Thursday, January 06, 2011


Offset methodologies

Offset projects established under the Carbon Farming Initiative will need to apply methodologies approved by the Government. These will contain the detailed rules for implementing and monitoring specific abatement activities and generating carbon credits under the scheme.

Methodologies can be developed and proposed by private project proponents, as well as government agencies.

The Australian Government is working with industry and other stakeholders, state government officials and technical experts to develop offset methodologies that have broad application. These methodologies are expected to be approved and rolled out progressively from April 2011.

An independent expert committee, the Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee, has been established to assess offset methodologies proposed under the scheme and provide recommendations to the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency on their approval. The committee will ensure that methodologies are rigorous and lead to real abatement.

Once approved, Carbon Farming Initiative methodologies will be published on this website.

Submitting a methodology for assessment

The proposed process for assessing Carbon Farming Initiative methodologies is outlined in the consultation paper and draft methodology submission guidelines.

Interested stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on the assessment process and guidelines as part of their submission on the Carbon Farming Initiative design by 21 January 2011, or separately by email to

Methodology development

The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry are working with industry to develop offset methodologies that have broad application.

This work is being progressed through a number of methodology work streams, including:

  • Soil carbon and biochar;
  • Reforestation, forest management and avoided deforestation;
  • Savanna fire management;
  • Landfill gas recovery;
  • Manure management; and
  • Management of methane from livestock.

Technical working groups comprising representatives of expert and practitioner groups are being established by the departments to review current scientific knowledge, determine any requirements for additional research and finalise methodologies under each work stream.

For further information on the working groups contact

Government releases Carbon Farming Initiative detail


The Gillard Labor Government has announced another major step towards establishing the Carbon Farming Initiative, a carbon offsets scheme that will provide new economic opportunities for farmers, forest growers and landholders and help the environment by reducing carbon pollution.

The Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, said the government was releasing draft legislation and methodology guidelines for the scheme.

“While there is still work to be done, the government is making these early drafts available now to give stakeholders more information on how the proposals described in the consultation paper released last November would work in

released early in 2011 for consultation with Indigenous communities and other stakeholders.

Mr Combet said the government welcomed stakeholder feedback on the details of the scheme. Feedback will help prepare final legislation and guidelines following closure of the consultation paper submission period on 21 January 2011.

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...

In praise of scientists

On the eve of Soil Carbon Credits becoming law in Australia, the Carbon Coalition thanks and acknowledges the following scientists who supported our efforts without compromising their science: Dr Annette Cowie, Dr Alex. McBratney, Dr Brian Murphy, Dr Rattan Lal, Dr Peter Ampt, Rosemary Hook, Dr Jeff Baldock, Dr Andrew Rawson, and Dr John Crawford. Your principled position has retained public confidence in science. Thank you.