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Carbon emission trading submission

Climate and climate change impact directly on Australia’s agriculture and forestry industries. These industries, in turn, play a key role in Australia’s profile of greenhouse gas emissions: agriculture is the nation’s second largest emitter; forestry provides a significant carbon sink; and much of Australia’s emissions abatement so far has come from significant reduction of land clearing from agricultural areas.

While agriculture has not been included in any emissions trading system developed yet, its emissions profile in Australia could make it a candidate for inclusion in any newly developed national emissions trading system which seeks to reduce national emissions in a cost-effective manner. Agriculture has the potential to help the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions by the sequestration of carbon into soils and vegetation. Terrestrial vegetation and soils absorb approximately 40% of global carbon dioxide emissions from human activities and changes in agriculture and forestry could increase sequestration of carbon.

Forestry is already active in some existing trading systems, and should be part of any new emissions trading system in Australia. There is an opportunity to broaden the opportunity for forestry by inclusion of carbon stored in wood products.

Agriculture and forestry have unique features which must be taken into account if they are to play a comprehensive role in emissions trading. These include the widely distributed nature of agriculture and forestry, the difficulty of measuring small changes in annual fluxes over wide areas, permanence, and the lack of knowledge about best management practices for greenhouse gas abatement in agriculture or the costs of such abatement.

The exploration of a phased approach to incorporating agriculture fully into a national emissions trading system highlights the need for research to identify low-cost mitigation options for Australian agriculture, the development of industry standards for mitigation and offsets, the verification of methodologies, and the accreditation of management practices. This required industry, government and the research community working together.

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228.8KB 13/02/2012

This page was last updated on 24/07/2017

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