Hug our planet

HANS HUG founded the Fremantle Chamber Orchestra in 2005, is a devout cyclist and is married to Chook advertising director, Natalie. In this week’s THINKING ALLOWED, the Swiss-born greenie explains how we can save the planet, while at the same time increasing Australia’s revenue and savings.

The biggest threat to all of us is climate change.

Ninety eight per cent of scientists agree and nobody in Europe doubts this, as you can see the glaciers melting rapidly.

Only in Australia there are some uninformed politicians (Abbott, etc.) and commentators (Bolt, Devine, Murray, etc.) who voice their right-wing propaganda irresponsibly and call anybody who cares “hysterics”.

The cost of worsening droughts, flooding and more violent storms as well as adverse health effects and lost food production doesn’t make it into their discussion of electricity generation and infrastructure projects.

But this real cost should be included as well as the cost of pollution for which there never seems to be a dollar value.

Let’s not forget we are amongst the biggest polluters per capita.

Back to Roe 8:  the transport of containers by trucks creates more pollution not only because of the carcinogenic diesel particulates but because of the inevitable increase of traffic and hence pollution that a new road would bring.  Rail has much less friction, therefore much less energy is required to transport containers on rail, hence less pollution.

Only 12 per cent of containers are presently transported by rail.

To solve the traffic problem why not start there?

Increase the containers transported by rail from 12 to 25 per cent in 2018, the following year to 38 per cent and in 2020 to 50 per cent.

In the meantime, build light rail and the outer Harbour.

This leads directly to the next point: how to pay for light rail and the outer Harbour when the state is bankrupt?

Well, by savings and new revenue.

Stop supporting pollution by abolishing tax deduction for company cars unless they are electric. Abolish diesel subsidies for miners and subsidies for SUVs.

Make pollution pay: why should polluting be free?  Introduce the pollution tax on every car, based on grams per kilometre, and a fuel tax.

Stimulate the economy to switch to sustainability

It’s sad that despite the best natural conditions, Australia has lost a potential lead export in the production of renewable technology and now it’s the Germans, Chinese and Elon Musk who are in business.

But we can stimulate the economy, create huge number of jobs by subsidising the production of the Australian electric car and bike, Australian battery, roll out of solar, wind and wave on private and industrial scales, light rail, rail, proper bicycle paths.

I cycle from Fremantle to Perth every day and there is no proper cycle path from Swanbourne to Fremantle despite all the empty space along the railway.

Legislate supermarkets, petrol stations and roadhouses to cover their roofs and parking lots with solar panels and provide docking stations for customers.

Have yearly competitions for new sustainable ideas and products where the winners get grants for R&D.

Naturally this will create jobs, new businesses and opportunities as well as improved health and the happy awareness that we are doing the right thing for our children and grandchildren: wellness for all.   How about starting this positive loop of a 100 per cent sustainable economy?  We cannot afford to delay further or not make the switch to a sustainable future.

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