Talk of the Town

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There is a lot of disappointment about the mothballing of the Alice Springs News: prominent locals – significantly not including politicians, with the exception to date of one, Cr Marli Banks – have given their views in the readers’ comment boxes under the report announcing the changes.

We are very much gratified by what they are saying.

These comments and the sustained comments history of the News since we went online in 2011 (more than 26,000 published comments to date) make it clear that many in town want a forum for civilised discussions of local issues. Well, here it is.

All subjects are fair game, just use the box at the bottom of this note. We will continue to moderate the section.

PHOTO: Night market in the Mall.

ERWIN CHLANDA, Editor

[ED – Independent Member for Araluen Robyn sent a message on February 14: “Sad news about you and Kieran hanging up your saddles” and spoke about us on the ABC. Thank you!]

[ED – See also reader comment from Jimmy Cocking on February 15.]

2 COMMENTS

  1. I have recently made the change to an electric stove, mostly to be able to say: “Frack off Origin Energy, I will not do business with a Company that is destroying the NT and the planet by vigorously pursuing fracking for unconventional gas.”
    I was encouraged in this venture by an article in the Saturday Paper (Feb 5 to 11) about Saul Griffith, a former climate adviser to Joe Biden, who has moved home to Australia.
    He says in his forthcoming book, The Big Switch: Australia’s Electric Future: “It is a government’s job to lead its people into a future that’s better than the present for its citizens. This is not a job that requires sitting on one’s arse, waiting for the solution to happen.”
    He wanted to live his principles by making everything – the heating, all the appliances, the car – electric and powered (or at least powerable) by renewable energy. He encountered strong resistance from his wife Arwen, to his plan to put an electric induction cooktop in their kitchen, as did I with my partner.
    His counterargument relied heavily on data.
    When you boil a pot of water with a natural-gas burner, about 90% of the energy in the gas gets converted to heat, but some 70% of that energy is wasted because it heats the kitchen not the water. Induction cooktops are better, up to 90% efficient, and heat the pot not the kitchen, as well as being faster to heat, easier to control, and easier to clean.
    And, of course, an appliance using renewable electricity does not produce planet-heating carbon dioxide. Not to mention the catastrophic, and under reported “fugitive” methane emissions.
    His wife wanted a gas cooktop because she had listened to 25 years of propaganda from the gas industry that wanted you to believe “that it was a clean blue flame” and “the only thing that can do stir fry” and all the other bullshit that we’ve been fed.
    In the end what changed his wife’s mind, he says, was not his technical data on relative efficiency of the appliances, nor the global consequences of their choice.
    It was the evidence of the health benefits for their kids. Burning gas produces not only carbon dioxide but other substances dangerous to human health, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and ultra-small particulates that can affect the lungs, particularly of asthmatics.
    It was this article that also convinced my partner Deb that an induction cooktop is the way to go. We haven’t mastered it yet, but so far so good. It seems quicker than the gas.
    Gas-fired power in the eastern states has fallen to its lowest percentage of generation since 2005. It now provides just 5.7% of the total. Its decline from a high of 12.8% seven years ago is largely attributed to its relatively high cost and the sharp increase in the amount of cheaper solar and wind energy available.
    Despite this, fracking is being backed by the Morrison and Gunner governments with hundreds of millions of dollars of public funding as part of what it calls a “gas-fired recovery” from the pandemic
    Yes, I know that our electricity in Alice is generated using gas, but my solar panels produce most of mine. And with the huge solar farms coming in the NT, the gas could be phased out in the not too distant future.
    So, let us join in and say: Frack Off Origin Energy.
    PS. Just to confirm my low opinion of Origin, it took me most of the morning to contact them to cancel my gas service.
    And, surprise, surprise, they will not refund the amount of gas left in the cylinder, or the paid in advance rent for the cylinder.

  2. Latest news tonight: Origin is shutting down a huge coal power station sooner than forecast!
    No environmental sympathy there. Renewables are cheaper!
    So, why are they still fracking?
    Maybe they just can’t afford to say no to all those lovely free (tax payer) dollars being thrust upon them by Gunner and Morrison.
    Minister for fossil fools Angus Taylor frothed: “tThe government will have to step in.”

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