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Monday, March 25, 2013

Direct Action hits brick wall

Research by the University of Western Australia undermines the Coalition's costing of its plan to meet Australia's emission reduction target through Direct Action.

Research by the University of Western Australia

The "Coalition's Direct Action Plan" shows the Coalition has "bet the bank" on storing 85 million tonnes of carbon per year in the soil of Australia's farms at a cost of just $8 to $10 per tonne.

Update, 19 November 2013: The link  "Coalition's Direct Action Plan" to Greg Hunt's web site no longer contains a copy of the Coalition's Direct Action Plan.

By modeling the cost of required changes in farming practices researchers estimated the profit lost for each additional tonne of CO2 stored on the model farm was $80.00 which is far more than the initial buying price of $23.00 per tonne under the Gillard Labor Government's Clean Energy Future legislation.

This is ten times greater than the costing assumed by the Coalition for its Direct Action Plan - 

A copy is here - 

Executive Summary (page 1)

A Coalition Government will implement a climate change strategy based on direct action to reduce emissions and improve the environment.

Direct action on soil carbons will be the major plank of our strategy, supported by other direct action measures that will reduce CO2 emissions by 5 per cent by 2020 based on 1990 levels and deliver significant environmental outcomes - without the need for a great big new tax.

Emissions Reduction Fund 

To facilitate direct action, a Coalition Government will establish an Emissions Reduction Fund to support CO2 emissions reduction activity by business and industry.

Through the Fund, we will support 140 million tonnes of abatement per annum by 2020 to meet our 5 per cent target [of which 85 million tonnes per annum will be met by increasing soil carbons in agricultural land. (See table of CO2 Emissions Reduction Estimates at page 22.)] This is a once in a century replenishment of our soil carbon.

Soil Carbons - Once in a Century Replenishment of our Soils (page 16)

The single largest opportunity for CO2 emissions reduction in Australia is through bio-sequestration in general, and in particular, the replenishment of our soil carbons. It is also the lowest cost CO2 emissions reduction available in Australia [sic] on a large scale.

Significantly improving soil carbons also helps soil quality, farm productivity and water efficiency, and should be a national goal regardless of the CO2 abatement benefits.

Through the Emissions Reduction Fund a Coalition Government will commit to a 'once in a century' replenishment of our national soils and farmlands. Through the Fund we will support up to 85 million tonnes per annum of CO2 abatement through soil carbons by 2020 - and reserve the right to increase this, subject to progress and evaluation.

Farmers will be entitled to tender for all verified new additions in soil carbon beyond the commencement of the Fund.

We will commence this work by offering to purchase 10 million tonnes of CO2 abatement through soil carbons for 2012-13.

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Geoffrey Burrows said...

Great to see the results of research efforts like this.