Gippsland News & Views

200 locals say ‘yes’ to climate change action now

Over 200 people gathered on Metung’s Village Green on Sunday in a spectacular demonstration of local support for climate change action. The rally was part of a day of global climate mobilisation. Around the world, 2766 events in 161 countries combined to make it the largest climate march in history.

The global action was planned to coincide with the United Nations’ emergency Climate Change Summit in New York on Tuesday where more than 100 world leaders are meeting in recognition of the urgency to respond to the world’s biggest threat.

Organiser of the Metung event, GetUp member Jenny Herbert said that the local turnout was exceptional, representing nearly 12 per cent of the Metung/Nungurner population. ‘Although there were rallies around the world, from India to Istanbul, London to Canada, New York to Melbourne, few places would have come close to such substantial representation of the local population. The numbers reinforce how widespread local support is for stronger action on climate, renewables and a clean and prosperous future for Australia and the world.’

Climate change activist Peter Gardner addressed the crowd, pointing out that climate change is not a belief but an indisputable scientifically established fact, backed by 99.9 per cent of climate change scientists. He said there was urgent need for action to counter this serious global problem, and that major party politicians must be persuaded to stop putting money into the coal industry. (see full speech global warming politics page)

Other quotes from the crowd included:

Jonathon Smith: ‘The country has been hijacked by the fossil fuel industry.’

Mendy Urie: ‘Listen to the science, Tony.’

Audrey Porter, whose most recent great grandchild was born last Thursday: ‘ I am concerned about what we are doing to the planet, and what we are leaving to our children and grandchildren.’

Rob Barton: ‘We must work through the existing political channels by physically visiting local MPs’ offices to voice our concerns.’

Richard Thompson: ‘We share one earth, and we share the responsibility to preserve it.’

Tony Smith: ‘If the oceans die, we die.’

Greens candidate Scott Campbell-Smith said that the fossil fuel industry is causing untold damage. ‘They control the debate in the media. But people want clean energy: renewables are already at price parity and they are going to get cheaper. It is the failure of our representatives that clean energy is not being promoted.’

Media contact:  Jenny Herbert, 0417304841

Press Release 2 13 September

RENEWABLE ENERGY TARGET AND THE RENEWABLE REVOLUTION

Climate Emergency Independent candidate for Gippsland East Peter Gardner has released some details of his policies on his website. They are designed either to reduce carbon pollution or adapt to the changes in heat and extreme weather that threaten us from climate change.

They also counter the accusation that he is a single issue candidate. Some of his policies concern employment, what he calls the ‘renewable energy revolution’, coal seam gas and mining, emergency services and public transport. They can be viewed on his website.

Whilst the Federal government is contemplating a reduction in, or abolition of, the renewable energy target (RET) and Victoria’s RET is long gone, Gardner is arguing that the target be doubled by 2020 and to aim for 100% renewable energy by 2030.

“Whilst this is a mammoth task it is possible and may need a war-time style organisation of society. Something like a massive “Snowy Mountains Scheme” will be needed to quickly achieve the transformation from dirty coal to clean and limitless power from the sun.”

“Beyond Zero Emissions and Melbourne University have provided a detailed study of how this transformation can be achieved in as little as ten years. This program has many advantages including boosting employment and business generally – especially in regional areas.”

“Many of the disadvantages of coal can be partially or totally avoided including excessive water consumption, air and water pollution, and the possible subsidence of land in the valley and along the coast. These problems affect Gippslanders now.

“Decentralisation of power sources means a more secure and robust energy system. It means more income for farmers, businesses and households if they are paid a fair price for the energy they produce, instead of profits being sent overseas. The establishment of micro-grids and the encouragement of renewable energy – especially solar – is the way to go.”

“There are a large number of ways this can be achieved but the easiest to initiate is to reinvigorate the business and household rooftop solar program by offering a fair price for any excess power produced by these systems. Gardner suggests that the price should be the same as a household pays for each incoming unit of power.

Vote Climate Vote Solar Campaign On Again

Press Release No.1         1.9.14

Peter Gardner who campaigned recently as a “climate emergency” Independent in last year’s Federal election has announced he will be standing in Gippsland East. Gardner stated:

I have lived and worked in the Ensay and Swifts Creek districts for 40 years and am now resident in Bairnsdale. I have been concerned for some time that the threat of climate change is real and may be far worse than either the media or the politicians tell us.” In particular Gardner refers to the extreme weather events closely related to climate change – more severe droughts, floods, heatwaves and related bushfires.

“Consequently I have been standing for office on a ‘Vote Climate Vote Solar’ ticket at all levels of government. I have devoted my time and funds to this process since 2008.  I will be standing again in Gippsland East in November and have a range of policies to provide employment, improved emergency services and public transport and in particular the rapid changeover to renewable sustainable energy sources.”

Gardner is firmly opposed to any further coal or CSG projects in Gippsland on climate grounds alone but noted that “There are a large number of related problems with these proposed developments including loss of viable farm land, a valuable water resource, polluting the air, water tables and the Gippsland lakes and subsidence along the Gippsland coast.

He is promoting community energy projects, upgraded and better maintained rail and connecting services, and a massive expansion of emergency services in rural communities including permanent full time fire officers with an apprentice fire officer in each CFA station. This will help cope with the increasing number of extreme weather emergencies we are facing. All these projects will generate local employment.

These proposals and many other rural developments can be financed by abandoning the East West road tunnel in Melbourne and working on cheaper solutions to Melbourne’s transport problems.

If elected he has committed himself to voting with the Liberal Coalition in Government or the Nationals in opposition on all matters not concerned with climate change except in matters of conscience where he would not vote at all. In the event of a tied parliament he would support a Liberal National government.

Gippsland Climate & CSG October Calendar

Lock the Gate Victoria Stall @ Garden Expo! Sat 11th & Sun 12th Oct 10am-4pm Lardner Park, Lardner (10 mins from Warragul) We need volunteers, could you spare 2-3 hours? Please email: noah.bk@foe.org.au to be added to the volunteer roster, thanks

Gippsland Alliance meeting10.30am Sharp, Sunday 12th October Lavalla College, Traralgon, Classroom at the back.Representatives from all over Gippsland get together every 6 weeks to hear about what we have all been doing, work together on projects, support and inspire.If you have not attended before please rsvp to: csgfreepoowong@hotmail.com

Yarram Gasfield Information Night 7.30pm Wednesday 15th October Regent Theatre, Main St, Yarram Speaker: Mark Ogge from The Australia Institute Contact Julie 0429 464 486

Gasfield Free Bairnsdale meeting 7pm Tuesday 28th October Bairnsdale Neighbourhood House, 27 Dalmahoy Street  gasfieldfreebairnsdale@gmail.com or call Debbie 0448 809 798

Gasfield Free Seaspray meeting Friday 18th November, 6.30pm Dinner, 7pm meeting starts Seaspray Hall, Seaspray Contact: csgfreeseaspray@hotmail.com for more information

South Gippsland Political Forum 1pm Sunday 19th October Football Clubrooms (Walter J Tuck Reserve) Strzelecki Hwy, Mirboo North Confirmed candidates attending so far are Labor, Greens, Independent & Country Alliance Contact: coalandcsgfreemirboonorth@outlook.com or call Marg 0408 319 397

Press Release No 7: 3.9.13

Independent candidate says Heatwaves and Bushfires Immediate Problem

Independent candidate Peter Gardner is campaigning on a Vote Climate Vote Solar ticket and is concerned that the threat of climate change is far worse than either the media or the politicians are telling us. Bushfires have always been a part of the Gippsland landscape but the problem has been made worse by climate change. This is influencing extreme weather events making them both more severe and more common.

“Three fire events in Gippsland in the last decade can be classified as 1 in 100 year events according to their area, ferocity, property damage and casualties. The fire season has become much longer – by as much as two months with the 2006/7 fires extending across the summer from November. In parts of the USA the frequency of bushfires has also increased over the last four decades by as much as 4 times. The combined factors of more hot days, extended periods of drought interspersed with periods of heavy rainfall, increased storm and winds and heatwaves that suck the moisture out of the land are all contributing to this increased fire danger.

“Aside from the threat to property and person bushfires are a continuous threat to the tourist industry. A bushfire almost anywhere in the region often deters people from visiting the district though the fire may be a hundred miles or more from their destination. As a tourist dependent shopkeeper I lost substantial income in both 2003 and in 2006/7 due to the bushfires. With the frequency of fires increasing this loss of income is likely to be felt across the tourist industry.

“Heatwaves in Paris (2003) and Moscow (2010) killed an extra 15,000 and 11,000 people respectively. The Moscow heatwave was called in the press a one in one thousand years event. Often it is the hotter nights where the temperatures fail to drop significantly that are so threatening to life. Cities and towns also act as heat banks making the problem worse. Mortality figures indicate that the heatwave prior to ‘Black Saturday’ caused 374 extra fatalities mostly the elderly.

“Floods and droughts are also on the increase in both frequency and severity. With each degree of increase in average temperature the air can hold a further 7% of moisture. Unfortunately this does not mean it will fall on you although occasionally it will – in excess.  The rainfall that fell on Australia in 2010-11 causing record floods also caused the gradually rising ocean to temporarily retreat by 7mm. Gippsland has also experienced lengthy droughts during this century.

“There is need to prepare for future extreme weather events and related catastrophes like floods and bushfires,” Mr Gardner said. “And there is a need for the major parties to recognise the seriousness of the problem and for responsible action instead of jockeying for political advantage. The approach to climate change should be bipartisan and directed by the best science and not by the lobbyists of the fossil fuel industry. A rapid transfer from fossil based energy to renewable energy is one of the many ways we can attempt to mitigate climate change warming.

Press Release No 6: 23.8.13

Independent Candidate in Gippsland Opposed to CSG

The only Independent candidate in the seat of Gippsland, Peter Gardner, has spoken out strongly against any development of Coal Seam Gas (CSG) and other fossil fuel developments.

Gardner pointed out that any methane leakage from wells was one hundred times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and rather than being a clean energy source was actually worse than coal. Obviously methane leakage will make climate change worse.

“As such I am a close ally of all the community groups opposed to CSG, tight gas and shale gas exploitation at Sale, Seaspray, Longford, Mirboo North, Morwell, Glengarry, Briagolong and other places. These include “Lock the Gate” groups at many of these locations. CSG exploration licences extended as far as Marlo and covered most of Gippsland,” he said.

Gardner noted that we had only burned about 10% of the earth’s fossil fuel reserves. According to the most reputable of climate scientists James Hansen, “our governments are working for the fossil fuel industry” and “if we burn all the fossil fuels more than half the planet will become uninhabitable… We are already experiencing more extreme events like floods and droughts but the long term consequences are far worse.”

In a similar vein Prof. Steven Sherwood of the University of NSW stated in the  New Scientist (17.11.12)“… if we fully ‘develop’ all of the world’s coal, tar sands, shales and other fossil fuels we run a high risk of ending up in a few generations with a largely unliveable planet”.

Jobs are always touted by developers as a major benefit for projects such as CSG but renewable energy projects provide far more employment without destroying or disrupting valuable farmland. The choice should be clear –  business as usual means humanity has no future. Choosing to develop renewable energy instead of fossil fuels gives humanity a chance.

Gardner made a plea for politicians to serve the public faithfully rather than pursuing personal ambition, for all parties to take climate change much more seriously, for them to jettison climate change deniers from their ranks and to once more take on a constructive bipartisan approach to this huge problem.

“Does the National Party represent the mining companies or does it represent the farmers and ordinary citizens of Gippsland?” he asked.

 

 

Press Release No 5: 20.8.13

Current Climate Change equals Four Hiroshima Bombs per Second 

Peter Gardner, formerly of Ensay and now living in Bairnsdale, is running as a “climate emergency” Independent in the seat of Gippsland. He said that “climate change was difficult to visualise because of its mostly gradual nature. But it was happening now and affecting us all.”

He quoted David Holmes of Monash University who recently stated that the “planet is building up heat at the equivalent of four Hiroshima bombs worth of energy every second. And 90% of that heat is going into the oceans” and that “representing climate change and ocean warming as Hiroshima bombs attracted the attention of the news media around the world.” This is a simple way of illustrating how much extra heat the planet is absorbing.

Climate change remains the greatest threat to humanity we have ever faced. It has almost certainly been happening for more than 100 years and probably since the industrial revolution began burning fossil fuels at an unprecedented rate. Since 1780 the amount of carbon dioxide – the major greenhouse gas – has increased from 280 parts per million (ppm) to 400ppm. The last time the planet experienced these high levels of greenhouse gases was 3 million years ago. Then the planet was 3 degrees warmer and sea levels were 23m higher than today. The major parties have chosen to ignore climate change during this election.

The changes we are beginning to feel are more abrupt. This century in Gippsland has experienced an increase in both the frequency and severity of extreme events – droughts, floods, storms, heatwaves and related bushfires. This was predicted by climate scientists in the 1980s. Imagine the next heatwave with “Black Saturday” conditions or worse  followed by bushfires and power failures. It is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’.

In his “Vote Climate Vote Solar” campaign Gardner has offered a wide range of policies to reduce the production of greenhouse gases and for adaptation to the further warming we are bound to experience. These policies include reduction of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, a levy of the export of fossil fuels, a cut in funding in carbon capture and storage programs and positive support for solar and other forms of renewable energy. These policies can be viewed on his website.

Bastion Point Decision 3.7.13

An overflow meeting of the East Gippsland Shire Council was attended by more than 100 Save Bastion Point members and their supporters last night. This popular demonstration was unsuccessful in preventing the contract for the development being later awarded. Speakers pointed out many arguments against the project including problems associated with sea level rise, public safety and public liability. The fight continues. See the press release by the Save Bastion Point group.

Press Release 27.6.13

Federal Election in the Seat of Gippsland 

‘Climate Emergency Independent’ Candidate Peter Gardner

 Vote Climate Vote Solar Vote Gardner for Gippsland

As a climate emergency independent I am running a ‘Vote Climate Vote Solar’ campaign in response to the threats posed by climate change. Adopting a wide range of alternative energy sources will help reduce our carbon footprint. The Latrobe Valley Plan 2013  offers a rapid and seamless way to convert from harmful fossil fuels to renewables such as solar, wind and producing power from green waste. Wind projects can provide income for both landholders and the community as well as permanent jobs. The process of converting to renewables and adapting to climate change will provide employment for everyone who wants to work.

Indications are that global warming is happening more quickly than mainstream scientific projections and at the worst case upper limits of their predictions. The best science is now linking polar warming directly with more frequent extreme weather events. It is these extreme weather events – droughts, heat waves, storms, floods – and related events like bushfires, that pose the most immediate threat to Gippslanders.

During the 2003, 2006/7 and 2009 bushfires much of Gippsland was threatened and burned. We worked as communities to protect ourselves and our assets. Imagine if either of the earlier major events had been accompanied by the prolonged extreme heat and winds of 2009 and widespread power failures. It is human nature to hope for the best but wise to prepare for the worst. Urgent action is required at all levels of government to both mitigate global warming and adapt to it.

If you are at all concerned about climate change and/or wish to see the promotion of solar energy I urge you to give me your first preference. Vote one solar is a small step in this direction. On a personal note I have lived and worked in the Ensay and Swifts Creek districts for 40 years and been involved in various sporting, educational and cultural activities. I now live in Bairnsdale.

 

Letter published Gippsland Times 28.5.13

Dear Sir,

I wish to write in support of the protests against coal seam gas, tight gas and other fossil fuel projects in the Seaspray district particularly and in Gippsland generally.

Scientific consensus now clearly states that current climate change is man made. It is being driven by carbon dioxide(CO2) in the atmosphere caused by burning fossil fuels. The strength of this greenhouse gas has been known for more than 100 years and it was calculated in 1895 that a doubling of CO2 would increase the average earth temperature by 4 degrees Celsius.

Evidence from many sources including James Larsen (late NASA) and Bill McKibbin (350.org) is stating that only a fraction of current fossil fuels reserves can be burnt without disastrous effects for the planet. Professor Steven Sherwood of the  UNSW recently stated in the  New Scientist (17.11.12) “… if we fully ‘develop’ all of the world’s coal, tar sands, shales and other fossil fuels we run a high risk of ending up in a few generations with a largely unliveable planet”

Banks and financial institutions (including your superannuation fund?)are valuing these companies – including Lakes Oil – as if these assets can be mined and used. But in reality they are part of a “carbon bubble” and will eventually become “stranded assets”.

Since the start of the Industrial Revolution CO2 levels have increased by more than a third and the global average temperature has risen by a degree. This relatively small rise is already causing more extreme events, droughts, floods, heatwaves and related bushfires to occur more frequently. More is in the pipeline with humanity producing more CO2 – there is now more CO2 in the atmosphere than there has been for 3 million years.

These projects must be stopped.

Peter Gardner