Our federal government pays some people to protect native forests, while state governments pay others to cut them down

The climate crisis often gets blamed on market failure, but government failure plays a pretty big role as well. Not only do Australian governments spend more than $11.6bn a year subsidising fossil fuels, at the same time the federal government spends billions paying some landholders to grow more trees, state governments perversely continue to subsidise the logging of native forests. I’m not sure that’s what people mean by the circular economy.

While successive governments have spent billions subsidising research into carbon capture and storage (CCS), the really inconvenient truth is the most effective CCS technology is the humble tree. It’s low cost, low risk and ready to roll. Trees quite literally suck carbon dioxide out of the air and store it safely in their trunks and their roots. And as if that’s not a cool invention, trees throw in water filtration and native species habitat “services” for free. If Elon Musk had invented the tree, he’d be a trillionaire by now.

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