During the Climate Change Bill negotiations, the Greens secured a commitment from the government to look at the destructive practice of burning wood from native forests and counting it as renewable energy under Federal legislation. The practice was legislated under Tony Abbott and was opposed by the Greens and Labor at the time.
The Senate Committee enquiring into the Climate Change Bill heard evidence of damage being done to both forests and climate through the burning of native forest wood for energy and a majority of the Committee (both Labor and Greens Senators) recommended that the Minister review the use of native forest wood waste for renewable energy and undertake further consultation.
This morning in an interview with Tom Connell on Sky, Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen accepted the recommendation and announced that the government would release a consultation paper on the matter.
Lines attributable to Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP:
“It’s time to end Tony Abbott’s practice of burning wood from native forests and calling it ‘renewable energy’.
“The Greens have secured important first steps from the Government, but we won’t rest until this terrible practice stops.
“I welcome the Minister starting this consultation process, but with our environment under threat and the climate crisis increasing, the only logical conclusion is to stop burning native forests. The Greens and Labor opposed this practice under Tony Abbott and it needs to end now.
“The Greens will continue to fight alongside Traditional Owners and land defenders to stop trashing songlines and endangering totems by burning native forests.”
Lines attributable to Senator Janet Rice, Greens spokesperson for forests:
“I welcome the government committing to review the use of native forest wood for renewable energy beginning with the release of a consultation paper on the issue.
“The Senate committee heard clear evidence that the burning of wood from native forest for energy is far from renewable and that in fact it actually creates more pollution than burning coal.
“Our forests are worth far more standing both for our environment and for soaking up carbon than being destroyed to fuel forest furnaces.”
“However I know that the fight’s not over, and we shouldn’t need a consultation paper to remind the ALP what their position was 2011 and 2015. We’ll make sure it’s not just talk: the government must take action to protect our forests, not allow them to be burnt for fake renewable energy.”