Ru Hartwell, Director of Treeflights.com, writes: Re. “Planting Trees: the answer to guilt free travel”. I run a carbon offset treeplanting company –Treeflights.com. Because we all share the same atmosphere, air travellers use our service from all over the world, including occasionally Australia. We are often criticised because it is said that bio-sequestration of the type that we practise provides only a temporary store for the carbon that we withdraw from the air. This valid point is echoed in your article. Because of this we have given a lot of thought to this issue. We have come up with a future management plan for our young forests that goes like this… Grow the trees (all hardwoods) until mature(80-100 years), harvest into rectilinear blocks as large as possible, coat surface with preservative and then bury either in the peat that they are growing in or the sea. In these anaerobic conditions we believe that the inevitable flowback of CO2 to the atmosphere will be markedly slowed down. There are Viking longboats that have been brought to the surface in Britain after many hundreds of years and the timbers are pretty well preserved. The whole process is then repeated and in such a way one planting site can in theory be used as what we describe as a “Sequestration Farm” to re-absorb CO2 on an ongoing basis. The only way we will get on top of the problem of climate change is by learning to think in this very long term way.

Brian Barry writes: Re. “Are Alan Jones’s s-xual preferences a matter of public interest?” I find it difficult to read in 2006 someone using the phrase s-xual “preference” — perhaps the Parrot himself would tell you it’s not his preference but his orientation.

John Richardson writes: Re. “The Prince and the courtiers”. Glenn Dyer asks if it is possible that the fawning comments in Saturday’s Financial Review by Packer acolytes John Alexander, Paul O’Sullivan, David Gyngell and Mark Bouris may have embarrassed even James Packer himself. The famous sage, anonymous, once observed that: “Flattery looks like friendship, just like a wolf looks like a dog”.

Steve Bibb, Executive Director of Landmark Television, writes: Re. Last night’s TV ratings. Just reading your invaluable ratings report for Sunday night. In regards to The Real Seachange, it should be noted that the 1.22mil was for four capital cities only. Seven Perth ran with a telethon last night. The Real Seachange goes to air tonight at 7.30 in Perth. Throw in regular Perth figures and we’d be up over the 1.4mil. Also, big turn-on out of news everywhere.

Tim Le Roy writes: Re. State of the planet — Denmark energy. Please take care in promoting Denmark as a model energy producer. Yes, Denmark is a net exporter of energy, but at what cost? And for virtually no environmental benefit! Since embracing windmills Denmark now has the most expensive electricity in Europe. As this extract from ABS Energy in the UK shows, Denmark’s energy exports were made at a loss: “In 2004, wind accounted for 20% of total electricity production in Denmark but supplied only 6% of consumption, because it produced a surplus at periods of lowest demand. What’s more, 84% of Danish wind-generated electricity was exported to Norway, and sold at a loss for Denmark. Furthermore, the Norwegian electricity system uses carbon free hydro power, so the effect of carbon reductions realised in power produced by windmills was nullified.” Just because it looks green doesn’t mean it is necessarily so.

Trevor Lambert writes: Coles’s CEO John Fletcher was observed recently making big noises about the rollout of new super stores that would see Coles Supermarkets absorbing the Kmart brand. Super stores of this nature that combine food and variety supermarkets were tried by the giant American Supermarket chain Wal-Mart two decades ago. Wal-Mart has now abandoned the concept and is reverting to smaller individual grocery and variety supermarkets. Maybe the Fletcher/Allert Board of Coles should take a page out of Wal-Mart’s book and capitalise on their mistakes. If Wal-Mart could not make this retail concept work, how does Coles expect it to work here in Oz?

Geoff Baars writes: Nick Place’s excellent article on the adoption of technology by tennis umpires – with their apparent full support – implicitly draws the sharp contrast with cricket. In cricket, we are still held hostage to the egos of arrogant old fools like Darrell Hair. Where is the Richard Ings of cricket? The Ashes Test Series is a month away, as we’re consistently reminded. Here’s a (not so bold) prediction: in each Test, there will be six to ten errors in umpiring decisions, which will become immediately obvious to the entire watching world within 30 seconds (but not to spectators in the grounds, thanks to Cricket Australia’s fascist rules). A further (not so bold) prediction is that 75% of the errors will go in Australia’s favour. This is just repeating the pattern of past tours to Australia. England’s squad is struggling, the bulk of the inevitable umpiring errors will go against them, the Barmy Army will be good sports and buy our beer, and the series will be dead by the time of the Third Test in Perth. It’s time to separate umpire ego from the players’ and spectators’ rights to accuracy. Just like in tennis.

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 (we reserve the right to edit comments for length). Please include your full name – we won’t publish comments anonymously unless there is a very good reason.

Peter Fray

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