Media Release: Burning north coast NSW forests for energy production is the new woodchipping Reaction to DPI’s new plan – a lose, lose lose proposition

A proposal to support continued logging of the precious remaining North Coast forests of NSW by burning vast amounts of the freshly logged ecosystems for energy generation, replacing lost woodchipping, has been dismissed by Markets For Change as an outrage that will not be accepted by household consumers.

Not only does the combustion of native forest biomass generate greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to or higher than those from coal per until of energy produced, but forests subject to the proposal include areas vital to the survival of regional koala populations. The study by the NSW Department of Primary Industries makes disingenuous, disputable claims about the environmental impacts. The optimal contribution these forests can make to tackling climate change is to stop logging and let them grow back.

“You couldn’t imagine a more incendiary proposal for the public and private forests of north coast New South Wales, if you’ll excuse the pun,” said Markets For Change CEO, Ms Peg Putt. “It’s extreme greenwashing of a totally unacceptable proposal to resume logging at the scale seen previously for woodchip exports.”

“These forests are being hammered and need respite and protection, not the heavier impact of one million tonnes a year being taken to burn to generate electricity and industrial heat.”

“We recommend that they issue ‘Dead Koala Certificates’ to the hapless 200,000 households targeted to end up with this dubious electricity.’

“This is a lose, lose, lose scenario. Lose the forests, lose the koala, and help to lose the battle against climate change,” Ms Putt said.

“It’s one thing to come up with ridiculous platitudes about large scale bioenergy production from the forests which the plan says is explicitly to replace reviled export woodchipping, but another to find electricity retailers prepared to wear the same image problems as the woodchip industry.”

“We’ll campaign hard in the market against this proposed assault on forests and climate because we know that consumers don’t want to buy the product of such wanton destruction.”

“The sensible counter proposition is to simply allow the forests to grow back to the magnificent rich stores of carbon and biodiversity that they once were. It’s much more effective for tackling climate change and can support tourism as well,” Ms Putt concluded.

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