Reader Comments of the Week

In this week’s edition mathematics and science fight back against the odds, while wind complaints get a reality check.

Having sidelined Comment of the Week last week, we feel a top three is justified this week.

The first, submitted by C Ryan, addresses the hot topic of wind farms and their impact on residents. Ryan’s personal experience in Sweden makes him question why the anti-wind lobbyers are so vocal here in Australia:

“I lived for a while within 500 metres of a 1.5MW wind generator in Sweden and never had any problems – nor did my neighbours – but then the Swedes (and Danes and Dutch and ... ) are immune to the Australian disease caused by wind generators.”

Our second and third comments relate to the politically sensitive topic of the cost of living and, more specifically, Tristan’s piece on the potential for it to be Tony Abbott’s undoing. 

A number of readers didn’t like Tristan’s rather long table that listed how many kilos of CO2 were embodied in production of everything from bananas to ice cream and then used those figures to estimate the carbon price impact on food prices. One called it “crap”, others referred to it as “lies”, and another “error ridden”. Although none of them provided alternative estimates, according to some of our readers the economic multiplier effect can convert a 1 per cent price rise into a 100 per cent price rise. To which Shane Thatcher made this contribution headed "Maths":

“Don't come at me with your fancy, elitist, ‘calculations’! It's good to see that now we have ejected science from the debate we are having a crack at maths. Now if we can just get rid of reading and writing...”

And finally, on a more serious note, we come to Kristina Stefanova, whose insights added some more worthwhile mathematics into the debate.

“It is indeed very frustrating to see every possible price increase blamed on the price on carbon.

The Climate Institute, CHOICE and ACOSS a few months back commissioned CSIRO to try and put a price tag on the impact of the carbon price and the assistance on offer. That research found that Australia's carbon pollution price will add a mere 0.6 per cent to inflation in 2012-13, or the equivalent to six cents on every $10 spent. That means an extra two cents spent on bread and a litre of milk, 11 cents on a leg of lamb and 14 cents on a week’s worth of fruit and vegetables.

Electricity prices will increase by around 10 per cent in 2012, outweighed by other cost pressures in upgrading poles and wires.

The CSIRO research found these rises will be offset by government assistance in 9 out of 10 households. Indeed most Australians will gain rather than lose if they invest in energy efficiency measures for their homes. Households can check out their situation at: www.yourcarbonprice.com.au

The research also shows that climate and/or extreme weather events like Cyclone Larry have made – or will make – greater impacts on our cost and way of life. If the IPCC report released this week is even half right, we can expect to see a lot more of these kinds of extreme weather events in Australia and all around the world.”

Thanks again to all our readers for the contributions you make to the site.

Related Articles