The Federal Government is working with Australian farmers to help lower emissions and realise new commercial opportunities through soil carbon projects.
Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said a new Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) method will make it easier for farmers to generate income from increasing soil carbon.
“Australian farmers have long been on the front line of reducing emissions through innovative practices,” Minister Taylor said.
“The Government is making it easier for Australian farmers to be rewarded for their contribution to reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“Under our plan, farmers will be free to choose whether they sell those offsets or use them to reduce their own emissions.”
“Increasing soil carbon could create a new revenue stream of more than $2.4 billion annually for Australian farmers and land managers.
“The new ERF method will reduce costs and increase returns to farmers, allowing modelled estimates of changes in soil carbon for the first time.
“The benefits for farmers go beyond carbon abatement. An increase in soil carbon improves the soil quality, stores water, and boosts productivity and yields of farmland.”
Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud said the new soil carbon method complemented the Government’s investment in the National Soil Strategy, which aims to improve soil health and agricultural resilience.
“We’re working to make Australian agriculture more resilient and we are committed to helping farmers improve the health and quality of soil,” Minister Littleproud said.
“That’s why we have released a National Soil Strategy and invested over $200 million in a National Soil Package to support on the ground action to improve soil management, resilience, health and productivity.
“Farmers want to be part of the emissions reduction solution and this new method will make it easier for them help solve the global problem and be rewarded for doing so.”
Analysis for Australia’s Long Term Emissions Reduction Plan shows increasing soil carbon could reduce our emissions by between 4 and 16 per cent.
Reducing the cost of soil carbon measurement to less than $3 per hectare per year is a priority under the Government’s Low Emissions Technology Statement and one of six priorities under the Technology Investment Roadmap.
Australian soils contribute around $63 billion per annum to Australia’s economy through agricultural production.
ERF methods for soil carbon and carbon capture and storage have been developed this year, alongside priority methods under development for blue carbon, biomethane and plantation forestry.
Since 2014, the ERF has committed $2.2 billion to projects in regional and rural areas, with more funding available through the $2 billion Climate Solutions Fund. This year, the ERF hit a milestone of 100 million carbon credits issued, making it one of the world’s largest offset schemes.
The Clean Energy Regulator develops priority methods through a co-design process with industry, potential end-users, scientists and technical experts, and the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee.
Source: Australian Government