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Gunns’ Tamanian pulp mill faces greenhouse gas assessment: plant will add 2pc to national emissions

Posted by gmarkets on 19 September, 2007

Federal Labor had flagged subjecting the proposed Tasman­ian pulp mill to an assessment of its greenhouse gas impact, amid claims that it alone would generate 2 per cent of Australia’s carbon dioxide emissions, reported The Australian (7/9/2007, p. 4).

10.2m tonnes of CO2 annually: An analysis by green think tank the Green Institute, obtained by The Australian, concluded that the mammoth Gunns project would create at least 10.2 million tonnes of CO2, a year, or 2 per cent of Australia’s 2005 emissions. While not claiming the analysis was impartial, Institute founder Mar­garet Blakers said it suggested Gunns and the federal Govern­ment should address the issue.

Native forest to pulp: The mill, proposed for the Tamar Valley north of Launces­ton, would consume up to four million tonnes of woodchips each year, 80 per cent of which would initially be sourced from native forests. Ms Blakers, a scientist by training and former adviser to Greens senator Bob Brown, said;
her estimate of 10.2 million tonnes a year of CO2 was based on the

• processing of pulp logs;

• burning of wood scraps left at logging sites;

• turning trees into pulp would release carbon when the resulting paper products were destroyed or decayed, releasing 4.3 million tonnes of CO2 a year, she said.

• pulp itself is considered a very short-term product with a maximum life of three years,” she said.

• The larger contribution of 5.9 million tonnes came from burning the remnants left on the forest floor after logging.

Not eligible for GreenPower status: Gunns’ project information claims the mill will be “greenhouse positive” because it generates power by burning wood waste. This will power the mill and create an estimated 90 to 100 megawatt surplus, which Gunns claims will be sold as “Green power”. However, a letter obtained by The Australian shows the National GreenPower Accreditation Program has ruled the power ineligible for GreenPower status because of the use of native forests. Turnbull would not comment yesterday. His department had concluded the project would add to greenhouse gas production but did not appear to have made any precise estimate.

The Australian, 7/9/2007, p. 4

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