7th May 2007: For immediate release
Climate Change: Government policy fails residents
According to Clr. Terry Fogarty of Willoughby Council, NSW State Government policies on Climate Change are failing local communities. “I am working with a local community in Chatswood. They have raised pledges for $500,000 in attempt to preserve 0.3 hectare of old growth forest. They were hoping that the land could become part of the NSW Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme. Imagine their disappointment, disbelief and frustration when they hear that the land, at best, might only be worth $100.00 per hectare per annum for use as a ‘carbon sink’. That is less than $1,000 for a 99-year lease. The owner of the land wants $650,000.” Said Clr. Fogarty. “No wonder NSW farmers are doing it so hard, they are being paid a pittance by energy companies to grow trees whilst the energy companies are charging the consumer and ‘arm and a leg’ for Greenpower” said Fogarty
Christopher Stenhouse who motivated the neighbours of the land to consider purchasing it says “We read a lot about Climate Change and Global Warming and the harm that humans are doing to the planet. When this land was promoted by sale by the owner with the exhortation to prospective purchases to ‘bring your bulldozer’, we thought, why not save the trees and help fight global warming. We attempted to work with the owner. When that failed we decided to attempt to buy the property ourselves. We hoped Willoughby Council might be able to assist”.
Stenhouse contacted Councillor Fogarty who lodged a motion with Council to consider how it could assist the local residents. Council Officers considered the situation and recommended that Council not assist with the purchase of the property. “To tell you the truth, I was quite amazed” said Councillor Fogarty, “Trees have numerous intrinsic values, many of them directly related to the major issues that face the planet. To hear that the land was worth so little as part of the 2003 NSW Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme simply puzzles me”. Councillor Fogarty did some research and was astounded to discover that the NSW Government Policy is predicated on a penalty of $11.00/t CO2-eq. greenhouse gas emissions. The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report, Working Group III – Mitigation of Climate Change (4th May 2007) has identified that carbon penalties need to be set in the order to US$155.00/t CO2-eq (A$190.00/t CO2-eq ). This is some seventeen times higher than NSW current rates. “Is it any wonder that our bureaucrats undervalue the intrinsic value of bush land?” said Councillor Fogarty. “This State needs to take this issue seriously. It looks to me that the GGE agenda is being driven by companies who are creating the problem. How come Premier Iemma has not been across to sign an agreement with California Governor Schwarzenegger, like Premier Bracks from Victoria?” said Fogarty.