The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) urges the Federal Government to heed the international scientific consensus and advice from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that sustainably sourced forest biomass is a renewable energy feedstock, following today’s announcement of a review into its inclusion in the Renewable Energy Target.
AFPA Chief Executive Officer Ross Hampton said Australia should not close the door to a dispatchable renewable energy source that is widely used around the world at a time when we need more renewable energy sources.
“Bioenergy produced from sustainable biomass wood residues is carbon neutral and recognised internationally as a renewable energy resource,” Ross Hampton said.
“For the Government to disincentivise wood bioenergy would make no sense when it wants to drive a carbon constrained economy and achieve ambitious emissions reduction targets. These practices mean less wastage of tree products in the manufacturing process.
“We will engage in the consultation process and strongly urge the Government to listen to the science, and not the rhetoric from anti-forestry groups that use this as a political football,” Ross Hampton said.
The significant potential for the forestry and forest products industry to contribute to climate change mitigation – including through renewable bioenergy – is acknowledged in the 4th assessment report of the IPCC, which states:
A sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fibre or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit.
“The fact is that the use of native forest residues for electricity in Australia is negligible. Our native forests are primarily managed for high-value hardwood timber products such as floorboards, decking, furniture and joinery. The industry then tries to find the highest value uses for the residues,” Ross Hampton said.
“The woody biomass like sawdust, timber offcuts and forestry waste produced from wood processing activities has great potential to complement local operations, fight climate change and help Australia drive down emissions. It makes no sense for the Government to disincentivise these activities,” Ross Hampton concluded.