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Ward off Climate Change

About the author

Gary Warden was raised in the Perth Hills. After graduating from the University of Western Australia with a degree in Geology, Gary joined BHP Billiton where he spent 18 years working in a variety of roles in a number of locations around the world. Prior to leaving BHP Billiton in December 2006, Gary was Global Manager for the company's US$1Billion business improvement program.

While he was originally sceptical about the claims relating to climate change, he became convinced of the urgency of the issue in early 2006. He left BHP Billiton primarily to spend more time with his young family, but also to dedicate himself to creating a more sustainable life for himself and his family and to support others in making that change.

In September 2007 he was trained by Al Gore and has delivered the "Inconvenient Truth" lectures to thousands of west australians since then. In November 2007 Gary ran for the senate in the Federal Election representing the Climate Change Coalition.

In addition to his climate change lectures, he has facilitated Living Smart workshops across Perth. Between 2008 and 2009 he was on the Executive Committee of the Conservation Council of Western Australia including one year as Vice President.

Gary co-founded and is Executive Director of the very exciting Days of Change program, one of the largest sustainability programs in Australia and is now General Manager WA for Eco-Kinetics, one of the largest Solar PV companies in Australia and subsidiary of ASX-listed CBD Energy.

Eastern Terminal

During September 2007, Western Power announced plans to establish a terminal substation within a study area comprising the Shire of Kalamunda, City of Gosnells and Shire of Mundaring. The substation, known as Eastern Terminal, will require the initial clearing of approximately 20 Hectares of land; however the substation will eventually be connected to high voltage transmission lines running along up to 14 new 60-metre-wide corridors.

This would require the clearing of up to 400 Hectares of forest, an area the equivalent of Kings Park. Discussions with Western Power have revealed that their preferred site for the substation is located in State Forest in Hacketts Gully, along Mundaring Weir Road to the east of Kalamunda.

I am opposed to the Eastern Terminal project on many levels.

  • The project is designed to reinforce the grid for transmitting electricity generated by the coal-fired power stations near Collie to the main electricity consumers in metropolitan Perth. The burning of coal to produce electricity is the single-most polluting way of producing electricity from a climate change perspective. To be spending taxpayer’s money on reinforcing the use of coal-fired electricity in the current environment is reckless.
  • The destruction of 400 Hectares of State Forest is appalling. This amount of forest has the ability to sequester the CO2 emissions associated with the electricity consumption of up to 60,000 homes. Western Australians are already the highest per capita polluters of greenhouse gases on the planet. This project would push our emissions even higher.
  • We have already wiped out vast tracts of forest in the southwest of Western Australia. Just 7% of the original forest remains. This forest is home to hundreds of unique species, many of which are already being threatened by climate change. The area is considered to be on of the world's biodiversity "hot spots". To be considering the destruction of even 1 Hectare of this forest is inconceivable.
  • The substation would not even be necessary if the government got serious about requiring consumers to reduce their electricity consumption. Any of you who have watched shows on TV like Carbon Cops or Eco House Challenge would know that it is possible to reduce your household's electricity usage by more than 50% through a number of simple initiatives. If the government were to put in place differentiated tariffs whereby those who consume the most pay the highest tariff, as is the case with water tariffs, this would help drive down the excessive levels of consumption.

Toni and I are fighting this substation together. Toni has joined a group called SETS (Stop the Eastern Terminal Substation) that has been doing some outstanding work researching and lobbying against the substation. They have an excellent website that contains much more information on this project if you are interested. I would encourage you to visit their site, and express your rejection of the project by signing the on-line petition and forwarding on to your friends and colleagues.