In this time of COVID-19, with its uncertainties and lockdowns, many parts of our lives have become problematic - social and political engagement included. Even taking to the streets to express protest and dissent is subject to new levels of restriction and regulation.
Newspapers become an increasingly important means of discourse.
Of necessity, I have become a serial writer of letters to the editor.
Part of me feels I should apologise for this; another part is grateful for the opportunity to take up one's metaphorical pen.
Thank you for this important forum.
Never before, in my 71 years, has there been so much that angers me about the failure of our national leadership. Never have there been so many reasons for our federal government to change direction.
The failure to care for future generations by acting to lessen climate damage, the cruel treatment of refugees, the refusal to respond to racism, and to First Nations injustices, the slowness to address the misogynist culture in parliament, the eroding of human rights here in Australia, the growing gulf between the rich and the poor, the ignoring of political corruption - and it's proliferation; there is so much that distresses me.
We should all be calling our leaders to account, and seeking to bring about change so that justice and compassion might rule in our land. And so I shall take to the streets, when the opportunities arise, and I shall keep writing my letters.
Brian Measday's call for net zero emissions by 2050 ("Climate's change needs urgent action", July 25) is commendable but is probably not sufficient. Net zero targets assume it will be possible to deliver vast amounts of "negative emissions", meaning removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through storage in vegetation, soils and underground.
However, deployment of the technologies needed for negative emissions at the required scale remains unproven, and should not replace real emissions reductions now.
Australia's love affair with gas and coal runs counter to any meaningful emissions reduction. In 2020-21, The Australia Institute found that total fossil fuel subsidies from federal and state governments hit $10.3 billion.
Australia's current target is to reduce emissions by only 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. A report by the Climate Targets Panel, an independent group of Australia's most senior climate scientists and policymakers found that, to be consistent with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to well below 2°C, Australia's 2030 emissions reduction target must be 50 per cent below 2005 levels.
As Measday says, the return of Barnaby Joyce as Deputy PM has made progress on emissions harder. If Australia is to regain any credibility at the forthcoming UN climate conference in Glasgow in November, Morrison must rein in Joyce and announce a realistic target.
If he doesn't, the majority of Australians who are concerned about climate change will vote for candidates who are more committed to action on climate at the next election.
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