Carbon Farming Initiative
Humane Society International (HSI) today welcomed Labor’s Carbon Farming Initiative. Under the initiative farmers who take action to store carbon in the landscape in accordance with an approved methodology will receive credits that they can sell within Australian and overseas.
Of particular importance to HSI will be the opportunity for landholders, under the Initiative, to protect native vegetation on their lands and receive a financial reward for doing so. The payments for a farmer taking avoided deforestation action will come from the market and not the taxpayer.
This will be very important, as national efforts to conserve biodiversity have been plagued by limitations in government funding.
“Labor’s Initiative presents win – win opportunities for climate change mitigation; environmental protection, including conservation of Australia’s precious biodiversity; and, additional income for farmers.” said Mr. Rod Holesgrove, HSI’s Biodiversity Policy Adviser.
HSI, over many years, has been proposing the establishment of a government mechanism to protect green carbon, e.g. native vegetation, in order to achieve climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation outcomes. Last year we lobbied successfully for the Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme to include such a mechanism. Following Parliament’s rejection of the CPRS we submitted to all political parties a detailed proposal for legislation to promote the voluntary offset market. HSI therefore is very pleased that Labor has now, with the Carbon Farming Initiative, committed to implement such a proposal.
“We urge Labor, if re-elected, to give priority to the development of a methodology for crediting farmer’s efforts to protect native forest and vegetation on their lands, as native forests provide a more secure store of carbon than plantation forests and also provide higher biodiversity and amenity values”, said Rod Holesgrove.
HSI also suggests that in cases where farmers choose to undertake tree planting that they be encouraged to consider environmental plantings that protect soils and water and foster biodiversity.
However in addition to this very commendable Initiative, national and State/Territory Governments must increase other efforts to conserve carbon in the landscape and protect biodiversity. Further expansion of the National Reserve’s Program is a case in point. As well, only a comprehensive Government program which puts a price on carbon will deliver the necessary deep cuts in emissions and major increases in carbon storage required for a sustainable future.