Liberal Councillor Shayne Mallard is a big fan of Twitter - he posted 15 times during this week’s Council committee meetings. Two of those posts in particular caught my eye because they included a couple of unfair comments about the Greens:
Below is a media release I sent out today responding to Councillor Mallards comments.
City of Sydney Councillor Chris Harris has rejected criticism of the Greens by Liberal Councillor Shayne Mallard as “Typical of the simplistic spin of his party ” following two updates Clr Mallard posted to his Twitter account during Council Committee meetings on Monday 24th May.
Clr Harris “Clr Mallard accused the Greens of being anti-corporation after we raised concerns about Council paying fifteen thousand dollars to sign up to ‘Lightsavers’, which is an energy efficiency program that monitors the use of LED street lights and is part of an organisation called ‘The Climate Group’. The Greens expressed concerns about aligning themselves to some corporations, that are current members of The Climate Group and have operations with a poor environmental record.
“To say we’re anti-corporation is nonsense. The Greens are happy to work with corporations that are taking active steps to reduce carbon emissions and to act as good environmental citizens. Some of the corporate members of the Climate Group however are about as far from being responsible as you can get.”
One member of The Climate Group is Duke Energy which owns and operates 20 coal fired power stations in the USA and is America’s third largest green house gas emitter. Duke Energy has spent years and countless millions of dollars fighting the US Environmental Protection Agency in court, trying to argue legal loopholes to allow themselves to continually increase carbon emissions.
Another member is BP, which, at the same time Clr Mallard was Tweeting in its defence, was busy spilling millions of litres of oil into the Gulf of Mexico each day. They have refused to permit scientists to carry out detailed analyses of exactly how much oil is spilling – choosing to protect their own reputation and financial interests instead of helping to find ways to stop this tragedy.
Cr Harris: “We don’t want to hop into bed with Duke Energy and BP and so we raised very legitimate concerns about the membership of The Climate Group - City of Sydney staff are looking into the issues that I have raised. If it turns out that ‘Lightsavers’ is genuinely independent from the The Climate Group then we may support the City of Sydney joining up. If that is not the case then I will oppose spending the $15000 on membership. I’d rather use the money on some extra highly efficient LED street lights.
Clr Harris pointed out that his reservations about joining the group were not just ideological. “The Climate Group accepts money from Duke Energy, BP and many others in the form of membership fees.” said Harris. “When you’re funded by a company it’s in your interests to keep that company happy, otherwise you risk losing your funding. The existence of these corporations on the membership register of The Climate Group casts doubts over its effectiveness in pursuing real climate solutions.
“On a final note I wonder if Cr Mallard was even paying any attention at committee. His website shows that he sent 15 twitter messages during the committee session. It seems unlikely that he had time to make any contribution to the debate.”