Letters | Readers discuss Parkes' climate partnership

'Parkes on right track' - readers discuss climate partnership | Letters

Parkes is on the right track

Dear Editor

Re: The Parkes Champion Post website 25/3/2021

Boyd Chambers is a bit confused about Tim Flannery and the Climate Council ("Cities Power Partnership", 25/3).

Professor Flannery was not "sacked by the government". Rather, after Tony Abbott abolished the Australian Climate Commission for ideological reasons, the Climate Council was founded in 2013 and funded by tens of thousands of Australians creating a new and independent organisation. Flannery heads the Climate Council which is made up of several of the country's leading climate scientists, health, renewable energy and policy experts.

Rather than be admonished, Parkes Council should be congratulated for participating in the Cities Power Partnership, Australia's largest local government climate network, made up of 139 councils from across the country, representing almost 11 million Australians. Local councils who join the partnership make five action pledges in either renewable energy, efficiency, transport or working in partnership to tackle climate change.

Mr Chambers should note that both Dubbo and Penrith are part of the CPP. As an example, Penrith Council now saves almost $600,000 each year, along with the abatement of more than 3000 tonnes of CO2.

Ray Peck, Hawthorn, Victoria

Climate debate

Dear Editor

Boyd Chambers writes (Champion Post, 26 March 2021) that "The dams are full and some overflowing, the rivers are in flood and despite Prof. Tim Flannery's dire prediction Perth is not a ghost town." His letter goes on to say that Parkes Council should cut its ties to this partnership [with Flannery] "because Professor Flannery has no credibility whatsoever."

Tim Flannery and other scientists are often taken out of context, misquoted, or dismissed, as a tactic to distract attention from the fact that planet earth is warming inexorably, with man-made greenhouse gas emissions an important driving force.

For example, Flannery is often quoted saying "... even the rain that falls isn't actually going to fill our dams and our river systems ...".

Those words are interpreted by some commentators as Flannery saying that dams will never fill again. He did say those words, but they are mischievously taken out of context. In context, here is what he said in an interview on Landline in 2007:

"We're already seeing the initial impacts and they include a decline in the winter rainfall zone across southern Australia, which is clearly an impact of climate change, but also a decrease in run-off. Although we are getting say a 20 per cent decrease in rainfall in some areas of Australia, that's translating to a 60 per cent decrease in the run-off into the dams and rivers.

"That is because the soil is warmer because of global warming and the plants are under more stress and therefore using more moisture. So even the rain that falls is not actually going to fill our dams and our river systems, and that's a real worry for the people in the bush. If that trend continues then I think we are going to have serious problems, particularly for irrigation."

What is happening now is consistent with what Flannery said would happen back in 2007.

The pattern of snow, hail, and rain events is worth thinking about.

As the planet warms more water evaporates. Water vapour is a powerful greenhouse gas that creates a positive feedback loop for warming. However, unlike other gases including carbon dioxide and methane, it leaves the atmosphere in the short term as snow, hail, and rain, then returns through evaporation and the cycle repeats.

The trouble is that just where the water precipitates, and the rate of precipitation, is beyond human control. Intense storms, riverine and flash flooding are becoming more intense.

Perth a ghost city? Great news that it has not become one. Why? In part at least because the city took Flannery's advice and installed two - not one, two - desalination plants, capable of producing between them 400 megaliters of fresh water per day.

The Water Corporation reports that the desalination plants produced 43 per cent of Perth's water supply in 2019-2020. Maybe that has got something to do with why Perth's livability?

Should Parkes Shire councillors stop paying heed to climate scientists, and cut ties with Flannery in particular? No, you should not!

Ken Engsmy, Parkes

Consider keeping pools open longer

Dear Editor

In view of the temperatures over the last week and those predicted over the next week or more, perhaps council should consider closing the pools a month later next year?

Boyd Chambers, Parkes

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