With appropriate policies and a seat at the table, carbon farming can play an even greater role in bushfire risk reduction alongside its land and climate repair contributions, says report from recent Carbon Farming and Bushfire Recovery National Workshop.
Experts from the carbon industry, government, finance and insurance sectors gathered with scientists, indigenous and conservation groups at a workshop to discuss bushfire recovery and carbon farming* following Australia’s horrendous 2019/2020 bushfire season.
“With the recognition that human induced climate change is at least a factor in the horrific fires, must then come the recognition that emission reductions to net-zero should be a central part of any fire, or other climate hazard reduction strategy,” said John Connor, CEO of the Carbon Market Institute (CMI), and host of the workshop.
Since 2011, there have been over 800 carbon farming projects in Australia. Experts noted the global and Australian bushfire and other benefits of carbon farming in addition to carbon reduction and sequestration. In Cape York, “cool” savanna burn carbon farming projects, based on 60,000+ years of Indigenous fire management experience, have reduced fires in the late dry season by a third, as well as overall emissions. Some 25 per cent of countries have listed fire as a key risk in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.
Recommendations from the workshop addressed:
- Better integration of the carbon farming industry in land management as well as bushfire management and recovery processes;
- Improvement of current varied and “çlunky’’ treatment of fire in current carbon farming methodologies;
- Better resourcing and streamlined processes for new methodologies that include fire management;
- Recognition and improved inclusion of Indigenous fire management knowledge and practice;
- Alignment of public drought, fire, climate and technology funds with carbon farming and fire management support;
- The potential for Australia to be a global hub and leader in helping address increased wildfires.
The full report is available at carbonmarketinstitute.org/carbon-farming-bushfire-recovery
Australia’s 2019/2020 bushfire crisis occurred mainly in eastern and south western forest regions, with most current carbon project not heavily impacted. This CMI-hosted workshop took place in Brisbane on 28 January 2020, with discussions taking place under Chatham House Rules.
* Carbon farming is a range of land management activities that reduce carbon emissions through fire and herd management or draw down and store (sequester) carbon back into the landscape including through tree planting and revegetation.
The CMI is the independent peak industry body at the centre of business and climate action. The CMI has over 75 corporate members and speaks for business leading the transition to a net-zero emissions economy.
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