Forestry Minister Kim Chance said a joint project between the State Government and the BP Kwinana Refinery had been enormously successful in tackling the impacts of climate change.
Mr Chance said BP became the first energy company in Australia to engage in carbon emissions trading by joining forces with Western Australia’s Forest Products Commission 10 years ago.
Speaking at a ceremony today to mark the 10th anniversary of the agreement, the Minister said almost four million trees had been planted in the Katanning area to offset greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time addressing land degradation.
BP Kwinana Refinery’s managing director Thys Heyns said these trees had stored 187,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, which was the equivalent of taking 43,000 cars off the road for a year.
Mr Heyns said it was a great example of how BP and its staff were doing their bit to provide WA with energy while tackling the challenge of climate change.
More than 70 farmers in the Katanning region have taken part in the project and about 2,600ha of pines and sandalwood have been planted on their properties.
Katanning farmer Colin Beeck praised the project and said: “There has been a huge reduction in the water table, some areas have become productive for agriculture, there has been a reduction in salt encroachment and I have a valuable crop.”
The Minister said it highlighted the potential the State had, with its large land base and expertise in forestry services, to provide sustainable solutions to the global problem of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.
“The action needed lies in the partnerships between Government and industry such as this one between BP and the Forest Products Commission,” he said.
“Emissions trading will be on us before we know it and many companies are looking seriously at the cost and effectiveness of using trees to reduce greenhouse gases.”
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