By Rubina Obaid
As most of the global emission and pollution is not in the country’s control, the Australian renewable energy agency (AREA) is consulting with number of energy companies on whether to grant permission to classify native forests timber as renewable energy.
Australia’s wildfires enraged for months, that destroyed millions of acres and was considered as an important call of nature for measures to be taken in an emergency, to achieve climate neutrality goals. The bushfire in 2019 got worsen due to industrial logging of the native forests and even after facing the terrible impacts, intense logging started happening in the small areas of state forest that was survived after the recent bushfire. According to the director of Wildlife Conservation Society, James Watson “Logging regimes have made many forests more fire-prone for numerous reasons. Logging causes a rise in fuel loads, increases the potential drying of wet forests, and causes a decrease in forest height. He further added that ” It can leave up to 450 tonnes of combustion fuel per hectare close to the ground by any measures, that is an incredibly dangerous level of combustion material in seasonally dry landscapes.
The leftover forests in Australia are the only habitat that is left for the wildlife, as in the recent bushfire almost one billion wild animals have perished. However, the plans to increase logging considerably as part of combating climate change whereas, there are scientific proves of increased risks of devastating fire due to logging. As a large amount of flammable debris is left behind in the burnt forest, with an increased wind speed in an open canopy and forest drying may aggravate the chance of flammability of the forests. Also, the recent research shows that it takes around 80 years for soils and 2000 years for forests to recover from post-fire logging.
As most of the global emission and pollution is not in the country’s control, the Australian renewable energy agency (AREA) is consulting with the number of energy companies on whether to grant permission to classify native forests timber as renewable energy. One of the major reasons behind this is that trees contain carbon which is released into the air while burning, but more trees can be grown to replace the old trees. This is how emitted carbon can be sequestered again, hence making the whole process carbon neutral. Nevertheless, not to be ignorant towards the most important factor of the entire process, it takes around 70 to 100 years for a tree to grow completely to contribute effectively in carbon sequestration and this creates a huge lapse in the process of climate neutrality.
Keeping the key points into consideration Federal energy minister of Australia Angus Taylor has asked ARENA for a constructive roadmap for Bioenergy to include forest hardwood pellets to be burnt as a renewable energy source. Hunter Energy is one of the energy companies that hopes to qualify for the government energy certificates, which is planning to convert the former Red bank coal plant to a biomass plant for the production of 150 MW of electricity. The biomass has grown incredibly fast globally, ever since the woody biomass has been declared as a safe energy source and Australia is joining the league for reaching green energy goals.