Wednesday, October 10, 2007

But where's the water coming from?

Coalition member, farmer and engineer Rod Zemanec makes a case for a strong link between soil carbon credits and access to water. (His comments about CarbonLink apply to any soil carbon credit scheme.)


I have read the recent articles relating to Q&A on the Rush – Carbon Link trading scheme. I searched these documents for the mention of “WATER” – NOT ONE COMMENT! To fix carbon in soil or any other bio-sink you need water! Continuously for the life of the fix that is 70 years or more!

There are three key players in the carbon solution
1.The sun to provide the energy – fortunately still free issue from space
2. The land – sufficient area and depth and composition to form the substrate for the biological systems which become the carbon sink – farmers and landholders currently have this in stock and are ready to play
3. Water to enable the biota to survive capture the carbon through photosynthesis and maintain the carbon in a biological form in soil.

These three are critical for carbon capture. The Rush Carbon Link scheme is only a facilitator and not a fundamental element of the solution. It is desirable as an agent to sell the deals collect the cash and regulate payments and rewards it is not a critical component. The scheme will attempt to offset its risk by selling or insuring the risk like a sub prime deal neither broker or farmer could guarantee the results.

The water is a critical element and must be delivered reliably to the largest area as possible to enable these areas to act as carbon collectors and hence sinks. The water infrastructure must be addressed and is properly in the realm of the Government who has the money and the ability to collect cash through taxes, setup incentives and regulate the ongoing business.

A dry desert cannot hold biological carbon it simply seeps away through oxidation by any termite, bug, UV or anything that passes by even the seed bank eventually is consumed. A dry desert can be moistened progressively in blocks and encouraged to store carbon and keep it in store provided the process is maintained – sun, land and MOISTURE. I cannot understand how any rational carbon capture using biological methods can succeed without addressing the third critical element – WATER in continuing supply.

At present we cannot rely on rainfall patterns unless we reduce the carbon in the atmosphere and this required water management and distribution NOW! This problem requires new national solutions by government with the capital to collect, manage, distribute and regulate the water. Just imagine the value of a block whose water was government guaranteed for 100 years at a constant rate provided it was used to collect carbon as well as for agricultural purposes. Agricultural productivity would increase water loss through evaporation would reduce.
We simply need the infrastructure to collect distribute and regulate the water a new efficient model which supercedes the current water allocation and overcomes the waste, evaporation etc.
The infrastructure expenditure by government in water systems would be paid for in world wide carbon credits and the spin off benefits in sustainable agriculture would earn continuing export credits from food and fiber and ensure a distribution of population and wealth across the country

Rod Zemanek

(Rod Zemanek, the Managing Director of Sydney and China–based Predict International, is an international specialists in the field of hygienic handling of liquids to ensure they are fit for human consumption. In recent times he has made his name designing and constructing breweries in both Australia and China.)

No comments: