Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Government spins letter threat against all greenies

Following coverage of the letter threat to the CEO of the Hazelwood power station, The Age published my letter today arguing that the Victorian Government is trying to spin this unfortunate incident against environmental activism as such (See 'Don't fall for this spin on greenies' on The Age Letters page).

Here's the letter, with a small grammatical correction that didn't make it into the published version:

Threatening the boss of the heavily polluting Hazelwood power station does nothing to advance the campaign for action on climate, and such measures are rightly condemned (The Age, 15/6). However, media reports of Energy Minister Peter Batchelor's call for environmental groups to denounce such measures indicate a ham-fisted attempt to tie all environmental activism with this extreme.

The tactic is underlined by Treasurer John Lenders' reference to 'green extremists' in radio reports about the incident.

Contrary to the perception these politicians wish to create, the vast majority of environmental groups legitimately campaign against the huge contribution coal-fired power stations make to global warming and its consequent impacts on the planet. Following the Black Saturday bushfires, the Queensland floods and other impacts arriving much sooner than expected, global warming is a much bigger threat that the Government would do well to take seriously.

Since I wrote the letter, the article I was responding to has been expanded from the original AAP story that appeared yesterday, with text now including Peter Batchelor's reported view that
...the credibility of the whole of the environmental movement would be jeopardised unless the people involved were identified.
This further underlines the Government's tactic, and seems to borrow from the ignorant practice of blaming all Muslims for instances of Islamist terrorism should they fail to identify terrorists whose identities are completely unknown to them. We reject outright the latter, and must therefore reject Batchelor's cheap PR ploy against environmental activism.

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