Australia's first carbon farming projects a step closer

Indigenous land managers across remote regions of the north of Australia may be able to earn carbon credits for improving fire management under the Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI).

Indigenous land managers across remote regions of the north of Australia may be able to earn carbon credits for improving fire management under the Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI).

The proposal is the first ‘methodology’ to be released for public comment under the Government’s CFI, bringing a step closer the Government’s plans to financially reward farmers and landholders for reducing Australia’s carbon pollution.

Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Mark Dreyfus said the methodology for savannah burning was developed by Government in close consultation with Indigenous groups and the CSIRO.

“This methodology is a world first, which represents a unique combination of traditional Indigenous ecological knowledge, cutting edge modern science, and the substantial economic potential that is emerging in carbon markets as Government’s around the world take action against climate change.”

“Under the CFI eligible projects will gain carbon credits, which they will then be able to sell to companies in Australia looking to voluntarily offset their carbon emissions, or on the established international marketplace”, Mr Dreyfus said.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, said this is good news for the agricultural sector because it will provide farmers and landholders with a significant opportunity to contribute to a low carbon future.

“Farmers and landholders will earn money by reducing their emissions, or offsetting the emissions of others, through the Carbon Farming Initiative”, Minister Ludwig said.

The Multi Party Committee on Climate Change is also considering the link between the CFI and the Government’s plans to introduce an emissions trading scheme in Australia.

Legislation to implement the CFI will be debated in Parliament this week ahead of its proposed commencement later this year.

Carbon Farming methodologies are assessed by an independent committee of experts to ensure they lead to real and measurable emissions reductions. The Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee brings a range of expertise to these assessments, including science, technology and greenhouse gas measurement approaches.

The Government is continuing to work with stakeholders to develop methodologies including for manure management, reforestation, soil carbon and reductions in livestock emissions.

Comments are invited on the proposed savannah burning methodology by Friday 30 June 2011. Copies of the draft methodology and further information on how to submit comments and the Carbon Farming Initiative is available on the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency website at: www.climatechange.gov.au/cfi