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Federal Government releases Carbon farming framework

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The Federal Government has released a framework for how farmers, foresters and landholders will be able to generate carbon credits under the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI).

The Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, said this was the start of a dialogue with stakeholders about the design of the scheme for crediting and selling carbon offsets.

Industry groups are being invited to share feedback with the Government by making a submission to the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency by January 21, 2011.

Mr Combet said the discussions were an important step towards ensuring that farmers, foresters and landholders were able to reap the benefits of tackling climate change.

“Today, the Government has released proposals for generating offset credits, under the CFI, that will form the basis for broad consultation. They outline how abatement actions – including reforestation, capturing emissions from existing landfill and better management of livestock manure – could be assessed to generate carbon credits,” Mr Combet said.

Stakeholders, including the National Farmers Federation and Landcare, were being asked to comment on the process and the standards to ensure they were rigorous, transparent and protected proprietary information, Mr Combet said.

“This is another example of action being taken by the Government to tackle climate change. We are determined to ensure we get the model right, as well as create economic opportunities in a future low-pollution economy,” he said.

The carbon credit proposals were intended to ensure environmental integrity: representing genuine emissions abatement, and to help to address climate change. They would also allow for the broadest possible participation in rural and regional communities, he said.

“As announced on October 27, 2010, the Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee, which is an independent expert panel, will undertake the detailed technical work on methods to be used by the CFI. The Government intends to bring the CFI legislation before Parliament in the first half of 2011,” Mr Combet said.

The Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senator Joe Ludwig, said the initiative would help provide greater economic opportunities across the sector, better prepare it for the impacts of climate change, and support productivity.

“We want to ensure the scheme provides significant opportunities in rural and regional areas,” Mr Ludwig said.

“The Government is determined to work through these proposals with stakeholders in farming communities, Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander communities, the forestry sector and others with an interest in carbon offsets.”

The CFI complements work the Government is already undertaking to boost primary industries through the Australia’s Farming Future program.

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