Agriculture offsets could earn more than coal

Climate chaos0

AUSTRALIA could develop a trade in agricultural carbon offsets to the United States worth more than the nation’s current global coal exports – but not if agriculture is covered by an emissions trading scheme (ETS), says an international carbon trading expert says.

Dr Ken Newcombe, the Australian who helped devlop the first carbon trading model with the World Bank, believes Australia is mired in debates that the rest of the world has long since moved on from.

From The Land 

“It doesn’t make any sense to try and define the emissions of a huge diversity of agricultural activities and then try and regulate them,” said Dr Newcombe, whose career at the interface of business and sustainable development gives him a rare position of authority in the new world of carbon trading.

“At a certain point it becomes simply absurd to cover all of agriculture. In the best case, you could only cover the large agribusinesses, and not the myriad of small producers who would be shut out of carbon trading.

“Faced with that situation, in the US it was very obvious how to treat agriculture: that is to make it an offset generator and stimulate private sector investment in lowering emissions, with the beneficial result of substantial inward investment in agriculture.”

Read the full story in The Land this week.

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