Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I am writing to you as the Chair of the Australian Environment Foundation (AEF). Over the last year a key issue for us has been the protection of River Red Gum forests in the Central Murray Valley of south eastern Australia. At our recent conference and AGM in Canberra, members decided that the best thing we could do as an organisation for the environment over the next year would be to oppose the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
You might well ask why an environment group would oppose such a scheme. Well, for three reasons:
1. An ETS will not change the global temperature;
2. It will force many clean and green Australian industries overseas; and
3. It will make Australians poor, but it is richer, not poorer nations, that are generally better able to protect their natural environment.
Last week the Minister for Climate Change and Water, Penny Wong, said that the Australian government would take the global economic slowdown into account with its plans for carbon trading, but said there was no reason to push back start dates.
I wish she would also take some of the science into consideration!
Indeed the proposed trading scheme represents a major intervention in to the Australian economy with absolutely no chance of changing global temperatures let alone preventing the feared ‘climate crisis’.
It is bad economics, it is bad science and the associated policies are bad for the environment.
On July 14 this year, just before Minister Wong released The Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Green Paper, she stood with the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on the banks of the Hume Dam and suggested that by embracing Emissions Trading, Australians could somehow make it rain in the Murray Darling Basin. http://www.pm.gov.au/media/interview/2008/interview_0360.cfm
Ridiculous statements continue to be made by politicians and lobbyists in the media and attempts to correct them are mostly just ignored. For example, on Monday, Dr Dennis Jensen MP was denied the opportunity to table information in federal parliament showing that many of the current problems facing the Murray Darling Basin are the result of low runoff as a consequence of changed land management practices (including more plantations in the top of catchments), catchment-wide drainage management plans (place in the 1980s and 1990s to lower water tables) and more efficient water use (resulting in less leakage). He explained that it was wrong to blame climate change because there had been no long term decline in rainfall in the Basin, yet the data which shows this was not permitted to be provided to our elected representatives.
Also on Monday, but in the Senate, Ron Boswell spoke against a proposed tax deduction for establishing carbon sinks. The Senator asked the question “If we put 40 million hectares of land into new forestry, where on earth do we put those millions of kangaroos that we’re supposed to farm according to [Professor Ross] Garnaut?” More seriously, if 40 million hectares goes under plantation forestry as proposed by the federal government to fight climate change and offset emissions, there will be even less water for our rivers and streams.
There are a lot of politicians and journalists, as well as ordinary Australians who know that much of what is currently being proposed in the name of stopping climate change is absurd, but there is no organised campaign putting the alternative perspective.
An AEF member, Professor Bob Carter, recently commented to me, “One of the things that I find most troublesome is the degree to which the public airwaves and print channels are filled by people propagating ritualistic, often irrational, emotional views. To what degree this is caused by systematic activity by Green groups or their acolytes, I can’t judge, but the result is the same regardless of what the balance of genuine: zealot contributors might be. It is that public opinion still appears to be utterly captivated by AGW dogma. This, of course, is the same perception that all MPs still have, for the Greens make very sure that every communication channel that they can command delivers the alarmist message to MPs.”
The internet is increasingly recognised as an important medium for networking and campaigning. It is a medium for getting an alternative message to a large audience. A dedicated and custom built campaigning website can make it easy for an online community to quickly find their local media and local member and send them a message – as well as encouraging their friends, colleagues and family to send a message.
The AEF needs A$30,000 to build and run a dedicated campaigning website that will initially be used to campaign against the ETS.
If you can make a financial contribution, please go to our website and donate through the paypal facility using your credit card. http://www.aefweb.info/
Alternatively send a cheque to the Australian Environment Foundation, PO Box 274, Deakin West, ACT 2600, Australia.
Make a Donation, Save the Environment, Stop the Emissions Trading Scheme proposed for Australia!
Chair, Australian Environment Foundation