Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ferguson's desperate evasion on climate

The two Martin Fergusons at HP Zwar ParkBack in early September, I wrote a letter to The Melbourne Times in protest at Martin Ferguson's recent opening of an environmental refurbishment at HP Zwar Park in Preston, part of his Batman electorate. Well, Ferguson has struck back with some quite misleading claims in letters to the paper and to Preston locals.

His letter in this week's edition of The Melbourne Times infers that the protest at the park called for zero net emissions for Australia by 2020. Instead, the climate advocates attending were simply supporting the 2020 zero net emissions community target recently adopted by a newly progressive Darebin Council.

True, zero net emissions is a worthwhile aim for Australia, but that will require a significant transition and many Darebins to achieve. What is certain is that achieving a safe climate will require far deeper emissions cuts by 2020 than are currently proposed by the government Ferguson serves as pro-fossil-fuel energy and resources minister. His appeal to science in framing a climate solution is laughable given that his proposed solution fails so miserably on every scientific measure.

Along with dirty coal and climate inaction, it was the contradiction between Ferguson's government role and the environmental values of the park that we were protesting - not the refurbishment itself, which was universally supported by everyone present on the day.

Yet in a letter to local residents, Ferguson claims I dismissed the park refurbishment, simply because for him it could only have been an empty, feel-good PR opportunity.

The letter also makes the false claim that I am a 'Greens activist', when I am not and never have been a member of the Greens party. I have, in fact, a strong record of running as an independent in Council and State elections. Still, far better the Greens than Ferguson's brand of climate vandalism.

So what is the upshot of Ferguson's cheap campaign? The answer is that it's nothing more than a desperate climate evasion by a federal MP sitting in a seat whose constituents are keenly aware of the threat of human-induced climate change. That's an awkward position to be in when the CEO of a resources company has you down as a prominent climate sceptic and you've been included in Clive Hamilton's Greenhouse Mafia 'dirty dozen'.

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Comments are most welcome on any of the posts at Northcote Independent. I encourage feedback - positive or negative. Feel free to disagree, but remember that posts are moderated to ensure they are on the topic and in the spirit of open debate, as outlined in my editorial policy.