David Tiley writes: We could go on about greenhouse forever, but Mike Chamberlain makes a generic point (yesterday, comments) which deserves a generic reply. We develop as a first world nation, using oil and coal. Then we tell places like China that they can’t use the oil and coal because we have wrecked the climate by doing the same. Are they going to take us seriously if we say that we won’t stop using the said oil and coal because there’s less of us than them? Even worse, we are saying that we will pretend the oil and coal thing doesn’t matter because we are selling it to them. Don’t you think maybe the rest of the world sees through this?

Richard Wise writes: Mike you have swallowed it — hook, line and sinker. Forgetting for a moment that China does have a 15% renewable energy target (far in excess of Australia’s) and has joined the global fight on climate change by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol (with access to CDMs, JIs and all that this entails on abatement), consider this: 167 countries have ratified Kyoto. 95% of these countries have emissions much lower than Australia’s. What makes Australia so special that it has the God-given right to excuse itself from a global solution to a global problem when everyone else has signed up (other than the US of course)? To reconcile your issue with China having the same economic aspirations as Australia, think of the problem in terms of marginal tax rates. Those who can afford to pay more towards the common good, pay the higher tax rate (Australia), while those who can afford less, pay the lowest (China). The alternative consigns China to a future of bicycles while we enjoy the fruits of our profligate use of carbon over the past two hundred years.

Greg Alford writes: Three words for Christian Kerr’s article on global warming: Uninformed. Lazy. Shallow. His articles on politics, where he has some practical and theoretical expertise, are enjoyable. On global warming, Mr Kerr is well out of his depth, just like the inhabitants of Tuvalu and Bangladesh soon will be. He doesn’t seem to have actually read Tim Flannery’s book or viewed Al Gore’s film before attacking them for allegedly just trying to make a fast buck. The one substantive issue Mr Kerr raises, the notion that current global temperature rises are just part of a natural cycle, are in fact directly addressed and this notion exploded by both Flannery and Gore. (Indeed, Tim Flannery on radio recently claimed that under ‘normal’ climate cycles, the earth should currently be cooling.) If Mr Kerr is too lazy to do basic research on the topic, then he should stick to ‘will Cossie or won’t he’ articles, and leave the science to others prepared to do more than just recycle IPA-style propaganda.

Keith Thomas writes: Don’t get too excited by the Gore movie An Inconvenient Truth. Al Gore suggests “ten things you can do” (… to do what?). It has been calculated using Gore’s own data that if every American did every one of these ten things, US CO2 emissions would fall by 22%. Some say we need 75%, others (like George Monbiot), say it’s 90%. Yet others say the figure is well over 100% — yes we need to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere by replenishing and expanding natural carbon sinks. This would also help restore the water vapour cycles — water vapour contributes around 70% of the natural greenhouse effect.

Andrew Lewis writes: Only one person wrote in to cancel their subscription following Christian’s climate change reflections. That’s a mild response from the evangelical man-made climate change lobby. To espouse the idea that perhaps we don’t have enough information to form a genuinely scientific hypothesis immediately attracts the damning analogies to creationists and intelligent design. There is no debate allowed. The fact that global weather is the ultimate in chaotic systems, with a gazillion inputs, all by definition having unpredictable outputs, (see definition of chaotic systems), doesn’t seem to allow for any possibility that maybe we can’t predict the future (or even the present). Further, scientists do the world no favours by regularly presenting scientific speculation as fact, as well as that great horde of scientists who have no credentials relating to meteorological studies or climate but will present their ‘scientific’ opinions, without the disclaimer that they know diddly squat and consequently their opinions are no more valid than Bob the SP bookie, (who is currently quoting “demise of the human species” as an even money bet in the next 100 years). Oh well, we are a failed experiment anyway. Bring on the next species please.

Angela Griffen writes: Re. Aboriginal PR. I am in the public relations business in New Zealand and have been reading with interest the suggestions from professionals on how the Aboriginal situation can benefit from PR. I think that there may be a long way to go. I was at a dinner party in Auckland a couple of years ago. I was the only New Zealander with a number of Australians. During the evening we talked about everything and Aborigines came up as a subject. After an some interesting moments of misconceptions and prejudice around the table I asked if any of them had met an aborigine. Not one, none, zilch. The only person that had ever met an aborigine was me, and that was through work I had done with the Fred Hollows Foundation. By the way, Fred was also a New Zealander. Now I would have to say that we in New Zealand are certainly not as perfect as we would sometimes like to think… but we have all given it our best shot to get on — Maori, Pacific Islanders, Asians, Europeans — the lot. We have grown up together, gone to school together, done business together, played sport together, married each other, laughed and cried together. Clumsily, tentatively and through thick and thin we got to know each other. Still have a long way to go… but it has been worth the effort. And the best thing we did is not avoid each other. So my suggestion is simple… create an environment for your kids that means they grow up with aborigines as friends, they grow up actually knowing aborigines, not just as some far distant indigenous people but as a warm blooded interesting human beings with hearts, and feelings and spirit. Just remember if their art is worth looking at and buying then the people might be worth a conversation… and the children deserve one.

Jim Johnson writes: The article saying that Tony Abbott is the wrong person to be talking about Junk food advertising is on the money (yesterday, item 9). However I am interested in getting a definition of what comprises junk food. I confess that I do not eat McDonald’s, KFC, Hungry Jacks, Red Rooster and their ilk but that is because I reckon they are a rip off. However I cannot reconcile their being called “junk”. As far as I can ascertain their ingredients all meet standards of the food industry. They are no more fattening than what we eat at barbeques. I can accept that Coke and other drinks contain excess sugars and thus excess calories, but again they meet standards. As far as I can see the less advertised foods from cake shops may fit the junk food category but I really believe that the term “junk” is a misnomer. I do not have an alternative except perhaps “flabmaker”. Maybe one of the sole subscribers may have ideas. I am in total agreement with anything to combat obesity but believe that the best exercise is putting both hands on the table and pushing backwards. One more thing. I find that most main courses served are sufficient for two people so maybe this is a contributing factor.

Matt Hardin writes: I would have thought the clearest argument showing that fast food advertising contributes to obesity is the fact that companies spend so much money on the advertising to children. After all, if advertisements don’t encourage consumption, there would be no reason to resist restrictions.

James Pedley writes: Thank you all for telling me how a QC is appointed. I thought they were better lawyers, turns out they’re just mates of the chief justice.

Barry Everingham writes: The three day visit to Australia by our absent head of state and her husband was a quiet, but expensive holiday, setting the hapless taxpayer back $483,333 a day — and for what? The ethnic German couple were almost invisible and at the Opening Ceremony of the Games, her Majesty looked as though she would rather have been on the dark side of the moon or anywhere else other than where she was. She elevated boredom to dizzy heights. The three days were marred for the couple by the continual presence of John and Janette Howard, who seemed the think the visit was for their personal pleasure — Howard actually hijacked the pair, who were ostensibly here for the Games but Melbourne wasn’t writ large on the itinerary. Their youngest son, Edward flitted around for about en days but didn’t cause a ripple and like his old mum was bored to death.The travel bill was $662,678; accommodation $81,000; security $61,460 and “other expenses” $644,300. A three day trip costing $1.45 million. As Pauline Hanson would say — please explain.

Chris Kettle writes: Talking of scalping. I’m still confused as to why, when I download and print my own tickets from Ticketek with their EzyTicket system, I’m having to pay $7.95 for the privilege. The same price as they charge for a postal send out or box-office collection. Whereas eTickets should be free. Yes they can charge their poxy booking fee. But emailing a ticket — come on! Why hasn’t this ever been questioned? Why are they getting away with it?

Michael Jones writes: How come your Comments section is the most interesting part of the publication these days?

Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and c*ck-ups to [email protected]. Preference will be given to comments that are short and succinct: maximum length is 200 words. Please include your full name – we won’t publish comments anonymously unless there is a very good reason.

Peter Fray

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