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Liberals, Labor Leave the Door Open to Forest Furnaces

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Tags: Forests, Native Forest Logging, Biomass, Climate Change, Carbon Storage

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader and Forests spokesperson
Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Climate Change spokesperson

Cassy O’Connor MP:

The Liberal and Labor parties have united to allow native forest biomass to be classified a future renewable energy source in lutruwita/Tasmania. 
Despite the warnings of leading scientists, and a concrete precedent elsewhere in Australia, Labor and the Liberals have voted against the Greens’ amendment to explicitly exclude native forest biomass to be classified as ‘renewable energy’.

Federal Labor and the Victorian Labor Government both have a clear position that native forest biomass is not renewable energy.

The Greens are strong supporters of establishing an ambitious renewable energy target, but it’s crucial this target is focused on driving down carbon emissions.  That’s why we tried to amend the Liberals’ Bill to rule out the use of fossil fuels and the burning of native forests to meet the target.

The scientists are clear, forest furnaces are a disaster for the climate. 
Given Resources Minister Guy Barnett’s cheerleading of native forest destruction, the Liberals refusal to support our amendment was sadly predictable.  

That Labor lined up alongside the Liberals was particularly disappointing, considering their Victorian counterparts have ruled out using native forest biomass as an energy source. 


Rosalie Woodruff MP:
All governments urgently need to rein in global heating. First and foremost, Tasmania’s renewable energy target should be about decreasing carbon emissions. 
The science is clear on native forest biomass burning; it accelerates the loss of carbon stored in forests, and enormous amounts of CO2 emissions are emitted from biomass furnace stacks. 
The European Parliament’s Academies Science Advisory Council just two months ago called on EU lawmakers to introduce a “radically new standard” to recognise biomass burning is not carbon neutral, but instead has “massive climate effects”.

Any consideration of establishing such an industry in lutruwita/Tasmania is nothing more than climate madness. 
In a climate and biodiversity emergency, there is no place for burning of native forests as a form of energy generation. 
The Greens will always stand up for a safe climate. This is a fight we must win – we have history, science, community momentum and – critically - the needs of the planet on our side.