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16 November 2009 - HSI supports Governments proposal to allow farmers to generate carbon credits      


16th November 2009                                    

Humane Society International (HSI) congratulates the Rudd Labor Government and Minister Penny Wong on their proposal to allow farmers to generate carbon credits under the Carbon Pollution Reductions Scheme (CPRS).

“It will be important to ensure that these credits include stewardship actions taken by farmers to protect native forest and other natural habitats on their land”, said Rod Holesgrove, HSI consultant on biodiversity and climate change.

Native forest and other natural habitats because they have higher levels of biodiversity than forest plantations are a more secure store of carbon than that attained by planting of trees, an activity already covered under the CPRS.

Reducing emissions through protecting native natural forests on public and private land can deliver substantial climate gains immediately, unlike establishment of tree plantations that take decades to accumulate equivalent volumes of carbon.

Land clearing in Australia is the 4th largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing 11% of total Australian emissions. If degradation of natural vegetation and forests is included, this figure increases substantially. 

Allowing landholders to generate credits under the CPRS, and hence provide incentives for maintaining native vegetation on farms, would also provide a significant flow of market based funding for farmer’s income and for biodiversity conservation.  The latter said Mr Holesgrove, “will be a very important win for the environment as loss of biodiversity in Australia, as has been shown in many reports, has reached a crisis point.”

Ultimately, HSI believes the agricultural sector should be covered comprehensively under the CPRS, but in the interim landholders should be able to opt in to receive financial incentives for voluntary contributions to climate mitigation.

“HSI has been long been promoting the inclusion of native vegetation protection in the CPRS, going as far back as our submissions to the Garnaut Enquiry”, said Mr Holesgrove.

Humane Society International therefore calls on both Minister Penny Wong and Opposition negotiator, Ian MacFarlane, to ensure that the protection of our natural habitats is included in the CPRS, as a win win for climate change, for biodiversity and for farmers.

“HSI is ready to offer any assistance it can both to the Government and Opposition in negotiating this very environmentally significant deal”, said Mr Holesgrove.”

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