Article by Michele Muscillo, Partner and
Ben Ricketts, Solicitor
The Federal Government has proposed new legislation that would
allow farmers, land holders and forest growers to profit from
The Carbon Farming Initiative aims to allow carbon credits to be
generated for approved schemes that either reduce carbon or allow
for greenhouse gas abatement. Those carbon credits can then be sold
either domestically or internationally to companies that need to
reduce their carbon footprint.
The Federal Government expects legislation to be introduced in
the next few months - most likely by 1 July 2011.
Here, partner Michele Muscillo and solicitor Ben Ricketts
outline the Initiative and explain how landowners can submit
methodologies for abatement in order to gain carbon credits.
The Carbon Farming Initiative
To date, the Government has received feedback from 257
stakeholders on the Carbon Farming Initiative. The feedback
indicates that businesses and the community broadly accept the
Initiative. However, many recommendations have been made, including
credits should be made available for industries involved in
recycling and landfill avoidance;
the insurance industry should make insurance available for
smaller players who will lose income while developing their
abatement methodologies; and
there should be adequate fire risk management for landowners
that develop plantations.
Methodologies for carbon abatement
The Carbon Farming Initiative scheme proposes that private
parties and government agencies develop methodologies for carbon
abatement and carbon credits under the following broad
Reforestation, forest management and avoided deforestation
Livestock and methane management
Landfill gas recovery
Reduction in fertiliser usage
Sequestration in soil carbon and biochar
Savanna fire management
Reduce the emissions from rice production
Reduced burning of stubble/crops
The Government has invited submissions to the Domestic Offsets
Integrity Committee on the potential methodologies available for
abatement. The Committee is an independent body of six experts,
formed to assess draft methodologies for use under the Carbon
Farming Initiative scheme.
As an example, a farmer may propose a methodology whereby less
fertiliser will be used to manage crops. If that methodology is
approved, and the farmer is assessed for the reduced fertiliser use
and given carbon credits, the farmer may then sell those carbon
credits. Alternatively, a landowner may propose a carbon sink by
growing trees on his or her land, again selling the credits
Methodologies for applying, implementing and monitoring
abatement activities and generating carbon credits will be received
by the Committee over the coming months, and will be rolled out in
More information about the methodology submission process can be
found on the Department of Climate Change and Energy
For more information on the Government's Carbon Farming
Initiative process, or for assistance developing your Carbon
Farming Initiative methodology for submission to the Committee,
please contact HopgoodGanim's Climate Change team.
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