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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 10 January 2007
Debnam's ethanol car echoes West Wing cracking episode last Monday
Mood:  smelly
Topic: election nsw 2007

The Greens have railed against the "car addiction" of society as the root cause of alot of our problems (refer media release below). They are exactly right to use this phrase.

Since December the editor has made a conscious effort to get back on the bicycle, mostly out of guilt for unnecessary petrol use in the age of global warming, with some surprising results:

1. cardio respirator fitness was hopeless even with a fair bit of walking in my life, now fast improving, even while physical strength was way above average for all the bundles of press I deliver;

2. surprising travel times: If the journey is not too long the bike beats my van every time. Example Addison Rd Community Centre to Ultimo office of AMG about 20 minutes (both ways), not too stressful either. Same trip by car usually 30 minutes in day traffic.

The key I am finding is concentrate on flat contours, not distance. Little hills are okay on a 15 gear bike but long hills and radical troughs are too much.

Last Monday we were treated to this episode of West Wing tv series:

  "King Corn

first broadcast January 26th 2005 there in modern Rome of which we are just a province really, where every presidential candidate in fictional modern USA politics knows Iowa's penchant for subsidised agricultural ethanol for the nation's transport fleet is an environmental and economic joke, taking 'as much oil to make a gallon of ethanol'. But because it's the first of many campaign states they all (except one, a conservative) take 'The Pledge' to continue agri subsidies.

[a full discussion of West Wing lessons for Australia is on SAM here at 4 January 2007 West Wing tv series, bourgeoisie wank or worthy response to Ed Murrow's example?]

There are parallels here: Senator Barnaby Joyce (was that the bloke I saw at Bondi promenade yesterday?) is loud on ethanol agri business subsidies:

"Australia has an immense potential to be a great benefactor in the bio-renewable fuel industry at the 21 Century." June 5 2006 http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2006/s1655718.htm

SAM's editor offers no economic/green analysis if the WW script applies here or not, whether Joyce is right or not.

But we notice NSW Opposition Leader Peter Debnam also making a perhaps too simple virtue of his ethanol campaign tour car this next month, weaving it into a $40 million policy for all 'cleaner fuel' cars, well reported (curiously) in The Age but not it seems sister paper Sydney Morning Herald at


Pushing the broader policy mix on "car addiction" is Green MP Rhiannon here:

8 January 2007

Coalition new fuel policy will only fuel car addiction

Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said today that the opposition leader Peter
Debnam*s plan to reduce air pollution by bringing in a new fuel policy
will make no impact so long as he is doing nothing to boost public

*Cleaner fuel for vehicles can only significantly reduce air
pollution if it is linked with a plan to reduce the number of cars and
trucks on NSW roads, and we can only achieve that if public transport
services are expanded,* Ms Rhiannon said.

*The only real solution for Sydney's deteriorating pollution and
traffic is a significant investment in public transport.

*NSW government figures show that people are travelling further in
their cars, there are more vehicles on our roads, and the morning and
afternoon traffic peaks take longer to clear.

*The average distance of car driver trips has increased by five per
cent, while the number of vehicle kilometres travelled and the total
number of household vehicles are growing at a faster rate than the
increase in the population.

*Mr Debnam's so-called Cleaner Vehicles and Cleaner Fuels policy
announcement is a distraction from long term solutions. It fuels the
state*s addictions to cars. At best it will keep pollution levels

*Public transport is clearly low on Mr Debnam*s priority list.

*This is not surprising as he has announced he will get rid of 29,000
public sector jobs so public services will clearly deteriorate under a
Debnam government.
*This Liberals' policy distraction shows that they have only
piece-meal answers to the issues facing NSW voters.

*Public transport offers the best way to address pollution, and would
also provide Sydney with less road congestion,* Ms Rhiannon said.

For more information: Lee Rhiannon ....

Posted by editor at 9:47 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 10 January 2007 10:00 AM EADT

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