Activists highlight burning forests threat in banner action

Tasmanian forest activists have unfurled a banner over a prominent Hobart city billboard to highlight the dangers of allowing forestry companies to burn native forests for power generation. The banner was dropped on the 2nd of July over a billboard at the corner of Bathurst and Elizabeth Streets. It reads "Ban Wood-fired Power". The banner sends a clear message to governments and industry that the only way to rule out the risks associated with burning our native forests for power is an outright ban on this archaic practice. For more information visit

Forestry Tasmania, Gunns Ltd and other forestry and mining industry players are running a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign to have burning native forests for power installed as part of a false climate change solution. A plan released by the Forests and Council (FFIC) calls for investments of over $300 million in wood fired power and proposes burning over 1.1 million cubic metres of Tasmanian timber in three power stations. There are currently three proposals for wood-fired power stations in Tasmania: at the Southwood facility in the Huon Valley, at Circular Head in the North-West of the state and at Gunns planned pulp mill in the Tamar Valley. Combined, these power stations
would consume many hundreds of thousands of tonnes of timber from Tasmania’s high conservation value native forests.

The industry claims that these power stations would be a renewable replacement for fossil fuel burning. However, recent, government commissioned research from the United States shows unequivocally that burning wood for energy will release as much carbon as burning coal, and far more carbon than natural gas. (See: Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences. Biomass Sustainability and Carbon Policy Study Executive Summary. June 2010. available at

In other words, if Australian governments capitulate to the industry push for wood-fired power, it will worsen our chances of reaching emissions reduction targets by 2050, rather than helping them.

Communities around the globe are now becoming more conscious of the environmental and community impacts of burning forests for power. As well as the intensive carbon emissions, burning forests for power imposes public health risks, heightened impacts on native forests and, as well as undermining investment in real renewable energies like wind and solar.

Both the Labor and Liberal parties in Australia currently support the perverse inclusion of native forest "wood waste" as a renewable fuel source in the Renewable Energy Target legislation. This pits burning native forest against real renewable like wind a solar. This subsidy for a polluting and destructive industry must cease. Julia Gillard must act immediately to remove "wood waste" from the register of renewable fuels and legislate for a ban on the burning of native forest for electricity generation.

Tasmanian residents can have their say on this crucial issue by signing the electronic petition at:

For more information on wood fired power visit: