Saturday, January 01, 2011

Spotlight on a scientific approach to making a market

Scientific authorities believe that, despite the Carbon Farming Initiative becoming law, soil carbon offsets will be delayed while Science finds solutions to the major issues Additionality, Permanence, and Measurement and Verification. This is likely to mean delays.. but for how long? In September 2010, in its official publication ECOS, the CSIRO reported, “There’s a virtual consensus among soil scientists that Australian farmers shouldn’t need any extra incentives to increase their levels of soil carbon.”

… market-based C-trading schemes involving pastures, [will be] exposed to the risks of complicated, ill-conceived, ill-understood, poorly regulated financial instruments and arrangements that are replete with opportunity for fraudulent scams and inappropriate diversion of community wealth to the personal fortunes of scheme managers and traders, while not delivering the scheme objectives, reminiscent of those involved in the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2009.”

(Roger M. Gifford, CSIRO Plant Industry, Carbon sequestration in Australian Grasslands: Policy and Technical Issues, Proceedings of FAO workshop on ‘The role of grassland carbon sequestration in the mitigation of climate change’, Rome, 15-17 April 2009)

Dr Clive Splash, CSIRO environmental economist: ”There is the potential for emissions trading to have undesirable ethical and psychological impacts and to crowd out voluntary actions.” (Clive L. Splash, The Brave New World of Carbon Trading, Munich Personal RePEc Archive, December 2009)

“So, for soil carbon, we need the best available tested science to avoid the situation where our children have to pay off a debt in the future, because we overstated the carbon benefit today,” says Dr Michael Battaglia, Theme Leader, Sustainable Agriculture Flagship, CSIRO. (“Putting the science into carbon offsets”, CSIRO advertorial, The Land 2 December, 2010)

A long time... let's keep the spotlight on...

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