In the great sweep of things, those opposed to the pulp mill have been called “terrorists”, “misinformed” and “anti development”. A recent paper by Dr Ian Woodward of Pitt & Sherry, part of the mill consortium, represents the public as hysterical and ignorant in the details of the Tamar mill.
Time after time the public has been derided by mill apologists for both failing to understand the proposal and for being opposed to it, perhaps on the basis that any opposition to such a fabulous idea must be mistaken.
I suggest that one of the critical problems for the mill consortium was their inexhaustible ability to damage their own credibility in the eyes of the public.
From the initial promises for a rigorous and independent assessment, through to the false claims that the social and economic impacts had been studied, mill apologists repeatedly damaged their own case until they had turned just about everyone off - except the forestry industry and those who would benefit directly from the proposal.
This was all brought back the other day when I read in the Examiner (August 21): “Gunns resource and sustainability manager Calton Frame was the first speaker for the evening and claimed that the pulp mill will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.1 million tonnes a year.”
Are we really supposed to believe that if we did nothing and just let all the trees grow, and left our forests to sequester carbon on their own, that we’d emit 1.1 million tonnes of CO2 more than by cutting down 300 sq km of trees a year and converting them to pulp and wood smoke in furnaces?
The public is left to wonder what kind of daffy smoke and mirrors accounting could possibly lead Gunns to that conclusion? Presumably it’s the same kind of benefits only tosh that they tried to pass off as an economic analysis in their IIS (Integrated Impact Statement).
Can anyone believe these kinds of claims?
Logging native forests has long been understood to release massive amounts of CO2 and prevent the uptake of the CO2 that the forests would have used had they not been clearfelled. Now Gunns expects us to believe that clearfelling, chipping, pulping and burning 300 sq km of trees each year will reduce greenhouse emissions.
No wonder the stock market is suffering a crisis of confidence!
Gunns shares have dropped nearly 25 per cent of their value in a few days, in part due to their profit forecasts, but I’d guess that quite a bit of that was their growing lack of credibility.
This article is intended to demonstrate the use of logic and should not be relied upon for investment purposes. First published in the Tasmanian Times on August 25, 2008.
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