Carbon Reduction package – a good start

The carbon pricing scheme announced on the 10th July 2011 ends plans to burn native forest wood ‘waste’ for electricity, as it is not regarded as ‘renewable’. Without the carbon credits for the electricity produced, these planned projects will be economically unviable. Thanks to all those people who wrote and emailed to the government.

It is odd though, that the government acknowledges that logging forests for power generation would add to carbon pollution, but logging forests for woodchips has been left out of the bigger carbon picture.

The government gives the logging of native forests a zero emissions value, yet it accounts for around 18% of Australia’s annual carbon pollution.

The Prime Minister doesn’t seem to understand what forests can do for climate, or it’s too touchy to acknowledge just yet. But as this scheme has built in flexibility, we are hopeful that once it settles down, forests will be recognised as a major carbon sequestration and storage ‘system’. While the Greens hold the balance, they should keep the system honest.

With the export woodchip industry in the doldrums, the main threat to forests now is the pellet plants that could spring up to make small compressed wood pellets that are sold to Asia or Europe for them to burn in their power generators. That’s another campaign to work on.

But back to the carbon package – the $1 billion biodiversity fund over 6 years is better than we’ve seen for ages. Thanks to the Greens for pushing this idea.

The plan includes “managing biodiverse carbon stores … on publicly owned native forests”. Sounds hopeful.

We congratulate all those who were involved in the Climate Change Committee negotiations, which the Coalition members refused to participate in.

Read more on the biodiversity fund here

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