Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Greens will vote against what?

We have heard Christine Milne speaking on the Carbon Farming Initiative twice in week, including last Thursday at Rob Oakshott's Land Use Forum at which AAP alleges she vowed to block the legislation. She did not say anything like that in her speech or in answers to questions. (She may have said it privately to the AAP journalist.)

Christine said the Greens objected to perverse outcomes, such as was the case with forestry under the old regime where whole farms were sold to forest sink companies who planted the entire property and the next and the next, and planted single species biodiversity deserts of oil mallee and they were marketed as Managed Investment Schemes which inevitably failed. Meanwhile the forests marched across the countryside, sucking the children out of the schools, the business out of the local townships, and the lifeblood out of rural communities.We agree with her that such forest sinks have perverse outcomes. The new Carbon Farming Initiative makes promoters prove their project will have no environmental or social or food security detriment.

Christine Milne believes we need a national vision to merge the siloed solutions into an integrated plan, to avoid perverse outcomes. Such outcomes are easy to come across in the world of carbon. For instance, opening the Carbon Market in Australia with only forestry offsets for biosequestration would distort the market, channelling money that would have transformed farm landscapes and soils to health. And every day we put off the massive task of drawing down the legacy CO2 in the atmosphere takes us closer to overshooting the 2°C target. It also takes us closer to the day we need to feed 9bn people. And closer to the day we mourn the passing of the last family farm into corporate hands. Now there's a perverse set of outcomes. I'd vote against that.

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