A report commissioned by Tasmania's Labor-Green government valued the state's forest at almost $3 billion in carbon cash based on its wilderness' ability to store 4.4 billion tonnes of carbon.
CO2, the consultant for the report released on Friday, initially estimated the forest's worth at $280 million in current voluntary carbon markets but added it could be 10 times that amount if Australia would commit to Article 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol on forest management.
Despite major fluctuations in the international carbon market, it has grown more than tenfold to $176 billion in 2011 from $11 billion in just six years, said Tasmania Climate Change Minister Cassy O'Connor.
"Business as usual in the forest industry has working families really suffering. Here we have a potential future in carbon sequestration and monetising that carbon can help set up economic (foundations) for the future," The Herald Sun quoted the minister.
While forest peace negotiators are haggling for more than 572,000 hectares of Tasmania forest earmarked for protection and with only new reserves eligible for the carbon cash, the report could have an impact on the talks.
Titled the CO2 Tasmanian Forest Carbon Study Report, the study looks at how the state government could estimate the current and potential carbon content of the state's forest area and the impact of forestry and land use as well as climate change scenarios on carbon sequestration.
Ms O'Connor said that as the world continues to warm further, currently at a rate of six degrees, carbon sequestered in the landscape would continue to grow in value.
The Liberal Opposition in Tasmania said the report is a proof that the state's forestry is carbon positive and debunks the Green's wrong claim that it contributes negatively to climate change.
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