Ag can lead the way to a low-carbon economy, scientists say

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Massive overseas revenue streams are on offer for Australian farms offering up carbon sequestration, said Professor Kevin Parton, from the Institute for Land, Water and Society at Charles Sturt University in NSW.

While there was an argument it is difficult to evaluate carbon emissions from agriculture clearly and more work needs to be done to figure out how to charge farmers, that was only one part of the equation, he said.

"And it's not good to focus on that part alone," Prof Parton said.

"The bigger picture is the massive potential for sequestration, potential that is getting bigger day-by-day because the carbon price is moving through the ceiling internationally."

The $15 per tonne on offer for sequestered carbon through the federal government scheme here in Australia compares to $62/t in Europe (40EUR) and $170/t on the unregulated world market.

"As that market moves into Australia, that's incentive for ag to be involved," Prof Parton said.

At the moment, it's difficult for farmers to organise, there is an administrative burden and there are many unknowns - carbon market experts say that is holding farmers back.

Period10 Feb 2021

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  • Carbon farming
  • sequestration
  • european emissions trading scheme
  • offsets
  • market solutions