Sunday, June 29, 2008

New Taskforce to be launched after Soil Summit

25 June 2008

The Agriculture Alliance on Climate Change (AACC) held a “Soil Summit” in Canberra on Wednesday, 18 June, to discuss options for the agricultural sector’s role in Australia’s climate change response through soil carbon sequestration.

The Summit was inspired by the Prime Minister’s valuation at ABARE Outlook ‘08 of the ‘potential of enhancing the carbon stored in our soils’ and ‘how better soil management can be part of Australia’s response to climate change.’ Summit participants spent the day exploring the means by which agricultural soils can be involved in both the voluntary and regulated carbon markets.

Participants in the Summit included farming and industry associations; science and research bodies; businesses and government.

It was agreed at the Summit to establish a Soil Taskforce to investigate all opportunities to make soil carbon sequestration an economic reality in Australia and to review the situation internationally where soil carbon already exists as a traded commodity.

The Summit participants also identified two key action items to be addressed:

o The need for consistent and on-going communication between all soil carbon industry stakeholders including farming groups, research organisations, governments and business. The Climate Institute will investigate resources for this activity.

o The urgent need for a permanent and centralised national database of soil information for farmers, research organisations, governments and industry modelled on the Bureau of Meteorology. This will require Commonwealth leadership and commitment.

The Taskforce will investigate national and international market models, develop possible market approaches for Australia and explore all economic options for farming and agriculture to play a role in reducing emissions and boosting sequestration of carbon through soil management.

The Taskforce will be active in developing networks and communicating with Federal, State and Territory Governments about the role soil can play and keep interested participants informed of possible economic opportunities as Australia strives to meet its Kyoto obligations.

Participants in the Summit acknowledged that:
o The agriculture sector must take responsibility for its share of the national greenhouse challenge and can benefit from taking a leading role in providing solutions; and
o A concerted effort must be made to research and understand soil’s potential in solving climate change in Australia.

To date, it is unclear if, how and when agriculture will be included in a national response to climate change. The Summit was organised to identify key players in Australia’s developing soil carbon industry as well as determine the initial steps for stakeholders to help shape soil’s role in Australia’s climate change response.

Participants at the Soil Summit:

The Climate Institute
Country Women’s Association of Australia
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF)
Bureau of Rural Sciences
Land and Water Australia
NSW Department of Primary Industries
Department of Environment and Climate Change NSW
Department of Primary Industries Victoria
SA Farmers
WA Farmers
GRDC/Grains Council of Australia
Department of Agriculture and Food WA
Central West Catchment Management Authority Victoria
Soil Carbon (Australia) P/L
Organic Federation of Australia
BEST Energies
Ecos Corporation
Triple Helix
University of WA
Queensland University of Technology

For more information, contact Nicolette Boele, The Climate Institute: (02) 9252 5200.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this Communiqué are not necessarily some or all of the views of the representatives of the Soil Summit. The Communiqué has been created from the discussion recorded during the Soil Summit by individuals, rather than representatives of the organisations to which they are aligned. For this reason the content of the Communiqué should not be taken as full endorsement by some or all of the organisations represented at the Soil Summit.

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