Tuesday, September 28, 2010

$500m between 100,000 growers over 10 years

They described it as 'conservative", but this estimate of the income Australian farmers is as conservative as Tony Abbott!!! The Federal Government conservatively predicts that farmers and landholders could make $500 million in 10 years under the new Carbon Farming Initiative released during the election campaign. Julia Giilard opened the door wider to farmers looking to earn carbon credits when she added “international markets” to the options facing farmers. This means carbon credits earned on-farm in Australia will be sold on the Mandatory Market where prices are always higher than in the Voluntary Market – the only market available to us until now.
The Carbon Farming Initiative covers more than seven potential revenue streams for farmers: reforestation, projects that avoid or reduce emissions from livestock, fertiliser use and manure management, savannah burning, legacy waste in landfill, and deforestation, as well as soil carbon and biochar.
Low hanging fruit for farmers is the avoided or reduced emissions from fertiliser. When it is applied, an amount of the Nitrogen in conventional fertilizer oxidizes and escapes as Nitrous Oxide. It has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 300 times that of CO2. This is good news for farmers changing their fertilizer practices to reduce or eliminate N2O emissions. For every tonne of N2O avoided, you multiply the price of carbon (CO2-e) by the GWP (300). A methodology for this offset us currently before the Expert Panel for berification. We are confident of its success because it doesn’t have the same challenges for scientists around measurement and verification.
There is also likely to be a tradable unit for avoided methane emissions from waste management systems which divert organic matter from landfill where is emits methane. The aim is to encourage on-farm composting to recycle the green wastes.
Meanwhile the Government has joined a Global Research Alliance to ‘fast track’ soil carbon work. The Carbon Coalition has applied to become a Project Partner.

The $45.6 million cost of the Carbon Farming Initiative is already included in the Budget, through the Renewable Energy Future Fund.

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