Thursday, February 21, 2008

Garnaut drops a big hint

There was good news for 'soilies' when Professor Ross Garnaut released his "Interim" report today. He is clearly serious about including agriculture in an emissions trading scheme as early as possible.

Our take-outs from the Report, and especially the passage below, are:

Climate change is URGENT for Australia because of Agriculture's exposure and our relationships with fragile nations in Asia.
Australia must act quickly to sequester large amounts of carbon.
Australian soils can potentially sequester large amounts of carbon.
Agriculture can be included in a trading scheme if it gets the same protection being considered for other "trade-exposed, emissions-intensive industries" (ie. coal mining and aluminium and other 'dirty' industries).
Issues that must be addressed: MMV and transaction costs.

The Carbon Coalition has maintained since the beginning that URGENCY would force the powers that be to loosen their rules once they realise the importance of soil in the short term action plan.

The relevant passagecan be found on page 47 of the Report. You can download the report at

"An efficient ETS would have as broad coverage of emitting sectors as possible within
practical limits imposed by factors such as measurability and transaction costs.
The proposals by the Task Group on Emissions Trading (2007) suggested relatively
wide coverage for an Australian ETS. The recently announced proposals for a New
Zealand ETS includes all sectors. Some sectors that are usually considered to be
difficult, like forestry, are to be included from the beginning, and others, like agriculture,
are to be included later, to allow time to develop ways to include them.
In Australia, there is considerable potential for sequestering large amounts of carbon
through changes in land and forest management and agricultural practices. It is
important that incentives to realise this potential are in place as early as possible in the
life of the ETS. Full inclusion of agriculture and forestry could require consideration of
measures available to other trade-exposed, emissions-intensive industries.

The Carbo Coalition's submission can be found at

A BIG HOORAY to those members who made submissions.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Green Cow Manifesto

Coalition member Murray Schofield has answered our call for ideas to promote the Cause.

"Most people view cattle as destructive. Green groups have for years been telling them this, how cows ruin waterways, cause erosion, destroy county by overgrazing, huge amounts of methane into the air and the list goes on..."

The bumper stickers are handed out and direct people to a website where Murray hits them with 'REAL FACTS'about how cattle can heal the land, etc. The we direct them to drill down into other articles including testimonials from graziers/ranchers from all over the world - telling the people we attract about increasing biodiversity and the increase in native wildlife.

"Most people couldn't care less if you tell them how you can improve stocking rates or profits, but they do care about environmental issues, like climate change or wildlife issues," says Murray.

The controversial statement should attract attention from the media - giving the campaign a boost.

Some variations on the GREEN COW MESSAGE: "The Best Environmentalist I Know Is A Cow."




"Build us a soil C trading system"

Carbon Farmers of Australia - the non-profit trading arm of the Carbon Coalition - is working on IP (intellectual property) in the MMV (measurement, monitoring and verification) area.(Everyone else is doing it.) We'd tell you about it, but it seems you have to be secretive about it or someone ill steal it. We recently responded to a tender from the NZ Government for a soil carbon trading mechanism.
Introduction: The methodology outlined here might be surprising, given the dominance of science and scientists in the debate so far. The question the MAF should be asking is this: “Why, after more than 12 years research, have the best scientists, working in the soil carbon field all over the world, not yet delivered a cost-effective and practical measurement, monitoring and verification (MMV) system to enable trade in soil carbon to proceed when it took only 8 years to put a man on the moon?” It is plain to anyone involved in the field for more than a few months that the solution the MAF is seeking does not lie in more scientific research to develop more “accurate” measurement techniques. The answer lies in gaining agreement between parties to the trading scheme that they can be confident they can transact and achieve their goals. Science cannot be a proxy for the decision because science, from 1995 to date, has only discovered reasons why the trade cannot proceed, based on increasing degrees of exactitude. Always the response is: “More research is needed.” (The 10 years Sir Nicholas Stern gave the world in which to act to avoid climate crisis 2 years go will have passed before the extraordinary sequestration capacity of soils can be deployed.) The world’s leading soil carbon scientists are appealing to their colleagues to abandon the purist approach and contribute to a practical solution, based on their knowledge of how soil carbon acts. We have already seen movement in this direction among Australian soil scientists ho must be among the most progressive in the world. (See comments of Professor R. Lal (IPCC), Dr John Kimble, ex-USDA attached)

Soil-C-Central - World's Largest Source of Soil Carbon Information

We hope to launch “”, a website devoted to all known research and knowledge of Soil Carbon sequestration, including ideas and farming techniques to increase Carbon in soils. It will have links to every resource available online and be useful for scientists, primary producers, and policy makers. Once we have achieved our objective, it would be transformed into a resource to support farmers trading soil and other forms of carbon. The Objective is to speed up the development of MMV solutions (Measurement/Monitoring/Verification), which is the sticking point for trading.

Coalition Update

This is a photo of the audience at the Macquarie 2000 Landcare AGM 2 weeks ago. We spoke on the same program as Christine Jones who is a stunning educator. It was a pleasure to be working with her again. She has been our inspiration since 2005 when we attendd her Carbon Forum in Armidale - and where we met Col Seis, David Marsh, and Rick Maurice.

Christine announced that the first cheques will be presented to the farmers enrolled in her Accreditation Scheme at Parliament House in 2009. Then, she said, if the IPART (the weights and measures body) don't accept her MMV system, she will continue to sell on the Voluntary market. ('Voluntary' is quickly losing its meaning with the carbon nazis insisting that the unregulated market should be as regulated as the regulated market - and the ACCC is conducting an enquiry into it.)

We are off the NZ at the end of the week to speak to farmers and scientists and government officials about soil carbon. An entrepreneur called Alan Mayne is paying us to do the trip. He was a delegate at the Carbon Farming Conference we organised last November. We are putting our slides in order for a Kiwi version of our presentation. (They have a problem with the official view of soils in NZ as well: the dominant paradigm says that NZ soils can't sequester much carb on because they're all full up! Paradigm Busters!)

At the same time I am negotiating with the publishers of Ethical Investor Magazine to speak at their conference in both Sydney and Melbourne in May on "Green Marketing". Unfortunately they don't want to pay my travel and accommodation (not to mention my speakers' fee) and we have to weigh up the value of the opportunity.

At the same time I have a presentation to do at ad agency WHYBIN to sell in our CarbonCredited™Brands solution for city based businesses.

At the same time we have to prepare for a week in WA speaking at Conferences and meeting farmers, in March.

We are speaking at YASS on 9 April at the Soldiers' Club.

At the same time we are working on a Voluntary Carbon Standard for soils, to submit to the global Voluntary Carbon Standard organisation.

At the same time we are working to codify our current 'proxy/indicator' model for selling 'soil credits' by April 4 when our 'sustainability coach' Michael Mobbs is in town.

Meanwhile we must soon have another meeting with our friends in the scientific community to plan the 2008 Conference...

Soil-C-Central is going ahead, despite the fact that Louisa did not win the $10k bursary from the Rural Womens' Award, which was to be our down payment. Need a sponsor.

Meanwhile I am toying with a user pays information service for soil carbon....

BTW: Tom Nicholson is crossing the Nullabor as I write, on his way to WA as part of his research for a book on Carbon Farming.

BTW Christine Jones is writing a book to be published in 2009.

Soil Carbon's Rural Woman of the Year

We enter awards and stand for parliament in order to raise the profile of soil carbon.

Louisa was runner-up in the NSW RIRDC Rural Women’s Award 2008. The winner was Tracey Knowland, a businesswoman from Brooklet near Byron Bay. Here's how the organisers presented the two finalists:

Tracey Knowland, a businesswoman from Brooklet
Tracey, along with her husband Stuart, owns and operates Bangalow Wholesale Nursery at Bangalow in the Byron Bay hinterland. Tracey’s business specialises in trialling and developing superior selections of small to medium Australian temperate/subtropical rainforest trees and coastal tolerant trees. Her target markets include the landscape and development industry. Tracey proposes to use the bursary to fund her participation in the 2008 National Nursery & Garden Industry Association National Conference in Adelaide in March, followed by a study tour of Victoria's largest wholesale production nurseries to look at sustainable growing methods. Tracey also hopes to build on a water recycling project as part of their nursery business, and share her experiences with other women in rural and urban-based businesses.

Louisa Kiely, Goolma

Louisa and her husband Michael own and operate a superfine wool enterprise at Goolma in central western NSW. Her focus for the past two years has been on climate change and sustainable farming. She has coordinated a number of workshops and summits, bringing together scientists and farmers to share information about carbon farming. Louisa’s award project involves building and launching – a website devoted to research and knowledge of carbon soil sequestration, including ideas and farming techniques to increase carbon in soils. She hopes to use her project to highlight the benefits of increasing carbon in our agricultural soils to help save family farms and the environment at large.

And this is how ABC RADIO's Country Hour reported the event:

Last night at a gala ceremony in Sydney, Bangalow Nursery manager Tracey Knowland was named NSW rural woman of the year, by the Minister for Primary Industries Ian Macdonald.

"Tracey's business focuses on innovative advanced tree production and and is looking to develop a thriving export business as well as keeping a sense of the environmental issues involved with tree planting and production.

"The environment also plays a big part in the success of the runner up for the award Louisa Kiely from Goolma who is a strong advocate for carbon farming and the implications of climate change."


Louisa Kiely

“Uamby” via Goolma NSW 2852
Carbon Coalition Against Global Warming
Carbon Farmers of Australia

[Mobilise the Soils, Save the Planet, Save the Family Farm]


February 2006 - Co-Founded the Carbon Coalition Against Global Warming to lobby for the right of Australian landholders to trade on the emissions offset market the credits they can earn by sequestering carbon in their soils.
May, 2006 - Presentation at Manning Landcare event, Gloucester
2 June, 2006 - Brief NSW Farmers’ Association, Jock Laurie, Sydney NSW
14 July, 2006 – Presentation for CWCMA, Mudgee Small Farm Field Day
19 July, 2006 – Presentation to Baradine Landcare Group
July, 2006 - Presentation to Land Management Workshop, Cobar
18/19 September: Washington DC –2006 Global CO2 Cap-And-Trade Forum
21/22 September: Bozeman, Montana - Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership Phase 2 Project Management Plan Workshop
25 September: College Station, Texas - Professor Bruce McCarl, Department of Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University
27 September: Albuquerque, New Mexico - Peter Holter, Holistic Management Int
28 September: Attended and addressed 2 day Phase 2 Workshop in Albuqurque,New Mexico of the Southwest Regional Partnership
29 September: Swanton, Vermont - Address Farmers’ gathering organised by Coalition member Abe Collins from Vermont.
1 October: Columbus, Ohio - Professor Rattan Lal, School of Natural Resources at Ohio State University, Columbus Ohio
3 October: Chicago, Illinois – Mike Walsh, SVP, Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX)
Secured first order for 25,000 acres Australian soil from CCX.
23 October, 2006 – Presentation to Kingaroy Carbon Forum, Kingaroy
Coordinated 8-farm application for CWCMA funding for soil trials.
13 November, 2006 – meet with NSW President Soil Science Society re data for CCX and Summit of scientists and Practitioners
25 November, 2006 – Make presentation to Cobar/Nyngan Landcare
22/23 November, 2006 - Speak at National Carbon Forum Canberra
19 December, 2006 - Briefed NSW Farmers’ Asociation’s Jock Laurie.
9 February, 2007 - Address SA No Till Farmers’ Association, Tanunda, SA
5 March, 2007 - Address CWA Agriculture & Environment Seminar, CWA House
7 March, 2007 - Conduct 4 hour workshop on carbon trading for RCS, Yeppoon
8 March, 2007 - Address soils gathering, CWCMA Dubbo, NSW
10 March, 2007 - Address landholders’ gathering at Collarenabri, NSW

12 March, 2007 - Address Landcare meeting, Mudgee NSW*
1 April, 2007 - Launch Carbon Farmers of Australia – trading arm of Carbon Coalition. Make first sales of Australian farm Soil Credits.
22 March, 2007 Organised Summit between Scientists and Farmers, Dubbo NSW

29/30 March, 2007 - Address Landcare Farming Forum, Grafton
25-27 April - Address Southern Rivers CMA/Landcare Forum, Merimbula /Eden

3 May, 2007 - Attend “Green Dollar” Conference, Canberra ACT
15 May, 2007 - Brief Judi Earl, Holistic Management International, Goolma
14 June, 2007 - Organised 2nd Summit between scientists and farmers, Orange
21 June, 2007 – Attend and address DPI landholders’ meeting at Junee Reef.
4 July, 2007 – Address Ebor Beef Group, Armidale NSW
14-15 July, 2007 – Address NSW Women In Agriculture Conference, Forbes
19 JULY, 2007 – Address Biodynamic Farmers, Melbourne Victoria

*My husband Michael is Co-Convenor. He does all the website communications and public relations. We often share the podium or present alone. Michael’s solo lobbying or presentation work is not listed here.


• Restore Australia’s heavily depleted agricultural soils to health and productivity.
• Restore the financial security of farm families by giving them access to what will soon be the largest commodity market in the world.
• Restore local economies and rural communities.
• Restore the balance of CO2 in the atmosphere and help avert the worst effects of Climate Change.

A PERSONAL MISSION: My specific focus for the past 2 years has been Climate Change and Sustainable Farming. When I entered agriculture as a woolgrower 10 years ago, I studied sustainable farming practices as part of the Advanced Diploma of Farm Management at the University of Sydney (Orange) and my husband and son joined me in learning the Holistic Management approach to grazing management. I experimented with various techniques of rebuilding the depleted soils on our ‘renovator’s dream’ property “Uamby”, which has been farmed hard for 182 years.

To get litter on the ground and encourage soil biological processes that make healthy soil, we tired mulching bare earth, mulching rank grass and thistles, spreading manure, spreading treated human biosolids, spreading worm juice, spreading seaweed, and other experiments. We proved that you can grow new topsoil quickly with effort.

But the breakthrough for me was attending one of the first Carbon Forum staged by Dr Christine Jones in Armidale. We were selected as among the 10 most innovative farm families in the Catchment by the Central West Catchment Management Authority, and trained for 20 days in a range of skills to do with innovative farm planning. We that soil carbon was the key performance indicator of progress towards soil health, reduced salination, water management, biodiversity, reduced erosion… and climate change mitigation. In fact, we concluded that the world’s agricultural soils could be the only solution to the Global Warming Crisis.

The UN, NASA, and our own Australian Greenhouse Office agree: there is already enough CO2 in the atmosphere to push the globe through the 2°C increase that will cause climate chaos. The only way to remove it is Photosynthesis. Plants and Trees. No other popular solution can do it – clean coal, nuclear power, solar and wind power, these can only avoid future emissions. And Forests, even if we planted enough today, cannot reach critical mass in less than 15-20 years. The Stern Report said we have 10 years in which to act, and NASA agrees. The only solution is agricultural soils. They already have critical mass and can start sequestering carbon instantly on a large scale.

A slight increase in soil carbon across Australia’s agricultural regions can sequester more than half our greenhouse gas emissions.

EVIDENCE: A 0.1% increase in organic carbon across only 10% of Australia’s agricultural lands would sequester 387 million tonnes CO2. Australia’s emissions are projected to reach 603 million tonnes annually over 2008–12. (Soil C in the top 20 cm of soil with a bulk density of 1.2 g/cm3 represents a 2.4 t/ha increase in soil OC which equates to 8.8 t/ha of CO2 sequestered. - Dr Christine Jones)

CASE STUDY: Pasture cropping/time controlled grazing combination in Central West NSW recorded increase in soil carbon from 2% to 4% over 10 years (0.2%C/yr) (CSIRO)

OPPORTUNITY: Soil carbon credits could underwrite the income of many farm families and enable them to offset their emissions from methane and other greenhouse gases. Australia’s soils are badly in need of restoration. We have lost 50% of our topsoil in 200 years and 80% of the soil organic carbon. There is great potential for reversing these trends.

CALCULATIONS: The Department of Environment and Climate Change, and the Central West Catchment Management Authority estimated that the soils in the Catchment can capture 183 million tonnes of Carbon by 2020 if farmers switch to “advanced farming practices”. The shift would result in a doubling of the soil carbon contained in paddocks.

183 million tonnes of Carbon = 671 million tonnes CO2e (Carbon tonne x 3.67 = Carbon Dioxide tonne)
At $25/tonne = $16.75 billion dollars. At only $5/tonne = $3.35 billion dollars
$3.35 billion dollars ÷ 5500 farms* = $609,440 per farm
$600,000 ÷ 15 years** = $40,000/year (At $5/tonne, the low point.)

*In the Central West Catchment (ABS)
**2005-2020 – the average period for soils to saturate with carbon.

POTENTIAL: The Carbon Coalition has been the only organization to focus consistently on promoting this opportunity. It has lobbied all levels of government and raised awareness of the opportunity with government officials and scientists. The Commonwealth Government has the power to allow landholders access to the carbon market on equal terms.

Through our lobbying efforts, the NFF, NSW Farmers, the NSW National Party and the ALP (Federal Opposition) have endorsed the soil carbon trading concept. Others we have influenced include Australian of the Year, Dr Tim Flannery, NSW Commissioner for Natural Resources Dr John Williams, and Professor Rattan Lal, the world’s foremost soil scientist and leader of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change soils delegation from the USA to the UN.

LATEST PROJECT: We are organizing the world’s first CARBON FARMING EXPO & CONFERENCE on 16th-17th November, 2007 in Mudgee NSW. Professor Lal described it as “an historical event of international importance.” The Kiely family is underwriting the conference.

We hope to launch “”, website devoted to all known research and knowledge of Soil Carbon sequestration, including ideas and farming techniques to increase Carbon in soils. It will have links to every resource available online and be useful for scientists, primary producers, and policy makers. Once we have achieved our objective, it would be transformed into a resource to support farmers trading soil and other forms of carbon.


Research (time and subscriptions) $5000
Website development $3500
Publicity $1500


This role has given me for, the first time in my career, the authority to shape policy and direction. The Coalition is a leadership body – leading the campaign for property rights to the carbon a farmer grows in their soil.

The tool we have at our disposal are basically two:

1. knowledge
2. communications technology

Soil C Central will provide us with both, but at a higher level than to date.

The website by its nature will be a vehicle for sharing knowledge and opportunities.

This knowledge will also be delivered through my public speaking activities.


As a landholder and woolgrower, I am concerned about the health of the land I have in my care.

As a grandmother and mother, I am concerned about the world I will leave to my children and their children.

As a human being, I am afraid for the future of our community and nation as we enter a new era of uncertainty and insecurity.

The 2008 RIRDC Rural Women’s Award would be a significant contribution to our morale and resources. But the recognition alone would be worth more than the money in helping to promote our work and the outcomes we seek.

Together, we can achieve good things for the environment, good things for farm families and our communities, and good things for those who will otherwise be severely effected by extreme climate events.

Louisa Kiely

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Here's your $67,000 bill for Methane

Will Farmers be denied soil credits to pay $67,000pa methane bill?

The average Australian farmer could get a bill of $67,000 every year for methane and other emissions, but won’t be able to pay for it with the carbon they grow in their soils, says the Carbon Coalition.

A Greenhouse Office calculator case study* for a mixed farming operation on 2200ha has the total annual emissions liability of 2687t/CO2e, which would cost $67,000 to “offset” by buying carbon credits at $25/tonne.

“While the farmer in the example earns carbon credits for 100ha of trees, there is no allowance on the calculator for carbon stored in the soil, which could be worth more than the total emissions,” says Coalition Convenor Michael Kiely. “That tonnage of CO2e can be captured in only 732 tonnes of soil carbon†, or 0.33tonnes C/ha/year. That is not a big ask with ‘Carbon Farming’ techniques.”

“In fact, a NSW Forests calculator of soil carbon sequestration reveals that our farmer could capture twice the amount of carbon needed per hectare to ‘pay’ for the methane and other emissions,” he says.

The Carbon Coalition recommended to the Garnaut Climate Change Review for Agriculture to be involved in an emissions trading scheme. ‘But only a scheme which allowed landholders to offset their emissions with the soil carbon they can capture and store. We are willing to go into the market ‘eyes wide open’, aware of our liabilities and equally confident of our assets,” says Michael Kiely.

The Coalition’s submission (online at http// is critical of the way soil carbon science has been managed. “There are huge gaps in the data sets and, on the basis of inadequate data, the myth that Australian soils are too old and degraded to sequester much carbon,” says Michael Kiely.

“The irony is that everyone who makes that statement reveals their ignorance of basic soil science. Age has nothing to do with it and what has been lost can be restored. I would advise those ‘policy’ people and ‘researchers’ who make these statements to stop embarrassing themselves.”

“There is not one piece of scientific evidence to prove the claim that Australian soils do not have the potential to sequester significant amounts of soil C. On the contrary, we have evidence that Australian soils do have that potential. The CSIRO has said this. The NSW DPI has said this. Yet there are still some who ignorantly parrot old slogans.”

Coalition unmasks soil C “difficulties”

The Coalition’s submission demolishes the many “difficulties” that soil carbon sceptics say make soil C a non-starter for trading:

1. Too many small sources and sinks: “The aggregation of growers is an everyday reality in commodity marketing. Marketing Boards, Grain Desks, and Producer Groups are well understood by growers. Woolgrowers are setting up “demand chains” or “supply chain solution for retailers”. EMS systems make aggregation easy.”

2. Difficult to measure: “Poppycock. It’s easy to measure. The problem is ‘flux’ – the amount moves around. Highly respected soil scientists such as John Kimble and Rattan Lal have urged their colleagues to stop being so precious. Flux has statistical properties and can be averaged for accurate real world estimation.”

3. Cost of measurement and monitoring: “Amortise the cost over 130,000 landholders - bulk buy the service - and the price will be realistic. Set it against $25 or $50 or $100 a tonne CO2e and the cost is trivial. Those amounts will be possible when the 3 biggest emitters USA, China and India, enter the market to buy offsets.”

4. 100 Year Rule: “It can’t apply to soil which can do the job for 30 years while all the other solutions grow to critical mass. It’s either soil C or climate chaos. Soil is the only short to medium term solution. Kyoto did not anticipate it and the IPCC has it in its power to change the rules.”

5. Permanence: “You might be 65% water today and 65% water tomorrow, but it is different water. It ‘fluxes’. We don’t care which carbon atom was held. It’s the steady increase in the total amount of soil C that counts.”

6. Initial costs high: “The cost of a soil carbon solution should be seen in context of the billions Australian Governments have spent trying to get Australian landholders to “care” and change their paradigm of relationship with the land. A system that rewards landholders for increasing Soil C will achieve so many Natural Resource Management objectives.”

7. Trade exposed industries: “What appears as a disadvantage can be turned into a competitive advantage by turning a necessity into a virtue: ie., building a brand that exploits the producer’s emissions reduction. The ‘concerned Climate Change consumer’ has already emerged in Europe and British retailers are requesting ‘carbon neutral’ wool from Australian wool buyers.”

“All the things the sceptics call ‘difficulties’ with soil C are simply barriers they put in front of us. They make no attempt to solve these ‘difficulties’; they just parrot them as though saying it will make it real,” says Mr Kiely.

[*“Sheep Greenhouse Accounting Framework” and **“Carbon Sequestration Predictor for selected land use change in inland areas of NSW Version 2.0” can be found at]

†Convert Carbon to CO2e by multiplying by 3.67

Clean Coal Gone: Bush stands naked

The US Government has scrapped the most advance “clean coal” project after pouring US$2billion into it. The project would have built the first pilot clean coal power plant with carbon sequestration. The Energy Department is officially shelving the FutureGen Alliance project that the Bush administration had supported for five years.

The Bush Administration rested all its hopes on ‘clean coal’ and so diverted vast amounts of funding earmarked for soil carbon sequestering research.

In private conversations with US scientists, the Carbon Coalition was told more than $300million was withdrawn from one bio-sequestration project group alone. In separate conversations with scientists working on FutureGen projects, we were told that deep-geologic burial was “pipe dreams”, untried and dangerous.

FutureGen is one of the most advanced projects for determining whether emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, can be captured from coal-fired plants and stored underground. Carbon sequestration is considered essential to meeting targets for US greenhouse gas emissions.

What has the world got if they can’t rely on a ‘technology’ fix.. like ‘clean coal’?

It’s got “Nothing”.

Solar, wind, nuclear, trees, char, thermal… Nothing can be deployed in time.

Only soils. 5.5 billion hectares of it stands ready to serve the cause of mitigation.

The world has a choice.

It’s SOILS or “Nothing”.

Friday, February 01, 2008


The NZ Government have called tender to decide who will advise it on establishing a soil C trading program for the voluntary market. The Carbon Coalition is well advanced down this track as a result of recent work and we need help from an Australian scientist (knwoledge of NZ soils not essential but useful) and we need help from a statistician. Please call 63740329.

The RFP is due in a week, so call now. The solution is due in a year and a half.

Michael Kiely


1. Purpose

1.1. To develop a cost-effective and practical system that allows those undertaking cropland management and grazing land management activities to estimate/measure soil carbon changes on their land and sell voluntary carbon market offsets.

2. Context

2.1. The Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change Plan of Action includes a Government-Primary Sector partnership focused on assisting land-based primary sectors to capitalise on the business opportunities arising from climate change.

2.2. Moving from a high-emission to a low-emission economy is as much about positioning New Zealand for longer-term economic growth as it is about meeting our international climate change obligations. New Zealand’s agricultural and forestry industries will need to adapt to changing markets and capitalise on the resulting business opportunities.

3. Background

3.1. The Plan of Action will identify how New Zealand’s land-based primary sector firms and industries can position themselves for longer-term economic growth and competitive advantage. One area where there may be new business opportunities is in the voluntary carbon market.

3.2. Voluntary and compliance carbon markets are rapidly evolving around the world. The voluntary carbon market is where individuals or businesses offset greenhouse gas emissions without any legislated requirement to do so. In New Zealand a number of recently announced initiatives will facilitate the trading of voluntary carbon market units.

3.3. In the USA the Chicago Carbon Exchange currently sells units generated from rangeland soil carbon management and agricultural soil carbon activities. In Western Australia a group has announced the soil carbon accreditation scheme.

3.4. New Zealand chose not to elect any activities under Article 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol for the first commitment period (2008-2012). Emissions and removals from activities such as cropland management and grazing land management therefore do not generate Kyoto carbon credits for New Zealand. There may, however, be opportunities for those undertaking activities such as cropland management and grazing land management to supply the voluntary carbon market with offset units.

3.5. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has recently put out a Request for Proposal (Climate Change– ‘Plan of Action’ research programme 2007/08) on GETS (ref 20284) which included a topic entitled ‘Review of soil carbon status and mitigation options for New Zealand’: This review of soil carbon status and mitigation options should be able to assist in informing this research on voluntary carbon market opportunities from soil carbon management.

3.6. This research project seeks to expand on the issues and opportunities for New Zealand in the soil carbon (cropland management and grazing land management) area.

4. Research requirements
4.1. Introduction - a goal of the sustainable land management and climate change plan of action is to position the sectors to take advantage of the economic opportunities arising from climate change. This includes carbon market opportunities.
4.2. Aim - this research will contribute to this goal by developing a cost-effective and practical system that allows those undertaking cropland management and grazing land management activities to estimate/measure soil carbon changes on their land and sell voluntary carbon market offsets.
4.3. Outputs - the research project will:

Part 1
• Identify and describe what carbon market opportunities (voluntary and compliance) have been created (or are in the process of being created) overseas in the soil carbon area;

• Identify, describe and compare the technical specifications/standards, carbon accounting methodologies, and the monitoring, reporting and verification requirements in each of the situations identified above;

• Identify lessons from overseas for implementation in New Zealand;

Part 2
• Design a soil carbon assessment system for New Zealand that allows those undertaking cropland management and grazing land management activities to estimate/measure soil carbon changes on their land and sell voluntary carbon market offsets. This system would include:
• Technical specifications/standards, carbon accounting methodologies, guidelines and monitoring, reporting and verification requirements;

• System design considerations should include:
• consistency with New Zealand’s international reporting obligations under UNFCCC, and potential future international accounting such as under Article 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol;
• cost-effectiveness and practical feasibility ;
• feedback from potential participants;
• how the system could operate under the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.

• Identify potential risks for the government and/or participants, including consideration of how these risks can be managed or minimised;

• Estimate the size of the voluntary carbon market opportunity from soil carbon management in New Zealand;

• Identify the barriers to the creation of voluntary carbon market opportunities from soil carbon in New Zealand and propose solutions for how these barriers can be managed or minimised; and

• Identify requirements for underpinning research, information and tools that would support individuals to secure soil carbon opportunities in the voluntary carbon market in New Zealand.

Outputs from Part 1 are to be delivered by 30 June 2008.

Outputs from Part 2 are to be delivered by 30 June 2009 with a draft by February 2009.


ABC TV's 4Corners is seeking "Carbon Farmers" in the Birchip/Horsham mallee district to interview. Contact Kate Wild at

If you want to know if you are a Carbon Farmer, you can call me on 63740329. (If you are reading this you area Carbon Farmer.