Passage of carbon farming bill paves the way for climate change solutions Media Release

Aug 23, 2011 - 1:23pm

Australia took an important first step towards tackling climate change with the passage of the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) through the Senate last night, The Climate Institute said today.

“Until now, rural and regional Australians have had little incentive to innovate and build comparative advantage in climate change solutions. The Carbon Farming Initiative gets the ball rolling,” said Corey Watts, The Climate Institute’s Regional Project Manager.

“For the first time, farmers and other landholders will be in charge of their own emissions pathway and their own destiny in a low-carbon economy. Not drought, not governments, but landholders,” Mr Watts said.

Crucially, the legislation is part of a broader package, comprising funds to research, develop and extend climate change solutions to landholders.

Now, the missing piece of the puzzle is a domestic price tag and limit on carbon pollution — to drive demand for rural solutions from the country’s big industrial emitters.
Conservative estimates suggest that, with a carbon price, the land sector could offset up to 3 per cent of Australia’s total emissions per year, or around 10 per cent of the sector’s own emissions — a pollution reduction of up to 15 million tonnes in 2020.

“It’s a modest but crucial start but one that could see Australia’s top polluters investing in innovative, low-pollution food production and land management — helping landholders manage climate risks and tap into a whole new market,” Mr Watts said.

The Carbon Farming Initiative sets up a new market in pollution offsets, such as reduced emissions from livestock and landfill, more efficient fertiliser use, new carbon forestry, and changes in fire management.

Under the Government’s Clean Energy package, the agriculture sector will not be liable for their emissions but will have access to more than $400 million in assistance and grants for research, development, training and improved soil management.

For further information:
Corey Watts | Regional Projects Manager, The Climate Institute | 03 9600 4039

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