The Cessnock Advertiser Letters to the Editor: May 12, 2021

The protest in Singleton on Monday.
The protest in Singleton on Monday.


I joined other protestors in Singleton on Monday morning to call out the stupidity of restarting the Redbank Power Station using timber as the fuel.

Trees are the one thing we've got that are working in our favour in the face of climate change. They draw down CO2 and lock it away for years. We are in a climate crisis, with urgent action required to reduce CO2 emissions in the next 10 years to have any hope of restricting temperature increases to 2 degrees, let alone 1.5 degrees. We need to aim high and go fast on climate action.

Burning wood still produces CO2 - up to 50% more than coal, as you have to dry the wood and burn more of it for the same amount of electricity. The atmosphere doesn't care whether the CO2 came from burning wood or burning coal - it has the same atmospheric heating effect.

Hunter Energy, now Verdent Earth Technologies, advertised Expressions of Interest and have said "Prospective suppliers should be able to supply a minimum of 2000 tonnes a year, and should be located within a 400 km radius of Singleton". Transporting over a million tonnes of timber per year, up to 400km, is only increasing the CO2 emissions associated with this environmentally disastrous project.

The proposal is even more outrageous given the Black Summer bushfires of 2019/2020, when 42% of all State Forests were burnt, 37% of all National Parks, 5.4 million hectares in total, and 25% of koala habitat in eastern NSW was destroyed. Anything that encourages taking more timber is only placing further pressure on the survival of our threatened species, at a time when they are already struggling.

Trees are too valuable to be burnt - especially when there are other truly renewable resources available that provide cheaper electricity.

Greens candidate Sue Abbott for Upper Hunter has come out strongly against this wood-fired power station. All candidates in the upcoming Upper Hunter by-election need to make clear where they stand on the proposal. Will they support a shift to jobs in a renewable future or cling grimly to jobs of the past?

Janet Murray, Greens Mayoral Candidate for Cessnock

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