Forestry Tasmania's years of escaping scrutiny and responsibility for its greenhouse gas emissions from logging carbon-rich native forests are coming to end thanks to the Cancun climate agreements, the Australian Greens said today.
"The global community has long recognized that one of the cheapest and fastest ways of reducing emissions is to protect the massive carbon stores in the world's forests," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
"At Cancun the rules about accounting for emissions from logging were clarified and it is expected that Australia will elect to include these emissions in our national accounts.
"The Federal Government will now have to substantially increase the transparency of its methods used to calculate native forest logging emissions, leaving Forestry Tasmania nowhere to hide.
"Until now emissions from logging and burning native forests were not counted under the Kyoto Protocol rules, allowing Forestry Tasmania to claim its operations were carbon neutral.
"But the atmosphere still sees the emissions even if, up till now, they have been quietly written off Australia's carbon balance sheet.
"While rigorous accounting methodology will need to be developed to stop rorting and gaming of the system, the days of logging and burning with impunity are coming to an end.
"The forests are worth far more as carbon banks than they are as timber or woodchips."