Peter Spencer: hunger strike against carbon scandal

Peter Spencer

Peter Spencer

Peter Spencer is on the 23rd day of a hunger strike, on a 2 metre platform 10 metres off the ground. As Crikey explains:

Peter says that Federal Government has declared his 5,385 hectare property a carbon Sink without compensating him. Peter had never wanted to clear his land, but under the vegetation management act the entire property is rendered off limits to any form of development.

These effected Australian farmers have been responsible for virtually the entire burden of the Nation’s greenhouse gas emission reductions but their efforts worth billions of dollars have not been recognized or financially rewarded.

These farming families have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by about 70 million tonnes since 1990 and by 2010 the saving will be about 83.7million tonnes. To put that into context that is equivalent to eliminating the entire annual emissions of New Zealand or Ireland. Over that same period of time emissions from energy and transport have continued to skyrocket.

Hide the takings

Peter’s hunger strike has gathered support from grassroots people from Australia, the US, UK, Pakistan and Malaysia. On the Peter Spencer Hunger Strike causes site over 150 people have been lobbying frantically to  get the mainstream media to cover the story and for politicians to intervene on Peter’s behalf.

Peter’s supporters have been bombarding State and Federal Labor, Liberal and National Party Politicians and the mainstream media to bring attention to his cause.

But Peter’s story is being stonewalled by the mainstream media and Politicians of all colours and creeds. So far they have managed to have Peter’s story covered by 2GB’s Alan Jones with a live interview with Peter Spencer and his barrister Peter King by mobile phone on Tuesday morning and one with Alastair McRobert who is at the property with Peter onThursday morning and a 5 minute spot on Channel 9’s A Current affair on Thursday night (the video above).

Fairfax Media, News Corporation and the ABC have steadfastly refused to run the story except for The Telegraph which ran a small piece last Sunday on page 42 titled He’s the Darryl Kerrigan of Climate Change.

This is all a result of a trick to meet our obligations under the Kyoto protocol. Crikey again:

Australians might wonder how with our rapidly growing population and economy over the last two decades, as a nation we seemed to  be in a position to claim that we only increased our total emissions by 9%. Well, we haven’t. Our emissions have increased by 30% but thanks to the “carbongate” swindle we can claim it’s only 9%.

Here is the “trick” and it is not PM Kevin Rudd’s “trick”, it was actually the Liberal / National Coalition Howard Government’s master stoke. At the Kyoto negotiations in November 1997 Senator Robert Hill was able to negotiate into the agreement what controversially became known at the “Australian clause” .  Clive Hamilton documents the trickery of the Coalition’s bargaining that brought about the inclusion of the Australia clause in his book “Scorcher”. Indeed he devotes a whole chapter to it – Chapter 6 Drama at Kyoto. From page 72:

“As emissions from land-clearing had decline sharply since 1990, their inclusion in the base year would give us a cushion of ‘free’ emissions reductions. our fossil-fuel emissions would be able to increase to at least 120 percent of 1990 levels by 2010 while still coming in under overall target of 105 to 110% . The Australia clause represented a loophole in the Kyoto Protocol that a couple of Bulldozers with a chain between them could drive through.”

The brilliant “win” for the Federal Government at Kyoto was  only the first part of the “trick”. To make it work the Howard Government then had to stop private property owners land-clearing. Not only did they have to stop them but  as private property it had to be done at no cost to the Commonwealth. This in the face of the Constitution which states that if the Commonwealth takes a private citizen’s property for its’ benefit it must compensate the citizen on “just terms”.

The Howard Government then set about having the Carr and Beattie State Labor Governments introduce  Vegetation Management laws that effectively locked up 109 million hectares of privately owned land into the world’s largest privately owned carbon sink. The “trick’ is with the Native Vegetation laws being passed by State Governments Under the Constitution the State Governments have no obligation to pay private landholders compensation. Brilliant, they’d created the world’s largest carbon sink – at no cost to the Commonwealth. (source)

See the Current Affair video here, and visit Peter’s site here.

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