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Climate change Forestry Framework to developed

Climate change “Forestry Framework” to be developed

Discussions between Government and forestry sector representatives over climate change policy have produced a broad consensus on the way forward, says Pete Hodgson, the Convenor of the Ministerial Group on Climate Change.

“We have agreed to develop a “Forestry Framework” that will look at how climate change policies and other Government initiatives can be brought together in the best interests of the environment, wood processors and forest growers,” said Mr Hodgson.

"New Zealand is lucky to have substantial forest sink credits, which will help us meet our Kyoto Protocol obligations. These credits are allocated to the Crown, which is retaining them to help minimise the costs and maximise the opportunities the Protocol presents.

"The forest sector naturally wants due recognition of the role it has played in generating those sink credits — and of the importance of a vibrant forestry sector if more credits are to be generated in future. I'm pleased to report that we've made real progress toward meeting the sector’s objectives as we refine the policy response to climate change.

"In July, officials and sector leaders undertook a joint study tour of Scandinavia and Finland to explore best practice in greenhouse gas emissions management. As a result of that tour and subsequent discussions, the government and industry leaders now have broad agreement on the way forward.

"Over the next few weeks we will be developing a Forestry Framework agreement. Issues to be considered for inclusion in the framework include:

Lifting the limit by which the Government will accept liabilities for carbon released by deforestation;

Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements for competitiveness-at-risk forestry processors;

Providing incentives for energy efficiency projects, especially in the processing sector;

Exploring incentives for the creation of new bio-energy plants - a key component in moving New Zealand towards a renewables-based energy future; and

For forest owners, exploring incentives for the creation of permanent (non-harvest) sinks.

"In addition, there is significant scope for more coordination between the Government's climate change policies and other initiatives including the wood processing strategy, the growth and innovation strategy, energy strategies, the evolving transport strategy and regional development programmes.

"Overall, the Kyoto Protocol has created a number of new and exciting opportunities for the forestry sector and I expect it will respond in a creative and positive way."

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