If you get confused by all the talk of carbon trading, prices, international negotiations and Kyoto rules, you’re not alone. But here’s an attempt to simplify a part of it. Sadly, forests are still being done over by the latest wheeling and dealing.
Late last year there was the Durban Climate Conference. Countries worked on a system to deal with land use and logging (awkwardly called Land Use Land Use Change and Forestry – LULUCF). But surprise, Australia is trying to rort it. How?
Our Aussie reps, with the help of Canada and other developed logging countries, were trying to push for new rules that overlook carbon and greenhouse gas pollution that’s released when forests are logged and burnt (about half a billion – with a B – tonnes globally a year). At the same time they were trying to get rules accepted that then allow them to claim credits for logging instead of being landed with carbon debits!
The rort goes like this:
We all set a baseline level of logging of so many thousand hectares a year. Then if we log below it, we’ll get credits! If we log above it, we pay debits. Guess where that baseline level would be set? Yep – as high as possible!
The Ozzie reps don’t want to calculate a level based on historic logging (even that would allow status quo), but want to make it include every hectare of forest that is currently mapped as being up for logging! So there’s no way we could possibly go above that baseline level (unless we clearfelled our Parks!). In fact our logging exploiters could then claim huge credits for bowling over less than 50 gazillion hectares a year.
Australia’s forest destruction accounts for about 20% of our annual emissions. No wonder they’re doing their darnedest to cheat and keep logging from entering the big carbon equation.