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Byron Shire
May 17, 2021

The bumpy ride

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Mark Bruhwiller, Smithtown

Referring to Eve Sinton’s letter [Echo August 21] regarding her naive, hysterical rant on our ‘fails in the Pacific’.

   Let me point out some facts (although, I’m convinced, it will fall on deaf ears).  I’m sure you’ve heard that we contribute to a mere 1% of emissions compared to other countries’, so how on earth are we alone in this continuing saga? Oh yes: we do export coal, don’t we? But then again if we pauper ourselves’ by not exporting this, our cleaner scourge to mankind, then other countries will take over the reins and begin delivering nastier fossil fuel to those less fortunate communities’ who are without  power – think 200 million poverty-stricken folk in India – Mungo MacCullum, take heed: we are the third biggest exporter of coal, not the biggest. Gee, a bit of fair dinkum journalism wouldn’t go astray Echo!

   In the meantime, you, Ms Sinton reside in a country in comfort, secure in the knowledge that we are free, well fed, with heating, air conditioning, border protection, security etc., etc. Yes, Ms Sinton, our economy relies on coal and mineral export to live as we live: without it I think you would be happy to reside in your tree house, along with those puerile, jingoistic others. 

   On a lighter note, are you aware Ms Sinton, that mining in this country supports, not only local communities, but also indigenous workers, which in turn, supports local business’? Something we desperately need in far-away places unfamiliar to yourself no doubt.

   Please, in future send your observations to the world-wide powers that be, instead of lambasting our leader for pointing out a fact of life – although I concede the world is in deep trouble; at my age – and a Veteran to boot – we’re not only in an evolutionary stage of existence regarding climate change, but war, incurable diseases, despots’, greed, hate and violent extremism are all on our doorstep: and yet the world will keep on turning as it has for the last multi-millennium. We are in for a bumpy ride though.

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  1. Here’s a few corrections to your poorly researched and sarcastic assertions, and a few other facts for you to ponder:
    1. Australias’ emissions are between actually 1.3% & 1.7%, depending upon which source you choose to quote. Try arguing with the ATO that your taxes aren’t worth paying because you contribute less than 1.3% (or even less than your 1%).
    2. There are 21 countries whose emissions are between 0.8% and 1.2% who have already committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Together they total roughly 20%.
    3. Australia is indeed the largest exporter of coal. If you actually read the report you would have seen that we are third largest exporter of all fossils fuels combined, which includes crude and refined oil and gas. We export zero refined oil, otherwise we would be second.
    4. It is absurd to argue that if we transition away a coal-base economy that we all have to live in trees. The major increases in greenhouse gas emissions commenced from the 1850s onwards, by which time more than half the worlds’ population already lived in cities. Yes the Australian economy has benefitted from coal in much the same way as the USA built its wealth on slavery, then war profiteering. We do not have to lose everything in transition away from coal. It’s akin to arguing for a return of slavery and more world wars. We are smart enough to not have to dig holes forever. There are other countries in the world with an equal standard of living that have no coal.
    5. India is the world’s fastest growing market for solar. There are also 200 million people in Africa and elsewhere in Asia without access to reliable electricity supplies and they are not looking to Australian coal to solve that. They are looking at alternative, cheaper, accessible renewables – particularly solar. Battery storage technology is increasing at almost the same rate as renewables technology.
    6. If we don’t export coal, someone else will is a nonsensical claim. Who? Based on what evidence? And allow me to compare that to the drug dealer selling drugs to schoolkids argument – if I don’t someone else will. How does that make it right?
    7. How does being a “Veteran to boot” give you any greater insights to climate science and world economics than anybody else? Any why does that allow you to sneer at people you disagree with or don’t understand and label them “puerile”? Many would argue your “Veteran” status has narrowed your world view and gives you fewer rights to denigrate those trying to improve the world without resorting to name calling or violence.
    8. Forget 1.5 – 2 degrees of warming. The latest research published only LAST WEEK suggests that ship has sailed. We are now looking at 3 degrees in the same timeframe and will be lucky to avoid 4 degrees. You obviously do not realise the implications for food production from agriculture and fisheries, water security, sea level rise, increased global poverty and refugees and weather extremes. Not to even mention impacts on biodiversity. But I do. I read. I have a brain AND a moral compass, and I support those who dare criticise our smug, morally bankrupt hypocritical PM for his flippant, uncaring, un-Christian attitudes towards, and treatment of our South Pacific neighbours. Nor am I puerile.

    This is no time for Business As Usual! Doing Nothing is not an option.

  2. Many thanks, Matt. Mark’s insulting word rant had
    the hair on the back of my neck standing up. All I
    need to add is that ‘there’s talk of Adani backing
    Renewables’. If that’s so [& I’m not sure how to
    track it down] it shows that even he chooses to be
    part of the new wave. Ah! He’ll probably just pick
    up a shelf company & run a non-coal business
    through it. Nothing will ever turn Adani or the PM
    into compassionate beings with a moral compass.


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