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31 July 2009 - Conservation Group Supports Turnbull on Green Carbon      

Conservation Group Supports Turnbull on Green Carbon

31 July 2009                                                      

HSI today congratulated the Coalition for its commitment to a ‘Green Carbon’ policy, in relation to changes needed in the Prime Minister’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill and calling for the inclusion of credits for avoided deforestation and avoided forest degradation.

In an interview on ABC’s The Insiders last Sunday, Malcolm Turnbull said that, “the big potential is the point I’ve been making all year which is our opportunity to abate hundreds of millions of tonnes of CO2 emissions by investing in our landscape. This is what Tim Flannery talks about all the time. This is what the really forward thinking environmentalists are focused on. The world’s greatest opportunity to offset CO2 emissions is through increasing soil carbon, through biochar, through stopping deforestation and promoting reforestation. These biological opportunities; green carbon or biosequestration, this is completely overlooked in the Rudd scheme and it is a tragedy – and that’s one of the reasons it is also environmentally ineffective."

The Coalition’s widely circulated “Statement regarding an Emissions Trading Scheme” on July 24th, stated, “As in the Waxman Markey legislation agricultural emissions should be excluded from the scheme and agricultural offsets (eg. biosequestration or green carbon) should be included. Australia’s greatest near term potential of reducing its CO2 emissions are to be found in the better management of our own landscape.”

Following this, Greg Hunt MP, Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Water, speaking to the Appropriate Technology Retailers Association of Australia in Canberra yesterday stated:

Malcolm Turnbull has set out a very clear Green Carbon policy. In essence, this is about using the capacity of both Australia’s and the world’s soils, vegetation and great forests to store vast quantities of carbon as they have historically done. Scientists such as Tim Flannery and others have identified soil carbons, biochar, algal energy, revegetation and the protection of the world’s temperate forests and rainforests against destruction, deforestation and degradation as fundamental to drawing down excess CO2 levels.

HSI Campaign Director Michael Kennedy said that, “Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) needs to be a major part of the climate solution and has the added benefit of protecting biodiversity.  An international mechanism for REDD in developing countries is being negotiated for inclusion in the Copenhagen Agreement and the Coalition is to be fully congratulated for calling for deforestation to be included in Australia’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.”

Through the inclusion of ‘domestic-REDD’ as an element of a comprehensive agricultural offsets policy in national emissions reduction legislation, the Coalition’s proposal would offer all landholders a choice in how they could voluntarily contribute to, and benefit from, a comprehensive and workable CPRS regime.  A matching opportunity would then exist for any polluter, either with a mandatory obligation or a voluntary interest in offsetting their emissions, to conserve biodiversity as well. 

Labor has demonstrated a commitment to saving rainforest in developing countries by undertaking to allow for purchase of international forest credits via the CPRS.  However it has not agreed to include provision for avoided deforestation in Australia under the Scheme.

Mr Kennedy said that, “HSI calls on the Government to enter into good faith negotiations with the Coalition on the proposal to include credits for avoided deforestation in Australia under the CPRS.”


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