Saturday, April 25, 2009

Moves afoot overseas support Soil Carbon trading

Our international contacts tell us the gathering tidal wave of support for soils to be treated fairly is on track to swamp the Australian position and could leave Australia running to catch up. The FAO is staging a rolling series of meetings,honing the wording of a strategic motion to be put in Copenhagen. President Obama is holding a series of meetings with various government - the USA taking an independent route to Copenhagen on its own terms. It is bringing China with it - as predicted - as its gambling chip. And it has a strong position on Agriculture (due to the strength of its farm lobby) which it refuses to compromise. It has gathered a coalition of nations and organisations (Australia is not one of them) which are demanding that Agriculture be considered as a separate, self contained issue which should remove inequities and absurdities such as 'net-net accounting' provisions under Article 3.4, accounting for non-anthropogenic emissions from drought or bush fire, additionality, permanence, and measurement.
The question is: how bad does Climate Change have to get before decision-makers are so desperate that they will call on the farmers of the world to commence carbon farming in earnest? Shift their mindset from "The Mitigation Solution Must Fit The Accounting System" to "The Accounting System Must Serve The Mitigation Solution".

The Mitigation Solution is this: soil can sequester enough GHG to give the world time for alternative energy to gain critical mass. Fifty years is the horizon for soil to work its interim strategy.

The Carbon Coalition's Position on Kyoto is this: it is not designed to achieve its objective. It's creators did not consider the unique features of Agriculture. Their judgement was clouded by an unrealistic concept of the potential of soils and a "Green Bias" against farming as a cause to environmental destruction. No farmers were part of the construction team.

Net-net accounting: Kyoto says that if you include soils you must be accountable for emissions from non-human sources. This is an absurdity. The game is all about "Anthropogenic" sources.

Additionality: How do you ensure that the farmers continue with Carbon Farming to slow Climate Change if you don't incentivise them?

Permanence: Carbon cycles. It cannot be locked up for 100 years. But it can be contained within the dynamic of its cycles. So long as there is more held tomorrow than was held yesterday, of whatever fraction, sequestration has happened. The permanence of trees is a myth. The permanence of biochar is guaranteed. You have got to admit, it has a fan club of scientists.)

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