The North Coast Environment Council (NCEC) and the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) have condemned the agreement on the Renewable Energy Target (RET) reached by the Liberal-National Party Federal Government and the Federal Opposition Labor Party because of the inclusion of biomass (timber) as an electricity source in the target.
The timber to be burnt for power is claimed to be forest "waste". However, the two conservation organisations believe that this decision will lead to further unsustainable logging and decimation of native forests.
"We know from nearly 50 years experience of woodchipping that the logging industry views everything except A Grade sawlogs as 'waste'. So the likelihood of intensive damaging logging has just got worse," said NCEC spokesperson Susie Russell.
"The renewable industry didn't want this. They know that not only will it damage their brand, but that it steals from the limited funds available to kickstart renewable energy projects, as well as cheating and effectively lowering the Renewable Energy Target as energy created from this dirty, high emission and unsustainable source will be counted in our fight to decrease greenhouse gas pollution."
She added that consumers would be likely to be reluctant to pay more for renewable energy "if they have a reasonable suspicion that it is koala homes that are going up in smoke."
NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said, "Burning trees is not carbon neutral."
"Feeding trees into furnaces for power is just as polluting and environmentally damaging as coal. This needs to be clearly ruled out as a substitute for genuinely renewable power such as solar and wind."
He also pointed out that as well as the increased carbon emissions the increased logging would result in damage to biodiversity, soil and water catchments.