Thursday, December 04, 2008

Greens MP and Senator plead for DPI soil carbon research to continue

The following happened while the Carbon Farming Expo & Conference was underway - sparked by the event:
Media Release | Spokesperson Christine Milne
Monday 17th November 2008, 2:21pm

Australian Greens Deputy Leader and climate change spokesperson, Senator Christine Milne, said: "The best climate change strategy for rural and regional Australia is in learning how to keep more carbon in the soils - reducing our climate impact and building resilience to the warming that we've already caused."Enhancing soil carbon is being recognised globally as not only a great thing for improving productivity and building resilience in the face of climate change, but it is also potentially a huge opportunity to reduce the carbon emissions which cause climate change.
"It is stupid and short-sighted in the extreme for any government to be closing down a facility which has 75 years of data to back the new, exciting science around soil carbon... We have lost too many scientists from our research institutions who understand how carbon is stored in soils and how natural systems work. We cannot rely on the agribusiness sector which is putting huge pressures on farmers' margins as well as on soils. Instead of getting rid of scientists who understand soil carbon, we should be recruiting them again and increasing their research funding.

19 November 2008
Greens MP calls on Government to reprioritise Soil Carbon Sequestration

Greens MP Ian Cohen, in coincidence with this week’s Soil Carbon Expo, is calling upon the Minister for Primary Industries to cull government funding for the Clean Coal fund and reinject the funds into soil carbon sequestration and agricultural based GHG emission reduction projects. “Last week I put a motion before the Legislative Council that the NSW Government acknowledge the emission reduction capacity of New South Wales’ agricultural sector and start prioritising this sector instead of subsidising clean coal projects” says Mr Cohen.
“NSW Department of Primary Industries has provided $500,000 to the National Centre for Rural Greenhouse Gas Research compared with $50 million dollars already committed for clean coal projects in NSW.”
“Why is the NSW Government disproportionately subsidising Clean Coal research for companies awash with record profits off the back of a sustained resource boom while leaving the agricultural sector, battling through an extended drought, with bread crumbs.”
“Some of the world's leading soil scientists suggest that more regenerative farming and grazing practices in Australia would sequester upwards of 927 million tonnes of CO2 a year and that such practices on 5 per cent of Australia's grazing land could offset this country's total greenhouse gas emissions.”
“Instead of acknowledging my repeated calls for increased funding in Parliament, the Minister has closed the Glenn Innes research facility which has undertaken extensive research into soil carbon and crop rotation.”
“If Alberta, Canada, home of the environmentally damaging Oil Sands can introduce a voluntary carbon offset market which includes 9 different agricultural emission reduction methods, then NSW can surely do the same. Albertan farmers who have adopted reduced tillage practices to reduce Co2 release from soils into the atmosphere have received $6,000 dollars on average from a carbon purchase agreement with a provincial electricity generator EPCOR.”

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