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TAS Country : November 4th 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010 Tasmanian Country 9 Rabobank Australia Limited ACN 001 621 129, AFSL 234700 offers the All in One account. RAB0500/10 Grow your business with our All In One account The market-leading rural loan from the agribusiness specialists The Rabobank All In One account is speci cally designed to assist primary producers realise their future plans. It combines exible long-term nance with easy access to funds through cheque book, VISA debit card and ATM, as well as the convenience of internet and phone banking. With one of the most innovative agribusiness loan packages available, you can make important nancial decisions at the right time for your business. ■ Maximise your cash ow with an interest-only loan period of up to 15 years. ■ Transaction, overdraft and loan facilities in a single account. ■ Book interest rates online without a fee and with no further documentation. Rabobank. One focus. Call 1300 30 30 33 or visit rabobank.com.au Opinion www.tfga.com.au Clear the air on carbon TFGA matters with Jan Davis COMPLEX QUESTIONS: Houston's Farm manager Craig Denny with product after the farm received a bursary in 2007 to help reduce its carbon footprint. LAST week the Federal Government announced the establishment of an expert panel that will advise it on how farmers will be able to claim and sell carbon credits. The unfortunately named Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee will determine to what extent farmers can be paid for the benefits they provide in the greenhouse gas equation, primarily in reducing or storing carbon. They achieve this by such means as reforestation, capturing emissions from landfill and better managing livestock manures. The appointment of this panel is the first step towards the Government's Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI), which is due to be introduced into Federal Parliament in the first half of next year. Eventually, the CFI will set out what landholders will need to do to generate carbon credits. It will also establish an independent regulator to verify carbon credit claims. Once credits are verified, they will be able to be traded on both Australia's voluntary carbon market and on overseas carbon markets. Typically, other individuals and corporations will buy the farmers' credits to offset their own carbon pollution. It's really a form of guilt management. So what do we make of it? Farmers definitely want to have input and close consultation on this initiative. Under the former proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, many farm offsets (such as carbon in the soil) were deemed ineligible because they did not comply with the Kyoto Protocol. We certainly don't want to see another outcome like that! This announcement about the CFI is not earth-changing for farmers at the moment. The international market for carbon credits is somewhat stunted in the wake of the lack of progress at the 2009 climate conference in Copenhagen. However, the market may develop in the future and it is prudent to gear-up farmers to engage as and when this happens. One of our main gripes is that we don't want Australia carrying the moral burden for those polluters who refuse to sign up to their obligations. But, having said that, we believe that carbon abatement through the agricultural sector is an opportunity that should not be ignored. One of the problems is that the rules underpinning carbon trading markets can often be confusing and difficult to interpret. Let's hope this Carbon Farming Initiative will deliver some clarity to Australian farmers about what farm practices will comply with the international carbon markets. As a first step, we must pursue changes to the flawed international carbon accounting rules to ensure that they appropriately acknowledge the positive carbon mitigation practices undertaken by farmers, particularly in the area of soil carbon. While the rules remain as they are, any opportunities from international carbon markets (and therefore the Carbon Farming Initiative) will be hamstrung by these rules and ignore many of the potential gains. While the funding allocated in the Government's Climate Change Research Program has been a welcome start to improving farmers' understanding of the science of carbon abatement through agricultural management practices, more will be needed if we are to optimise the mitigation opportunities through land use and livestock
October 28th 2010
November 11th 2010