Wednesday, July 04, 2012
Breaking the 100 Years barrier (25 is better)
"The Coalition... says it's committed to repealing the carbon tax, but supports the Carbon Farming Initiative and will honour carbon credits earned under the scheme," reported ABC Radio earlier this week. In fact, shadow environment minister Greg Hunt says, in Government, he would look to expand the Initiative. Greg says it's not reasonable to expect farmers to lock up areas of land for carbon sequestration for 100 years in order to earn credits.
"Our view is we will work to make a 25-year approach... It's a view which is almost universal across the sector that a quarter of a century, which is still a long time, is realistic, it allows people to long-term investments, but it's not binding beyond the lifetime of one particular farm."
We believe in the principle of healthy diversity and ‘let the market decide’. We advocate a plurality of offerings: 100 Year contract, 25 Year contract, 5 Year renewable contracts – renewable 4 times. The latter is the most acceptable to farmers, according to our research. However prices are likely to be lower at this end of the continuum.
We have long advocated the logic of a shorter option for the Permanence requirement because:
• No sane farmer would sign a contract for 100 Years with all the uncertainties and penalties associated with soil carbon as it has been presented;
• Soil Carbon sequestration can play an important interim role in the next 50 years while renewable energy sources grow to baseload capacity, according to prominent scientists
• The 100 Years period is not scientifically significant; it is not the time it takes for a molecule of CO2 to cycle out of the atmosphere. It was selected as a convenient period for comparing the warming potential of different greenhouse gases.
• 100 Years was chosen supposedly to equalise offsets based on sequestration with offsets based on avoided emissions. But the permanence of the avoided combustion of a tonne of coal via the use of renewable energy has been questioned on the grounds that there is no guarantee that the tonne of coal won't be dug up and burnt at a later date.
• The co-benefits of soil carbon are so many and so beneficial, including reducing the need for chemical inputs and suppressing disease in crops, according to the latest reports.
Posted by Michael Kiely at 1:56 PM