Tuesday, May 31, 2011

'COmmon Practice' Uncommonly Complicated

The Additionality Rule has yet another unfortunate outcome: the Common Practice test on its own will create a bureaucracy the size of the current Department to administer its complexity. As the rule stands, a farming practice qualifies as "Additional" if it is not common practice in its industry, part of its industry or in the type of environment the farmer is working in. If it is not common practice it goes on the "Positive List". Who decides what’s on the list? The Minister and his advisors. How will they do this? The common practice test can only be applied if there exists accurate statistics of farm practices. This does not exist, so a major database exercise will be required. This database will need to be kept up to date, so farmers could find themselves filling in forms every year. Then there needs to be precise definitions of farm practices that take into account the variants of that practices. There will need to be some way of deciding when a variant is far enough removed from the original practice to be considered a new practice. There will need to be a cut off point that acts as the boundary beyond which everything is ‘common practice’. The levels of complexity grow exponentially when it is realized that the project must be measured against the others in the farmer’s industry or part of the industry and type of environment. Who decides what is a part of an industry and what isn’t? And type of environment – who decides what these are? The Minister and his advisers.
Once on the list your project is not guaranteed to stay there. Regular reviews of the ‘common practice’ situation will be conducted to decide who stays and who goes. Who decides who stays on the list? The Minister and his advisers. They won’t have time for much else.

For information about the Carbon Farming Conference & Expo and other Carbon Farming Week activities, click here.

For information about the Carbon Farming & Trading Association, click here.

No comments: