Australia should close forest loophole at Durban climate talks


The Australian Forests and Climate Alliance released the statement below on December 2.

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“During the Durban Climate Conference all countries, including Australia, must take real action to protect the world's forests and deliver real reductions in carbon pollution,” said Australian Forests and Climate Alliance (AFCA) spokesperson Peter Campbell.

“The protection of the world's natural forests must be a part of the global climate agreement that is reached in Durban. The world’s forests, including Australia’s native forests, can play a major role in avoiding dangerous climate change, but they need to be protected from logging and clearing immediately.

“We ask Minister Greg Combet to commit to protecting Australia’s native forests as part of Australia’s contribution to fighting climate change. This would mean that Australia could increase and meet an emissions reductions target of 25%, instead of the current inadequate pledge of 5%.

“Australia must commit to stop hiding emissions that result from logging our forests. The next climate deal must deliver real reductions; it should not include loopholes that allow countries to hide emissions that result from logging and burning our native forests,” said Mr Campbell.

“A loophole in the rules for land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) allows countries like Australia to continue to log their native forests, releasing massive amounts of carbon emissions, but they do not have to account for these emissions.

“For example, Australia's native forest woodchipping industry generates millions of tonnes of CO2 a year, but these emissions are not counted either in Australia or in Japan, where most of the woodchips end up.

“Another major loophole allows countries to avoid counting emissions that come from the supply of native forests to be burnt for electricity generation.

“Burning native forests for electricity is bad for the climate, bad for the forests and bad for forest communities.

“Finally, emissions resulting from biomass production are not properly accounted for, and they should be.

“These logging and bioenergy loopholes must be closed and forest management accounting made mandatory so countries cannot hide carbon emissions from logging and burning forests.

“Protecting our native forests from logging also safeguards the water that comes from them and protects their biological diversity, including essential micro-organisms, fungi, plants and animals.”

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