Penny Wong’s cool response to the Garnaut report could have something to do with her past, which includes working in the Forestry Section of the CFMEU and as an advisor on forests to the NSW government. The Garnaut report is gutsier than we were expecting, but forests still only rate a very small mention.
In the 63 page report, the few mentions of forests are mostly in relation to PNG and Indonesia.
Of 19 instances of the word “forest” or “forestry” in the interim Garnaut report, only one relates to Australia. This may not look very encouraging, but at least the potential to reduce carbon emissions through “changes in … forest management” has been recognised.
On page 47 it says:
“…some areas that are considered difficult like forestry, are to be included from the beginning” (YES!) and others “like agriculture, are to be included later, to allow time to develop ways to include them.”
and …“there is considerable potential for sequestering large amounts of carbon through changes in land and forest management and agricultural practices. It is important to realise that incentives to realise this potential are in place as early as possible in the life of the ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme). Full inclusion of agriculture and forestry could require consideration of measures available to other trade-exposed, emissions-intensive industries.”
This must be frightening to the logging industry. Just watch – there’ll be a flurry of news stories, reports and conferences all designed by the industry to try and convince us that logging is performing a social and environmental service to help climate change.