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33 million woolly walking stores of carbon?

Media Release
4 December 2009

33 million woolly walking stores of carbon?

While the Australian Emissions Trading Scheme remains in flux, the formation of the Australian-led Wool Carbon Alliance is intriguing New Zealand’s fibre farmers.

“The Australians may be clutching at wool on the issue of wool carbon but we need to keep a watching brief on what the Australians are up to,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“The Australians claim that carbon makes up to half of wool’s composition and if true, it would represent a carbon store of 64,000 tonnes walking around New Zealand’s farms right now.

“Yet the science behind this has been open to some revision.

“Federated Farmers analysis of the accounting process, needed to provide verification, indicates it would be hugely expensive and complicated. It’s hard to say if there’s anything in this for our farmers but we’ll keep an eye on it.

“Looking to count the carbon content of Shrek the sheep and his cohorts illustrates why Copenhagen must exempt emissions arising from the primary production of food and fibre. It all seems somewhat surreal.

“Yet aside from generating non-compliant Kyoto carbon, it’s time we get out and shout about what is a 100 percent natural and renewable resource. Wool is not only proven but the likes of Icebreaker are making it into a very hip and fashionable fibre.

“If you’re truly clean and green, you should be insulating your home with wool products. It takes significantly less energy to produce wool products than artificial fibres, meaning CO2 and other emissions are very low. Best of all, it won’t cut you like glass fibres will.

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“In Europe, they’ve shown an average household can cut its annual CO2 emissions by up to 300 kg and its energy bill by 5-10 percent if heating is dialled down by just 1° Celsius. Wool can play its part.

“What we have here is eco-insulation and it’s time we trumpet it at home and overseas. It’s time to talk up the environmental and sustainable properties inherent in New Zealand’s natural fibres.

“But wool is much more than that – you can wear it, walk in it, sleep in it and who knows what else you can do with it. It’s time to unleash wool and a lot of that rests with us farmers,” Mr Wills urged.


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