Methane, Mr. Hunt and Forest Half Truths and Lies(2.7)

by Jill Redwood

The uninformed claims by Greg Hunt that it’s better to burn forest waste or it will only turn to methane is very disconcerting to hear coming from Australia’s Environment Minister. Methane is produced in low oxygen, underground or underwater environs like swamps; hardly ever in forests. Forests in fact capture and store huge amounts of carbon and turn ground litter to humus and soil. 

The Federal Govt wants to allow the burning of forests to be termed ‘renewable’ and thereby claim assistance. Renewable Energy Certificates should only be used to help true renewables like solar and wind. Looking for ways to burn rubbish or trees to ‘green-wash’ power generators and keep the logging industry running is a backward step.

The forest ‘waste’ argument was lost years ago when we were told woodchipping was only mopping up unwanted trees and branches. It has been responsible for up to 90% of all logs that come from our forests.

Now we have governments and authorities promising hundreds of thousands of tonnes of sawlogging waste at a time when the native forest logging for saw logs, is fast being displaced by plantation wood. So is this really going to be just ‘waste’ or will it drive forest destruction? This is something we should all be very cautious about. Our political representatives should remain sceptical of the ‘methane’ style of claims – Just because they repeat their lines endlessly, does not make them true.

Jill can be contacted at