Greg Piper

Greg Piper (independent and sitting member for Lake Macquarie)

Interviewed 2 Feb 2011

Greg Piper started by saying that he was not a skeptic (regarding climate change) but was not convinced about some of the figures being bandied about as they were very rubbery. He was very generous with his time, talking to us for a whole hour.

Answers to questions:

Do you support the proposed Wallarah 2 coal mine in Wyong Shire? No. I am against this mine.

Do you support the building of new coal-fired power stations or the expansion of existing ones in NSW? No

Do you support offshore gas drilling along the NSW and Central Coast? No. Although gas is a potential transition fuel for moving away from coal, I am very concerned at the dangers raised recently regarding the practice of Fracking. I would like to see more information on the potential environmental impacts.

Do you support coal seam gas extraction in the Hunter Valley and elsewhere in NSW? Again, my concerns regarding fracking are that more information should be presented on the environmental impacts of the extraction of coal seam gas.

What is your plan for keeping the remaining fossil fuels in the ground? Greg’s response to this was to laugh. Our impression was that this was a very difficult outcome to achieve.

How do you propose to prevent atmospheric GHG concentrations pushing us past 2 degrees and dangerous climate trigger points? Greg indicated that regardless of his wishes, this was something outside the power of State Government.

Will you push for a rising price on carbon emissions? Yes. We discussed the option of the Tax and Dividend method of pricing carbon supported by Dr Hansen of NASA GIS.

Will you push for implementation of the Zero Carbon Australia 2020 Stationary Energy Plan ( Greg indicated a copy of this plan that was on his desk and said that he and his team were in the process of assessing the report to determine if they would support such a plan. He would not be drawn on whether or not he would support it (or a similar plan for replacing our fossil fuel use).

Will you push to remove government subsidies for fossil fuel industries and other industries that emit GHGs? Yes

Will you implement a plan to buy back low-lying areas subject to sea level rise and if not how will you help the people who live there? Greg did not believe it was possible for Government to afford a buy-back system but acknowledged we needed a mechanism for allowing people to retreat as sea levels rise.

Will you implement vehicle fuel consumption/efficiency standards and what fuel efficiency will you mandate for government fleet cars (e.g. <8 L/100km)? Greg supported the limiting of fleet fuel consumption for Governments.

Finally, the issues of unlimited expansion/consumption and population growth were discussed in the context of the limited environmental services provided by our planet.