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7 October 2009 - Conservation group calls for green carbon amendments to CPRS      

Conservation group calls for green carbon amendments to CPRS

Sydney, 7th October 2009                              

Humane Society International (HSI) is recommending amendments to the Government’s bills for a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme to better deal with green carbon.

“Vegetation clearing is responsible for approximately 11% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions but the Government has not included this source of emissions in the scheme”, said Nicola Beynon HSI Senior Program Manager.

HSI is proposing that landholders be able to voluntarily opt in to the scheme to receive carbon credits for foregoing opportunities to clear or otherwise degrade the carbon value of native vegetation on their properties as part of a broader agricultural offsets package. Currently, landholders can only opt in to receive credits for planting new trees on their properties and there are no incentives to avoid deforestation or degradation of existing native vegetation.

HSI is also calling for criteria to be established under the CPRS for when Australian polluters purchase international credits from reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD) to ensure that intact forests are protected rather than just being logged more slowly or less intensively.

Greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation are responsible for a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions and international negotiations are underway to establish a market mechanism that would see developing countries credited for REDD as part of the climate agreement to be finalised in Copenhagen in December.

The Government’s CPRS bills will allow for Australian companies to offset 100% of their emissions with international credits such as REDD. HSI is proposing criteria be established to ensure that Australian polluters are only able to purchase REDD credits that genuinely reduce emissions through forest protection and meet strict standards and safeguards to protect biodiversity and the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.

“Frustratingly, the latest negotiating text for a REDD mechanism is riddled with opportunities for perverse outcomes for climate and biodiversity”, said Ms Beynon. “The Australian Parliament needs to ensure that, regardless of the final shape of the international REDD mechanism, Australian polluters are only able to buy REDD credits of a high standard, free from perversities”. 

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