Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Monday, September 17, 2018

ACTION: Anti-coal protesters on the weekend. One reader argues those focusing on coal should look at cutting the number of cars on the roads to reduce emissions.
ACTION: Anti-coal protesters on the weekend. One reader argues those focusing on coal should look at cutting the number of cars on the roads to reduce emissions.

I FIND it annoying that some with high-minded ideals think they are justified in their actions by chaining themselves to coal trains, railway lines and other infrastructure in order to disrupt the movement of coal so they can bring attention to its evils. While I support the right to protest; like all rights, it comes with responsibilities. Those would be to conduct activities without risking lives or property damage.

As a former engineman who spent the last 15 years of my 35 years or so on the railway driving coal trains, I can say the actions of these protesters are just stupid. If these people really are concerned about the environment and greenhouse emissions, they would understand that one of the main reasons that Australia produces so much greenhouse gas is due to an over dependence on road transport, in particular private cars.

Rail transport is three to nine times more fuel efficient than road. While it is pleasing to see that most capital cities in Australia are seeing investment in expanding their suburban rail networks and in some cases light rail systems, in Newcastle they pulled the railway out! Where was the sense in that? 

Even if the light rail is a success, it will never be as effective or as fast as the trains that once ran right into the city (patronage in the peak hours was increasing just before the line was closed). This would have been obvious. It begs the question; where were these protesters when we were trying to stop the closure of the railway?

Peter Sansom, Kahibah

Make them accountable

I RECOGNISE that the development at the Newcastle Airport will be unhindered by the presence of PFAS in the area, as reported in the Newcastle Herald (‘$11.7m for technology hub’, 12/9). This does not make it right at all! While this may be their case that the PFAS is not barrier to this development it ought not ever to be true.

As it is most certainly obvious that the PFAS is no barrier to development to the airport as they, the government (state and federal), the RAAF and the Newcastle Airport, do not give a dam about the health concerns of the people affected, and neither are they concerned about the pollution.

The government has hidden the details from as many as they could, for as long as they could, and now are fiddling with numbers to claim the evidence is inconclusive about related health concerns.

People are rightfully concerned and unable to leave as their debt is greater than the reduced land values because of this pollution. If it was not the Defence Department there would be massive actions and certainly no further development until the clean up and compensation was paid. We need one law for all, including the government.

Milton Caine, Birmingham Gardens

Lake has ‘all we need’

I ENDORSE Elaine Street’s praise of Lake Macquarie City Council libraries (Letters, 13/9). Wherever I have lived in the world, I have had access to a public library but have never taken it for granted.

I cannot fault the staff and the running of our 11 libraries in this new technology age which can be difficult for many to keep up with, but staff are always willing to explain what is needed. I have discovered the sayings of Marcus Cicero (106 – 43 BC), a Roman statesman, philosopher, orator, etc., who is alleged to have written his own speeches! “Let the welfare of the people be the ultimate law”, is one, and “While there is life there is hope”, but my favourite, written in his old age, echoes my sentiment – “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need”.

With the beautification of the land and parks surrounding our Lake (bigger than Sydney Harbour), I congratulate our council on the work in progress, and hope the ratepayers in Toronto will get their wishes, as outlined by Nico Marcar (Letters, 13/9).

June Porter, Warners Bay

Turning on Turnbull

NO one has given the Australian people a reason why the Liberal Parliamentary party room decided it was time to change prime ministers and to virtually kick Turnbull out of office. As the players in this ridiculous, farcical drama aren’t or don’t want to tell us, I am going to take a stab at it.  

I believe it was revenge time for Tony Abbott and by convincing Peter Dutton to make the move, he removed himself from the direct firing line. It was three years on September 14 since Abbott was replaced by the party room and it was time to even the score. After Dutton told his followers he would make a better PM, he and his followers couldn’t even get their numbers resolved by voting time because they were out partying. What a farce!

Australians were told there were three contestants for the position. In my opinion, out of the three there was only one who could have united the party and the country and that was Julie Bishop – not because she is female, but because she is the best politician in the Coalition. Instead the boys decided that a highly-experienced, greatly-respected woman wasn’t going to make the cut. There are a lot of whys that the people of Australia need answers to and all the current waffle is not going to win the Liberals the election. Will someone please have the backbone to give us all a straight answer by telling it as it is and why it was necessary to replace Turnbull? Until we get a straight answer the question will continue to be asked and therefore the elephant will continue to remain in the room until the next general election.

Virginia Thornburg, Redhead

Still short on evidence

IN reply to Howard Bridgeman (Letters, 12/9), I don’t deny any overwhelming evidence, if it is provided. Bridgeman’s reply to my letter read more like a biblical affirmation “Go forth and read the holy evidence for it will enlighten you”. After admitting that three of Australia’s worst droughts happened in the 19th century, he then claims evidence from CSIRO and BOM shows modern droughts are linked to human greenhouse gas emissions. And that they are more intense, frequent, longer and extensive. I’m sorry but I could not find any evidence to support such a claim.

A graph of BOM September rainfall anomalies – Eastern Australia, 1900-2016 shows little change in rainfall patterns over 117 years. Except for some increase in maximum falls since 1950. A graph of cool season rainfall – Southern Australia, 1900-2017 showed a flat trend. UAH satellite data for Australia, 1995-2018, some 23 years, shows a zero trend in temperature anomaly. Does that look like evidence of climate change?

Bridgeman lastly cites as evidence his own website at hunterlivinghistories. This is a historical anecdote site with no useable numerical data at all. He has not answered my question: What is the evidence that humans can change the weather?

Peter Devey, Merewether

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