2 Oct 2012

Low carbon price 'deterring forest planting'

5:15 pm on 2 October 2012

Carbon traders say a lot of their business these days comes from people wanting to pull out trees, not plant them.

The Emissions Trading Scheme is supposed to help improve the environment by encouraging the planting of trees, which absorb carbon dioxide as they grow.

But carbon traders say they are being approached by people considering cutting down forests and replacing them with dairy farms.

They blame that on the low cost of emissions credits, down from $25 a tonne of carbon dioxide to about $3.

Nigel Brunel, who trades for OMF Financial, says a high carbon price is needed to incentivise the choice of forestry over dairy farms.

The low cost of credits stems in part from world economic woes depressing production levels and minimising demand for carbon offsets.

Traders also blame the Government for allowing cheap credits from Ukraine and elsewhere.

The Government's view is that cheap credits from overseas reduce the cost of the scheme during difficult economic times.