There is a disconnect between cause and effect in the Alice In Wonderland world of the Carbon Farming Initiative. The purchase of offsets is assumed to be a strictly limited, one dimensional transaction in which the buyer is interested only in ‘genuine abatement’ as dictated by the narrowly-focussed Kyoto Protocol.
The purpose of the CFI is to get broad involvement among farmers in abatement activities to take advantage of the vast acreage of Australia’s farming and grazing lands to help meet the global community’s goal of less that 2°C increase in global mean temperature. The term ‘board involvement’ should be defined in terms of the needs of the objective – which is to have the largest number of farmers possible sequestering and avoiding as much carbon emissions as possible as soon as possible and for as long as possible.
In the voluntary market at least buyers are free to respond to such a proposition. Whereas in the compliance market it is a strict accounting exercise, based on national targets, the voluntary market can entertain such concepts as ‘a hectare that is not under contract for sequestration is not secured as part of the national effort’. It is also not guaranteed to be part of the regeneration of soil health and biodiversity in farm landscapes.
Opportunities in the Carbon Farming Initiative will be revealed at the Carbon Farming Conference & Expo, 28-29 September, 2011