Carbon farming welcome boost Media Release

Aug 14, 2010 - 11:00am

Labor’s new Carbon Farming Initiative is a welcome boost for regional Australians giving them a stake in the global low-carbon economy, but it will only benefit Australia in the long run with an emissions trading scheme the independent Climate Institute said today.

“This is a welcome step forward that helps to build the skills and capacity for low pollution, climate friendly carbon farming,” said John Connor, CEO The Climate Institute.

“But carbon farming’s long-term benefit for Australia, and possibly its long term viability, depends on a commitment to a national limit and price tag on pollution in an emissions trading scheme. 

The Climate Institute preliminary modelling of the Australian pollution reduction potential of the Carbon Farming Initiative reveals early benefits taken overseas if no Australian trading scheme emerges by 2012 -2014.

A lasting Australian benefit emerges if carbon farming forms part of a stronger emissions trading scheme 

“Without a national scheme that makes our largest polluters take responsibility for their pollution, carbon farmers will have to sell to buyers from Japan, Europe or elsewhere.”

Preliminary modelling shows that the initiative could lead to tens of millions of tonnes of pollution reduction every year by 2020.

Under the proposed Carbon Farming Initiative, power companies, other polluters and ultimately agriculture could offset their emissions by purchasing, for example, low emissions management of livestock, avoided land clearing, new carbon forests and the skilful management of fire in tropical savannas. 

“Carbon farming is an important part, but can’t be the only part, of the task in shifting to a low pollution economy and fighting climate change.

“For Australia to do its fair share on global pollution and climate change, the efforts of carbon farmers need to combine with industries taking responsibility for their pollution in line with a 2020 target of 25 per cent reduction on 2000 levels.

A revised star rating and update of our Pollute-o-meter will be posted online before ALP’s campaign launch on Monday.  This announcement consolidates ALP’s star rating of one and a half stars out of five compared to the Coalition’s half a star and Green’s four stars.

“After two weeks of inaction this is a welcome initiative from the ALP but it still has to make clear commitments to limit and put a price tag on the pollution, provide greater action on making clean energy cheaper and come forward with decisive energy savings initiatives,” concluded Mr Connor.

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