Thursday, November 30, 2006

"101 Reasons Why Soil Carbon Can Never Be Traded"

The Australian Farm Institute included in its most recent Roundtable Summit a paper by Dr John Carter's called "Potential for trading carbon in agriculture" which could have been entitled "101 Reasons Why Soil Carbon Can Never Be Traded." Dr Carter, Principal Scientist with the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Water.

He nailed the target to the wall in the form of this statement:

"In practice, the following attributes of trading schemes make soil carbon accounting a difficult task:
• inclusion of all gases, all pools
• gross-net or net-net accounting
• time periods for locking up carbon in
commercial contracts (up to 125 years)
• avoidance of leakage
• accounting for future risk and measurement uncertainty
• need for auditing, certification and verification."

It's up to us to score a bullseye, one by one. We will be dealing with each issue raised in Dr Carter's paper in turn. It could take some time and resources, but we must do it if we are to achieve our goal. And we thank Dr Carter for setting the target for us so clearly. If we can answer each of his points, we don't deserve to succeed.

* Australian Greenhouse Office, Developing a Strategic Framework for Greenhouse and Agriculture. An Issues Paper, 2002

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