Australian Climate Change Authority's second Annual Progress Report recognizes that carbon stored in trees, harvested wood products helped reduce country's GHG emissions in the year to June 2023; AFPA welcomes recognition of forestry, forest products role

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December 1, 2023 (press release) –

The Climate Change Authority’s (CCA) second Annual Progress Report recognises that the ‘carbon stored in trees’ as well as ‘harvested wood products’ helped reduce Australia’s greenhouse emissions in the year to June 2023.

Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Chair Joel Fitzgibbon said “We are delighted by the growing recognition that sustainable forest harvesting makes sense. When sustainable practices are followed, forestry not only provides sustainable products for consumers, it also helps us meet our decarbonisation aspirations.

“This recognition is in no small way, the result of the excellent work of the AFPA team led by Natasa Sikman, Acting CEO and Climate Change Policy Manager.”

Australia’s emissions increased to 467 million tonnes in the year to June 2023, an increase of 4 million tonnes. It is clear more work must be done.

AFPA welcomes the recognition that the forestry and forest products sector has an important and greater role to play.

Natasa Sikman said, “It is wonderful to see for the first time the CCA recognise the power of forestry and forest products in its Progress Report. Governments across all jurisdictions should strongly consider policies that better harness the power of forestry and forest products to help Australia meet its net zero emission reduction targets.”

The CCA’S Second Annual Progress Report states – “The land sector, which accounts for changes in the amount of carbon stored in trees, vegetation, soils and harvested wood products, removed more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it released in the year to June 2023. It contributed net negative emissions of 64 Mt CO2‑e.

Sustainable forest practices supported by the establishment of new forestry plantations have an important role to play in achieving Australia’s net zero target, as trees sequester carbon as they grow, store it in long-lived products and can substitute for higher emissions products in buildings. However, the area of plantation forest in Australia remained relatively stable, with no increase in area in 2020–21 (DCCEEW, 2023c).”

“This recognition in the CCA report of the great work forestry and its products do is welcome, but we need to ensure all policies across governments realise the sector’s potential in climate change mitigation and adaptation,” Natasa Sikman said.

“Right now, AFPA has a delegation at COP28 in the UAE to further raise awareness of the vital role sustainable and renewable forestry and forests products need to play in reaching net zero for Australia, it cannot be done without us,” Natasa Sikman concluded.

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