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Burning native forests is NOT renewable.

Did you know there is a loophole in our renewable energy legislation that allows wood sourced from the destructive logging of native forests to be classified as ‘renewable’ energy when burnt in power stations?

It’s unacceptable that wood logged from native forests is being burnt in power stations, and is blatant greenwashing of a polluting industry that this wood is classed as ‘renewable’, and that power station companies get rewarded for doing this!

Until October 21 we have the chance to speak up for our forests.

As part of the climate change bill negotiations important commitments were obtained from the federal government to review this ridiculous situation that undermines true renewable energy. Last week the government released a consultation paper that they are asking for responses to.

Now, it’s up to all of us to tell the Australian government that our native forests need to be protected, not fed into power stations.

To find out more about the impacts of biomass burning on climate, biodiversity and wildlife the following articles can give you the global and local background to help your submission. 'More Emissions Than Coal', pressure mounts to rule out forest biomass

Our forests need to be protected for their role sequestering and storing carbon, for their biodiversity, and for water, for wildlife, and us. They should not be burnt in forest furnaces for fake renewable energy, under ridiculous systems that undermine the integrity of real renewables.

Burning wood from native forests in power stations actually releases more carbon into the atmosphere than coal!

This week the Government released its new threatened species action plan including a goal for zero new extinctions. It’s clearer than ever: our iconic native species are on the brink of extinction. The only way to save our native species is to stop the destruction of their habitat.

As long as the government continues their support for native forest logging, their zero extinction target remains a farce.

The government’s 43% carbon reduction target is not enough to avert catastrophic climate change. But if the burning of wood from native forest is included as part of that target it makes a complete mockery of fighting extinction, protecting biodiversity and a renewable energy future.

Please let the Prime Minister know and send your email today. It doesn’t have to be long. Below is a guide you can use for some tips.

To write to the Prime Minister on protecting native forests from biomass burning, please use the Prime Minister’s official contact page:

Step 1: go to the Prime Minister’s official contact form by clicking this link:

Step 2: enter your personal information as requested on that form.

Step 3: copy and paste following text into the ’Subject’ box: “Please don’t burn our native forests for power” (or write your own personalised subject line).

Step 4: copy and paste the below text into the ‘Comment’ box

Suggested letter:

"The Hon. Anthony Albanese,

Prime Minister of Australia

Dear Prime Minister,

I’m writing to you today to express concern at the emerging native forest ‘biomass burning’ industry. This industry would involve large-scale logging and woodchipping of Australia’s native forests to generate domestic energy supply for Australian households and businesses.

You stated in Parliament in 2015, in relation to biomass burning: "Native wood waste is neither clean nor renewable. [The Abbott government] … makes it sound like it would just be the little offcuts which would be burnt, but the fact is that nothing is further from the truth. The definition of native wood waste under their proposal is the whole of any tree that is harvested and not ultimately saw-logged … you can still burn the whole tree.”

I’m deeply worried at the impact of this industry if it is allowed to take hold, for two important reasons:

Biodiversity. Australia’s forests are some of the most unique and biodiverse ecosystems in the world, and they have been extensively damaged by industrial logging and fire. Woodchipping introduced destructive industrial logging and damaged habitat for wildlife only found in old hollow bearing trees and intact forest ecosystems. An intensive new logging industry for biomass would have a devastating impact on our vulnerable forest biodiversity - including endangered species like the Tasmanian wedge tail eagle, Tasmanian devil, and Tasmanian masked owl. All forest dependent animals listed as endangered, yet excluded from the zero extinction priority list.

Climate change. Our forests are a massive store of carbon, Tasmania's tall wet eucalypt regnan forests are among the most carbon dense in the world, all of which has been drawn down from the Earth’s atmosphere. According to scientists, logging these forests will make climate change significantly worse by releasing much of this carbon back into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. In fact, per unit of energy generated, biomass burning from native forests emits more greenhouse gas than coal. It doesn’t make sense to claim that logging any forest older than 30 years can recover lost carbon by 2050.

Through an amendment to Federal Government regulations made by the Abbott government, energy from burning native forests is classified as clean and renewable energy - counting as zero emissions when burned. This classification defies logic. Increasing our biodiversity loss and making climate change worse is the opposite to what a zero extinction future is, with clean, renewable energy - like wind and solar - is meant to be.

Prime Minister you have the ability to fix the forest and climate wrecking legacy of Tony Abbott by simply restoring the Gillard era regulation that excluded native forest biomass as a source of renewable energy. By doing so you will stop this industry taking hold and keep open the far better option of protecting and restoring our most important terrestrial carbon storage system.

I’m asking you as a matter of urgency to:

  1. Reinstate the Gillard government regulation that excluded native forest biomass from the definition of renewable energy under the Renewable Energy Act;

  2. Remove all ‘native forest waste’ as eligible wood waste for use by accredited power stations applying for Large Scale Generation Certificates.

  3. Ensure any and all ERF methods which allow the substitution of coal with wood are amended to prevent the use of any native forest biomass

  4. Make it clear to the Australian public that you do not support logging and wood chipping of Australia’s forests for energy production, and that our forests should be protected for their biodiversity and climate protection values.

Please protect Australia’s unique and important forests, forest biodiversity, and climate by stopping this senseless industry from gaining a stronghold in Australia.


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