WHEN I hear of protesters trying to stop the coal trains in order to interrupt the coal chain to bring attention to climate change I often think that I once drove those coal trains. With trains weighing in at over 11,000 tonnes and one and a half kilometers long they are a challenge to manage.
What these protesters are doing is in my opinion both stupid and dangerous. I have taken part in protests as well. These protests were well organised and well run. I think we did a better job at getting our points across than those who played chicken with the coal trains. I have often said that reducing greenhouse gas emissions will require a number of action plans, like placing a greater emphasis upon rail transport. This is one reason why many opposed the closure of the railway into Newcastle. Again I have to ask; where were these protesters when we were trying to stop the closure of the railway.
Peter Sansom, Kahibah
Let the young find their own path
THANK you to Denise Lindus Trummel for highlighting the negative impact that reports of the so-called climate crisis have on young people and for acknowledging so many things that young people and indeed all of us here in Australia have to be grateful for, ("Gratitude could go a long way", Letters, 22/11). The education system and the media seem determined to convince young people that the future is bleak and that they should be angry and frightened. How cruel! This is what is robbing them of their "dreams and their childhood". Let's teach our kids to be grateful for the wonderful advancements that they are able to enjoy and that they, too, can play a part in using less power and creating less emissions.
Joanne Debono, Newcastle
Renewables will shine with time
ROBERT Monteath, ("Hidden costs of renewables", Letters, 17/11), is concerned Australia may not be able to transition to a renewable electricity grid capable of providing our current electricity demand of 700,000 megawatt hours daily, with 250,000 consumed at night, by 2050, and he suggests Australia often has windless nights.
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), which operates our national energy grid and is responsible for planning its future, believes it is possible and will provide the cheapest and most reliable solution. While low wind strengths may quite often occur at night it will only be over part of the four million square kilometres covered by the national energy grid, and there is also the potential of offshore wind generation.
AEMO has identified four significant east coast sites that typically experience strong wind conditions and are close to ports, with the potential of providing 40 gigawatts of electricity. This project alone would provide an average of around 450,000 megawatts daily and move the wind/solar generation ratio closer to optimum, significantly reducing energy storage needs.
Continuing to move this ratio towards optimum by prioritising wind generation, while using pumped hydro for longer term storage, and benefiting from falling battery prices will dramatically reduce his predicted cost of $8.5 billion a year for 30 years.
AEMO predicts wholesale power prices will continue to fall as renewables increase their grid penetration.
Richard Mallaby, Wangi Wangi
Count beyond political costs
MICHAEL Jameson's letter, ("Morrison has no claim to legacy", Letters, 22/11), refers to an earlier letter from Fred Saunders and claims French president Emmanuel Macron is too young to have first-hand knowledge of Australia's huge commitment of troops and the subsequent 46,000 Aussie diggers who died to save France in World War I. Mr Macron is upset by the cancellation of the submarine contract for which he claims Prime Minister Scott Morrison did not give enough notice, although the evidence proves otherwise. Maybe he should reflect on why Australia was not given notice before France detonated their atom bombs in our backyard in the 1960s?
President Macron has also been approached directly by Tony Abbott requesting he overrule the Douai Court of Appeal that approved the erection of the 156m high wind turbines on the ridge overlooking the Australian Memorial with the names of 10,719 unknown Australians who gave their lives to help save France. 800 of those soldiers died on the same sacred ridge where the turbines are to be erected. My father fought in that area in World War I and survived, otherwise I would not be here to write this letter.
The turbines will also overlook Le Hamel where General Sir John Monash first masterminded the highly acclaimed plan to include all facets of troops and armaments in the one coordinated action. This brilliant plan led to the capture of Mont St Quentin and the liberation of France.
The installation of turbines are opposed by all local councils, The Somme Dept Council, the Local Prefect and the Administrative Tribunal of Amiens, the nearby birthplace of President Macron. Maybe some of his ancestors were protected or liberated by some of those Aussie Diggers. When calculating the cost of the penalty clause for breaking the contract, Mr Macron could take into consideration the cost Australia has incurred for over 100 years maintaining the graves, lawns and memorials in France, of the Australian soldiers who gave their all.
John Yates, Belmont
Margin calls no good for safe seats
NEWCASTLE and Lake Macquarie residents are about to have GP Access services severely curtailed, ("Tales of loss and disbelief", Newcastle Herald 20/11).
It seems that the federal government has money for sporting clubs and car parks, but no money for a vital health service. The problem is that neither Newcastle nor Lake Macquarie federal electorates are marginal or in Coalition hands. So, from the Coalition's view point, it needs the money to pork-barrel other seats that it might win. There is something exquisitely obscene about cutting health services in some electorates and using this taxpayer money to buy votes in other electorates and thereby retain office. Pork-barrelling, along with branch-stacking and favour-buying by businesses and trade unions should be outlawed under any federal ICAC laws. The problem is that this will never happen. I believe that both major federal parties use these three practices as a normal part of their day-to-day politicking.
Geoff Black, Caves Beach
Show protesters other ways
YOUR article about the Strike Force Tuohy police raid quoted Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Pat Conroy, as follows: "This is not the way to campaign on climate action because you're dividing our community. Other groups that are equally passionate about climate action are doing it the right way." What other groups? I don't think I have heard of them. And that seems to be their point, especially after our collective marketing campaign in Glasgow. Besides, what better way to divide a community than to join a political party?
Vic Davies, Tighes Hill
THE contrast between energy market changes in the real world, and reactionary rusted-on attitudes, could never be plainer. On Monday's front page, ("Energetic change", Newcastle Herald 22/11), AGL chief signals the end of coal-fired power generation, while in letters the same day several die-hards persist in their view that we can't live without coal. While governments flounder, and carbon-apologists struggle for air, in the commercial world, this battle has already been fought. Coal lost.
John Beach, Cooks Hill
I HEAR that unvaxxed people are going to be allowed into next Saturday week's local voting stations. If they can't get into clubs, retail stores, cafes etc how come they are allowed into polling booths? Vaccinated citizens are going to be forced to mingle with people, who, by their own choice, have decided to take the unvaccinated path.
Richie Blanch, Charlestown
THANK you Denise Trummel. In my opinion the getting of knowledge comes from an accumulation of experiences or by the proffering of a theory. This is then backed up by data to prove its point. By grandstanding and not offering solutions, someone so young loses credibility in my eyes as they cannot be taken seriously by their rantings. Listen to the Baby Boomers as they have lived and experienced through these times and make some very informed decisions.
John Bradford, Beresfield
IS Labor that childish? Now they've turned to name calling. That's usually for eight-year-olds. Jim Chalmers called our PM "the liar from the shire" four times in one tirade. Bowen is not far behind. Imagine this bunch of whingers in control of the country.
Don Fraser, Belmont North
JACQUI Lambie is to be commended for her criticism of Pauline Hanson and the other right wing political enablers of the anti-vaccine movement. Senator Lambie sums it up well by describing vaccine mandates as behaving like a bloody adult, and putting others before yourself. One Nation has proven once again that they represent the worst of Australia, and we can do without them in parliament.
Peter C Jones, Rathmines
IN reply to Chris Peters (Short Takes, 23/11), just remember what George Costanza said to Jerry Seinfeld: that it's not a lie if you believe it, so go easy on ScoMo.
Alan Hamilton, Hamilton East
I HOPE the coal protester sentenced to a year behind bars enjoys his three meals a day while he's in prison ('Coal protester sentenced to year in prison', Herald 23/11). Let's see how many of these uninformed fools stop coal trains now. I'm guessing there'll be a shortage of volunteers from here on in.