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Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Page: 161

Senator Milne asked the Minister for Climate Change and Water, upon notice, on 7 November 2008:

(1)   How much carbon is estimated to be currently stored in the harvested wood product pool in Australia.

(2)   Is the harvested wood product carbon pool assessed as increasing or decreasing since 1990.

(3)   What is the estimated average decay rate for Australia’s harvested wood product pool.

(4)   What is the estimated impact on ecologically-sustainable forest management from accounting for harvested wood products.

(5)   What is the Government’s preferred carbon accounting framework for harvested wood products.

Senator Wong (Minister for Climate Change and Water) —The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:

(1)   In Australia’s 2006 National Inventory Report, carbon in the harvested wood products pool was estimated at 97 Megatonnes, excluding products in landfill.

(2)   The harvested wood product pool is assessed as increasing since 1990.

(3)   Australia does not estimate an average decay rate based on a single harvested wood product pool. Australia’s accounting methodology for harvested wood products uses complex modelling with multiple age classes and multiple product pools. The methodology accounts for movement of wood products in and out of the different product pools through a number of mechanisms, including decay.

(4)   Australia reports emissions from harvested wood products in its annual National Inventory Report, which is prepared in accordance with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) requirements. This reporting does not estimate the impact of accounting on ecologically sustainable forest management.

(5)   The Government’s preferred policy principle is that all emissions (including from any inclusion of harvested wood products) are reported when (on release to the atmosphere) and where (in the country) they occur. The accounting framework applied to harvested wood products will be developed as part of Australia's negotiating position for a post-2012 international climate change agreement.