Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Tuesday 27 February 1990 had been lost because of a 10 average increase in temperature over the previous year. I really find that a little hard to believe. It reminds me rather of a fellow who was going around, clapping his hands and making strange noises. Another man asked what he was doing and he said that he was keeping the lions away. 'But ' , said the other man, 'there is not a lion within 1000 miles of here ' . IYes ' , replied the first, 'effective, isn't it?' In respect of the Chief Minister's comment, I do not see the cause and effect. I have a few connections with people in Victoria who grow stone fruit trees and, as occurred with my grape crop, their stone fruit crop was wiped out by rather powerful hailstorms. However, in this regard, science does have some answers. Studi es have a 1 ready been undertaken into the effects of temperature increases and the production of low-chill requirement stone fruits has commenced. I have mentioned that subject in the Assembly before. In fact, had it not been for that same hai 1 storm that wrecked my grapes, I would have had the first commercial crop of nectarines that the Territory has ever produced. The nectarines were wiped out as well, but that is one of those things that happen. However, success can be achieved with varieties suited to hotter climates and the use of certain chemicals. On ly the other day, Ilea rned that peop 1 e will be produc i ng cherri es in the Menindee area. They can do that only by applying certain chemicals to the cherry trees at a certain time to force the bud burst. I have been led to bel ieve that I could possibly use the same technique mysel f, which is a matter of interest to me personally. There is increasing concern about coal-fired power stations and the fact that they produce masses of carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen. There are some 5 oxides, all of which, when mixed with water, form acids resulting in acid rain. I always felt that it wa's rather odd when the construction of the dam in south-west Tasmania was stopped. The intention was to install a hydro-electric scheme, which is the cleanest form of ~nergy generation available. Of course, the compensation was, a coal-fired power station. It was all a little bizarre. I felt it to be bizarre then, and I feel the same about it today. The minister spoke about ozone depletion, and I do not know whether that is really quite the right term. As I have tried to explain in this House before, the sun emits a whole range of radiation, from infra-red or heat radiation to visible radiation and more energetic shorter-wave radiation such as ultraviolet light. The ultraviolet light can be the cause of burn i ng and cancer and therefore is of cons i derab 1 e concern. But in the atmosphere, particularly with the oxygen, there is a reaction. Energy from the ultraviolet light radiation coming directly from the sun to the earth can be absorbed by oxygen molecules, O2 as the chemists call thein, to signify 2 atoms joined together. The radiation splits them to form 0 3 molecules. One atom of oxygen spl its off and joins up with a molecule. There is a dynamic equilibrium between three 02S giving two 03S. The reverse occurs and the ozone 03S break down and reform the' oxygen molecules. However, this happens ,only with the ultraviolet energy coming from the earth being absorbed by the oxygen molecules, producing the 03 and the 0 3 breaking down to normal oxygen molecules. The energy absorbed is re-radiated as a photon or a burst of radiation. The important thing is that it does not go straight towards the earth. It scatters off anywhere within 3600 If we did not have the atmosphere, much of the radiation would come straight to the earth. Much of it is scattered and we have protection from radiation. As I understand it, the CFC mo 1 ecul es tie up the ozone and stop the process. The actual absorption 8772