The National government’s refusal to restrict cheap international units under the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) has caused significant damage to the carbon forestry sector according to new figures released today says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Moana Mackey.
"Only 0.3% of units surrendered under the ETS in 2013 were forestry units. This is just 141,253 units compared to the 5,325,191 surrendered in 2010.
"99.5% of units surrendered by polluters to meet their obligations were international units.
"It is also deeply concerning that more than 700 foresters left the scheme last year.
"Labour has been calling on the government to restrict access to these cheap units since 2012.
"Labour will support the forestry sector by restricting cheap international units, removing the two for one subsidy for polluters, and fixing the ETS. Labour is also promising a forestry sector upgrade which will drive growth in the forestry and wood processing sector .
"The only reason we came out of the first commitment period of Kyoto in the black was because we planted enough trees to offset out ever-increasing gross greenhouse gas emissions. However instead of supporting forestry to grow, the government inexplicably has declared an all-out war on the sector.
"We are heading towards the edge of a cliff post-2020. We need to be providing incentives to plant trees now to offset the level of deforestation which we know is coming.”