Simon Branigan Environment Tasmania MR
Tasmania’s peak environment body is pushing for native forest biomass to be scrapped from acceptance as a renewable energy source in the Federal government’s proposed Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000[1].
MEDIA RELEASE – 23/2/2009

ENVIRONMENT BODY PUSHES FOR NATIVE FOREST POWER TO BE SCRAPPED FROM RENEWABLE ENERGY SCHEME

Tasmania’s peak environment body is pushing for native forest biomass to be scrapped from acceptance as a renewable energy source in the Federal government’s proposed Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000[1].

The body has argued that the logging and burning of native forests is leading to the loss of some of the Southern Hemisphere’s most important carbon sinks, and that including native forest biomass as a renewable energy source would create a perverse incentive to burn native forests as a so-called renewable power source.

“Tasmania’s native forests are some of the most carbon dense forests on the face of the planet – with scientific research showing that they can store up to 10 times more carbon per hectare than previously accounted for[2],” said Simon Branigan, Environment Tasmania’s policy coordinator.

“These forests provide crucial ecosystem services such as clean air, clean water, habitat for endangered species and landscape values for the benefit of our billion dollar tourism industry and the community as a whole. Just as importantly – they are huge carbon sinks that provide a powerful and crucial buffer against global warming,”

“The idea of burning native forests in a furnace to create electricity and then call that electricity ‘renewable’ is absolutely absurd – and would make a farce of our renewable energy scheme and undermine future community support,”

“If the government is serious about tackling climate change – it is critical that they remove native forest as an eligible renewable energy source,” he concluded.

Environment Tasmania is Tasmania’s conservation council, an umbrella body that represents 25 Tasmanian conservation groups, with collective representation of over 6000 Tasmanians.

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[1] Please see attached submission

[2] Mackay, BG, Keith, H, Berry, SL & Lindenmayer, DB 2008, ‘Part 1, A green carbon account of Australia’s south-eastern

Eucalypt forest, and policy implications’, in Green Carbon: the role of natural forests in carbon storage, The Fenner School of

Environment & Society, The Australian National University.