Not long after ‘black carbon’, from burning fossil fuels and biomass, was recently elevated to third on the list of most harmful list of atmospheric pollutants, Greens Eden Monaro representative Catherine Moore has suggested sustainable energy options need to be investigated.
According to Ms Moore the ‘severe bushfires in the region over the last two weeks are examples of the effects caused by climate change.’ and ‘renewable energy sources will help reduce global warming’.
There are two problems with linking bushfires to climate change, one is that as consequence of the long-term reduction in land productivity, due to the loss of species required to maintain forest health alluded to in the National Forests Policy Statement (1992), forests become a tinderbox much more quickly than they used to.
Two and in the absence of detail on how Ms Moore defines renewable energy sources, the deliberate use of fire to manage forests, that the Bega greens have no problems with, works to exclude the relevant green technology and the management options needed to address bushfire management issues.
The matter of community ownership is also in there and may take on greater importance should the referendum on constitutional recognition for Local Government, likely to be held with the upcoming Federal election, get up.
Although historically few referendums get up, not all local government is as difficult as Bega Council and a project undertaken by the ACT gov to re-introduce the eastern bettong is a good example. Starting at Tidbinbilla, where the ACT koalas are (they aren’t a population), bettongs have successfully bred and the offspring are now populating the Mulligans Flat exclosure area.
The project aims to keep breeding the species and populate other areas where they are extinct, something I’ve worked toward since 1992 and unlike the Bega greens, have no problems with.