Friday, January 08, 2010

MEDIA RELEASE: ACCC action threatens urgent Climate Change solution

The ACCC is damaging Australia’s Climate Change response, according to the Carbon Coalition Against Global Warming – the soil carbon advocacy group.

The ACCC is putting at risk the launch of a system that could protect the world from the worst effects of Climate Change. The regulator is taking court action against an Australian soil carbon pioneer whose system could buy the time we need to make the change to renewable energy sources.

Prime Carbon’s Ken Bellamy is within 3 months of launching a trading system which – worldwide – has the potential to neutralize emissions by 50ppm by turning the vast stretches of farmland and other lands (such as schools and parks) into a carbon sink. Leading Australian scientists recently declared that we have left it too late to avoid a 2°C increase in average temperature, and that only by a system like Mr Bellamy’s will we gain the time we need to bring renewable energy to baseload capacity.* The world’s most respected soil carbon expert Professor Rattan Lal believes the world’s farmers can ‘draw down’ the equivalent of 50ppm (parts per million) CO2.** Prime Carbon’s system uses photosynthesis as the way to absorb CO2 and store it in soil.

The Government needs innovators like Ken Bellamy to develop trading systems that accord with the National Carbon Offset Standard, recently released by the Department of Climate Change & Water and give us Australian options for reliable offsets.

“Ken Bellamy has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on technical development and due diligence on his system. He has also spent a small fortune on research for soil improvement which recently attracted a scientific peer review of his breakthrough paper on in-soil photosynthesis. Mr Bellamy also had a private meeting with the Prime Minister on the subject last month. These are not the actions of a fly-by-night operator,” says Mr Kiely. “He has engaged the local community in his system, building ‘business clusters’ to use local municipal wastes to make composts for enriching soils on local farms and from that to generate carbon credits to be shared between the farmers and urban communities.”

Prime Carbon is charged with making inappropriate references to other emerging industry organizations in its early marketing materials. Significantly, the charges do not refer to any of the core processes or to any current actions of Prime Carbon.

“Ken Bellamy has been completely transparent in this process, taking his solutions to the community, the ACCC and the Department of Climate Change for consultation and guidance,” says Michael Kiely. “The Carbon Coalition stands by Prime Carbon because it has taken the industry further and faster than anything else and we need the systems urgently.”

“The ACCC could do something truly heroic and invest some time studying soil carbon solution and the extraordinary opportunity it offers and balance that against the relative seriousness of the allegations and the damage already done to Prime Carbon by this unfortunate legal action.”

*“The science now tells us that it will be next to impossible for nations to achieve the scale of reductions required in sufficient time to avoid dangerous climate change unless we also remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it in vegetation and soils…The power of terrestrial carbon to contribute to the climate change solution is profound.”

- “Optimising Carbon in the Australian Landscape” - Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, October 2009

**‘The technical potential of carbon sequestration in world soils may be 2 billion to 3 billion mt per year for the next 50 years. Thus, the potential of carbon sequestration in soils and vegetation together is equivalent to a draw-down of about 50 parts per million of atmospheric CO2 by 2100.’

- Rattan Lal ( is Director of the Ohio State University’s Carbon Management and Sequestration Center and Professor of Soil Science in the School of Environment and Natural Resources.

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