Nature net submission on draft Renewable Energy Amendment Bill 2009

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Submission to the COAG Working Group on Climate Change and Water - on THE RENEWABLE ENERGY (ELECTRICITY) AMENDMENT BILL 2008, EXPOSURE DRAFT (February 2009)

From: Nature.Net.au, ABN 24 075 002 185, PO Box 107, Batemans Bay NSW 2536

Thank you for this opportunity to comment. As a forest carbon accountant, conservationist and lobbyist, my concern is the real danger that our Governments inadvertently stifle solar, wind and other genuine renewable energy sources by perversely promoting CO2 emissions from logging and degradation of Australia’s precious native forest carbon sinks.

As one of 500 delegates from all over Australia, last week I attended the Climate Action Summit-09 in Canberra. Policy resolutions* distilled over five days and documented on www.climatesummit.org.au deserve our full support:

Contents

[edit] 1. Forest Carbon Accounting

  • R58. We urge accounting methodologies which cover all anthropogenic sources and sinks and which disaggregate emissions from sequestration. Logging emissions to be calculated at source (as per IPCC), and included in overall emissions calculations. Government to urgently rectify the Australian accounting loophole that currently assigns emissions to the importing country and understates Australian emissions as recipient countries may expect these to have already been accounted for at source.
  • R69B In the lead up to Copenhagen, Climate Action Groups support policy frameworks that ensure a UNFCCC climate treaty with international rules that protect forests and other natural ecosystems and uphold the UN Declaration of Human Rights, be that REDD (“reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation”) or other mechanisms. (Appropriate treatment of definitional and methodological issues is necessary in order to avoid perverse outcomes).

[edit] 2. State Forests

  • R54B. Governments enact an immediate end to clearing, industrial scale logging and woodchipping of native forests. *R64B. The Government to enact legislation that requires a rapid transition for wood products in Australia to come from ecologically sustainable plantation wood.

[edit] 3. Jobs & Just Transitions

  • R55. The Government to develop a structural adjustment package to assist native forest commodity producers to exit the industry or transition to the plantation industry.

[edit] 4. Forest Furnaces

  • R67. Governments to enact a legislated nation-wide ban on all native forest inputs into bio-energy plants. *R68B. CAGs immediately reject the inclusion of bio-energy from native forests as a renewable energy source in the CPRS, 100% Renewables mix and MRET legislation. Demand for Australia’s woodchips is waning and State Forests are desperate to promote their main revenue source. Scandinavians today generate 20% of their renewable energy from trees less than 80 years old, but they refuse to log their older native trees. Rising oil costs forced them into this alternative energy source for heating in their cold climate. 21st Century forest-carbon, soil-carbon, and energy science now clearly questions both the cost-effectiveness and net carbon-efficiency of burning forest biomass. Forest furnaces may actually pollute more than coal-fired power stations.

Our vision at http://www.nature.net.au is to see Australia’s forest ecosystems evolving naturally within regional landscapes. Water and biodiversity conservation are bonus benefits from forest conservation. On this 200th Birthday Anniversary of Charles Darwin, does giving evolution ‘a fair go’ in Australia’s unique forest ecosystems warrant consideration?

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