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 ( 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

Letter published Bairnsdale Advertiser 17.5

  • Dear Sir,

    The importance of railways in a warming world – by far the most efficient form of transport and 4 to 5 times more efficient than road in terms of greenhouse gas emissions – is not generally realised. Bairnsdale needs the train.

    The letter from Deputy Premier Peter Ryan (BA 10.5) is barely an adequate response or apology for the train being shut down for 6 months. The railways need forward planning, effective and continuing maintenance and investment so that stoppages such as these do not occur.

    That these basic engineering principles are lacking in such an important public enterprise is obvious.

    Our local member Mr. Bull has the balance of power in the current parliament. Even a threat to use that power may mean we get the train back a bit quicker.

    Peter Gardner

Letter to D.Chester MHR Gippsland 15 April

Dear Darren

Thank you for your letter detailing your (party’s) proposed ‘blue print’ on C(oal)S(eam)G(as). Although it was heart warming to realise that CSG has become an election issue for you, I am confused by the following statements at the House of Representatives debate (23/3/13):

Darren Chester, ‘CSG has the potential to secure Australia’s energy self sufficiency’

Darren Chester, ‘to turn (our) back on CSG would be fool hardy’

Where does the National Party stand on this issue (it’s all a bit confusing) and are you going to permit Mr Ryan to give Gippsland to Esso so that they can continue to sink Lakes Entrance and 90 Mile beach below Sea Level?

Please let me know if your office requires more scientific evidence on the issue.

Morgan Knoesen


White Elephant Demonstration in Bairnsdale on 11 April

There was a demonstration of Mallacoota residents and their supporters against the proposed development at Bastion Point in Bairnsdale today. They pointed out that “3b” proposal of the East Gippsland Shire was the worst option possible and that the development benefited few people and was a “white elephant”. To highlight this a large blow-up white elephant was erected in Main St Bairnsdale and the case against the development was clearly presented to TV, radio and the print media. The demonstration then proceeded to the Shire Offices where the message was then presented to the Mayor. From a climate change perspective all developments on the coast are threatened with long term sea level rise and thus in the medium to long term a waste of money.

Election 2013 News April No. 1

  1. What is the newsletter for? To promote climate change as a major election issue, to offer solar and renewable energy alternatives as a partial solution to the problem and to spread the word of my candidature.
  2. Who it is being sent to? To people in the electorate, those with connections to people in Gippsland, sympathetic groups and the local media.
  3. Who am I? I have lived in Gippsland for 40 years and been politically active for most of that time. In the 1983 election I stood as a candidate for the Nuclear Disarmament Party on the threat of a nuclear winter. Since then I have written extensively on Gippsland regional history and other matters including climate change. I stood as a ‘climate emergency’ independent in the 2008 and 2012 local government elections and in 2010 in the state seat of Morwell.
  4. Why bother? Climate change is happening now and is getting progressively worse. Many of the current indicators are worse than previous predictions. (IPCC 2007) Climate scientists are now warning that developing and consuming a fraction of the earth’s fossil fuel reserves will make large parts of the planet uninhabitable.
  5. Broad details of my campaign can be accessed on my Global Warming Politics page and more detail will be released progressively through the year. A short essay the ‘Gippsland Coast in 2100’ can also be accessed as a pdf file from the ‘publications’ page of my website.
  6. The slogan is Vote Climate Vote Solar Vote Gardner for Gippsland
  7. Help is needed to construct a 15 second TV advert and/or a brief promotional video to load onto the website
  8. Help is also needed to build this mailing list. Please forward to friends and rellies, or distribute to your group members. All publicity welcome.
  9. Please pass the word on to facebook friends and/or twitter followers. Any suggestions on how to harness the social media welcome.
  10. I am willing to speak to any group large or small in the Gippsland electorate.
  11. The newsletter will be issued monthly until the official campaign starts in August and then press releases will be issued on a weekly basis.

An Open letter to East Gippsland Shire Councillors on the proposed Bastion Point Development (25 March 2013)

Dear Councillor

I urge you to reconsider the proposed development at Bastion Point and opt for the least cost option.

Global warming will threaten all coastal developments possibly within twenty to forty years. A more realistic appraisal for the coast can be found on the publications page of my website.

It is incumbent on the shire to adopt both a prudent and cautious approach on this matter


(Also Published in the Bairnsdale Advertiser 28.3.13)

Letter to the Gippsland Times 12.3.13

Climate Change bigger problem than fuel load (edited)

i read Ralph Barraclough’s letter with interest regarding recent fires. The letter began telling how there had been major fires within eight years and in some places had been burnt three times in that period…

For some perspective with areas burnt out three times in eight years clearly the biggest contributor to bushfires these days is the fact that our environment is becoming hotter and dryer. Fire scientists tell us that reducing fuel loads reduces the intensity of fires; they also tell us that dryness and high average temperatures contribute to the ferocity of fires…

As this year saw another record breaking summer, the hottest on record, Bureau of Meteorology figures show hot days have doubled since 1960…Global warming is sending us on atrajectory of exponentially hotter drier average weather, unless we cut greenhouse emissions…

Maybe we do need a carbon tax after all, to continue the good, cost effective work of bringing non-polluting renewable energies on stream…I wonder how many people realise it is already far cheaper to put solar panels on your roof than to buy coal or gas generated electricity. That leaves more money to spend on other stuff – great for our economy, especially if we buy Australian.

Ian Onley, Sale


An Open Letter to the Managing Director National Australia Bank 1.3.13

Managing Director National Australia Bank

Dear Sir,

I wish to protest at your bank’s financing of the National Party of Victoria. The Australian Electoral Commission website indicates that the National Bank was the major donor of this party in 2012.

This political party has a strong record of denying the science of climate change, doing its best to create confusion on the issue and opposing all but the most token gestures to ameliorate or adapt to the threat.

Your donations make you complicit with these actions which are against the interests of your customers, your employees and your shareholders.

I also note that the financing of the fossil fuel industry is coming under greater scrutiny. It is becoming clear that only a small fraction of fossil fuel reserves can be developed without making large areas of the planet uninhabitable.

It follows that if a company’s value (and support from the finance industry) is based on reserves of coal, coal seam, gas, shale oil etc. then this value is illusory and is likely to become a ‘stranded asset’. On this matter I have enclosed a news article “Bursting the Carbon Bubble” by Michael Green (The Age 15.2.13) which you may have missed.

I am sure that you are closely considering investments of this kind and note that this is a further incentive not to donate to a political party that denies the current science.

Peter Gardner

PS I have been a customer of your bank for more than 50 years



Letter Published in the Gippsland Times 14.2.13

Dear Sir,

The proposals of the planned Esso plant to vent CO2 waste direct to the atmosphere – along with other proposals for the development of coal seam gas, shale oil and brown coal – are most alarming.

Recent comments by both Robert F. Kennedy Jnr. and James Hansen of NASA have implied that to embark on any proposal of this kind that exacerbates an already critical position of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is a criminal activity.

Late last year Steven Sherwood of the University of NSW stated “if we fully develop all 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 uninhabitable planet.” (New Scientist 17.11.12)

Unfortunately the mining giants, along with their bankers, insurers and political acolytes, seem hell bent on development regardless of all the warnings given by climate scientists.

At the very least these investments will eventually become stranded assets. It is likely the companies and their employees at some future date will face class actions in the courts similar to that faced by tobacco and asbestos companies today. And possibly they may someday appear in the same location facing charges of a criminal kind.


Peter Gardner