The O'Farrell government is condemning the native forests of NSW to decades of devastation by creating a new market for woodchips, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye
Dr Kaye was commenting on Energy Minister Anthony Roberts' announcement that native forest materials that are currently produced for wood-chipping to make paper pulp will no longer excluded as fuels for powers stations.
Dr Kaye said: "The O'Farrell government has condemned the forests of this state to decades of destruction.
"Instead of using the collapse in the woodchip market as an opportunity to give the forests a much-needed reprieve, Energy Minister Roberts has green-lighted an industry that will consume millions of trees.
"The O'Farrell government cannot hide behind the excuse that the biomass industry will not increase current logging and clearing rates.
"The Minister had the opportunity to take the pressure of the forests by letting the woodchip industry sink under its own failing business model. Instead he has created a new market and perpetuated the unsustainable exploitation of the state's forests.
"Apart from consuming more than 1 million tonnes of trees each year, the native forestry logging industry receives annual state-government subsidies of more than $8 million.
Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon is currently at a massive protest at Leard State Forest in North West NSW where 15 machines have been immobilised and work on the controversial Maules Creek mine has been prevented.
150 people, including traditional owners, local farmers and environmentalists, have gathered to call on Environment Minister Greg Hunt to stop the development of the mine.
“Today's action demonstrates people power and resilience. The number of people willing to give up their time to prevent the Maules Creek Mine from going ahead is inspiring.” Senator Rhiannon said.
The first figures released by the newly corporatized Forestry Corporation show the native forestry industry in crisis with thousands of extra hectares of forest being logged, for dwindling returns and the inevitable chronic losses being made up by NSW taxpayers. Destroying public native forests for woodchips and timber has a net negative cost to taxpayers of $480 per hectare.
See report in the SMH here: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/logging-increases-but-revenue-drops-20140125-31fex.html
The amount of native forest that was logged by Forestry NSW increased by 36% between 2011/12 and 2012/13. Despite this additional 8,300 hectares of native forest being lost, the amount of commercial timber recovered fell, showing ever diminishing returns from a stressed public forest reserve.
The more aggressive harvesting regime also impacted on threatened species with the number of threatened fauna species sighted in logging operations increasing from 3,018 in 2012/13 to 4,277 in 2012/13. The greater impact on threatened species is inevitable as more and more of our forests are targeted for logging.
The Abbott government plan to support the sale of millions of litres of Murray Darling Basin water puts the future of river communities, their economic viability and the environmental health of the region at risk, Senator Lee Rhiannon the Greens water spokesperson said today.
“The Coalition plan to move into water trading is not the solution to environmental restoration of the Murray-Darling.
“This is a massive blow to rural Australia as a few irrigators will benefit to the detriment of river communities, the majority of farmers and the environment,” Senator Rhiannon said.
After a week of sweltering heat and fires, rising temperatures are heading East and the impacts of global warming are being felt in Sydney, said the Australian Greens.
"2014 began with extraordinary temperatures and devastating fires. Just as we saw the destructive capacity of extreme weather events in the Blue Mountains last year, again we have witnessed the devastation of extreme heat and fires in Western Australia," said Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon.
"Now, a second big heatwave is heading for Sydney and we're looking at high to very high fire danger ratings. Families in Western Sydney without the respite of sea breezes, will be the worst hit.
"Yet, despite last year's extraordinary record-breaking heat and unprecedented scientific certainty of the impacts of global warming, the Abbott government is trying to tear down the price on pollution which is our best defence against future extreme storms, droughts and fires.
"It beggars belief that while people in Sydney - and around the country - are already feeling the effects of climate change, Tony Abbott would let his ideological position get in the way of the hard facts.
"The Climate Council has warned that global warming will bring more extreme weather and heat waves and we can't pretend it's not going to happen. We must prepare for it and stop it getting worse by reducing greenhouse pollution.
NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon has congratulated protesters at Maules Creek coal mine for commencing action today to prevent critically endangered woodland and endangered wildlife from being bulldozed.
"The protest is taking place at the edge of Leard State Forest which will be devastated as a result of increased mining in the area," Senator Rhiannon said.
"Maules Creek is one of three monster mines which, along with the Boggabri and Tarrawonga coal mines will result in bulldozing 4000 of the 7500 hectares of the old growth forest, which includes 34 threatened species including koalas, and several Endangered Ecological Communities.
The Greens today condemned the sale of Mt Piper and Wallerawang power stations that will make it much more difficult to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions and will push up electricity prices and destroy jobs.
By Senator Christine Milne, Leader of the Australian Greens
How do we build an economic system that serves the needs of people and nature, both for today and for tomorrow?
The economy is a tool; a tool we humans invented – like democracy and politics – to help govern our relationships between each other, and between ourselves and the world we live in. If our economic tools are not getting the outcomes we want, making us happy, safe, healthy, better educated and fulfilled and protecting and preparing our country for an increasingly uncertain future in a world on track to be 4 degrees warmer, then it is time our economic tools changed.
By Colin Hesse, The Greens NSW Local Government Adviser
Like the temperature of the world, the heat generated by the discussion around pricing carbon emissions has increased the political temperature, while doing little to shed any light on how a carbon price will impact our community.
Each level of government will be affected by carbon pricing, and in the case of local government those effects will be in three main areas; the cost of electricity (in particular the cost of electricity for street lighting), CO2 emissions from waste, and other pass-on costs, primarily through building materials.
According to research carried out by the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council (EMRC) in Perth, the cost of the carbon price for local government will be “around one third of the economic impact of the introduction of the Goods and Services tax”.
Daniel Kogoy, Greens councillor on Leichhardt Council
In inner west and southern Sydney, seven local councils are working together to develop their own renewable energy master plan. This master plan includes Leichhardt, Marrickville, Ashfield, Canterbury, Rockdale, Bankstown and Canada Bay councils and will identify the best ways to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources in these LGAs. It will also cover financing, ownership and operational details, including community/council ownership and joint ventures.
Community owned renewable energy is already common in parts of Europe and North America. In Australia we’re in the early stages of the move away from large, centralised fossil fuel power stations towards clean, decentralised, community scale renewable energy autonomy.
Decentralised renewable energy reduces network costs as power stations can be built quickly and closer to where they are needed. It enables local ownership, which empowers communities and delivers economic benefits locally. It also represents a great opportunity - after the recent shameful electricity sell-offs – to increase the percentage of public and community owned renewable energy.