Friday, December 04, 2009

How "they" cooked the books

Don't expect the pathway to soil carbon credits to be smooth. The closer we get, the more they will throw at us.
Until now, we have always believed that the myth that Australian soils are too degraded and Australia's climate is too and dry for carbon sequestration was based on erroneous conclusions drawn from the scientific work done as part of the National Carbon Accounting System . The failure to include 'carbon farming' or conservation farming in the data sets skewed the findings. Ignorance of the practices can explain this deficiency. But not the examples of how the findings were skewed. The evidence can be seen on the following charts from AGO technical reports (sent to us by an anonymous source within a government agency). The techniques of distortion used include allowing a single datapoint to skew the entire chart, making an arbitrary division in the data to fit the conclusion, and presenting charts based on data with a low level of reliability, ie. R2 score of .44 or .56, without alerting the reader to the weakness. ( R 2 squared- a correlation coefficient that indicates the predictive value of the data as presented.)

The motivation may not have been malign. The outcome was. The long delay in implementing the soil carbon solution can be directly linked to the 'information' campaigns conducted by bodies such as the GRDC (identified by the Senate), CSIRO (obvious to anyone with eyes who read "The Hidden Cost of Humus" debacle), and prominent academics. These campaigns use the AGO's flawed science as their base. The ignorance of scientists of this state of affairs was on display when a high profile professor of climate change science -- attending the Kioloa Dialogue and Workshop was heard to say that Australia's National carbon Accounting Scheme is 'world's best practice.'

People ask why we need to bring this issue up when clearly we have achieved our goal. First, we have not achieved our goal. Our mission is "To see soil carbon traded and farmers paid fairly for what they grow." Second, these myths and their perpetrators do not stop operating. They simply morph into new forms. The Denialist Rebellion in Canberra is proof.

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