15 June, 2011

Carbon credit pitch sunk

The Mercury, 15 June 2011

A PROPOSAL to keep Tasmania's native forests standing in exchange for billions in carbon credits has been rejected by the State Government, Liberal Opposition and Forestry Tasmania.

Redd Forests Pty Ltd has written to Forestry Tasmania suggesting it adopt the "commercially proven" model.

The company's Tasmanian-based project manager, Jarrah Vercoe, said Redd Forests had made $450,000 by selling just under 30,000ha of privately owned native forest to international carbon buyers.

Mr Vercoe said, unlike native forest woodchips, there was a growing demand for carbon credits.

"Based on the value of recent carbon credit sales and conservative figures on timber volumes, our proposition is that Tasmania can generate in excess of $50 million per annum from these avoided emissions," he said.

"This works, it is proven. We could do this tomorrow."

Redd Forests was incorporated in NSW in 2008 and has Chickenfeed owner Jan Cameron as a non-executive director.

Forestry Tasmania spokesman Ken Jeffreys said FT believed the carbon offset plan would deliver less money and employ fewer people than the existing timber industry.

"Last year alone, the final value of products produced from these forests was $563 million and kept about 3400 people employed," Mr Jeffreys said.

Premier Lara Giddings said getting benefits from carbon was a key part of the forestry peace talks' Statement of Principles and the Government would consider creating new reserves for this purpose.

But the Premier said she did not believe Redd Forests' proposal was in the best interests of the state because it failed to acknowledge the thousands currently employed in the Tasmanian forestry industry.


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