Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Where is the Government's sense of urgency?

Closer inspection of PM Gillard's "Carbon Farming Initiative" reveals a slothful pace for including the main game - soil carbon. The Government says the first methodologies for units under the National Carbon Offsets Standard will be rolled out from mid-2011. These early methodologies do not include soil carbon. The only certainty is reforestation. Other early starters include: Livestock (methane); Fertiliser use and manure management (nitrous oxide); savanna burning (paying Indigeous landowners to cease firestick farming); legacy waste in landfills; and deforestation. The scary part is that these are referred to as "methodologies that are expected to be settled in the early years of the scheme". Soil carbon is relegated to a category with biochar - as needing 'further research'. This is code for 'soil carbon is mired in the quicksand of the Science of Measurement.' It is not even included in the 'early years'. We can only hope that this campaign media release was written by a party spin doctor who wasn't aware of Tony Burke's promise in March this year that "If you're able to improve the amount of carbon in the soil through sequestration, you get cash." He didn't say "You get cash sometime after 2020..." Now is the time to put maximum pressure on Science to perform - to demonstrate a sense of urgency. After 3 years of playing a straight bat and giving scientists open slather on what they present at the Carbon Farming Conference, we have decided that we will no longer listen to lists of reasons why we can't have what we want, ie. soil carbon trading. Instead only scientists who can tell us how we can get what we want will be invited to speak. We need good old fashioned "Science In The Service Of Mankind".

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