Direct Action Webinar - Can you be a winner?

Thursday, November 06, 2014

This is the first of a series of webinars to enable Rural and Regional Australia to gain their share of the $2.55 billion fund.

Question: - How do you find the time to become well informed about 'carbon farming' and the 'Carbon Farming Initiative', so you can make decisions around engaging? 

Answer: 
Enrol at the upcoming Webinar right now! We have over 5 years teaching experience in this area, and have been involved since the very inception in carbon farming and the Agricultural Carbon Trade. 

Over a series of 4 webinars, we will take you to the point where you will know if Direct Action has something for you or your group, arming you with the information you need to make decisions. 

In the first webinar, we will cover : 

  • What is the Direct Action Climate Policy ? 
  • What has changed in the Carbon Farming Initiative? 
  • What projects can now be developed - An update on CFI methodologies
  • How do I get started? 

We will also briefly discuss Aggregation - How your farming or NRM group can take advantage of the fund. 

I hope you can join us.

To secure your place - book now

Direct Action Climate Policy - And the winners are.........

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hello again, and long time no speak!

As you know- things have rather been 'on hold' as industry holds its breath in a complete policy vacuum. Yet, we know that the Department is going full speed ahead on all the New Methodologies which will operate under the Emissions Reduction Fund.

Well, now we have some certainty. AS just announced in a media conference, there is a DEAL been done. All we now need is to get it through the Senate - should be a formality.

Already, under the Price on Carbon, $33 million has been traded - JUST in the Central West of NSW - but in which methodologies? Is there more 'low hanging fruit' around ?

So, to re-cap, Direct Action is the NEW climate change policy - now set to replace the 'disappeared' 'tax'. The Government is committed to a 5% reduction in emissions by 2020. This represents about 450 million tonnes of carbon 'credits' .

DA has $2.55 billion committed over 4 years and will work via a series of 'reverse auctions'. Its enabling architecture is the expanded Carbon Farming Initiative, that we've all grown to know and love (maybe!)

These auctions will be where we can sell Carbon Credits from the First Million Tonnes to the Government - but its a competitive process with lowest cost the ONLY consideration. However, the good news is that some methodologies are now easier, and have better calculators (read in the Tree space for the Land sector)

ALSO, The 'expanded' CFI now allows OTHER sectors to earn carbon credits, and councils, mines, transport companies will all be able to take part. AND the Government wants to encourage Aggregations - groups of farmers or others who can 'pool' large amounts of carbon.

Because once Direct Action is through, they intend to hold the first reverse auction bid ASAP! You need to understand how it will work.

To assist our Stakeholders to be AT THE FRONT of the queue, we will be holding the first of the webinars to explain WHAT and HOW to take part.

What if demand for ACCUs triples?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Update of Carbon Farming & Trading Assocation

We have a scheduled meeting with the Carbon Market Institute (CMI) to explore the opportunities for forming an industry body as part of the CMI - to provide the Institute with Carbon Farming knowledge and expertise and to take advantage of the Institute’s secretariat resources. As a foundation member of the CMI, Carbon Farmers of Australia has long represented our sector in the CMI’s consultation and policy formulation activities. The concern we would have is that, as a chapter of the CMI, we would compete for resources and attention with the industrial and energy sectors which dominate the industry. The objective of the workshop - to find a means of generating funds to resource the existing lobbying and policy activities - would not be met by the CMI solution. There is also the possibility that the amounts that could be generated by fees paid for membership would be insufficient to fund a full service association. We are consulting with a specialist in ethical investment and association management to resolve these issues.

The single sector that stands to gain the most or lose the most, depending on the outcome of the Emissions Reduction Fund’s Carbon Farming Initiative, is the soil nutrition and soil health amendment industries. The Soil Carbon Grazing Management Methodology allows farmers to select their choice of activity that will increase soil carbon levels and deliver genuine additionality (i.e.wouldn’t have happened without the CFI). This offers some opportunity for soil amendments. However the main opportunity lies in cropping, and this is where the possibility for gain or loss is greatest. Our assumption that a CFI methodology for croppers would follow the grazing methodology automatically is not as secure as we thought. The Minister and the Department have been repeating the message that government resources for developing methodologies will be assigned based on competition between activities. The criteria for success include the amount of abatement that can be delivered in the shortest period. This puts us at a disadvantage, given that the CSIRO told the Senate Committee that soil could make only a small or modest contribution to abatement - despite the fact that there is no evidence of the potential performance of a contemporary soil amendment activity in the hands of a highly experienced and skilled land manager. Should soil carbon cropping become a methodology - and the cost is not a barrier, given that it would be an extension of the grazing methodology - the number of potential new customers for natural fertilisers will be multiplied by an order of magnitude. If cropping can’t compete for government methodology resources,you are faced with hiring highly expensive scientists to build your own, in collaboration with your competitors. Do you have the time to lobby government or build unlikely alliances with competitors and see it through to the end? This is where full-time lobbyists come in handy.

Why the 1st One Million Tonnes??

There is a demand for numbers in the carbon market - What we need here is strength in numbers: because while many rural enterprises are small, many “industrial” suppliers of offsets have massive capacity. With the ERF, God is on the side of the big battalions: Individual enterprises that can supply 200,000 tonnes can step outside the reverse auction system and negotiate their own contracts. We can do that by aggregating aggregates. You maintain control of your carbon. We set our prices to avoid cutting each other’s throats, and bid as as block. It also works to bring costs down. Especially measurement. If we buy as a block, we can presumably take advantage of bulk discounts. Costs down. Prices up. Further, suppliers of services to the rural offsets sector should register an Expression of Interest so we can map our capacity as a sector and where the gaps are.

What if demand for ACCUs triples?

What happens to the demand for carbon credits under the Emissions Reduction Fund if our target is tripled to 15% in 2016 (two years away)? It could happen. Read on...

While Australia's leadership is confused about the direction the rest of the world is taking on Global Warming, the rest of the world is getting serious about it. ''There is no sign - no sign - that trading schemes are increasingly being adopted. If anything trading schemes are being discarded, not adopted,'' said PM Tony Abbott while in Canada recently. In fact, the World Bank reports that eight new carbon markets opened in 2013: California Cap-and-Trade Program, Quebec Cap-and-Trade System, Kazakhstan Emissions Trading Scheme, and five Chinese pilot emissions trading schemes (Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangdong, and Tianjin). And new carbon taxes were introduced in Mexico and France this past year. But the big news is that the three biggest emitters of greenhouse gases last week made game-changing moves on climate. China – Emitter No. 1 – announced it will set an absolute cap on its emissions from 2016. Setting an absolute cap instead of pegging them to the level of economic growth means they will be more tightly regulated, reports Reuters. China is now the second largest carbon market in the world. In America – Emitter No. 2 - the EPA announced a national standard to cut carbon emissions from coal fired power plants. US states can join cap-and-trade programs, building on the 10 states with market-based mechanisms, or start their own. In India – Emitter No. 3 - the people just elected as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who pioneered incentives for large-scale solar power. He wants to use solar technology to supply electricity to 400 million people in India who do not have power.

These events make a new global climate treaty in Paris in December 2015 more likely. This will set dominoes falling in Australia which has set itself higher targets should the rest of the world fall into line, which now seems likely. We have already promised to reduce emissions by 5% of 2000 levels by 2020. The target increases to 15% if there is an international agreement where developing economies commit to reduce emissions and advanced economies take on commitments like Australia’s. China and India are classified as ‘developing economies’. The target increases to 25% if there is comprehensive global action capable of stabilizing CO2 levels at 450ppm or lower.

At the same time, public opinion is swinging behind action on Climate Change as people are noticing Nature acting scarily like the scientific predictions that the denialists had rubbished. The Bureau of Meteorology reports that Australia’s climate has warmed by 0.9°C since 1910, and the frequency of extreme weather has changed, with more extreme heat and fewer cool extremes. Extreme fire weather has increased, and the fire season has lengthened, across large parts of Australia since the 1970s. Sydney broke its previous records for warmth in May, with maximums almost 4 degrees above average. Sydney Observatory Hill had its warmest May on record. The city experienced 19 consecutive days above 22C, and four consecutive days above 25C. Only one May day had a top temperature below 20C. Sydney Airport recorded it’s warmest autumn since 1958 with 21 consecutive days above 20C and seven days in a row reached at least 25C.

Public attitudes re shifting rapidly; the 2014 Lowy Institute Report revealed that 45% of Australians see global warming as a ‘serious and pressing problem’, up five points and the second consecutive increase since 2012. A significant majority (63%) say that the government ‘should be taking a leadership role on reducing emissions’. Only 28% believe ‘it should wait for an international consensus before acting’.

In ancient times, King Canute had his throne placed on a beach in England in front of the advancing tide and commanded the sea to retreat - to demonstrate to his followers that even he could not defy Nature. There's a lesson in that somewhere.

What can you do?

Go to the website and register an Expression of Interest in the 1st One Hundred Million Tonnes campaign.

Onwards!



Labour Concluded....Baby Soil Carbon Meth Delivered

Wednesday, April 02, 2014


It is with great relief.......... that we announce that the Soil Carbon Methodology has been delivered!

 Just  a quick note -  I've been resting under a Banana leaf  (read: holed up in Bondi with Grandchildren!)  since the last newsletter and, in a twinkling of an eye,  the Department has snuck up  and put the Soil Carbon Methodology up for public viewing!! 

 Now,  get yourself a nice BIG  cup of something strong, and have a look at what we have been beavering away at, but not really able to show you. 

 This is now YOUR chance to have a say -   What do you think?  Strengths? Weaknesses? Feel free to ask us questions.      click here to see the methodology,

Don't worry too much if it is still hard to read or looks hard to implement -  There will be some more simplifications to it.   As in,  some easier to read explanations of it. The Clean Energy Regulator will also do some explanations.

 ALSO,  we will be doing some webinars to explain it,  as soon as it looks like a final draft of the meth  AND  we feel we can support it. 

The process from here is that it will stay on public view for about 35 more days, then all the feedback will be taken on board, THEN  it goes back to the Domestic Offset Integrity Committee and then if all is well,  they suggest to the Minister that it should be legislated. Once this occurs, we can use it!    Due to be about July 1st. 

We'll keep you posted of course, but for now,  happy reading!!


Onwards!



7th National Carbon Farming Conference and Expo


ALL your questions were answered!!

Slides from speakers soon available at:
www.carbonfarmingconference.com.au



   

And, it was thus.........

Monday, March 24, 2014
It was with great relief.......... 

 OMG -   The conference is over!!   Its a huge effort each year, but each year it proves itself.

We were thrilled to host this years conference in Canberra  - which attracted the public service types who otherwise just can't make it.   

There was lots of great conversations and plans laid - delicious food and good company, not to mention some really nice wine. 

But, the biggest relief came from the announcements made.   We had inspirational speakers who were instrumental  in helping the 200 plus souls gathered understand the way this 'carbon farming' works, but the Minister helped this along when he announced:

1. That  Grazing Management will be on the Positive list!   This is the GREEN Light for Graziers to take part in the Carbon Farming Initiative -  Just like we have said, and

2. There WILL be a 25 year Carbon Credit Option.  This eliminates the fears around the '100 year'  rule  - while having implications of  its own! 


 Then, add to this, Shayleen  Thompson from the Department said the Soil Carbon Meth will be on public view in April (sometime) -  This will be YOUR chance to finally get a look at it and comment  AND  it is planned that farmers will be able to start a project by July 1 - subject to what happens to the Carbon Price repeal

We also met on the Thursday with 30 brave souls to discuss the future for this industry. We decided we DO need some form of Association  and I'll bring you news of that soon.

Just recovering at the moment,  but soon we'll have the Association up and running.

I will have 'soil carbon' measurement teams available in each State - once the details are clear and  ready for the July1  and we'll be hosting some webinars in the lead up to explain how things might work.  

 So, finally we have delivered what we have worked towards for 9 long years!  A 'meth' emerges -  and it doesn't look too bad!  What a huge relief - and worth a glass or two of champagne!

However, we  now have some serious work ahead to keep costs down and prices up for farmers but hey, that's a smaller mountain compared to the ones we have climbed so far!  WE have a Marketing background and can think of lots of 'niche'  ideas to ensure people are prepared to pay for what we will have -  Gourmet Carbon!   

Onwards!

 

 

 





7th National Carbon Farming Conference and Expo


ALL your questions were answered!!

Slides from speakers soon available at:
www.carbonfarmingconference.com.au

Other speakers in the Soil Carbon Measurement space at conference were inspirational. 

Dr Raphael Viscarra - Rossel - CSIRO

Dr Raphael Viscarra- Rossel is responsible for developing novel approaches to measure, model and map soil for CSIRO Land and Water, and leads developments in proximal soil sensing, soil spectroscopy and digital soil mapping.  His research contributes to the CSIRO’s Sustainable Agriculture Flagship and supports its goals by developing novel scientific approaches to better understand soil and its condition.  Dr Viscarra Rossel leads a DA FtRG2 project to develop an innovative solution for accurate and affordable estimates of soil carbon;  a GRDC project to look at the effectiveness and profitability of sensors for measuring soil carbon, and co-leads the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) continental scale digital soil mapping project.


 This method is up and coming in the soil carbon measurement space.

   

Can I still come?

Friday, March 14, 2014

 We've been fielding  lots of calls from farmers and had a great response to our 'Farmers attend FREE'    offer.    The conference will be a wonderful platform now to drive farmers forward to participation in a new market.   Much work to be done, but engagement in the knowledge is key. 

Some however, are now asking  - Can I still come? Farmers make decisions on a day by day basis and need to be as flexible as the weather is so unruly at times. And many other things can happen day to day.

So thought to write a quick note.

The answer is YES  - Registrations still open.  We are still processing farmer requests, and non farmers welcome as well.   I'll even take some walk ups.   My caterers will kill me,  but so what.   Getting the knowledge out is more important.

 

Visit  www.carbonfarmingconference.com.au  to see the full program.


 The story is NOT just building- its about to become real - for farmers and for Australian soils.   Our conference is a mixture of conference and the best education around, so don't forget to:

REGISTER NOW on the site (see side panel)

Onwards!

 

 

 





7th National Carbon Farming Conference and Expo


ALL your questions can be answered

Venue: Rydges Lakeside, Canberra

Dates: March 17th to 20th. 

REGISTER NOW AT
www.carbonfarmingconference.com.au

Other speakers in the Soil Carbon Measurement space at conference.

Dr Raphael Viscarra - Rossel - CSIRO

Dr Raphael Viscarra- Rossel is responsible for developing novel approaches to measure, model and map soil for CSIRO Land and Water, and leads developments in proximal soil sensing, soil spectroscopy and digital soil mapping.  His research contributes to the CSIRO’s Sustainable Agriculture Flagship and supports its goals by developing novel scientific approaches to better understand soil and its condition.  Dr Viscarra Rossel leads a DA FtRG2 project to develop an innovative solution for accurate and affordable estimates of soil carbon;  a GRDC project to look at the effectiveness and profitability of sensors for measuring soil carbon, and co-leads the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) continental scale digital soil mapping project.


 

   

Question: How do you unlock the potential of the Largest Carbon Sink over which we have control? Answer: Make it easy for farmers to engage!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

As we race towards the conference I thought to show you the 'architecture' of a methodology.

Now is the time to 'get your head around'  how this is structured -  You can't make decisions around introducing the idea to others if you are not well informed!

So, for any  methodologies that the Department (of Environment that is) is working on, (and private groups can also work on developing a methodology)  you may have:

• A technical working group - This is the scientists and other experts in an area - in our case, soil, soil carbon and other technical expertise. The very basis of the methodology, these guys check the integrity of what can be done  Eg: 'what is the evidence around soil carbon sequestration'

• A reference group  -  A group of 'practitioners'-  In the case of soil carbon, these are farmers in the main - We sit on the soil carbon reference group.    This group helps the Department to understand if those who are targetted by the methodology  WILL actually use it.  (Others who sit in this group will be at the conference).

 AND  then, there is the DOIC  (The Domestic Offset Integrity Committee) These are like the 'police' . They are tough on any new methodology and look at it from every angle. They have to approve the overall 'meth'  and if happy, will allow it to be realeased  for public viewing - at which time Everyone gets a go at saying why it should or shouldn't be approved - This means YOU.

In order to have good feedback into this system when the methodology goes on public view you need to understand WHAT is involved in it. Knowledge is key to this process to make sure it works for the majority. 

THIS conference is the ONLY place where the 3 legs meet to give you that knowledge-  Science, Practice and Department.   Where else can you:

•Ask  the Minister  "How do you intend to 'streamline' the CFI for farmers - what are you doing about the 100 years rule and making it easy for farmers to take part?

• Ask  Dr Baldock about ScARP  the soil carbon research - its had quite a lot of publicity lately.  What was it designed to do? Results and where to now?

• Ask  the Department about the Soil C meth,  the nitrous oxide meth and methane -  HOw are they making them 'farmer friendly'? When will it be on public view?.

•Get a handle on what is required to actually DO a project - the legals,  how you sell the credits  AND what else is happening in this space.  Community leaders like you need to understand what is involved so you can make informed decisions. 

• Hear the latest innovations  -  4G Biochar,   novel tests for Soil carbon biology, new measurement methods to drive down costs. 

• Mingle and asks questions, questions, questions  of all of the players. 

We've had a great response to our offer for farmers to attend FREE, but there is still time to Register and come along  and answer the question for yourself - Is there anything in this for my stakeholders 

Visit  www.carbonfarmingconference.com.au  to see the full program.


 The story is NOT just building- its about to become real - for farmers and for Australian soils.   Our conference is a mixture of conference and the best education around, so don't forget to:

REGISTER NOW on the site (see side panel)

Onwards!

 

 

 





7th National Carbon Farming Conference and Expo


ALL your questions can be answered

Venue: Rydges Lakeside, Canberra

Dates: March 17th to 20th. 

REGISTER NOW AT
www.carbonfarmingconference.com.au

Other speakers in the Soil Carbon Measurement space at conference.

Dr Raphael Viscarra - Rossel - CSIRO

Dr Raphael Viscarra- Rossel is responsible for developing novel approaches to measure, model and map soil for CSIRO Land and Water, and leads developments in proximal soil sensing, soil spectroscopy and digital soil mapping.  His research contributes to the CSIRO’s Sustainable Agriculture Flagship and supports its goals by developing novel scientific approaches to better understand soil and its condition.  Dr Viscarra Rossel leads a DA FtRG2 project to develop an innovative solution for accurate and affordable estimates of soil carbon;  a GRDC project to look at the effectiveness and profitability of sensors for measuring soil carbon, and co-leads the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) continental scale digital soil mapping project.


 

   

Farmers attend for FREE

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Farmers must call Jan on (02) 68821425 to claim this special offer 

Visit www.carbonfarmingconference.com.au to see the full program.

Drought-affected farmers are being offered free tickets to this year’s two day Carbon Farming Conference, to be held in Canberra on 18th and 19th March, 2014. The Conference gives farmers information on how to make money from Carbon Farming.

Farmers will learn about their prospects of earning additional income from planting trees, applying biochar, applying natural fertilisers, and managing pastures in new ways. The Government’s $1bn Emissions Reduction Fund, that pays farmers to reduce their emissions and store carbon in their soils, starts on 1 July, 2014.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt is opening the Conference and speakers from his Department are expected to announce which new farming techniques will be rewarded immediately. Speakers from the CSIRO and the University of Sydney will launch affordable soil measurement systems.

Expert speakers will explore the available markets and the types of contracts farmers will encounter when they sell their carbon credits.

Designing drought-resistant farms

Carbon farming can also help farmers make their properties “drought resistant”. “Many still have feed on the ground long after others have run out,” says conference organiser Louisa Kiely of Carbon Farmers of Australia. “Carbon farmers tend to go into drought later and come out of drought sooner, by managing their stock differently. “ Experienced carbon farmers will explain the way they manage to maximise pasture production.

Droughts are likely to get worse in future and carbon farming will assist landholders manage.

“This offer has been made possible by the generous support of our sponsors”. Said Louisa. “This 2 day conference forms part of the 4 day program, which includes a ½ day field day”

Farmers must call Jan on (02) 68821425 to claim their free tickets
Visit www.carbonfarmingconference.com.au to see the full program.

Spotlight on a speaker #3 - Meet a Real Life Carbon Farmer - Cam Banks

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Spotlight on a Speaker -  #3 
Meet a Real Life Carbon Farmer - Cam Banks. 

We can have as many soil carbon 'meths' as we like, but without the farmer's involvement,  we'll get no-where!

Farmers ARE the Land Managers and Stewards, they ARE the ones who can improve the sequestration rates in the soils and vegetation, but what will make them decide to embrace this?

Question:  'How do you get a message through to a farmer?'   Answer:     'ON a cheque!' 

Sounds simple,  but Michael has also  said 'if you want a farmer to sign a contract, you'll have to give him one he wants to sign'!

Meaning, of course that you need to make sure this new enterprise suits a farmer.  Money wise,  but conditions wise as well. 

THIS has been the big challenge -  as we try to understand rules (Kyoto) that are made overseas, by economists and other non-farmers. (why does no one ever ask the farmers?) 

Issues like the 100 years rule have dominated, blocking the commencement of practices which can improve productivity, but also store more carbon in the Land Sector- vital if we are to tackle the 'legacy load' of CO2 in the air.

Soil Carbon has been in the 'too hard'  basket. 

Meanwhile, others have started in this trade -  Those who burn Savanna,  those who have landfill,  and those who have vegetation methodologies, have all been able to get going,  taking advantage of the $23 per tonne carbon  in the doing.

Do the sums on 1million tonnes of carbon at that price and you'll feel the pain that soil carbon has had to bear, watching from the side lines. The 'Carbon Farming Initiative' was  about anything but farming. 

Now, at last, we are close.   We will face a different price on carbon, through no fault of our own, but still, it is now near. More than that, some of the more onerous conditions are set to be 'streamlined'  under this Government -(however, ALL sectors can now enter the market!)

One 'Carbon Farmer' - Cam Banks  has a long history of managing farms, and now farms in the Uralla  district.

Most recently Cam has been busy converting a  conventionally managed, high rainfall property to a biologically sustainable productive property which has been a huge challenge. 

Healthy soil that grows healthy pastures, crops and animals has long been strong interest for Cam who believes that "if you do not measure it you cannot manage it effectively".   He has measured lots of things as he has gone along -  and has learnt about carbon increases along the way.

Click here to read more information about Cam  

The story is building.........  our conference is a mixture of conference and the best education around, so don't forget to:

REGISTER NOW on the site

Onwards!

Spotlight on a Speaker - #2 Introducing Ischani Wheeler....

Friday, February 07, 2014

A long time ago,  I sat in a meeting, funnily enough about soil carbon and its potential for storage in the ground, and thence to trade!  There was a young student giving some very good insights into soil carbon  - and her name was Ischani  Wheeler.   Ischani  was obviously very passionate in this area and now she holds a PhD in Soil carbon Sequestration! Or, more precisely her PhD examined farm-scale auditing protocols for soil carbon sequestration.  I wonder if she is the first to have formal qualifications in this space?

Is it any wonder we will hear from her at the conference? She has seen the ups and downs of this 'measurement' challenge, and she will be talking about a measurement protocol which has a patent approval on it.    This will be one of the measurement protocols we talk about at the 1/2 day field day on the 17th March.  You'll also be able to ask questions at the conference, and they will have an exhibition at the expo  as well.  How have they resolved the issues? how can it be used? Do we still need to dig holes?

Click here to read more information about Ischani

 We will compliment Ischani's  talk on soil carbon measurement with one or two  other ones  -  but the other important issue is "How does a soil carbon measurement protocol marry with an approved  methodology which sets out the things a farmer needs to do to be paid for increases in soil carbon?"   I urge caution here - you need to get all parts of the puzzle before you race off with any one measurement protocol.  It will cost money to measure - make sure you don't need to do it twice if you wish to be paid for increases!

Shayleen Thompson,  First Assistant Secretary in the Department of Environment, who has been working in this space since 1995 and has National and International experience, will talk about the link between such measurement protocols AND the CFI soil carbon methodology, which is nearing completion. 

Click here to see information about Shayleen and the DOIC

 The story is building.........  our conference is a mixture of conference and the best education around, so don't forget to:

REGISTER NOW on the site (see side panel)

Onwards!