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Monday, 19 October 2015
Page: 11749

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

(Question No. 836)

Mr Kelvin Thomson asked the Minister for the Environment, in writing, on 10 August 2015:

(1) Is it a fact that in 2010-11, the Queensland Government calculated that 21.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions were released that year by approved land clearing of 90,000 hectares.

(2) Is it a fact that in 2013-14 the Queensland Government approved 275,000 hectares of land clearing; if so, is it reasonable to estimate that this would release 60 million tonnes of greenhouse gases; if not, what is an accurate figure for the amount of greenhouse gases released by this clearing.

(3) Is it a fact that the (a) Australian Government's Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) has spent $660 million to purchase greenhouse gas abatements of 47 million tonnes; and (b) entire work of the ERF has been undone by one year of land clearing in Queensland.

Mr Hunt: The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows:

(1) The Department of Environment is not aware of the basis of the estimates attributed to the Queensland Government. However, as part of its National Greenhouse Accounts, the Department of Environment has reported an estimate of 88,000 hectares of land cleared in Queensland in 2011 and that there were 15 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions released in that year from that clearing.

(2) There are no accurate estimates yet available for emissions from land clearing in Queensland in 2014. Estimates will be affected by several important influences including the actual amount of area cleared, the location of clearing, the biomass density of the forest cleared, previous disturbances (e.g. previous clearing or fire) and ongoing emissions from clearing in previous years.

The Department of Environment is currently processing satellite imagery to determine the area and location of clearing in 2014 and preparing estimates of emissions. These estimates will be published in the National Greenhouse Accounts and as part of the Government's annual submission under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in early 2016.

(3) The first successful ERF auction was held over 15-16 April 2015, following which the Government contracted to purchase over 47 million tonnes of emission reductions from 144 projects. The total value of these contracts is $660 million. Estimates of emissions from land clearing in Queensland in 2014 are not yet available.