Forest fraud (letter to the editor, Canberra Times)

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Having been caught out at Copenhagen cooking the books over greenhouse emissions from native forest logging, the Rudd Government now has the nerve to brag about committing $120 million over 3 years to help protect forests in developing countries.

It is only right that rich countries like Australia should financially support forest protection in less well off countries, but its motives for this are not pure. Australian polluters will need these forests to offset their emissions, so that we can continue to lead the world in spewing CO2 into the atmosphere. However, it is the height of hypocrisy that we should recognise the importance of our neighbours’ forests while relentlessly continuing to subsidise the destruction of our own.

Deforestation and degradation account for as much as 20% of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions, but Australia doesn’t even count these for our own native forest logging, let alone make an effort to reduce them.

Yours, etc.

Harriett Swift

23 December 2009