This is such an exciting time on planet earth with nations moving rapidly to renewables. Sweden is ridding itself of fossil fuels by 2040. Costa Rica produces 95 per cent of its electricity from renewables.
Scotland is building the world's largest floating windfarm. In six months, Germany can produce enough electricity from renewables to power all its households for a year. Uruguay is almost completely powered by renewables. Denmark has the highest percentage of wind power worldwide. China has the highest amount of solar and wind power of any country. Morocco is building the world's largest solar power plant. In the US, the solar industry provides more jobs than coal and nuclear combined. More than half of the electricity in Kenya comes from geothermal.
In Australia, renewable energy is growing at a per capita rate 10 times faster than the world average. I would love for this to be the first time in history that a rapid transition to new technologies has involved supporting those workers whose jobs are affected.
Rosemary Walters, Palmerston
Our short attention span
One curious feature of the present threat of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan has been the absence of any UN involvement. One is reminded of the fate of the League of Nations, which was formed after the carnage of the first of the world wars had ended. There was a determination that the war must be "the war to end war". But it was not long before the league faltered, culminating in Munich. In 1938 Hitler invited the leaders of Britain, France and Italy to a meeting, to get their approval for an invasion of the Sudetenland. These leaders, instead of pointing out that this was a matter for the league, instead gave Hitler the permission to invade. The German troops ended by taking all of Czechoslovakia. The league had died. War followed less than a year later.
The dreadful cost of World War II forced leaders to think once more about cooperative security. The United Nations (name suggested by President Roosevelt) was formed, with headquarters in New York. But unfortunately a psychopath was in charge of the Soviet Union, who preferred a Cold War to the peace on offer. In the arms race that followed, the UN was sidelined, its ideals forgotten.
We are a smart species, but we have a short attention span.
Harry Davis, Campbell
Life in a 'guided democracy'
Crispin Hull ("Voters must be given the info they need", June 5) and Douglas Mackenzie ("Voter intelligence", June 2) view a fundamental problem from opposite ends. There is little doubt that we currently live in a depressingly similar "Guided Democracy" to that delivered by Bung Karno, Indonesia's first president.
Intelligence such as delivered to voters by "forward scouts" of the media, and sometimes by universities, is infrequently impartial; often with academic flair absent of rigour, and at times totally disingenuous. This is mostly the end result of persuasive powers by non-voting corporate enterprises upon electoral parties, and upon candidates. These then can, and often do, constrain the independence of what should be independent bodies. It's a depressing prospect that even if voters were the full bottle on "intelligence", we might remain under "Guided Democracy" by those who currently hold the whip-hand over who gets elected.
Colin Samundsett, Farrer
Weaponisation of woke
On June 4 you reported on remarks by federal Education Minister Alan Tudge that "woke" universities might suffer new legislative requirements if they do not follow the a government's "core value" on freedom of speech. I was disappointed that The Canberra Times article did not explain that the term "woke" is defined as "aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice" (Merriam Webster dictionary). Of course the term has been weaponised by the right and we are more likely to see it being used as a stick with which to beat people who aspire to such values, often wielded by those who don't recognise how un-woke they are, or are proud of the fact.
Rod Holesgrove, Crace
Reconsider that order PM
Prime Minister Morrison wants federal, state and territory public servants to resume working in their offices ("PM tells public servants 'it's time to get back to the office'", June 5, p9), but seems not to have considered all the consequences.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 2,041,200 public sector employees in Australia as of June 30, 2020. While many, perhaps most, of these people were working from home, productivity increased; and our cities were blessed with much-reduced pollution from motor vehicles, and a scarcity of traffic jams. The latter eased the way for emergency vehicles, carers, tradesmen, and other "non-commuters". As a bonus, working from home would have led to improved family life and personal relationships. Mr Morrison would do well to reconsider his instruction to public sector employees.
Dr Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Gutless decision to close embassy
What a craven bunch this cabinet of ours is with its decision to close our embassy in Kabul in the wake of its previous decision to leave Afghanistan militarily. The women and children of Afghanistan will be the ones to suffer (as they have before) at the hands of the murderous Taliban and rather than have a presence on the ground that might influence them to some restraint (they have already stated that they will respect the presence of diplomats) the Australian government says "right, let's get the hell out of the place".
Given that it has been reported that the US and Afghan governments have expressed strong concern at Australia's decision which they believe will "spark panic among other allied countries and further undermine security" would it be too cynical to surmise that perhaps this measure is seen as one of the ways that the alleged war crimes of Australian soldiers will be much more difficult to pursue without the physical presence in Kabul of an embassy?
Roger Terry, Kingston
Guardians of offence
It's nice to see the Guardians of Possible Offence Against Anything have taken action against chances of national humiliation by raising their concerns with those who designate names to various strains of COVID-19. It's easy to understand that one or two Britons, Brazilians, South Africans, Indians, or Chinese people might have been offended or even scarred for life by thoughtless name-calling, so using letters of the Greek alphabet to designate those strains should relieve their anxiety. But as awareness of offence is an unfolding process, more work awaits the Guardians. The cultural appropriation of the Greek alphabet and the offence it might have caused is worth consideration or even condemnation
John McKeough, Page
Other priorities than immigration
Once again Crispin Hull has nailed it ("Economists wrong again", Opinion, June 5). High immigration is not necessary for Australia's prosperity. We should not return to pre-pandemic levels of immigration when borders re-open. We should be more concerned about the costs of a younger age profile than an older one. We do not need high immigration to keep the advantages of a multicultural society. The most interesting aspect of Hull's article, however, was at the end. He writes that if journalists and commentators from the left and centre who have long supported multiculturalism "are really worried about race and immigration, they should look at it from an Indigenous perspective. High immigration is just a continuation of the invasion." We still have a long way to go in giving full equality to our Indigenous brothers and sisters. Restoring Indigenous rights must be front and centre of our policy-making and not be subsumed by multiculturalism, however worthy that is.
Jenny Goldie, Cooma
Folly of perpetual growth
Another fine article from Crispin Hull ("Economists wrong again", Opinion, June 5). He demolished the usual vested-interest tropes that have been used to justify the unsustainable folly of our immigration-fed perpetual growth economic model: we will not be one jot less multicultural for reduction of immigration to population stasis levels; per capita national wealth has not increased by our high levels of immigration; our (modestly) ageing population is not a "problem" and is not, in any event, an issue resolved via immigration. Rather, it will, with much reduced immigration, eventually take care of itself.
Conversely, the advantages offered the Australian environment and the quality of life within our major cities by substantially reduced immigration are enormous and abundantly clear to most Australians, save, perhaps, our politicians and developers.
As it stands, our future includes a 2500km-long agglomeration of built environment along the east coast interspersed by ever-diminishing, and forever more compromised, natural spaces. This will be fueled by our growing cities and by those trying to escape them. Is it what we really want? Because it is what we are going to get.
Graham Clews, Kambah
To the point
WHY IS THAT?
Strolling along in Walpole Crescent, Parkes, the other day I stopped to have a look at the excellent statues of John Curtin and Ben Chifley. They seem to be very much in the right place. Which caused me to wonder why the statue of Australia's longest serving Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, is on the other side of the lake not within cooee of the Parliamentary Triangle.
Stuart Magee, Griffith
NOT ALL THIEVES
The interest in the Luddites sparked by Crispin Hull seems a good opportunity to remember that the convicts sent here were not all petty thieves and fraudsters. A spectrum of the disaffected from Irish rebels and Rick-burners to Chartists and the Tolpuddle Martyrs (those that weren't executed) were also sent here. They were to a degree responsible for a widespread Aussie disdain for the rich elites, which today seems transmogrified into envy.
S W Davey, Torrens
I recently had cause to call a plumber. I no longer object to doctor's fees. Pretty soon plumbers will be demanding the same pay as the holders of the "stop -go" signs at roadworks sites. Why, I ask, would anybody bother with a uni course?
Jeff Day, Greenway
The blocking of "Tank Man" photos by the Microsoft Bing search engine on the anniversary of the event was apparently an "accidental human error". I would be more inclined to think it was a computer stuff up rather than a deliberate censorship of one of the world's most famous photos from an horrific event that will be remembered with or without photos.
Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill, VIC
RETURN OF SERVE
How about requiring the journos who ask the most banal questions to play a set of tennis on a packed centre court and then face a grilling about their performance from a cynical mob of professional tennis players. Game, set and match!
Colin Griffiths, Scullin
AN UNHAPPY PROSPECT
Paul Pollard (June 5) claims that Taiwan is "universally seen as part of China". In my view, there are plenty around who would disagree with that. Taiwan has been a thriving, highly successful and independent democracy for 70 years, and the prospect of being "reunited" and incorporated into communist China would not seem to them to be a good idea.
Sandy Paine, Griffith
PAY THEIR WAY
Your editorial on Canberra bikes and bike paths and improving them so we can all jump on our bikes and ride into the sunset was a bit extreme in the least considering these bike people don't pay too much maintenance and the motorists are giving over half their roads to bikes. The bike paths may be a good idea off and away from the roads and maybe Pedal Power can chip in a few bob to help pay for them.
Errol Good, Macgregor
WHEELIE NEED MORE BINS
I noted City Services Minister Chris Steel defended the closure of greenwaste drop off at Parkwood by pointing to the expansion of green waste bin collections. In that case can l have the number of bins we have expanded to four please? Well need them to make up for the loss of Parkwood.
Dallas Stow, O'Connor
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