Friday Offcuts 11 May 2012
Both countries were after "clarity around the rules" and will instead be making their decision later on in the year as to whether they’ll continue to be legally bound to cut emissions under Kyoto. In Korea, a national ETS to tackle its growing greenhouse gas emissions was passed last week and in Australia, following a review late last year, a revised National Carbon Offset Scheme has been released. An Australian wood manufacturing operation has also jumped into the fray estimating that the AU$23/ton carbon tax due to start on 1 July this year could cost his business more than AU$1 million a year, putting both jobs and markets at risk.
Changes in carbon emissions targets, the linkages to forestry, recent reviews of a variety of policies and carbon pricing have been substantial over the past 12 months. This region’s second Carbon Forestry gathering is planned for the middle of August in Auckland. Full details of the Carbon Forestry 2012 event and a draft programme can now be found on www.carbonforestryevents.com. If you want to receive more information on the planned programme in the lead up to the event, make sure we have you details by clicking here.
For other coverage this week, we’ve also included a number of small stories on changes announced to forestry and wood products businesses in this part of the world. Finally, we’re looking forward to catching up with most wood treatment operations from about New Zealand who’ll be converging on Rotorua next week for the first in the two-leg technology series, Wood Preservation 2012. The Australian event runs the week after. We'll see you there.
This week we have for you:
Australia & NZ delay decision on signing Kyoto 2Australia and New Zealand have missed a deadline to set post-2012 emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol, with both governments saying they will decide whether to continue to be legally bound to cut emissions of seven greenhouse gases later this year according to a recent Reuters report.
Countries intending to sign up to a second round of targets under the 1997 treaty were scheduled to notify the U.N. by Tuesday last week. But Australia and New Zealand, both of which plan to launch emissions trading schemes and have been tipped to take on fresh legal targets from 2013, failed to meet that deadline.
The EU and several other nations have already indicated they will set a post-2012 legally-binding target, but Canada, Russia and Japan, three big emitters with current Kyoto goals, have said they will not. Australia said it will make a decision only after U.N. parties agree on how long the second Kyoto period would last and how many surplus Kyoto permits can be transferred from the first phase.
"We look forward to a clearer picture emerging from the outcomes of (U.N. climate talks) leading up to Doha," New Zealand said in a document published on the U.N. website, referring to the next high-level climate summit to start in November. New Zealand said it needs "full clarity" on the rules and how these relate to the emission reduction measures it is ready to do domestically.
U.N. climate negotiators are meeting in Bonn, Germany on 14-25 May to resume talks on issues including the length and stringency of Kyoto 2 targets and the accounting of emissions from forestry. Source: Reuters
Few remaining tickets to State of Origin availableAs outlined in last week's issue, the 2012 Harvey Norman State of Origin Rugby League Series kicks off at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium on Wednesday 23rd May. The first game in the series coincides with wood treatment companies being in town for the three yearly event, Wood Preservation 2012.
So, a large cross section of timber companies are going to be heading down to the game as part of the event. Just a few remaining tickets are left so if you're in town, you'd like to link in with some other timber and footie fans who are heading down to the stadium and you want to grab some tickets , contact email@example.com as soon as possible.
As we have told a number of you phoning through, tickets can only be sold at face value - $50 each - and will be allocated on a first come-first served basis.
The future of wood treatment down-underThe face of wood preservation has changed dramatically in recent times. We’ve heard about the rapid drop off in forestry and wood products research capability in Australia in recent years. For wood treatment, the story is pretty similar. In 1981 there were around 50 scientists employed in Universities or Government or quasi-Government institutions on wood protection research in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Sweden according to Alan Preston of Apterus Consulting. Move forward 30 years. The number has now dropped to around 18 employed in these same four countries.
Fungicides available for wood protection in 1980 numbered around 40. This has dropped now to around 10. Regions with significant governmental funding for wood protection in 1980 included New Zealand, Australia, Scandinavia, Europe, South Africa, Canada and the US. We now have only Europe where the focus is on wood modification without biocides and thermal modification of wood (including Scandinavia) and China.
In the world of commodity timber (lumber) treatment, those involved in this industry have seen better days. Margins are low and competitiveness is high. Scientific involvement in wood protection has declined with retirements and a lack of will for multi-disciplinary approaches moving forward. The movement from CCA in lumber treatments in some countries has also led to a drop off in treatment quality.
It's not all doom and gloom though. Opportunities abound. It may be a different approach within the value chain and it may well involve different treatment processes that have traditionally being the realm of local wood treatment companies – as well as products. It’s time to think about how best the industry can maximise these opportunities locally.
Alan Preston will be presenting next week at the three–yearly Wood Preservation series – along with presentations from leading researchers, chemical companies and wood treaters from Europe, North America and Australasia. If you’re involved in the industry, you really should be there.
Late registrations and further information can be found on www.woodpreservationevents.com
World’s best metal roof award uses timberDetlef Strauch, Secretary-General of the International Federation for the Roofing Trade, presented Estonian construction companies' group Nordecon the award for its construction of the best metal roof in the world – that of the Ahhaa Science Center, Nordecon said in a statement.
The Ahhaa Science Center boasts some unusual geometry: a dome and semi-dome with laminated timber arches 35 meters in diameter; a sphere with a bowl-shaped reinforced concrete base supported by three concrete columns and featuring the glass floor of the planetarium; and a curved gallery connecting the dome in the air.
Moreover, all of the roofing elements employ materials that have rarely or never been used before in Estonia – KalZip aluminium profiled sheets on the dome and semi-dome and Rheinzink titanium zinc sheeting panels on the sphere.
The underlying constructions of the dome and semi-dome are load-bearing laminated timber beams and the sheathing boards affixed to them. The non-ventilating roofing system of the domes is the first of its kind in the Baltic States, comprising a vapour barrier glued to the sheathing board base, the counter-girders attached to it, heat-insulating wool and the aluminium profiled sheets forming the covering layer.
What makes this design so unusual is that the wool used as the insulation material is compressed by two-three centimetres when the aluminium profiled sheeting is installed, and that no underlying cover or ventilation beneath the roofing cover was constructed. The panes are machine-rolled lengthways, while across they are welded together. All of the material was pre-fabricated to fit the geometry of the roof by KalZip GmbH.
The underlying construction of the planetarium's sphere, which is 11 meters in diameter, is a three-dimensional steel 'ball'. The material covering the sphere is Rheinzink, which is not widely used.
Interested in improving wood transport & logistics?
Together, around 200 forest resource and inventory foresters attended ForestTECH 2011. The event ran in both countries with the focus on remote sensing for improving forest inventory and management planning. Feedback from both the 2010 and 2011 events suggested we combine the two streams back into a larger ForestTECH event looking at the full spectrum of innovative tools and technologies that have been developed to improve forest management operations. This combined technology event is scheduled to run in late 2013.
ForestTECH 2012 will instead focus on improving transport and logistics in the forestry sector. It will build on the excellent wood supply chain technology events that were designed by the Forest Industry Engineering Association along with forestry companies and logistics specialists. The last independent wood supply chain event for forest products companies ran in May 2010.
So, what is ForestTECH 2012?
Like the Wood Supply Chain Optimisation technology series, ForestTECH 2012 – Improving Wood Transport & Logistics, technology programme will be targeting key decision makers from forestry and wood products companies. It will provide long overdue and practical updates on innovations, strategies and technologies that are being used by forest products companies to improve planning, logistics and operations within the wood supply chain. It will run in Australia on 28-29 November and again for the NZ forest products companies on 4-5 December 2012. Further details can be found on www.foresttechevents.com
At this stage we are seeking Expressions of Interest from interested companies, organisations and individuals who are this year keen to be involved – in presenting, in exhibiting or who have comments or suggestions on the programme design, to make contact with FIEA Director, Brent Apthorp at firstname.lastname@example.org BEFORE Friday 1 June.
Carbon tax could cost particleboard operation AU$1M/yearThe executive director of a particleboard operation in Victoria, Australia, says an AU$23/ton carbon tax due to start on 1 July will cost his business more than $1 million a year, putting jobs under threat, according to a report by The Border Mail.
David Henderson of D&R Henderson Pty Ltd. in Benalla said he was dismayed the Gillard government had given in to the Greens’ demand for a carbon tax, which he says will force his company to increase the price of particleboard.
D&R Henderson produces up to up to 13,000 m3 of particleboard a month and 7,000 m3 of melamine laminate. Over the last seven years, the company has spent $25 million on upgrading the machinery and improving the plant's efficiency and environmental performance.
Henderson said the full impact of the carbon tax on the business had not yet been determined, but the plant's high energy costs meant it could be $100,000 per month. Henderson said the tax would take away all the benefit the company had gained from its restructuring.
Henderson noted that the tax comes at a time when competition from Asia is increasing, and demand from the building and furniture industries is down. Source: The Border Mail
Government safety help welcomed by forest ownersThe NZ Forest Owners Association welcomes the boost in government funding and support for workplace health and safety improvement. The industry’s health and safety committee chair Sheldon Drummond says the announcement by labour minister Kate Wilkinson of NZ$37 million in extra funding couldn’t have come at a better time.
He says a safety culture initiative now underway in the sector is already being helped by the government’s focus on improved workplace safety, with the Department of Labour focussing its efforts on five priority sectors including forestry.
"Since the mid-1990s we have succeeded in reducing our accident and fatality rates, despite a bigger log harvest, much of it in more difficult terrain than in the past," Mr Drummond says. "But since the mid-2000s, accident and fatality rates have leveled out. It is our firm belief and absolute commitment that we can do better. So, hand-in-hand with ACC and Department of Labour, we are working to embed a safety culture in our forests."
"We have nearly finished a complete revision of the forest operations code of practice, introduced certification for some high-risk jobs and will be hiring a safety expert to roll all this out." The forest industry’s drug and alcohol-free workplace policy is innovative and bold and has been widely adopted by forest owners and contractors, he says.
"Initiatives like these are not easy to implement, but they have massively improved our workforce’s performance and wellbeing. Also the long-term benefits greatly outweigh the short-term costs."
South Korea approves carbon trading schemeSouth Korea's lawmakers approved a national emissions trading scheme last Wednesday to tackle its growing greenhouse gas emissions, overcoming strong industry opposition and joining a growing number of nations to put a price on carbon.
Of the 151 lawmakers who voted, 148 approved the scheme, underscoring bipartisan support for a cap on carbon emissions, in stark contrast with the United States and Australia where emissions trading has been deeply divisive. The scheme has not generated the same bitter public debate as in Australia and the United States, with the public more concerned with neighbouring North Korea.
The program, due to start Jan 2015 opens the possibility of linkage to other schemes. To meet the mandatory cap, firms can trade emissions permits or buy carbon offsets from U.N.-backed clean energy projects in poorer nations. Final details of South Korea's program are still to be worked out, but the latest draft said it was likely to cover 60 percent of the country's greenhouse gas emissions. It focuses on industrial operations producing more than 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) a year.
Carbon analysts and investors said the details of the scheme were still quite vague, which made it difficult to predict its impact on the U.N. scheme. Links with the European Union's emissions trading scheme - the world's largest - might not be possible until around 2018 at the earliest, said Barclays Capital analyst Trevor Sikorski. Source: Reuters
Fire Awareness Training - in demand for Wood Panels industryTwo fatal explosions killed four men and injured dozens more when pine beetle dust exploded during dry wood processing in British Columbia recently (Friday Offcuts May 4th, 2012).
When fine wood dust floats around in the air it can be ignited by an event, like a spark from a tool. The wood dust burns very quickly and produces gas, which in turn creates an explosion. This causes a chain reaction as the small explosion shakes more dust and creates a bigger explosion causing major damage to the surrounding area.
Dust explosions, like the North American example above, are just one of the many fire hazards occurring in Wood Panels plants throughout New Zealand today. A number of factory fires in wood panels mills in recent years, fortunately with no injuries or fatalities, have prompted FITEC (Forest and Wood Industries Training Organisation) to work with the NZ Wood Panel industry on an NZQA unit standard to address fire awareness and how to manage the risk of fire, in particular the hazards of wood dust in the work place. FITEC consulted with all wood panels plants throughout New Zealand all of whom heartily support the development of this unit. It is vital that all workers on the plant floor are aware of the nature of fire and the potential damage it can cause, as well as knowing how to deal with fires when they occur.
“Industry has asked for this unit so we are responding to an industry need” says Lesley Southwick, FITEC Programme Development and Quality Manager. “There is big demand for this unit which is currently with NZQA for registration and will be available August 2012.”
FITEC’s unit ‘fire awareness in a wood panel manufacturing environment’ covers fire risks and fire prevention, dust as a fire hazard, fire protection systems and response in the event of a fire emergency on a wood panel manufacturing site. For more details email Mathew Vandy at email@example.com
Norske Skog reviews Australasian newsprint capacityNorske Skog is looking to possibly reduce its newsprint production capacity in the Australasian region due to weak demand, said the company’s chief, reported EUWID-Paper on 7 May. The Oslo, Norway-based papermaker also might sell more non-core assets; although there are not many non-core assets left after the company’s extensive restructuring, divestitures and closures, said Norske Skog CEO Sven Ombudstvedt. Norske Skog will continue to evaluate the situation and a decision could be made by the end of this year, Ombudstvedt said during the release of the company’s first-quarter results. Source: EUWID-Paper
Australia revises carbon offset schemeA revised National Carbon Offset Scheme has just been released, allowing Australian businesses to offset their products with pollution reduction under the Government's Carbon Farming Initiative. Introduced on 1 July 2010, the offset scheme ensures national consistency and consumer confidence in the voluntary carbon market.
The release of the revised standard follows a review conducted in late 2011. The standard provides guidance on what is a genuine voluntary offset and sets minimum requirements for calculating, auditing and offsetting the carbon footprint of an organisation, product or event to achieve carbon neutrality.
The NCOS has been revised in light of the Clean Energy Future package and the carbon farming initiative (CFI). Carbon credits created under the CFI can now be used to meet carbon neutral commitments under the NCOS, providing another market for landholders who voluntarily undertake greenhouse gas abatement activities and the revised standard allows carbon credits issued under the Government’s previous Greenhouse Friendly scheme to be used to offset emissions under the NCOS. Source: 2012 Carbon News
Forests NSW to become a state-owned corporationThe NSW Government will make Forests NSW a state owned corporation (SOC) the Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson said on Wednesday. Forests NSW will remain publicly owned and the nature of the business and business relationships will remain largely the same but the governance structures will change to improve the organisation’s commercial performance.
"The decision to corporatise reflects the Government’s recognition that there is much room for improving the financial performance of Forests NSW and delivering better returns to the community," Minister Hodgkinson said.
The changes are similar to those introduced into other publicly owned trading organisations such as Sydney and Hunter water corporations. There are no employment level changes proposed as a result of the organisational change. Under the proposed SOC all the current wood supply commitments of Forests NSW will be transferred to the new corporation and will continue to be underwritten by the Government.
"The Department of Primary Industries will handle all policy matters related to forestry and together with the Environment Protection Agency and Office of Environment and Heritage will provide an effective regulatory framework for the State’s forestry industry, including Forests NSW," Minister Hodgkinson said.
Osmose bought by L.A. investment firmOsmose Holdings Inc is being acquired by a Los Angeles-based investment firm, Oaktree Capital Management L.P. Headquartered in Buffalo, Osmose is a manufacturer of wood preservation chemistry and a specialty service provider to the utilities and railroad industries
James Spengler will continue in his role as president and CEO along with Osmose’s existing management team.
"Osmose has built very strong brand recognition and a solid reputation for innovative products and services, excellent customer service, best in class safety performance and good growth prospects across all its business segments which attracted Oaktree to seek a partnership with management to pursue strategic growth plans".
"Oaktree can provide substantial additional resources and is committed to investing in Osmose to help us expand our product and service offerings and to better meet and exceed our customers’ expectations" said Spengler in a statement. Source: Bizjournals.com
Daiken ups ownership of NZ MDF operationJapanese wood and building products company Daiken Corp. has increased its stake in an MDF plant near Rangiora in North Canterbury, New Zealand, to 85.1%. Daiken formed a joint venture with Japanese conglomerate Itochu Corp. to purchase the plant in 2009 from Carter Holt Harvey and New Zealand billionaire owner Graeme Hart, Stuff.co.nz reported on May 5. At the time of the purchase, Itochu and Itochu New Zealand held a combined share of 49% and Daiken held a majority 51% stake. Last week, the Overseas Investment Office confirmed that consent had been granted for Daiken to take up to 85.1% of the JV. The decision summary said Daiken was paying NZ$10.6 million for the increased ownership. Source: Stuff.co.nz
World's first vertical forestIn Milan, a forest will soon be planted in the sky. Building works for a pair of skyscrapers that will become home to the world’s first vertical forest is underway. The brainchild of architect Stefano Boeri, the €65 million ‘Bosco Verticale’ is already under construction. When complete, the skyscrapers will contain luxury apartments, each one equipped with a copious balcony specially designed to hold around 900 small trees and other plants. If planted on the ground the total vegetation would cover an area of 10,000 square metres.
On the surface, it is a simple idea – with growing populations requiring land use for lodgings, why not plant our greenery upwards, rather than outwards? It is certainly becoming increasingly popular, with schemes in Chicago and Suwon, South Korea ( www.forumforthefuture.org).
Alexander Felson, Director of the Urban Ecology and Design Laboratory at Yale University, agrees that “there will potentially be microclimate and air particulate removal benefits”, but warns that the “overall energy required to construct a building that would support both trees and the wet weight of soil” places some serious question marks over its overall sustainability. He favours a more modest approach focusing on green roofs.
Buy and Sell
...and one to end the week on...the intelligence of the AFL
We ran a story in last week's issue that detailed an innovative new mountain bike designed and built using local radiata pine. The attached photo was sent in by a reader showing another bike constructed of wood - built so the story goes in Africa. Some will think perhaps the design isn't quite there yet but just look at the features!!!
And on that note, have a great weekend.
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