Stopping deforestation essential to climate change, Australia to address tropical timber imports
Stopping tropical deforestation is essential to avoiding dangerous climate change because it is responsible for an estimated 18-25% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Humane Society International (HSI) says that as a major importer of tropical timbers, Australia has a responsibility to fix its end of the problem.
“Approximately 11% of timber imports to Australia come from illegal logging operations. A much larger percentage will come from logging operations that, while legal, are ecologically unsustainable,” said HSI Senior Program Manager, Nicola Beynon.
The Rudd Government has committed to addressing the issue. HSI has proposed a set of legal instruments to assist implement their election policy.
The conservation group is recommending new laws to prohibit the importation of illegally and unsustainably sourced timber and products such as palm oil to Australia. All timber and palm oil imports should be certified for their ecological sustainability.
“Deforestation is not just a problem for developing countries to fix,” said Ms Beynon. “As a consumer country responsible for the demand driving tropical deforestation, the Australian Government has to fix our end of the supply chain. We must be far more discerning about the timber products we let into the country and help drive up standards”
Also recommended, is a scheme for ‘Debt for Nature’ or ‘Debt for Carbon’ swaps whereby Australia would forgive debt owing to it from a developing country if that country committed to use the funds to protect its tropical rainforests and the ecologically sustainable livelihoods of the local communities that depend on them.
HSI looks forward to working with the Government as it develops its policies on this important issue.
* HSI is currently at the UN climate change negotiations in Poznan, Poland campaigning for forest protection to be included in the next global agreement for climate change.