Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Voluntary market for soils in 6 months?

Professor Peter Grace of the Queensland University of Technology believes there is enough basic scientific information on soil carbon in Australia to have a voluntary soil carbon trading scheme operating within six to 12 months.
Despite the difficulties in measuring methane and nitrogen emissions, Professor Grace told ABC Science Online that climate friendly farming practices can be encouraged, while waiting for more data. Even with the uncertainties, it would be possible to begin trialing agricultural emissions trading in a voluntary offset market. Such a scheme could account for the scientific uncertainty in measuring emissions and sequestration by offering discount credits. Farmers could, for example, get credit for half the estimated amount of carbon they are sequestering in their soils, with the hope of later using these credits in an official system.
The Professor estimates that more than 900 megatons of GHG could be sequestered annually through improved pasture management alone. "It's a very significant amount of carbon," he said. Even if only 10% of this amount was achieved it would result in a significant reduction in Australia's carbon emissions.
Mick Keogh from the Australian Farm Institute agrees ith Professor Grace: "There is good reason to think that, given some robust accreditation and verification standards, this voluntary market may be the way in which a market for soil carbon sequestration can be developed," he said.

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