Thursday, December 31, 2009


What A Year! It was the Year of Soil Carbon. The Gods played Spin The Bottle with our fates. Some great things happened. We started the year facing this situation: the Government was intending to give farmers a BILL for Methane, a BILL for N2O, and no way to OFFSET THESE BILLS with Soil C. At the end of the year we have all sides of politics (except the Nationals) support a “Special Status Arrangement” for Agriculture tht recognizes its unique capacity to be both a sink and a source of carbon emissions and its starring role in the twin global challenges of Climate Change and Food Security. The new arrangement is the complete reverse of the first draft: NO BILL for methane (incentives instead), NO BILL for N2O (incentives instead), and soil C OFFSETS to trade. What a Trifecta.

The Year started amid the atmosphere of the FAO’s slow, deliberate campaign to build a coalition around soil sequestration for food security that was supposed to crescendo at Copenhagen, and did - with 4 separate side events for land use and land use change. But the Chinese and Indians came looking for a fight – and the rest is history. The Kyoto Protocols might be dust-binned, replaced by a “Pledge & Review” system – it won’t matter. The Soil Carbon Solution will happen.

Here at home the year commenced with an historic announcement by Dr Peter Fisher that the soil carbon models would need to be recalibrated – Roth C could not digest the soil C results he was encountering. This confirmed Christine Jones’s findings – and was historic for that reason alone.


The next blessing appeared in the shape of Malcolm Turnbull who discovered Green Carbon, thanks again to Christine’s efforts in Parliament House. We eyeballed Greg Hunt to see how deeply he had ‘got religion’ and he passed muster. Greg’s role is acknowledged in an earlier post. It shouldn’t be forgotten that Malcolm fought to the death for a farmer-friendly ETS that Ian MacFarlane managed to charm out of Penny Wong.

WHO ‘GOT IT’ IN 2009?

A lot of important people ‘got it’ in 2009: Tim Flannery finally ‘got it’ and said so in his book Now Or Never. The Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists “came out” for the Soil Carbon Solution. (Are there any ‘unconcerned scientists’?) Al Gore finally got it. Paul Gilding, ex-Executive Director of Greenpeace International gets it. The EU gets it. The World Bank gets it. The Ministry for Agriculture gets it. Minister Tony Burke gets it. Former Governor General Major General Michael Jeffrey got it and picked up the ball and is running with it, as Chairman of Outcomes Australia. Sadly the Soil Carbon Mythbusters don’t get it. Even sadder, the Climate Institute doesn’t get it, by their recent comments on farmers ‘pulling their weight’.


What’s to be got? This: If the immediate climate disasters are caused by the historic load of CO2 and farmers have the only means of extracting it from the atmosphere at the volumes required, in the time necessary, it becomes a matter of negotiation, not command from on high about moral obligations. Farmers won’t take any old deal. Not too many people ‘get’ this. 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".


Hurrah for Tony Burke. He listened to our petition on collaborative science. Congratulations to all those who ‘signed’ our petition. See how powerful you are! While governments wait the obligatory 3 to 5 years for science to confirm the unconfirmable – ie. take all the risk out of decisions – the climate deteriorates at an accelerating pace and the cost of each year lost is $500billion, according to Sir Nicholas Stern. Someone soon must stand up and say: “Stuff it! Let’s just do it.” The Government has done this by introducing “Collaborative” Science in its latest round of research funding. Teaming scientists with farmers, food processors, and policy professionals, the Government hopes to ‘achieve outcomes that make a difference’ and that ‘commercial realities are taken into account’ to see the outcomes are likely to be adopted by farmers.


Finally the moment of the year for mine was hearing a scientist remark, just as the conference rose for lunch after hearing Ken Bellamy present his paper on in soil photosynthesis and the role of autotrophs and phototrophs, “Astonishing. That was amazing.”


To everyone who did the smallest thing and those who moved the Heavens for the cause, you know who you are – and so does Mother Nature. In 2006, DR Lal described the Coalition’s Mission as “your noble cause”. And we now know that it is the people who support the cause that make it ‘noble’ by being there.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Santa came to Agriculture at Copenhagen

In his last blog post for the year, the Farm Institute’s Mick Keogh asked himself 'What happened to agriculture at Copenhagen?" and came up with the answer: "Nothing…. Good or Bad"
But he shouldn't be so glum, Mick. Santa came to Agriculture at Copenhagen. We now have a consensus of the major developed nations on "A SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT" for Agriculture that makes Dark Greens grind their teeth. That arrangement is based on the ‘Specificity of Agriculture'* which is a Copenhagen outcome. We have a broad coalition of nations and institutions who 'get it' about soil carbon. This coalition includes the USA, the EU, the World Bank, the International Federation of Agricultural Producers, the FAO and the UN itself. They know that the future will be very uncomfortable without it. It is inevitable because we hold the key to the future. While the climate scientists were wringing their hands and saying it's already too late, someone took a serious look at soil, did the sums, and decided it would be a doddle to pull 50 parts per million out of the atmosphere for 50 years. This is the bridge to the future the world has been looking for. No one can stop it now. But the most significant outcome from this consensus around Agriculture is a shift in thinking from zero-sum to win-win when it comes to farmers being rewarded financially for protecting and restoring the natural resource base. The meaning behind this development is very historic: It means that - for the first time in the history of human agriculture - there has been a real conomic value put on Nature that is more than a notional value. It is a working capital value. The people doing the farming (and the harming) can follow their natural inclination to treat the land with the respect they have for it, rather than overtax its capacity in order to make a decent living when society doesn't wish to pay a fair price for essential food and fibre that farmers produce. The Soil Carbon Solution will be seen by future generations as the turning point, if we are lucky. Finally, the best outcome for the world from COP15 was the fact that 'they' are not going to do anything useful about it. And right now those of the People leading the Climate Change Rebellion are taking us down a dangerous path. It should be noted that the Nationals do not support the Soil Carbon Solution or the Special Arrangement for Agriculture. Incentives, not taxes for Methane. Incentives, not taxes for Nitrogen Emissions. Plus Soil Carbon Credits if you want them. In our wildest dreams we did not think that the deal would be this good. But Barnaby describes it as being 'a little red car for Christmas and some fairy wings'. For oyur grandchildren's sake it is to be hoped that he has the courage to turn that little red car around.

FOOTNOTE: The Specificity has three sides: unlike other emitting industries, Agriculture is also a sink; it can help governments meet their emissions targets and give countries the time needed for renewable energy to gain critical base load capacity; and - the main anxiety of governments given briefings by military strategists - who else is going to feed the world's population when it doubles in 50 years?

Greg Hunt - Soil Carbon's Chief Salesman - We Salute You

It is easy to make promises when in Opposition. But you can put something on the agenda in a way that forces the Government to move. Opposition spokesman on Climate Action Greg Hunt has done that. 'The heart of what we want to do is soil carbon.". He says that using soil carbon to reduce Australia's emissions could see $1.5 billion flow back to rural Australia. "We believe that we can easily obtain through incentives rather than penalties for farmers a soil carbon uptake," he says. "As well as other forms of revegetation of 150 million tonnes per annum by 2020, if that's $10 a tonne for farmers, that's a $1.5 billion flow to rural Australia."
There are many questions yet to be answered, but if they think that they're going to fix the Legacy Load and Food Security for $1.5 billion.....

Sunday, December 20, 2009


"Australia will do no more and no less than the rest of the world, and that is our position," said Kevin Rudd at Copenhagen. This is the politician accused of wanting to lead the world by pre-emptive action. It proves our belief that POLITICIANS CAN'T LEAD, THEY CAN ONLY FOLLOW. Only the People can lead. ONWARDS!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Travelling Workshop - Your Doorway To Soil Carbon Offsets

Intrepid travellers in pursuit of soil carbon knowledge. Peter and Fran Prowse (front) and Jeremy Bradley and Cathy Eggert travelled all the way from Kempsey to Moree to attend the new Practical Soil Carbon Farming 2-Day Workshop, conducted by Carbon Farmers of Australia. The workshop is an AtoZ introduction to soil carbon trading. It is a prerequisite for baselining soils for the Prime Carbon Assisted Land Management Change and Soil Carbon Sequestration Program. This seminar was held at Dubbo last week and will be held at Wagga Waga, Young and Tamworth in the New Year. We can bring the Workshop
to your locality. Call 02 6374 0329.

Heavy Hitters have their say, all on COP15 Agriculture Day

(It is usual practice, in global Climate Change diplomacy, for meetings of all sorts to produce a joint statement of the delegates to send to policy-makers and decision-makers.)

Joint Statement
Beyond Copenhagen: Agriculture and Forestry Are Part of the Solution
14 December 2009
Participants included: Food and Agriculture Organization, International Federation of Agriculture Producers, International Fund for Agricultural Development, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research and its Challenge Program on Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security, Global Donor Platform for Rural Development, University of Copenhagen Faculty of Life Sciences, Center for International Forestry Research, and the Collaborative Partnership on Forests.

Forestry and agriculture are where poverty reduction, food security and climate change come together and must be addressed in an integrated fashion was the key message to negotiators from agriculture and forestry communities1 at Cop 15, today.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering carbon from agriculture and forestsmust be an essential component of any strategy to keep global warming below the 2 degree Celsius threshold. Climate adaptation and mitigation measures must have multiple sustainable development benefits, including conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

The communities:
• Agree it is critical that food security be integrated in the shared vision of the Long Term Cooperative Action text, in order to open the door to adaptation and mitigation support;
• Urge climate negotiators to agree on the early establishment of an agricultural work program under the SBSTA2;
• Look for agreement that REDD3 include agriculture, forestry and other land uses;
• Believe that the LULUCF4 accounting system needs to be favorable to agriculture.

The agricultural community is committed to playing an active role in reducing emissions, while increasing the productivity and sustainability of agriculture. We recognize that agriculture must nearly double food production to meet the demands of a growing population expected to reach 9 billion by mid-century while minimizing the sector’s emissions.
The forestry community is committed to helping to design and implement new mechanisms to mobilize forests for climate mitigation and adaptation, while exploiting synergies with sustainable development objectives and managing associated risks. We recognize the significance of forest-based emissions and the cost-effectiveness of early action to reduce them. The most important drivers of deforestation originate from outside the forestry sector, including agriculture. There are also significant opportunities to correct current market andgovernance failures that lead to perverse outcomes for climate change and food security.
Forest and agriculture based adaptation strategies are available, but not yet fully appreciated by policy-makers and the general public. Significant financial resources and political will are needed to better address food security, slow deforestation and forest degradation, and reach emission reduction targets. Investments must be transparent and additional to support for global food security and rural development. These resources must be accessible to all stakeholders, including researchers, civil society and especially forest communities, farmers and their associations. Resources must also be devoted to the research necessary to underpin needed advances in the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of agriculture and forestry-based approaches to mitigation and adaptation. Policy processes need to be empowering and adaptive to respond to realities on the
ground, the desires and aspirations of local communities, and ensure good governance. Inparticular, the role of local institutions in sustainable natural resources management should be given increased recognition, and the rights and roles of indigenous and local and farming communities especially women and young farmers must be recognized in
developing national mitigation and adaptation strategies.
We commit to strengthening cross-sectoral cooperation to address the drivers of deforestation, enhance sustainable agricultural growth and foster rural development. We recognize that addressing climate change is fundamental to food security and poverty reduction today and for future generations.

1 Participants included: Food and Agriculture Organization, International Federation of Agriculture Producers,
International Fund for Agricultural Development, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research and its
Challenge Program on Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security, Global Donor Platform for Rural
Development, University of Copenhagen Faculty of Life Sciences, Center for International Forestry Research, and
the Collaborative Partnership on Forests.
2 Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice
3 Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation
4 Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

DPI/DII Mythbusters Soldier On

Mythbustersin denial? The Cowra Guardian carries this story yesterday:

Carbon myth busters seminar next February
14 Dec, 2009 08:46 AM
Soil Scientist with NSW Department of Industry and Investment David Waters will present “Carbon Myth Busters”, a seminar developed by leading soil scientists to help farmers manage their response to the soil carbon debate in Cowra next February.
The seminar will be held on Thursday February 11, 2010 from 9:30am to 3:30pm at the Pridham Centre, DPI Research Station.
Morning tea and lunch will be provided and the seminar is free.
Please RSVP by 20 January 2010 to ensure your place, phone 6340 2040 or email

Monday, December 14, 2009

THE CAT IS OUT OF THE BAG - Sydney Morning Herald report

Down and dirty: farm soil will offset emissions in Australia's carbon cut scheme
December 14, 2009

IT WAS a candid remark in a private briefing. But unfortunately for the Government, comments by an Australian climate negotiator late last week in Copenhagen have pretty much let the cat out of the bag on where Labor intends to find any ambitious cuts to Australia's 2020 greenhouse gas emissions.

Ironically, it will be in exactly the same places that the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, goes looking for his ''practical measures'' to solve climate change.

And they will not be anywhere near the smokestacks of dirty coal-fired power stations or the big polluting industries. They will be in the rolling back paddocks, grazing lands and grasslands of rural Australia - a green pot of carbon gold.

The premise is that simple changes in how we manage agricultural land - reducing tillage and fertiliser use or improving fire management - help return carbon to the soil. It is hard to put a dollar value on the bonanza but the numbers are enough, some say, to make Australia carbon neutral for the next three or four decades - all without having to impose a nasty tax, set up a complicated emissions trading scheme or clean up a single polluting pipe.

The climate change negotiator reportedly told an NGO group at a Copenhagen briefing that Australia would be able to commit to 25 per cent greenhouse gas cuts by 2020 - if land use rule changes driven by Australia and other developed countries are accepted as part of a new global climate deal.

The changes are highly contentious in Copenhagen, as developing nations recognise the potential for countries such as Canada, the US and Australia to offset industrial pollution against carbon sequestration in rural landscapes. Put simply, because these countries have hundreds of millions of hectares of land, very small increases in soil carbon could generate huge reductions in their net emissions.

But they have been accused of cooking the books on their emissions and there are huge divisions between developed and developing countries over how emissions from agriculture, grazing, grasslands and forestry will be counted in any new Copenhagen climate deal.

The row comes as latest figures show that Australia's greenhouse gas emissions have soared 82 per cent since 1990. The overall jump - reported to the United Nations in September - has been caused by a blow-out of 657 per cent in Australian land use emissions between 1990 and 2007.

There is a wild natural variation in these emissions from year to year - for example, there was a massive spike in 2002-03 from bushfires - and as a result Australia has chosen to opt out of reporting most of them against its Kyoto 2012 greenhouse target.

But in an effort to unlock the huge potential for ''carbon sinks'' in agricultural and grazing lands as part of any new Copenhagen climate deal, Australia has driven controversial rule changes that would exclude the impact of ''extraordinary events or circumstances'' such as bushfires and drought.

This would then make it easier for developed countries to claim offsets or carbon credits from agricultural and grazing lands.

Environment groups and NGOs at the climate talks say it is so difficult to accurately measure these emissions that it opens up the possibility of "accounting frauds" which could mask real increases in industrial emissions.

Paul Winn from Greenpeace International, who has closely followed negotiations over ''Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry'' at recent climate negotiations, said the push to get the land use rule changes into a new deal might mean the

''greenwashing of Copenhagen''. "These are basically accounting frauds, they're shuffling the cards … it's just a changing of the figures and the atmosphere doesn't see any difference to the emissions or removals that occur."

Dr Payal Parekh, a climate scientist for International Rivers, said: "The effect that these loopholes will have on the targets is that it will water them down.

"It essentially means that developed countries including Australia could actually increase their emissions in the next few years … it is a total scam. It appears as if something is [being] done, but it is not. The best way to sum it up is that it is a get-out-of-jail- free card."

Last year, in his official climate report to the Government, the economist Ross Garnaut estimated that increasing soil carbon in grazing areas and croplands could store 354 million tonnes of CO2 a year for 20 to 50 years (equivalent to more than half of Australia's present annual emissions).

Christine Jones is a renowned soil scientist who argues that holistic management of agricultural land can make Australia carbon neutral for decades.

If accurate, that's enough to soak up Australia's entire post-industrial contribution to climate change - with simple landcare practices.

Many farmers already see it as a big win and at seminars across the country are signing up to sell their soil-carbon credits. Farmers agreeing to reduced tillage, bio-fertiliser use and other soil conditioning are told to expect a 1 per cent increase in soil carbon in the top 150 millimetres of their soils - up to 55 tonnes of carbon dioxide credit per hectare.

But there's one big problem. If storing carbon in rural soils is seen as a substitute for burning less fossil fuel, scientists say that the global climate is in deep trouble. Some scientists argue the only really safe level for carbon dioxide is 350 parts per million or less. It is presently at 387 ppm.

The suspicion we may be comparing apples with pears when measuring carbon at the smokestacks and in paddocks is confirmed by an insider who knows how Australia does its greenhouse gas accounting. This source said there were huge problems trying to account for carbon in rural landscapes. "This is all about paper shuffling. It's not about reducing emissions. It's about being seen to be complying [with targets] for political reasons.

"Whatever the outcome, I would not be confident it will be effective in doing what it's meant to do - cutting emissions".

The source said that land use accounting was so important to the Government it had been kept in-house when almost all other greenhouse accounting - including transport and energy - was done by consultants. ''It makes you wonder what they're up to.''

Agriculture's Big Day Out at Copenhagen

Statement of Outcomes from Agriculture and Rural Development Day
12 December 2009, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen

A group of more than 300 policymakers, farmers and scientists meeting in Copenhagen today called on climate change negotiators and governments at the United Nations Climate Change Conference to recognize agriculture’s vital role in climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The group strongly endorsed the proposed target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently to avoid a temperature increase of more than 2 degrees C and stressed that reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture is essential for achieving the target. Farmers and researchers are already finding climate change solutions. On that basis, the agricultural community intends to play a pro-active role in actions aimed at reducing emissions, while increasing the productive capacity of agriculture through the development of sustainable practices.

Agriculture faces the challenge of nearly doubling food production in order to meet the food needs of a population expected to reach 9 billion by mid-century but without increasing the sector’s emissions. For this purpose, agriculture will need to make the most of new opportunities for expansion, particularly in the temperate zone, where climate change is expected to favor crop production. Across most of the tropics, however, agriculture will continue to face the enormous challenge of adapting to harsh and unpredictable growing conditions.

To meet the climate challenge, additional financing and investment, probably at the higher end of current estimates, will be needed across the entire rural value chain. New investments must be handled transparently to ensure that adaptation and mitigation are not undermined by reduced support for global food security and rural development. In addition, new investment must be accessible to all stakeholders, including researchers and members of civil society, such as farmer associations.

Specifically, the group called on climate negotiators to:

* Establish an agricultural work program under the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) to address gaps in knowledge on climate change impacts at the local level and in monitoring and verification systems
* Strengthen structures for policy dialogue at the regional and local levels that include all stakeholders.

Agriculture and Development Day was organized by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development, the Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, the International Federation of Agriculture Producers, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Global Forum for Agricultural Research, the Earth System Science Partnership.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

COP15: Governments must enable environmental markets - USA

The Obama Administration believes governments should work to make environmental markets possible by providing the infrastructure they need. Secretary for Agriculture Tom Vislack told the Agriculture and Rural Development Day audience at Copenhagen last night that both farmers and governments will need to change their thinking to capture the benefits from on-farm activities that can reduce the severity of climate change: "I ask American farmers and ranchers to look at climate change not just as a problem, but also as an opportunity for those who want to make their living on the land more profitable by reducing their carbon footprint... To capture these opportunities farmers and ranchers will need to rethink the business model that they operate under, develop new ways to partner with businesses and industries that will be demanding greenhouse gas reductions, and governments will need to create the infrastructure necessary to drive successfully environmental markets." Secretary Vislack stressed the dangerous food production scenarios mapped by the FAO as the need for urgency. He said the world needs scientific researchers focussed singlemindedly on finding solutions, not science for science's sake. He ended his speech by referring to his new grandson Jake, 5 months old. "He's the reason that Climate Change is something personal for me."

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.

Soil Carbon Tony Abbott's secret weapon

The mysterious claim that Tony Abbott made - that the Opposition will have a Climate Change plan without the need of a tax of cap and trade - has put soil carbon in the frame. Shadow Minister for the Environment told Tony about the enormous draw down capacity of soil, and Tony got it .he Age eports: "On Wednesday, Mr Abbott said the Coalition would not take an emissions trading scheme or a carbon tax to the next election, but instead work on an alternative climate plan. Yesterday, Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt said the Coalition would develop a range of mechanisms over the summer that would be ''incentive based'' to reduce Australia's carbon emissions. Mr Hunt said the Coalition's policy would cost less than the Government's rejected emissions trading scheme, while achieving the same emissions reduction targets of 5-25 per cent by 2020.
The Coalition's plans include encouraging the capture and storing of carbon in soil, better land management, energy efficiency programs for buildings, developing renewable energy and ''cleaner'' coal power plants."

Soil Carbon Credits recognised by Commonwealth Government

Soil carbon credits (offsets) are finally recgnised as possible in the Australian environment after years of denial by the Commonwealth Government and official science. On the web page introducing the National Carbon Offset Standard, the Department of Climate Change & Water makes prominent references to farmland and soil carbon offsets:

"The National Carbon Offset Standard provides Australian businesses, particularly farmers, with the opportunity to develop offset credits for voluntary carbon markets. These opportunities include offsets from increased soil carbon and from other land-based emissions sources... "Carbon offsets represent a reduction in greenhouse gases, or enhancement of greenhouse gas removal from the atmosphere by sinks such as soil carbon, relative to a business-as-usual baseline. Carbon offsets are tradable and often used to offset all or part of another entity’s emissions."

The Carbon Coalition congratulates the Minister Penny Wong and her advisers for listening with open minds.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Soil C Credits "will restore degraded land at an almost unimaginable scale" - IPCC Professor

Soil carbon credits can "drive profound improvements to the way we farm in Australia and ... create new market opportunities... restore degraded land at an almost unimaginable scale." So said Professor David Karoly is ARC Federation Fellow at the School of Earth Sciences, The University of Melbourne, in The Age recently.

"The recent negotiations between the Government and the Liberal Party have led to some improvements to the CPRS. The expansion of terrestrial carbon offsets is likely to drive profound improvements to the way we farm in Australia and how we manage our land. It will put a price on carbon and create new market opportunities to protect and restore degraded land at an almost unimaginable scale. Of course, the additional compensation to the worst emitters also puts more costs on to all taxpayers.
" Good value for money!

Opinion: Government fiddles around the edges while Australia burns
Professor David Karoly, published in The Age Newspaper, November 27, 2009
Professor David Karoly is ARC Federation Fellow at the School of Earth Sciences, The University of Melbourne. He played a key role in a report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Trading inevitable, no matter who leads the Party

Tony Abbott’s unlikely win in the tussle for leadership of the Opposition continues the tradition started when Australian speed skater Steven Bradbury won Gold in his event at the Salt Lake City Games in 2002 when the rest of the field crashed out of the race 15 meters from the finish line. He had been running last.
The election of a climate sceptic to the leadership of the main Opposition Liberal party in the Australian Parliament will have no significant impact on the introduction of a carbon trading system which includes soil carbon credits, according to the Carbon Coalition, the soil carbon farm lobby. There are several major reasons for this:
1. Agriculture was always going to be ‘uncovered’, ie. not affected by the legislation. The Voluntary Market needs no legislation to operate. Cap-and-Trade legislation is not needed to see the trading start on the voluntary market. These private trades can take place even in the absence of the Government’s Voluntary Market Standard. A link to the CPRS Cap and Trade system was always expected to be somewhere in the future.
2. The demand from industry is growing rapidly, creating opportunities for trade in carbon credits, especially those produced as a result of farmland restoration through changing land management practices.
3. The Government now has the option of calling a special election of both houses of Parliament – on the issue of taking action on Climate Change – that can give the Government a clear path to get its CPRS legislation through. The narrow position of the anti-Climate Change forces that have captured control of the Opposition will make it hard to retain seats in any snap election the Government may call on the issue. The strong support in the electorate for action on Climate Change. More than 65% are in favour of action. This holds true for the majority of electorates which are concentrated in the suburbs of the major cities.