Carbon market still an option for farmers despite lockout

13th August 2007Farmers can still sell carbon credits on the open market, according the National Australia Bank, despite being excluded from the Federal Government’s proposed cap and trade system.

NAB carbon finance specialist, Rachel O’Neill, last week told the Agriculture Australia conference that cash for carbon is still available to farmers, if they undertake new measures to offset carbon emissions.

“There were practical reasons why the sector was not included [in the government’s program], mainly to do with measurement uncertainties for carbon on-farm and the administration costs of many small sites, but the sector can still participate by generating offsets for use in the scheme,” she said.

Such potential offsets may include changes to fertilising practices and reduced land clearing as well as a move to farming practices such as no till which increases the carbon sequestered in the soil.

“The Chicago Climate Exchange is expected to trade almost 12 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2007, with carbon credits trading at around $US3.80/tonne,” she said.

“In one example, farmers are earning greenhouse gas offsets through practicing conservation tillage and planting grasses and trees.”

NAB has established a nabCapital Carbon Solutions Group to identify the opportunities in the evolving carbon finance market, in which they see farmers playing a definite role.

“We’re keen to assist clients manage their risks and take advantage of the new markets that are emerging,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government Inquiry into geosequestration or carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology has recommended the initiation of large-scale demonstration projects in Australia and more investment in clean coal research.

Committee chair Petro Georgio said CCS was one of a suite of options that needed to be pursued to offset Australia’s dependence on coal exports.

“Australia is well placed to contribute to the further development of CCS technology, as it is already a leader in this field and has begun to demonstrate the technology on a small scale.”

SOURCE: National rural news updated daily by FarmOnline.