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Liberals Must Rule Out Native Forest Furnaces in Renewable Energy Bill

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Tags: Biomass, Climate Change, Native Forest Logging, Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader
The Gutwein Government’s Energy Co-ordination and Planning Amendment (Tasmanian Renewable Energy Target) Bill allows for the Energy Minister to decide what is renewable energy, outside solar, wind and water generated power.
We are very concerned that Minister for Energy and Forestry, Guy Barnett, will use this as a stalking horse to declare biomass burning - or forest furnaces – renewable energy. Our concern is compounded by the fact that Mr Barnett has never seen a native forest he didn't want to log or burn.
The burning of native forests for energy is not clean, or renewable, and there's no place for it here in Tasmania. If the Liberals head down this path it will accelerate the destruction of the State’s native forests, and contribute to global warming.
The Premier and Climate Change Minister, Peter Gutwein, must rule out burning native forests for energy. As non-certified native forest products become less and less attractive to markets, looking at biomass as a solution is archaic – and it’s a climate crime.
The Victorian Labor Government ruled out native forest furnaces in 2018. How will Tasmanian Labor deal with this legislation?
Will Tasmanian Labor take the lead from their Victorian and federal counterparts, and oppose the burning of native forests for power? They cannot support allowing Minister Barnett to burn Tasmania’s globally significant natural forests for energy.

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Climate Change spokesperson
In a climate emergency, the goal of a renewable energy target must be to decrease our carbon emissions. Burning native forests is not renewable, green energy.
A renewable energy target in Tasmania must be real, it must be clean, and it cannot include cutting down carbon stores, burning them in a furnace and releasing the emissions into the atmosphere.
As Premier and Minister for Climate Change, we urge Peter Gutwein to step in and clarify that ‘other prescribed renewable energy sources’ will not include native forest products.
Two years ago, the Victorian Government legislated to make it crystal clear that renewable energy sources do not include wood and waste product from native forests. The Gutwein Government should amend their Bill to do the same.
If the Liberals refuse, we will amend this Bill to rule out native forest biomass being treated as renewable energy. Given their Victorian colleagues’ support for the same, we would expect Labor to back our amendment to rule out the burning of native forests for energy.
In a time of climate emergency, Tasmania needs a renewable energy target. Native forest furnaces, however, have no place in it.