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Instead of being a sustainable source of power, Biomass spells forest destruction, increasing the demand for timber ‘waste’ products and replacing woodchips as the financial justification to prop up the economically failing logging industry.
As support for biomass increases globally, there is an increasing risk that Australia’s native forests could be used as biomass energy – it is already occurring in some of NSW’s Native Forests. Turning native forests into liquid biofuels, biomass power and wood pellets poses a serious threat to Australia’s wildlife and will unlock carbon which has been stored in our forests for decades.
Biomass burning is not carbon neutral and emits more carbon per unit of energy than coal20. It takes many decades to centuries for forests to regrow and recapture carbon. We need to move away from burning fossil fuels entirely – not just swap coal-burning power stations for native forest furnaces.
While biomass from native forests is often described as ‘waste’, leftover from other logging products such as sawmill timber or veneer, we know that this is not the case. By far, 30 – 70% of logged forests end up as ‘waste’, and biomass is providing an economic incentive for this product. Vast areas of Australia’s native forests could be destroyed by industrial scale biomass burning.
Biomass energy is a bad idea for our forests and the climate. We need to be urgently moving away from energy sources which release carbon into the atmosphere and transition to renewable technologies. We also need to protect Australia’s native forests as they are important for carbon sequestration and storage and are a meaningful way to mitigate climate change.
We cannot let our remaining native forests be logged under the guise of ‘renewable’ energy.
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