Video Report: The Carbon Credit Grift Destroying Koala Habitat


Despite a decade-long commitment to establish the Great Koala National Park, the NSW Labor Government is delaying its creation so that the forests can be exploited for carbon credits. It’s a decision with disastrous consequences for the koalas, and the climate.

In this video report from the Australia Institute’s Walkley Award-Winning Senior Fellow Stephen Long, we peel back the curtains on why the koala habitat on the mid-north coast is still being logged.

Officially, the government cites consultation with stakeholders as the reason for the delay.

However, NSW Premier Chris Minns’ remarkable admission disclosed a further motive for the go-slow: the government is reluctant to create the new national park or end logging and land clearing that is destroying koala habitat until it secures another way to make money from the trees.

Essentially, the NSW Government wants to exploit the forests for carbon credits.

Apart from the obvious issue of the forest and koala habitat lost while logging continues, the carbon credits the NSW Government are planning to create are likely to be a sham.

Using carbon credits to ‘offset’ emissions is essentially a license to pollute. Without stringent laws requiring polluters to cut emissions before turning to offsets, the credits can be used to maintain or increase emissions, exacerbating global warming.

And that’s *if* the carbon credits have integrity. In this case, to have integrity the credits would need to represent additional reductions in logging — that is, represent positive changes that wouldn’t have otherwise happened.

Research has consistently shown that the carbon credit system is rife with abuse, with businesses claiming credits for activities that would have happened anyway.

Australia Institute analysis found that there were not enough bulldozers in NSW to carry out the clearing that landholders were supposedly threatening, and then forgoing, in return for receiving an earlier brand of carbon credits.

In the case of the Great National Koala National Park, the potential carbon credits would supposedly represent “avoided deforestation”, but the Labor Government promised to create this park 10 years ago.

Recent bushfires have reduced the land available for logging, and the social license for native forest logging is rapidly eroding.

For these reasons, it’s difficult to establish, and easy to exaggerate, the baseline threat to the forests. This creates a significant risk of “over-crediting.”

Again, credits that overstate the amount of carbon rescued from logging or land clearing could allow companies to emit carbon without genuine offsetting, undermining efforts to combat global warming.


A successful transition from native forest logging does not need market mechanisms. WA and Victoria have ended native forest logging without going down the carbon credits path.

Governments can stop the felling — safeguarding the habitat of koalas and endangered species such as the greater glider — with the stroke of a pen.

We don’t need to monetise the forests; we need to recognise their intrinsic values and preserve them.

Add your name to the petition calling on the NSW Government to stop native forest logging in NSW.

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The carbon con killing koalas

by Stephen Long

The NSW Labor Government took office promising to create a vast koala sanctuary on the state’s mid-north coast – the Great Koala National Park. Despite the threat of koala extinction in the state, more than a year later the Great Koala National Park is yet to be established.