Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rudd must end destruction of Australia's biggest 'Green Carbon' banks, native forests - Greens

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Rudd must end destruction of Australia's biggest 'Green Carbon' banks,
native forests - Greens

The Australian National University's report on the role of natural
forests as Australia's biggest carbon banks underscores the horror of
logging in an age of climate change, Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown
said today.

"Native forest logging is the Rudd government's biggest blind spot in
tackling climate change. It is three times worse for climate change than
previous assessments estimated (640 units of carbon, not 217) and in
tall eucalypt forests like those of Victoria's central highlands or
Tasmania's Styx, Weld and Florentine valleys, it is 10 times worse (over
2,000 units of carbon)," Senator Brown said.

"The Rudd government should be leading the charge in Copenhagen to
ensure the green carbon in the natural forests of both developed and
developing countries are recognised and protected."

The ANU report says logging 'is equal to 24 per cent of the 2005
Australian net greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors; which were
559 million tonnes of CO2 in that year'. 

"That is more than the whole of the transport sector," Senator Brown

Senator Brown said that Prime Minister Rudd approving Gunns' pulp mill
in Tasmania will be a culpable act, worse than approving a new
coal-fired power station.

"Ending logging costs nothing but a transition package for workers and
has a huge bonus in protecting wild flora and fauna, as well as water
storages. However, Mr Rudd has, quite perversely, already offered $100
million of taxpayers' money in transport infrastructure largely aimed to
get Gunns' pulp mill up and going."

Senator Brown said that the blind spot on the destruction of Australia's
biggest carbon banks by the export woodchip industry was facilitated by
the widespread placement of forestry aficionados in government agencies,
including the Australian Greenhouse Office. 

"The AGO's failure to produce this analysis years ago is deliberate and
inexcusable. It has undermined the Office's own mission," Senator Brown

Further information: Ebony Bennett 0409 164 603


1. Native forests and other native vegetation store massive amounts
of carbon. Logging carbon rich native forests greatly exacerbates global

2. Protecting and restoring native forests and their stored carbon
is a central and positive part of the solution to the climate crisis --
in Australia, as well as globally.

3. Emissions (not net emissions) from native forest logging and
clearing exceeded 90 Mt CO2 in 2006 (the most recent figures available),
compared with 80 Mt CO2 for transport.

4. All emission sources should be reduced, including from native
forest logging and clearing of native vegetation (not necessarily via
emissions trading). Currently native forest logging is ignored in the
proposed CPRS and there is no serious attention to reducing emissions
from land clearing.

5. Emissions from native forest logging and clearing are largely
avoidable.  The simplest way to deal with them is through regulation and
a transition package to assist affected workers and industries.

6. The only aspect of 'forestry' proposed to be covered by
emissions trading is new plantations (planted from 1990), boosted by
existing tax deductions.  These compete with agriculture for land and

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