Open Letter to Greg Hunt

Before the dust settled after the 2016 federal election Joe Boin, member of the Ballarat Climate Action group, sent this dispatch to the potential Minister for Environment. Calling Greg Hunt to take a stand for the environment and the future.

Greg Hunt MP                                                        Postal Address:
Member for Flinders                                               PO Box 274
Minister for the Environment                                     Hastings Vic 3915


Dear Mr Hunt,

Congratulations on your likely re-election.

I also believe that your party will be returned to a tenuous position in charge of this wonderful country.

Despite your performance so far, I believe you care about our environment and hope that you will now be able to take some real steps to further our interests.  You’ll notice that I used the adjective “our” twice – that’s because our interests are synonymous with those of the environment that supports us.

Please stop this misdirection of spending money on run-off control in North Queensland.  We both know that the real cause of the Reef’s problems is Global Warming.  We Australians make a significant contribution to it with our coal … and you are approving a huge increase in that contribution.  The effects of the run-off control and the “Direct Action” plan will be swamped by the extra emissions from that coal.  I know it seems like economic heresy, but our coal must stay in the ground.  I spoke to our local Liberal candidate about that and she, though well-meaning, didn’t get it.  Surely you are better informed than that.

It’s as if we’re living in a house that’s falling apart and spending all our efforts on good food, comfortable furniture, solid doors and the latest white goods and electronics – it won’t mean much when the roof falls in.

I ask that you take a truly responsible (and courageous) stand for our environment and therefore our future.

Please don’t respond to this with one of those general, “trust us” (with a paternal pat on the head) responses.  It’ll mean you (or your minders) haven’t read this.  I’d rather get no response.

I ask that you take the stand of an Environment Minister who looks after our environment, not one who makes excuses for the demise of its health. The latter is how I see your overall performance so far.

Sincerely,

Joe Boin

Ballarat Climate Change Federal Election Survey 2016

The Ballarat Climate Change Federal Election Survey 2016

Climate action means jobs for Ballarat with over $2 Billion in renewable projects around Ballarat ready to go. It’s a local issue and a global issue with the effects hurting everyone and everything – like the Great Barrier Reef or droughts in Western Victoria.

The Ballarat Climate Change Federal Election Survey has ended. It returned results from three candidates but has been ignored by the other candidates.  The questions in the survey related to Paris agreement that has a target of 2 degrees and action that is required to reach that, candidates level of commitment to banning new coal mines and coal seam gas projects, banning donations, price on carbon and how they regard the scientific evidence of climate change.

Going from the responses to our survey the Greens scored the highest followed closely by Independent Bren Eckel and then Catherine King.

Climate change has largely been ignored during the election and it doesn’t surprise me that candidates would rather have silence than to highlight their policies regarding climate change.

There has been research that shows people rate action on climate change very high and that they will vote on it but the research also shows that people still don’t know which party has the best polices. We wanted to make it easier for voters.

The survey was sent to all candidates for the seat of Ballarat and also the senate candidate John Madigan who has an electorate office in Ballarat.

Three candidates responded to the survey, the incumbent Catherine King from Labor, Alice Barnes from the Greens and Bren Eckel an Independent. We appreciate the effort of these three.

The candidates that didn’t response were Dianne Colbert – Australian Christians, Paul Tatchell – The Nationals, Graham Howard – Family First Party, Tran Tran – Rise Up Australia Party, Sarah Wade –  Liberal and John Madigan….Poor form.

Bren outlined achieving zero carbon:

“As soon as possible. My policies make renewable energies very attractive and very competitive alternatives to fossil fuels. I am also seeking to profoundly change the motoring of most Australian motorists by making an eCar a really sought after product by the largely urbanised Australia and providing the electric highway as a part of Australian infrastructure.”

He also agreed to all the questions except was unsure about a price on carbon.

Alice:

“The Greens are determined to see Australia generate at least 90% of its energy from renewables by 2030, and we want to double our energy efficiency by then. So, according to our RenewAustralia policy, it won’t be long before we are able to achieve zero carbon emissions.”

Alice answered in the affirmative to all questions.

Catherine King directly answered when the Labor Party was planning to have zero emission which she states is 2050, she also agreed that there should be a price on carbon, which the Ballarat Climate Action Group commends.

To try and understand where the non-responsive candidates stand I’ll just look at what they’ve said at public forums or their Parties policy. Paul Tatchell was asked at a candidate forum if the National Party had a target for zero emissions and he said “I’d like to think so…” In fact the National Party doesn’t have any policy. Emissions have been rising under the Liberal Party who scraped the price on carbon and is supportive of new coal.

Australia-C-tax-repeal-graph
Rise in emissions after the scrapping the price on carbon

 

The Australian Christians Party are not concerned about climate change at all. Their website says “The world has more important priorities other than the likelihood of global warming.” John Madigan has made statements that question the science of climate change see here here and here.

You can read the candidates responses here also check out other environmental organisations score cards below. Here’s a good compilation by John Englart from Climate Action Moreland.

 

Environment Vic scorecard

 

 

Questions

  1. Do you accept the conclusions of IPCC regarding that human caused global warming is a real and serious threat to our environment, our economy and our society and believe that all levels of government, business and the community must take urgent action to immediately reduce emissions and help stop dangerous climate change?
  2. Do you accept the Paris climate agreement to keep temperatures at 1.5 to 2 degrees?
  3. Will you develop and/or update a National Sustainable Transport Plan to help communities reduce their emissions from transport?
  4. Do you have a target for zero carbon emissions? If so when?
  5. Do you accept the evidence based proposition from the climate council that “It is likely that over 90% of Australian coal reserves are unburnable under even the most generous carbon budget. Exploitation of Australia’s Galilee Basin coal deposits is incompatible with effective action on climate change”?
  6. Should Australia set a price on carbon emissions?
  7. Do you commit to a ban on donations from fossil fuel companies, if elected?
  8. Should all new coal mines and coal seam gas projects be prohibited?
  9. If elected do you commit to a ban on subsidies on the fossil fuel industry?
  10. Will you develop and/or update a National Sustainable Agriculture Plan to help that sector and communities reduce emissions from agriculture?