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MPs to feel the burn

ENVIRONMENT conservation groups are urging their membership bases to inundate independent MP Rob Oakeshott with emails protesting his stance on burning native forest timbers for electricity.

A range of action groups have warned that Australia's forests will face unprecedented pressure if Mr Oakeshott and fellow independent MP Tony Windsor succeed in a bid to allow electricity from burning timber to be classed as a renewable energy.

The Australian Youth Climate Coalition wrote on its website, ''If we create a huge outcry, we can force him [Mr Oakeshott] to withdraw the motion before the vote on Monday.''

Mr Oakeshott has moved to strike down regulations in Parliament that were set to tighten the definition of renewable energy to exclude electricity created from burning waste woodchips from native forests. The group GetUp! urged people to call Mr Oakeshott's office, post a message on his Facebook or email, saying that Mr Oakeshott had ''proposed a motion ... that undermines genuine efforts to invest in renewable energy projects - such as solar and wind - and endangers our native forests and wildlife''.

Environmental activist Prue Acton said there was no sensible way that woodchips from native forests could be regarded as renewable.

''It takes 200 years to replace the water, the animals, the carbon storage. That's if you ever do replace it,'' she said. ''The world's scientists are against using biomass. It is not renewable.''

Geoff Lazarus, spokesman for Climate Active Australia, said if it went ahead, it would put a financial incentive on destroying forests.

''This will put a value on native forest material and result in massive and widespread logging of high conservation areas to fuel bio-mass power stations,'' he said. ''Rather than logging declining and resultant emissions falling, it could move dramatically in the other direction.''