Event Wrap Up
There is genuine excitement about the growing contributions from carbon farming to regional Australia but there’s more to do to firm up its long-term future, a national forum has heard.
More than 300 people from around the country attended the two-day Carbon Farming Industry Forum, a virtual event which wrapped up on Wednesday.
John Connor, CEO of the Carbon Market Institute (CMI), which hosted the forum, told participants excitement had been running high with important announcements and recent efforts from Federal and state governments.
‘Short-term prospects for carbon farming are looking very strong, although this forum has raised questions about its medium and long-term future. There’s a lot of work to do but the opportunities are real,’ Connor said at the forum’s final session.
‘Carbon farming, a quiet achiever since the Carbon farming Initiative kicked off in 2012 , is now a recognised player in the big league with soil carbon named a priority technology under the federal government’s Technology Roadmap.’
‘Welcome decisions from the Federal Government mean CMI and the industry will be more involved in processes and decision-making around carbon farming, which is great. For example, CMI has been included on a high level steering committee determining methods which can open broader land management and industrial processes to the $2 billion dollar Climate Solutions Fund and an expanding corporate voluntary market.’
Australia’s carbon farming industry is eight years old and there are more than 650 projects around the country. ‘Australia really is an international leader and test bed now. There’s deeper and deeper experience within the industry attracting interest from global investors and multinationals,’ Connor told the forum’s final session.
Issues that were prominent at the forum included:
- The federal government announcement to make soil carbon a priority technology: with a focus on overcoming barriers to growth such as measurement and assurance costs.
- The establishment of a new CMI Soil Carbon Industry Taskforce to maximise engagement opportunities with Government and industry.
- Commonwealth Government plans to accelerate the development of new carbon farming methodologies – setting a 12-month deadline for method development, a process that has been taking 24+ months.
- Greater collaboration with industry in method development and other regulatory processes, CMI has been invited on to a high-level steering committee.
- Commitments from Minister Taylor that ERF Auctions would continue under the 15-year $2 billion Climate Solutions Fund, the $95 million King Review Co-Investment Fund engaging ARENA the only new call on that Fund.
- The growing role of state governments in leveraging carbon markets with NSW and SA discussing plans to follow Queensland in state-specific plans leveraging the Climate Solutions Fund and corporate interest in employment, social and environmental “co-benefits”.
- The opportunities and challenges in integrating Indigenous interests, expertise and rights in the growth of carbon farming.
- Burgeoning interest in natural capital markets that reward land managers for biodiversity protection or enhancing ecosystem services, another area where Australia is leading the world in “making nature investable” as one participant put it.
- Last week’s ERF carbon credit auction results that show fast growth in the industry (60% increase in new projects this year) and the largest outcomes for three years.
- The need to double if not quintuple the industry’s size by 2030 to play a role in Australia’s potential transition to a net-zero emissions economy by 2050 and helping to keep global warming to the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“There was excitement amongst Forum participants about the near term carbon farming technology deployment opportunities, not only with the focus on soil carbon but greater industry collaboration in developing other carbon farming methods, with recent and looming state carbon farming industry strategies and actions’.
“We need to be looking to at least triple the size of this industry by 2030 and even greater expansion by 2050. This will need to be integrated in economy wide plans to transition the economy to net-zero emissions by 2050 in a credible Australian Long Term Emission Reduction Strategy. This will need to develop both compliance and voluntary markets to drive demand for the efforts and contributions of the carbon farming industry across regional Australia’.
CMI will be updating it’s 2017 Carbon Farming Industry Roadmap with further developments to be discussed at its Australasian Emission Reduction Summit in early December.
Highlights included presentations by:
- Angus Taylor, federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction (view Keynote transcript)
- Leeanne Enoch, Queensland Minister for Environment
- Ross Garnaut, economist and author (event video here)
- Grant King, Chair of King Review on low-cost abatement
- David Parker, Chair, Clean Energy Regulator (event video here)
‘Because of Covid-19, Australia’s rural areas need jobs and investment now more than ever – carbon farming is already contributing but can do much more,’ Connor said. ‘Governments are beginning to take this growing sector more seriously but it’s time to turbocharge policy and investment.’
Clare Price 0490 252 743 Clare.Price@carbonmarketinstitute.org
The Carbon Market Institute is the independent industry association for business leading the transition to a net-zero emissions. CMI has more than 85 corporate members.