In its April-May edition, the CSIRO’s ECOS magazine reviewed the Australian Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI).
More than one quarter of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are derived from the agricultural sector, and the CFI, still in the proposal stage, is designed to assist Australian farms with reducing emissions via a carbon credits program. Carbon can be locked up in soil as well as in forests or plantations.
The CFI outlines measures such as new technology, better land management, and tree conservation and planting. Solar thermal energy and geothermal are some of the new technologies canvassed by the CFI.
Dr Joely Taylor, CSIRO researcher, argues that a waste-fed biofuels market would offer significant environmental and fuel-security advantages for the country.
Taylor refers to ‘second-generation’ technologies that are centred on waste materials such as cane bagasse, forestry residues, and wheat chaff. In contrast to these technologies, first-generation biofuels tend to intensify demand for arable land.
Dr Jeff Baldock, also from the CSIRO, says that the soil carbon losses from clearing land for agriculture has presented an excellent opportunity to rebuild soil carbon.