Chi­nese de­ci­sion to cut back on coal a move to a cleaner fu­ture

South Western Times - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Bee Winfield, Nan­nup

CHI­NESE ef­forts to di­min­ish de­pen­dence on the most pol­lut­ing of all fos­sil fu­els have seen coal prices drop.

A new Chi­nese law ban­ning the use of coal with high lev­els of sul­phur and ash in ar­eas around its largest cities to counter air pol­lu­tion has the Bureau of Re­source Eco­nomics warn­ing that the new law alone could re­duce Australia’s ther­mal coal ex­ports to China by one sixth.

The world is thank­fully mov­ing to­wards a coal-free fu­ture and what we’re see­ing in Queens­land’s Bowen Basin is ma­te­rial ev­i­dence of that – the houses and the signs of ex­cess like boats, jet skis and Har­leys in drive­ways all have “for sale” signs stuck on them.

There is a cho­rus of com­men­ta­tors dis­count­ing the Prime Min­is­ter’s em­bar­rass­ing claim that coal is an “es­sen­tial part” of our eco­nomic fu­ture.

Tony Ab­bot’s era of knights, dames and coal is over.

At the State elec­tion a few years ago we had the chance to elect a for­ward-think­ing eth­i­cal states­man who put for­ward great al­ter­na­tives for Col­lie, but the WA peo­ple voted in a gov­ern­ment bereft of an en­vi­ron­men­tal clue – a coali­tion in­tent only on short-term profit – so passé. It is a sad re­flec­tion of the de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of our soils that our col­lec­tive in­tel­lect voted for not only Ab­bott but the Bar­nett/Red­man gov­ern­ment with its “ship it out, cut it down, de­velop wa­ter” men­tal­ity.

Our bio­sphere will only just sur­vive Bar­nett’s self-ap­pointed longer term, if it does. Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple tell me how in their living mem­ory the Col­lie River used to teem with fish, mar­ron and birds.

I can only imag­ine what a boun­ti­ful and beau­ti­ful place Col­lie was and how vi­brant the health of the peo­ple this abun­dance sup­ported. I won­der if we can re­cover from the pol­lu­tion of coal min­ing and the cli­mate change coal-fired en­ergy has brought about. There is a cen­tury of chal­lenges ahead and we need to elect ac­tual lead­ers who are not cor­rupt.

Some dull peo­ple eat­ing their GM food in Bowen Basin say: “You just got to keep think­ing that it’ll pass, that de­mand for coal will come back”, but those eat­ing or­ganic food say we are en­dowed with more sun­shine than many coun­tries who are all go­ing so­lar ther­mal, leav­ing us far be­hind.

We bet­ter look up and live.

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