Change in govt raises energy, GM concerns

Renewables, coal, or nuclear?

Some people complain that renewable energy gets big subsidies from government. This is not true, but the fossil fuel industries do get big subsidies. An International Monetary Fund report of 2015 estimated that the Australian petroleum industry receives about $20 billion per year and the coal industry receives about $13b/year in subsidies. Of course there is also the fact that the fossil fuel industry has a huge effective subsidy in being able to dump its waste gasses into the atmosphere at no cost to the industry but huge cost to the world.

Nuclear power is not economically viable. Just as an example of this, in July last year two part-built nuclear power station projects in South Carolina, USA, were abandoned after US$9b had been spent on them. 

The estimated total cost had blown out from the budgeted $11.5b to $25b. Renewable energy forms such as wind and solar PV are now the cheapest available for new power generation installations. The main reason that there are at present 16 wind farms and many big solar farms under construction in Australia is that it makes sense economically.  The reason that no one is interested in building nuclear or coal-fired power stations in Australia is also economical.

Dave Clarke, Armagh.

Keep the GM moratorium

Any review of SA's genetically modified (GM) canola moratorium will find ample evidence of GM-free benefits that far outweigh any gains GM farmers might make (“Facts not fear needed: GPSA”, Stock Journal, March 22). Most SA farmers, food processors and shoppers want SA's GM-free crop moratorium to continue til 2025 when it is set for review.

Just 221 of the state's 5300 grain growers petitioned the Agriculture Minister to lift the GM canola ban last year. And canola is just 2pc of the value of all broadacre farming, so why risk SA's GM-free reputation and competitive advantage? GM-free crops and foods benefit all Australian farmers, the food industry, government coffers and shoppers. The Australian Oilseed Federation and Export Grain Innovation Centre commissioned a CSIRO report on the economics of grain exports, and CSIRO's Dr Sandra Eady confirms that in the past decade:

"We've achieved a $100 million per year premium for our (GM-free) farmers, given the extra $20-$40/tonne paid for non-GM Australian canola."

Europe is by far Australia's biggest and most valuable export market for canola, where GM-free canola earns those solid premiums for use in biofuel production. Any excess oil can then go seamlessly into the GM-free food and animal feed supplies which have zero tolerance for GM.

We won the EU market from Canada in 2006 as they were growing only GM canola. Australia has retained the GM-free European market by shipping the premium oilseeds with zero tolerance for any GM.

SA's canola growers and the food industry are among those who earn these premiums. A University of Adelaide report for the South Australian government confirmed the evidence of good GM-free premiums here and abroad. With SA GM-free until 2025, many food processors are now confident that GM-free product supplies will continue. They are labelling their processed foods GM-free to earn premiums for themselves and the state, in Australian and overseas markets. Growing the GM-free crops that customers want will ensure SA's continued prosperity and success.

Ray Linkevics, Birdwood.

Simply a disgrace

Is it possible for the conduct and behaviour of the present Australian cricket team to stoop any lower! Sledging and verbal abuse is one thing; admitting to the leadership group planning and carrying out ball tampering is simply cheating.

Coach Darren Lehmann and captain Steve Smith should immediately be suspended by Cricket Australia. The situation has become more than embarrassing, it's a disgrace.

Rick Drewer, Gawler East.