Sydney Morning Herald, 22nd September, 2008
THE fraught political battle over logging in native forests is set to be re-ignited with the former Labor premier Bob Carr writing to the Prime Minister and senior ministers arguing that protecting the forests is “fundamental” to fighting climate change.
In a letter to Mr Rudd, his Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong, the Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, and the Forestry Minister, Tony Burke, Mr Carr has joined leading conservationists who want to transform state and federal forest policies in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania to protect older forests and previously logged forests.
Citing research from the Australian National University that says Australia’s eucalypt forests could hold about three times more carbon than previously thought, Mr Carr argues that rethinking forest policy is vital if Australia is going to cut its greenhouse gas emissions. Keeping carbon dioxide locked up, or “sequestrated”, in the forests will not only slow Australia’s rising greenhouse gas emissions but prevent the extinction of native plants and animals, the letter argues.
“Protecting our existing native forests and other vegetation is therefore fundamental to meeting any emissions reduction target. In addition, previously logged natural forests, if allowed to continue growing, will realise their carbon sequestration potential,” Mr Carr writes in a letter also signed by Peggy Figgis, the vice- chairwoman of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and Rick Humphries, from Greening Australia.