Here we go again. Another day, another frustrating, ill-informed letter from a climate-change denier whinging that there is "no proof" (Letters, June 8)).
This one does at least do us the favour of highlighting essential common ground: the mistaken belief that choosing not to read the scientific facts – means that there are no scientific facts. In other words, John refuses to go and read the proof of climate change instantly available upon any five-minute "google scholar" search in any discipline (I recommend the NASA website for a good up-to-date summary).
This "believe what makes you feel good" philosophy is an increasingly disturbing global trend, most readily epitomised by Donald Trump. Climate change doesn't make anyone feel good, in fact it makes most of us feel physically ill. This doesn't mean that it isn't happening and wishing it away isn't going to help. By the same token if I choose not to read the bible, does that mean it doesn't exist? If I choose not to open my next electricity bill, does that mean I don't have to pay it? You see my point.
Choosing ignorance is your prerogative, John, and I respect that. But kindly don't foist it on the rest of us. We have a planet to try and save – your descendants will thank us for it even if you don't.
N. Watson, Turner
John McKerral puts forward an amusing but illogical argument on climate change (letters, June 8). On one hand he requests proof for overwhelming scientific evidence of the threats caused by climate change and then claims as fact that: most signatories to the Paris Accord have pecuniary interests only; and that South Australia's unemployment levels are in part a result of their renewables policies, both without proof.
I am no scientist but I am aware that there is overwhelming evidence for anthropomorphic climate change occurring in the last 100 years and that this is already impacting the world both financially and ecologically. For example, in 2004 Science published an article on the scientific consensus on climate change in which N.Oreskes analysed the scientific literature at the time and found "robust consensus that anthropogenic global climate change is occurring".
It might be argued that scientists have pecuniary interests and are prone to corruption and falsifying evidence in order to obtain further funding for research. However, science is designed to limit this through peer reviews, repetition of results and critical analysis. It is not perfect but it is the best methodology we have for furthering our understanding of the universe in which we live.
The best model we have today for climate change is that the major cause of climate change occurring today is being caused by human activity. In the words of Oreskes: "The scientific consensus might, of course, be wrong. If the history of science teaches anything, it is humility, and no one can be faulted for failing to act on what is not known. But our grandchildren will surely blame us if they find that we understood the reality of anthropogenic climate change and failed to do anything about it."
Phil Crawford, Hackett
Adani backing far from certain
One could perhaps be forgiven for thinking that the Queensland Premier, in welcoming Adani with open arms (and treasury) and waxing lyrical about "jobs right across this state" ("Adani gives 'green light' to mega coal mine", June 7, p10), has been conned.
In fact, according to evidence submitted to the Land Court of Queensland by Adani, the mine, rail, and port project would create just 1200 new jobs in central Queensland. Related activities would create an additional 264 new jobs Australia wide. Furthermore, none of the big four Australian banks is willing to offer finance for the project and a considerable number of foreign banks have refused to finance it. Even all this assumes that the mine will actually go ahead. The article "Adani still talking, but not digging" (BusinessDay, June 7, p23-24) makes it quite clear that financial backing for the project is far from being a "done deal".
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Butt refund has merit
Cigarette smokers should welcome the suggestion of Dr Alan Shroot for a butt refund. The reduction of butts amassing at bus stops and migrating along the length of the light rail network would be welcomed by every citizen. Best of all with a butt refund, smokers can take control for a more affordable and environmentally friendly puff.
Etienne Hingee, Waramanga
Sounds of silence
Might I remind Jennifer Halgren (letters, June 9) and Margaret Court that according to 1 Timothy 2:11-12, their gender not only requires them to remain in silence but also precludes them from attempting to usurp the authority of men. Therefore they are not only forbidden to express an opinion on same-sex marriage but they are forbidden to vote in a plebiscite on the issue.
Paul McElligott, Aranda
Emission scheme conundrum
I was grateful to Peter Martin for undertaking the daunting task of differentiating between "a carbon tax and an emissions trading scheme, or a low emissions target and an emissions intensity scheme" ("Cutting through the haze of emission schemes in the hope of clearing the air once and for all", June 8, pp16,17).
After reading the article thrice, it dawned upon me that the current "renewable energy target" (RET) did not seem to be in the mix. After reading it a couple more times it seemed that the first two options were roughly equivalent to PAYE tax and provisional tax. The next two were indistinguishable, self regulation (deregulation) schemes whereby producers (consumers of energy) charged each other for not playing cricket.
RET seems to be another name for deregulation. All in all, it unfortunately seems a bit like distinguishing between those overweight, built for comfort, cuddly, chubby, fat and obese. Where's Samuel Johnson when you need him?
Gary J. Wilson, Macgregor
Paying more to walk further
How many members of the Woden seniors club agree with its president, Paul McGlew, that it will be "fantastic" to pay more rates so that they can walk further to public transport stops, in order to board vehicles that arrive less frequently, and to have to transfer between buses and trams for trips that can presently be made without transfers ("Woden residents look forward to light rail", CT, June 8).
Leon Arundell, Downer
The CT's editorial ("More hard times ahead for households", June 8) concluded: "At the very least, Canberrans will be tightening their belts, again."
For this we should primarily hold the Labor-Green alliance responsible. There is an argument in favour of nearly all proposals for government spending. However, rather than just accepting the often-superficial reasons Labor-Greens have given (for example, spending $12 million on Manuka oval media facilities to provide "the standard required for international cricket matches"), the community, and the Assembly's budget scrutiny processes, should be asking whether we need to, or should, do what is outlined in the budget.
Bruce Paine, Red Hill
Advancing ad hoc
Trevor Lipscombe ("Preserve diminishing green", Letters, May 27), Dave Roberts ("Avenue redevelopment plan will be disruptive disaster for the city", Letters, June 1), Juliet Ramsay ("Selling off Canberra's crown jewels a despicable act", Letters June 6), and Kaye Berry ("Traffic plan flawed", Letters June 7) all highlight once again the major defect in the ACT's planning regime.
There is a complete absence of a single, professionally produced, overarching master plan for the territory. As a result, we have witnessed both the Barr government and the National Capital Authority taking a destructive, ad hoc approach to the development of the ACT that has given us the Manuka Oval debacle; the West side pop-up village horror; the Gungahlin-to-city tram catastrophe; the Yarralumla brickworks fiasco; and Andrew Barr's desire to replace the Olympic pool with a stadium.
Tony Powell, in an article that everyone should read ("Canberra risks losing its character altogether" by Kirsten Lawson, CT, May 23), claimed, quite rightly, that the ACT government had slowly shredded its expertise in architecture, town planning, engineering and landscape design.
What is required for the proper planning and development of the nation's capital is a single, independent, statutory body headed by a qualified professional chief planner of world standing, who would be free of political interference, adequately funded and staffed by fully trained professionals.
This body would also obviate the need for the recently established pseudo "agencies". After all, Canberra is Australia's capital city, not some regional country town.
Murray Upton, Belconnen
Grasp the nettle
Caroline Le Couteur's piece ("Best practice community consultation needed", CT, June 4, p19) is very pertinent to the current West Belconnen cross-border urban development.
As plans show housing coming very close to the Ginninderra Gorge and its two falls, an Assembly inquiry is urgently needed. In deputation, we have already asked for the planning committee to have an inquiry; Caroline Le Couteur is its chair and its four members include Suzanne Orr, Tara Cheyne, Nicole Lawder and James Milligan. The association's vision is to have a park centred around the falls and covering both sides of the Ginninderra and Murrumbidgee gorges, which lies on NSW territory.
The hearings therefore need to also invite submissions from Yass Valley councillors and NSW politicians, since they are soon to be voting on the "rural to urban" rezoning process.
Of course, decent housing setbacks and buffer zones are essential; as well as the cessation and restoration of an unsightly quarry close to the upper falls. Moreover, most of us are generally unaware that these falls were vital Aboriginal ceremonial locations. In ACT's past, public inquiries for new urban developments were always mandatory. It is high time now for the Assembly to grasp the nettle.
Dr Chris Watson, Ginninderra Falls Association president
Chaos in the bag
While agreeing with E.Smith (Letters , June 8) that it's up to consumers to use plastic bags wisely, the suggestion that larger items of vegetables can go straight into the shopping basket and then into the shopping bag is quite impractical.
Just imagine the chaos and frustration of shoppers and staff while five kilograms of potatoes (usually dirty), 1kg of carrots, 1kg of onions, 2kg of apples and 1kg of bananas are retrieved from among the other items in the shopping trolley. E.Smith's suggestion may work for those shopping only for themselves, and often, but certainly not for a family.
Frances Cornish, Spence
I thank E. Smith (Letters, June 7) for the detailed description of plastic bag etiquette. However, the main objective, according to Greenpeace, is to prevent plastic bags impacting on "marine life".
Being about 150 kilometres from the sea, a ban in the ACT is simply another ideological imposition. Ultimately, there is little distinction between thin, single-use bags and thicker ones except the "banned" thin bag will decompose faster than the thick one discarded when it is no longer "resuable". They are all just plastic bags in landfill.
Jevon Kinder, Murrumbateman
I didn't express support for the Hare-Clark system, Paul E. Bowler (Letters, June 8). I simply asked Frank Cassidy what alternative system he thought would better reflect the majority view of electors. Bowler doesn't favour Hare-Clark and appears to prefer a block voting system.
Based on voting at our most recent Legislative Assembly election, under Bowler's system the ALP's 38.4 per cent of the popular vote would give it 15 seats (all of the seats in three electorates) and the Liberals' 36.7 per cent of the popular vote would give it 10seats (all of the seats in the other two electorates).
The Greens, despite garnering more than 10 per cent of the popular vote, would get no seats. Would that result reflect the majority view of electors?
Frank Marris, Forrest
TO THE POINT
HANSON HATE ON HOLD
I am concerned that our very own firebrand and goddess Pauline has been nobbled. I thought the latest incidents in London and Melbourne would have been the perfect opportunity to spread her hate and fear among her disciples.
D.J. Fraser, Currumbin QLD
RISES WEIGH ON LIGHT RAIL
With Canberrans hit with continuing and significant annual increases in rates, electricity, and gas prices, this is certainly no time to be pursuing a dud stage2 of the light rail project. Something has to give.
Murray May, Cook
LAWS THERE TO BE OBEID
So his barrister says it is "an affront" that Obeid be subject to the same laws as other mortals. That's analogous to Leona Hemsley's notorious aphorism: "only the little people pay taxes".
Albert M. White, Queanbeyan
TONY'S COMEDY CAPERS
Fancy calling Bill Shorten "electric". Will he next be described as moving like greased lightning? This will have Tony up for the comedy festival. The prospect is revolting.
Warwick Davis, Isaacs
TOP UNIS TO COP THE CUTS
Five Australian universities have made it into the top 50 in the world, and now Education Minister Birmingham wants to cut uni budgets.
Thos Puckett, Ashgrove, QLD
TRUMP'S COMEY OF SILENCE
No wonder Trump asked others to leave the Oval Office when talking to Comey; he didn't want witnesses and so can dispute what was said. But it's not hard to know who to believe given the nature of the two people involved.
Eric Hodge, Pearce
Email: email@example.com. Send from the message ﬁeld, not as an attached ﬁle. Fax: 6280 2282. Mail: Letters to the Editor, The Canberra Times, PO Box 7155, Canberra Mail Centre, ACT 2610.
Keep your letter to 250 words or less. References to Canberra Times reports should include date and page number. Letters may be edited. Provide phone number and full home address (suburb only published).