian women voters should consider their options.
Russian President Putin, with another six-year term secure, took the opportunity, whilst Russians were on summer holiday or occupied with the diversion of the World Football Cup in their country, to try and increase the pension age for women and men. There are 10 million more women voters than men in his country because of WWII. He has tried to appease the voters by saying “we have a special caring attitude towards women in our country. We understand that not only do they go to work, the entire household is typically on their shoulders caring for the family, raising children, taking care of grandchildren.” Russian women are 54 per cent of the 146 million and have a life expectancy of 77 years compared to men – 66 years, and they are more active voters.
Chairman Mao Zedong said of his 49 per cent population of women in China – “Women hold up half the sky”. I know the average Aussie comment would be “Go live in Russia or China”. The Labor Party is ready with its quota of female representatives, how about the other parties following suit?
June Porter, Warners Bay
Preservation is progress
I MUST admit that, as a holder of a senior’s card and a gold Opal card, I was rather insulted to be thus accused of belonging to a cohort that is stifling progress in Toronto (Letters, 8/9). On the contrary I align myself with a very progressive group of Toronto residents who understand that if foreshore land is developed for a high-rise building then we have lost forever the opportunity to have this land used for public, recreational space, for young and old.
The type of development that Lake Macquarie City Council is proposing for this waterfront site, if approved, would set a disturbing precedent for the future. As a parent, grandparent and ratepayer I utterly reject that high-rise unit development on the Bath Street site is any form of “progress”.
Kate Elderton, Toronto
Moved by the music
KUDOS to the Conservatorium of Music and UoN (and whomever came up with the idea) for the morning and afternoon dulcet tunes being played by local musicians outside New Space on Hunter Street. Tuesday morning I had a great chat with three talented musicians who respectfully declined a tip, as they only had one song left to play. A great initiative to be congratulated.