WA trades carbon sink with Japan


Western Australia has created the nation’s first tradeable legal right
to offset carbon dioxide pollution by tree plantings, according to the
state government.

Tony McRae, parliamentary secretary to the Agriculture minister, said
the Oil Mallee Company of Australia had become the first company to
take advantage of the new legislation.

Visitors from Japan joined Mr McRae, 40 farmers, industry
representatives and community members at an official launch of the
Carbon Rights and Plantation Agreement held at a large mallee property
in WA, the Shields’ family farm, near Koorda in WA’s Wheatbelt.

“This legislation makes the creation of legally enforceable agreements for carbon dioxide trading,” Mr McRae said.

“Effectively carbon dioxide has become a commodity which can be bought
and sold and will encourage the development of a major tree growing
industry in the Wheatbelt based on the value of the carbon stored by
mallee eucalypts.”

OMC chairman Professor Syd Shea said that as mallee trees grew, they
absorbed carbon dioxide into the leaves, branches and their large root

“Carbon dioxide absorbed from the atmosphere can be claimed as a carbon
credit and the credit traded to offset pollution Professor Shea said.

“Above-ground material can also be harvested for a variety of uses.”

The unique attributes of the mallee eucalypt have been recognised by
Japan’s second largest power company whose representatives also
attended the ceremony.

The company has worked with the OMC over the past five years to
research and prove that mallees can create an efficient carbon sink. A
1,000ha trial was established in 2003 and has been highly successful.
Interestingly, the power company supplied electricity to the Japanese
city of Kyoto, which lends its name to the protocol on climate change.

An international market would allow sale of this credit to an
ever-increasing trading network. Australia’s refusal to enter into the
Kyoto Protocol results in Australia being locked out of this lucrative

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