Facts ver­sus emo­tion in Tas­ma­nian biomass de­bate

Australian Forests and Timber - - BIO -

THE QUAL­ITY of pub­lic dis­course about the pos­si­bil­ity of Tas­ma­nia build­ing a biomass fu­elled elec­tric­ity plant needs to be lifted.

Rob de Fégely, Na­tional Pres­i­dent of the In­sti­tute of Foresters of Aus­tralia, asks that people con­sider facts not emo­tive ar­gu­ment when con­sid­er­ing the ben­e­fits, or oth­er­wise, of a biomass/elec­tric­ity plant.

“Wood biomass is po­ten­tially a re­new­able en­ergy source that can re­duce green­house gas emis­sions when used to re­place fos­sil fuel en­ergy. How­ever, pro­fes­sional foresters un­der­stand that there is com­mu­nity con­cern about the po­ten­tial im­pacts of large-scale use of wood for bioen­ergy on other for­est val­ues such as bio­di­ver­sity and re­luc­tance in some quar­ters to ac­cept en­ergy gen­er­ated from wood as gen­uinely re­new­able.

“It is un­de­ni­able that wood burn­ing does re­lease CO into the at­mos­phere from where it was orig­i­nally ab­sorbed but the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, and in­deed the United Na­tions, recog­nises that use of bioen­ergy does not make a net con­tri­bu­tion to the CO in the at­mos­phere, as long as forests are not be­ing cleared.

The United Na­tions Food and Agri­cul­ture Or­ga­ni­za­tion states: “Wood en­ergy is as im­por­tant as all other re­new­able en­ergy sources al­to­gether (hy­dro, geo­ther­mal, wastes, bio­gas, so­lar and liq­uid bio­fu­els)” But it rec­og­nizes that it must be from, “Wood aris­ing from sus­tain­ably man­aged re­sources”.

“The In­sti­tute of Foresters of Aus­tralia sup­ports the use of wood from both nat­u­ral and planted forests for biomass en­ergy pro­vided that forests are sus­tain­ably man­aged, and har­vested ar­eas are re­gen­er­ated or re­planted to en­sure that for­est green­house gas bal­ances are main­tained over the long term.

“Re­sources Min­is­ter Paul Har­riss (now re­tired) was right in ad­vo­cat­ing a lo­cal biomass en­ergy in­dus­try which is cleaner and greener than im­port­ing en­ergy from Vic­to­ria’s brown coal fired power gen­er­a­tors,” said Mr de Fégely. http://www.fao.org/forestry/en­ergy/en/


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