Saturday, September 29, 2007

Al Gore on Climate Change Leadership

It is imperative that the Australian Government work constructively with other nations via the United Nations on a post-Kyoto agreeement to tackle climate change that includes tangible emission reduction targets. The current approach endorsed by John Howard, Alexander Downer and Malcolm Turnbull to set "aspirational voluntary targets" will be ineffective.

Self regulation of the most polluting industries carries a very real risk that short term profit motives will outweigh taking real action on addressing climate change - which science and our own experience now tells us is one of the greatest challenges facing the world today.

Here is a good quote from Al Gore on the important role governments have in setting real and binding emission reduction targets globally.

Quote of the Day: Al Gore on Climate Change Leadership, Montreal Protocol
(From TreeHugger)

All of the market initiatives are incredibly important. The market allocates more money in one hour than all of the governments allocate over a year's time. But governments set the rules of the road and determine how markets allocate capital and make decisions. And there should be no mistake that this crisis, the climate crisis, is not going to be solved only by personal action and business action. We need changes in laws; we need changes in policies; we need new leadership and we need a new treaty. We need a mandate at Bali during the first 14 days of December this year to complete a treaty not by 2012 but by 2009, and put it completely into force by 2010. We can do it and we must do it. ...

We face a genuine planetary emergency, we cannot just talk about it, we have to act on it, we have to solve it, urgently. ... Last week the world celebrated the 20th anniversary of a great success story. A hole in the ozone layer was discovered in 1985. And then, in the following year and a half, action took place. Some people said voluntary action will solve it; businesses will take the initiative. The Secretary of the Interior at that time said voluntary measures like wearing more sunglasses and floppy hats was the answer.

I would like to call on President Bush to follow President Reagan's example and listen to those among his advisers who know that we have to have binding reductions in CO2; we have to put a price on carbon, and the United States of America has to lead the world to solve the climate crisis."

Al Gore, former vice president of the Untied States, in the opening plenary session of the Clinton Global Initiative, 26 Sept. 2007

Sunday, September 09, 2007

East Gippsland forest protection report 2007

I visited East Gippsland in April this year to have a look at some of the forest areas protected during the 2006 Victorian State election campaign.

Unfortunately, many areas of old growth forest were not protected, such as this forest just off the Yalmy Road.

Yalmy forest

And this lovely wet eucalyptus forest with majestic old growth trees in the Jungle Creek catchment just off the Aberdeen Track was not protected either.

Jungle Creek wet forest

Here is my full report with maps, photographs and information.

Executive Summary

This report assesses some of the forest areas in East Gippsland that were announced for protection during the 2006 Victorian State Election campaign. The purpose of this report is to assess the quality and quantity of some of the forest areas newly protected and surrounding forests with respect to the stated aims of the Government which were to protect under the National Parks Act the last significant stands of Victoria’s old growth forests (available for logging) to enhance tourism and protect biodiversity.

The three areas covered by this report are outside of the proposed new reserve system and are considered to be also all worthy of protection.

The Brown Mountain region bounded by Errinundra Road to the east, Legge Road to the east and Errinundra National Park to the south contains numerous very significant old growth Mountain Ash trees with a largely intact understory. This forest area is a firm candidate for protection due to biodiversity value and age of the forest. This area should be included in the new reserve system to improve its continuity and enhance the wildlife corridor. In addition, National Park signage in this area is in need of immediate attention.

The Jungle Creek catchment south of the Aberdeen Track contains significant old growth Mountain Ash trees, cool temperate rainforest plant species and wet sclerophyll forest. This area should also be included in the new reserve system to improve the continuity of the reserve and further enhance the wildlife corridor. It is imperative that fuel reduction burning of this area of forest includes measures to protect both old growth trees and the wet sclerophyll forest.

Heavily logged forests along both the Mount Jersey and Yalmy Roads and the Rodger River Track detract from the visual characteristics of this region due to loss of forest canopy and large amounts of logging residue. In addition, regrowth areas will have little appeal or habitat value for many decades. This has a major negative impact on tourism potential. Logging activities in these areas should cease – they should be added to the National Park estate.

Some significant forest areas of high quality along the Yalmy Road adjacent to the Snowy River National Park have been newly protected. However, other adjacent areas of equivalent forest have not been afforded any protection. This indicates apparent inconsistencies in the decision making process regarding the selection of areas for protection.

An impressive stand of old growth Mountain Ash with very high visual appeal is located on the Yalmy Road close to the intersection with the Rodger River track. Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans) is comparatively unusual in East Gippsland. While sections of this forest have been logged, the overall impression is of majestic trees. The rationale for excluding this area from the new protected reserves is not clear. It should be also be added to the reserve system both to protect the remaining old growth trees it contains, and to boost and improve the integrity of the adjacent Snowy River National Park.

While additional areas of old growth forest have been specified for protection in East Gippsland, there are good opportunities to further add remaining unprotected old growth and wet sclerophyll forest to the reserve system for the intrinsic value of these forests, to create a more robust wildlife corridor link between the Errinundra and Snowy River National Parks and to protect resident endangered species.