Today the Albanese Government released its consultation paper on its Sustainable Finance Strategy which aims to help Australian companies, investors and the Australian community make the most of the energy and net zero transformation. The paper acknowledges that Australia’s net zero ambition will require a significant amount of private and public investment but disappointingly does not focus on the investment benefit nature-based solutions will deliver to reducing Australia’s emission footprint while also building resilient biodiverse ecosystem landscapes, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), Natasa Sikman today.
The Albanese Government is asking what are other key near-term opportunities for Australia to position itself as a global leader in sustainable finance and global climate mitigation and adaptation?
The answer is back Australia’s sustainable and renewable forestry and forest products sector.
“Today, the Government made clear that it needs to take a greater role in driving industry to help Australia meet its ambitious net zero by 2050 target and 43 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 target. The forest products sector is already making a major contribution as a nature-based solution and can do more with the right policy,” Natasa Sikman said.
“Timber trees and the products made from them are essential for Australia’s economy, providing $24 billion annually, the industry underpins 180,000 jobs nationwide, many in rural and regional communities, while the power of photosynthesis on a large scale means the industry cannot be ignored as the Government assesses solutions for net zero.
“As confirmed by former Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb AC through the independent review of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs), photosynthesis is the only pathway known to science that has immediate capacity to remove carbon from the atmosphere at scale. The World Bank estimates that demand for timber and fibre products will quadruple by 2050 as the world transitions to a low carbon bioeconomy, so it makes sense to plant more production trees now to help battle climate change and to enhance future sovereign capability with resource security.
“Furthermore, a recent United Nations’ (UN) Environment Programme titled Building Materials and the Climate: Constructing a New Future made clear that the global construction sector which is responsible for almost 40 per cent of global emissions needs to make a dramatic shift immediately and at scale to sustainable and renewable building materials. Timber along with new mass and engineered timber technologies is the answer to reducing the carbon footprint in the construction sector, which is supported by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s $300 million Timber Building Program . So, it’s not just about growing trees, it’s how you use them too.
“I encourage the Federal Government to focus on the benefits Australia’s sustainable and renewable forest products sector can provide to address the impacts of climate change, the potential is there and our sector can play a bigger role with the right policy settings,” Natasa Sikman concluded.