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This alert was successful! Ecological Internet (EI) welcomes news that ANZ Bank of Australia will not fund the Gunns Tasmanian pulp mill. In a statement ANZ announced it will not provide finance for the AU$ 2 billion project to pulp ancient forests for throw-away paper products, but did not provide a reason for withdrawing. International environmental protest spearheaded by Ecological Internet, in support of local protests, certainly played a major role [more].

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Action Alert: Protest Australia's Continued Ancient Forest Logging in the Face of Abrupt Climate Change

Australia's new "climate friendly" government preaches global forest protection for climate benefits internationally, while continuing to industrially clear its own native primary forests in Tasmania and elsewhere, and this unseemly hypocrisy must end

By Climate Ark, a project of EcoInternet - April 8, 2008

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Additional Background

Australia continues to industrially clear their last native ancient forests, even as their government promotes forest protection internationally to combat climate change. Australia's new government led by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has ratified Kyoto, appears genuinely committed to global climate change policy, and speaks often of how Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the world must protect primary forests to solve global climate change.

Yet in an act of unseemly doublespeak, the country that is perhaps most impacted by climate change continues to log its last centuries old trees found in ancient forest ecosystems vital for holding both carbon and water. Why is forest protection a good idea internationally but not for Australia's much reduced and climate impacted natural habitats? Australia's new government must be called upon to stop their hypocrisy and end logging of their own old growth forests as a keystone response to climate change, biodiversity loss, water scarcity and ecosystem sustainability.

Australia's per capita greenhouse gas emissions are amongst the highest in the world and unsustainable lifestyles threaten the continent's fragile ecosystems. Australia is currently experiencing extreme drought, and continued soaring temperatures will result in failing water supplies, plummeting agricultural yields, rising sea levels, surging extreme weather including super cyclones and bushfires, and an influx of climate refugees.

Despite being largely arid, Australia still contains relatively small areas of intact, unfragmented native forests which are vital for regional water, climate and wildlife. Unfortunately, large scale first time industrial logging and other clearing of these important ecosystems continues nationwide. The nation's few remaining natural forest ecosystems continue to face first time clearance including illegal land clearing and continued old-growth logging in New South Wales, tropical rainforest clearance for agriculture in Queensland, and logging of rare jarrah in the southwest's precious Gondwana forest remnants.

Nowhere is first time ancient forest logging more problematic than in Tasmania where woodchipping giant Gunns Ltd. continues to clearcut ancient forests for export as woodchips to make paper, and is close to constructing a pulp mill that will indefinitely continue this dreadful legacy. The Tasmanian forest is ancient, beautiful and irreplaceable. Tasmania has the tallest flowering plants on Earth, with trees reaching over 90 meters in the Styx valley, and contains Australia's greatest tract of temperate rainforest in the Tarkine wilderness. Australia’s intact Eucalypt forests are carbon rich, storing on average 650 tonnes of carbon per hectare, much more than typical temperate forests.

Tasmania's logging industry already exports 5 million tones of pulp annually, clearfelling and burning on average 20,000 hectares of native forests a year. If built, the US$1.4 billion pulp mill project will need another 4 million tonnes yearly, nearly doubling Gunns' current rate of clearcutting. The pulp mill will increase Australia's annual greenhouse gas contributions by over 2 percent -- the equivalent of 2.3 million new cars every year.

Early this year the new government's Federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, gave Gunns approval to begin clearing vegetation on the pulp mill site in Northern Tasmania, despite Gunns not having demonstrated it can meet major conditions. And ANZ bank is still deciding whether to fund the project. Until the mill is actually operational, there is hope for its demise, and these are the two primary points of pressure. It is time for the Rudd government to stop advocating measures internationally they are unwilling to implement domestically, and end ancient forest logging nationwide as an urgent climate change response.

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ANZ finances climate change
Prime Minister Rudd and ANZ will be held responsible for continuing to allow ancient forest logging when they know it causes climate change  (link)

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