Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rudd Government wants soil “in”

The Government wants soil carbon to be a starter when the Australian scheme starts in 2010 – if we can get our act together and overcome the ‘practical difficulties’ we always hear about when soil carbon is mentioned.

Sources within the Government say that the Government wants the ETS to cover as many sectors of the economy as ‘practicable’ because it allows for the lowest cost abatement in every sector covered. “Maximum practical coverage” is the policy*. What is ‘practical’ depends on what tolerances you have for deviations between estimates of emissions versus the actual emissions taking place. Every type of emission source is estimated. What makes the difference is what degree of uncertainty is acceptable.

The Government believes that all measurement of emissions across both international greenhouse gas inventories reported to the international community and in emissions trading schemes around the world use estimates rather than direct measurement. Even with direct measurement, you take a sampling approach then extrapolate up to the total amount of emission.

The Government will publish a “Green Paper” for comments in July – so now is the time to shout for soils.

*The following slide was presented to a CSIRO conference in October 2007 by Dr Stephen Bygrave who is Assistant Secretary, Emissions Trading Platform Branch, Department of Climate Change:

* Achieving Wide Coverage
• Maximum practical coverage of all
sources, sinks and greenhouse gases
• Agriculture and forestry not liable parties
– Brought into scheme as practical issues are

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