Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Brown Mountain forest Potoroos need protection immediately

To Victorian Environment Minister Gavin Jennings

Dear Minister Jennings,

Further to your press release on Friday when you released the DSE survey of Brown Mountain forest in East Gippsland, the presence of threatened and endangered species in the Brown Mountain forest adjacent to the creek warrants the immediate permanent protection of this forest.

I note that the "additional 400 hectares of Brown Mountain to be protected" you announced is in fact already protected.

I also note that the forest in question contains numerous trees that have been confirmed at over 600 years of age and that this forest is designated as "old growth" by the Department of Sustainability and Environment.

Reading the DSE report, it states that high density populations of Greater Gliders and Yellow-bellied Gliders were found. This means they require immediate protection, contrary to you interpretation.

While no Long-footed Potoroos sightings were confirmed by DSE, their diggings were seen in the study area, and the forest type was assessed as good quality habitat for them.

The photograph of a Potoroo taken by a movement sensitive camera within the forest in question on 3am Friday 21 August 2009 now mandates immediate protection of the forest as per the Code of Forest Practice.

Could you please now take action to immediately protect this Brown Mountain forest?

Could you also take action to "protect all remaining old growth forest currently available for logging" as per the Labor Party's election promise and policy commitment made in 2007?

Peter Campbell
(home address and phone number supplied)


UPDATE 3pm Tuesday 25/8/09: DSE visited the camera site today on Brown Mt and have confirmed the LF Potoroo, the site is now ground truthed. From Jill Redwood.


Please consider sending your own email to Gavin Jennings at gavin.jennings@parliament.vic.gov.au

and/or call his Ministerial office on (03) 9096 8830

CC your email to your local state MP, Premier John Brumby and Opposition Leader Ted Bailleiu

If you're on Twitter send Gav this message - @GavinJennings stop logging Brown Mountain immediately & protect endangered #potoroos

More information

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What is the political definition of renewable energy?

Labor's grubby political maneouvre to link the long overdue Australian Mandatory Renewable Energy (MRET) target with the failed CPRS has now thankfully been reversed.

An MRET of 20% renewable energy by 2020 was an election promise by Labor in 2007 - it is an indictment of their lack of action on clean energy that it has taken two years to get to this point.

Unfortunately, Labor is now bending and redefine what renewable energy is, in a breathtaking display of yet more political maneouvring. The draft MRET legislation deal between the Govenment and the Opposition now includes as "renewable energy" sources:
  • Burning woodchips from native forests, including old growth forests.
  • Coal seam methane as a 'renewable' gas
Both are quite obviously not renewable. This is scam.

Our forests should be protected as carbon stores rather than woodchipped and burnt.

And coal seam methane is no more renewable than coal itself.

Pemba Dorje Sherpa calls for action on climate change

Pemba Dorje Sherpa, talking through an interpreter, spoke in Melbourne on Monday 17 August 2009 about the drastic effects of climate change in Nepal where glaciers are melting forming lakes which sometimes flood the valleys destroying villages and causing loss of life.

Pemba Dorje has climbed Mount Everest 10 times and has once ascended the mountain in a record time of 8 hours and 10 minutes.

He called for Australia and other developed nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50% as part of a global approach to combat climate change.

Damien Lawson from Friends of the Earth introduced Pembe

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

An open letter to every Australian Senator - please oppose the CPRS

Please oppose the CPRS and work towards leglislation that reduces our greenhouse gas emissions

Dear Senator,

Tomorrow, the Australian Senate votes on the second reading of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) bill. The bill in its current form should not be passed as it fails the primary test - it will not reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions in the foreseeable future.

The Rudd government was elected on a promise to take effective action to tackle climate change. Unfortunately, the process for developing an effective policy response and accompanying legislation for doing this has been corrupted by industry influence on government.

Several hundred public submissions during the consultation period on the CPRS white paper then the CPRS green paper have opposed most of the basic structure of the legislation, pointing out that it will not be effective in reducing carbon emissions. Government has ignored these submissions.

The Government has also ignored key recommendations in Professor Ross Garnaut’s final report on climate change such as not giving away free pollution permits to the worst polluters, and providing no exemptions for petrol.

The main problems with the CPRS are:

  • The unconditional greenhouse target of 5% reduction by 2020 is tiny and far lower than the 25% to 40% target range flagged at the United Nations Bali Convention on climate change in 2008.
  • It encourages the growth of highly polluting Energy Intensive Trade Exposed industries such as aluminium smelters by allocating them 25% of permits free of charge, increasing to 45% by 2020.
  • Free permits are given to coal power over the first 5 years. This provides windfall profits to polluters and encourages dirty coal power to continue in the short term.
  • Permits are granted as property rights instead of temporary licences. This means that polluters who get them will be paid compensation in the future if more stringent emission reductions are introduced.
  • There is no limit on overseas offsets, so Australia's emissions could increase and emission permits bought from overseas to "offset" them.
  • The initial cap on the CO2 price is $10 per tonne – a figure far too low to provide incentives for clean energy production.
  • The high "cap" is also a "floor" so emission reductions by households are simply on sold by power stations to other polluters, resulting in no actual emission reductions.
  • The government has made a political decision to link the CPRS bill with the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) in attempt to bolster their negotiating position.
  • The scheme invalidates emission reductions previously associated with GreenPower.
  • It ignores the latest science that shows climate change is accelerating past worst case estimates and that deep emission cuts are required immediately to counter this.
  • 16 billion dollars of taxpayers money is being given to the worst polluting industries as corporate welfare by the Rudd Government. This money should be invested in green jobs and clean energy production.
Climate change has emerged as the great challenge of our lifetime. Please do not play politics with an issue this serious. Quite literally, the future of the planet and all life on it is at stake.

As an Australian Senator, I urge you to represent the best interests of the Australian public and work towards real and immediate emission reductions. You must represent the people who voted for you, not the corporate interests that lobby you.

The CPRS in its current form must not be passed. It is a political solution for an environmental and lifestyle problem.

I urge you to develop alternative legislation that will deliver emission cuts each and every year with a target of reaching zero emissions by 2020.

I also urge you to set a target of 300ppm carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to give us the best chance of restoring a safe climate future.

The majority of investment should be directed towards energy efficiency measures and clean energy production.

In addition, strategies need to be enacted for all sectors, rather than focusing on stationary energy. For example, stopping logging of native forests immediately could reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by over 5%.

You have an opportunity to lead Australia and the world in an economic and social transition to a sustainable zero emissions economy and clean energy production. Please do not squander this opportunity.

It is vitally important that an effective global approach to tacking climate change is achieved at Copenhagen later this year. I believe Australia must play a lead role in this.

This letter was sent to every Australian Senator

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Politics as usual will delivers the CPRS camel

So now it seems that the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, skilfuly crafted by the Labor government to reward the worst polluters with corporate welfare largesse from the taxpayer, and to not reduce emissions until 2020 or later, will now pass through the Senate with Malcolm Turnbull's and the Liberal Opposition's support.

Why? Because Turnbull wants to avoid a double dissolution trigger for an early election he knows he would lose, and because the Liberal Party is equally beholden to the same corporated dirty industry interests that the Labor Party is.

Those who claim that the CPRS needs to go in so "it and the targets can be strengthened later" are either fooling themselves or trying to fool the rest of us.

It it goes in lame due to industry influence - as appears to be the case - it will remain lame.

"Politics as usual" does not have a framework for delivering the paradigm shift we need to embrace a clean energy future.

I am still uncertain as to what will deliver this paradigm shift. I think it needs to a combination of:
  • More direct input from climate sicentists on emission reduction targets
  • Remove the profit motive from polluting carbon intensive industries, perhaps by putting a real and effective price (tax) on carbon instead of a nebulous "trading scheme" full of loopholes
  • Referendums on climate and energy policy - rather than interminable irrelevant debates in parliament and bad policy like the CPRS
  • Set up a bipartisan taskforce on climate change to remove the crippling political and industry interference from policy creation
  • Pressure from a grass roots movement across Australia and the rest of the world to foster policy and process change.
The CPRS bill may be rejected the Senate next week and the final date for a vote delayed by several more months, but the final outcome is clear: The Labor and Liberal parties will eventually vote together to pass the CPRS and lock in failure to reduce emissions in Australia.