Thursday, May 31, 2007

Federal Opposition promises soil carbon trading**

This was broadcast on ABC rural news radio a few hours ago ( I'd have posted it immediately but we had to feed the lambs)

Labor announces carbon plan

Thursday, 31/05/2007
Labor says it will set up a carbon trading scheme by 2010.
Primary Industries spokesman Kerry O'Brien says Labor will offer farmers money for research and the opportunity to sell vegetation and soil carbon offsets.
"In all respects farmers should be confident that Labor will take a sensitive approach to the needs of the farming community in this regard," he said.
"We recognise that they have not been well served to date in the debate because the Government has not initiated or funded the research that is needed to give the farming community the opportunities that it deserves in what will undoubtedly be a set of arrangements to trade carbon under any government of the future," he said.

Thanks for your support.

Michael & Louisa Kiely


**PPS. We briefed Peter Garrett in Rockhampton Airport in March. We told him Australian soils have been slandered as "too ancient" and "unable to sequester significant amounts of carbon" and stressed the lack of government-funded research into carbon-positive farming vs the amount spent measuring the damage conventional land management has done.


The Carbon Coalition acknowledges the downside risk of any trading regime set up to meet the needs of the fossil fuels industry is that agriculture would be dragged in.
We know Origin Energy has been pursuing agriculture for some time. The Carbon Coalition has always held the following opinion: Agriculture should not seek to avoid its responsibilities. Emissions are emissions. But Agriculture has moved past the high emissions phase it was in during 1990 when the baseline industry emissions were measured. (There was a significant amount of land clearing during 1990.) The practices of 'Carbon Farming' are low emission/no emission, further reducing the industry's exposure. And, just as city-based businesses have discovered massive savings when addressing their emissions, the same can be expected for agriculture.
The issue of nitrogenous fertilisers is a case in point - 50% of the nitrogen applied is emitted as NO2, a highly potent greenhouse gas. The desire for profit should drive the fertiliser companies to develop new fertilisers that do not emit greenhouse gases. There are also biological fertilisers available. Composting, compost teas, etc. And many new practices - including advanced grazing management - reduce the need for fertilisers. An efficiency rating of 50% losses on application would normally be cause for concern in any business.
The issue of methane continues to plague the industry, largely because the issue is not understood. Methane (CH4) is 20 times more potent than CO2.The CSIRO and US scientists are working on solutions to beef burping. It seems cattle lose 10% of the nutritional value of what they eat in lost methane. SO there is another saving we can look forward to. No one doubts these issues are challenging. But trying to avoid them by denying climate change or working against the carbon credit opportunity for landholders on the grounds that it cuts both ways (as several industry figures have done) is futile. It was going to cut one way anyway, whether we got credits or not.

Here is today's ABC rural radio report on the PM's Task Force Report:

PM's task group recommends carbon trading
Thursday, 31/05/2007
The Prime Minister's Emissions Task Group today is expected to recommend a carbon trading scheme which would force sectors like power generation to reduce emissions without damaging the economy.
Miners, who dominate the group along with government officials, are calling for all sectors, including agriculture to face the same restrictions.
The National Farmers Federation does not currently believe agriculture can be directly brought into a trading scheme because it is too hard to measure the sector's emissions.
But NFF chief executive Ben Fargher says rising electricity costs and future emissions measurements would affect farmers.
"The way the rules are set up, if the Government does indeed go to introduce a carbon trading scheme, would determine the potential risks and opportunities for agriculture," he said.
"We were not involved in the Prime Minister's task force, which was very, very disappointing for us.
"We must be involved, agriculture that is, in the setting up of any rules around an emission trading scheme."

The PM's Task Group members include (major polluters identified by ***) Please note the number 2 polluter (agriculture) was not invited.

Dr Peter Shergold, (Chair) Secretary, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet;
Mr David Borthwick, Secretary, Department of the Environment and Heritage;
Dr Ken Henry, Secretary, The Treasury;
Mr Michael L’Estrange, Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade;
Mr Mark Paterson, Secretary, Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources;

Mr Peter Coates, Executive Committee Member, Xstrata***;
Mr Tony Concannon Managing Director, International Power***;
Mr Russell Higgins, Non-Executive Director, Australian Pipeline Trust***;
Ms Margaret Jackson, Chairman, Qantas***;
Mr Chris Lynch, Executive Director, BHP Billiton***;
Mr John Marlay, Chief Executive Officer, Alumina Limited***;

Mr John Stewart, Managing Director, National Australia Bank

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