23 July 2015, The Conversation, Native forests can help hit emissions targets – if we leave them alone: The debate over native forest logging has been sparked once again, partly by the government’s successful push for wood burning to be included in the revamped Renewable Energy Target. However, the disagreement over the best way to manage Australia’s 9.4 million hectares of public native forest is thrown into sharp relief by analysis showing that ending native forest logging, and completing the the industry’s shift into plantations instead, would get Australia much of the way to its greenhouse gas emissions reductions target. Analysis done using the Australian government’s public native forest model suggests that stopping all harvesting in the public native forest estate would generate in the order of 38 million tonnes of potential credits (that is, the equivalent of 38 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions avoided) each year in the short to medium term.
While this is the technical capacity, the Kyoto Protocol’s rules cap credits from forest management at 3.5% of base-year emissions, or around 15 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year. So if Australia ratifies the second commitment period of the Protocol, which runs from 2013 to 2020, the cap would limit forest management credits to 120 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent over the commitment period. The Australian government’s latest emissions projections estimate that, in order to meet its 5% emissions-reduction target in 2020, Australia has to reduce its emissions by 236 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent over the second commitment period. This means stopping harvesting in public native forests could provide 51% of the abatement task to 2020. Read More here