Miranda’s Daily Blog: Day 60

Can you imagine these forests being cut down simply to be burnt? Can you imagine the government and forestry industry giving themselves a pat on the back (and a stack of carbon credits) for being so “clean and green” by destroying these forests?

A few days ago Independent Rob Oakeshott, member for Lyne, made the move to overturn regulations in the Clean Energy legislation, that currently disallows the burning of native forest wood for power from being recognised as “renewable energy.”

It is an absolutely ridiculous concept to create incentives for forest to be cut down as ‘renewable energy’ when forests are our major carbon stores! It is completely the opposite of what is needed. There needs to be incentives to protect the forest.

This is a very scary prospect for Tasmania, because there are already proposed forest furnaces. Now that the global market is beginning to reject wood and paper products made from Tasmania’s ancient forests, the government seems to be creating new perverse ways to continue to log these forests.

As Warrick Jordan, from The Wilderness Society said “These regulations are not about burning a few offcuts at the local mill. The Australian commodity native forest industry is currently in freefall, with markets for woodchips disappearing rapidly and the industry going through a period of fundamental structural change. Burning vast quantities of woodchips for power is a desperate attempt to keep the industry alive while the last healthy forests are liquidated.”

To destroy irreplaceable ecosystems simply to burn the wood for power cannot and should never be called “renewable energy.” There are other options out there for energy creation that do not involve the annihilation of wildlife habitat and pristine forests.

Bob Brown called it a “swindle” and I think that is an accurate description. Most people would be shocked to find out that energy they are purchasing as “renewable” has resulted in forest destruction.

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Posted on February 11, 2012, in Daily Blog. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I have been watching the internet debate after Rob Oakeshott’s announcement. Some thoughts for people to ponder. Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor don’t seem to have thought things through at all. There may be room for REC for real sawmill waste but woodchips! Here we go again.
    A couple of pithy comments from Tasmanian Times
    Barnaby Drake Renewable – Sure it is, but only if you can grow it at the same rate as you can burn it. No matter what the size of the harvest area, it normally takes about thirty to fifty years to grow it and only twenty minutes to incinerate it. When you can grow a tree in twenty minutes, then you will really have a renewable source.
    Pete Godfrey – The best option would be to only give Renewable energy certificates to businesses that produced power on site from their waste.
    Some of the IGA bonus money could be used to help install on site furnaces at the sawmills that need to dispose of sawdust and waste wood from their operations.
    The generators would have to be sized appropriately to the waste the mill generates, then any waste heat from the steam turbines could be used to heat the buildings. If the plant is large enough hydronic heating could be used to heat houses in the near vicinity.
    Of course my idea would preclude the use of raw materials brought in for burning only and only apply to genuine waste.
    No more trucking the waste off site, and the power can easily be fed back onto the grid.
    Legislation has to be drafted that is very prescriptive so that we don’t get woochipping version 2 in Tasmania

  2. Yes Miranda a C Rea, what bothers me most is that our State government are right behind all this destruction and waste of our prized Ancient Forest Wonderlands.
    Seems our ministers are so limpid and lackadaisical in their whole of government approach, that anything they think that might create but the tiniest revenues is ok by them, however even then Forestry Tasmania does not return any revenues- only annual losses each year and not a dicky-bird to the State’s revenues.
    I understand the current State government strategy is to send the State’s most inept minister, (our forestry minister,) over to China or somewhere to try to lure them to buy at low cost values our Tasmanian Old Growth HCV forests of which are mostly converted to blasted Wood-chips?
    Will they not ever learn the stupidity and Tom-Fool error of their ways?

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