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The Middle Way explains the Carbon Farming Initiative

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The Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) offers opportunities for the cattle industry. It provides a financial incentive to undertake new on-farm greenhouse gas abatement activities in areas such as manure management and enteric methane emissions from livestock.

Carbon management is central to environmental sustainability. It contributes to brand competitiveness, corporate reputation and good governance. 

The Middle Way consultants assists farmers and land holders to:

  • Build a better understanding of sources of emissions associated with their operations.
  • Prepare greenhouse gas emissions inventories and baselines.
  • Assess carbon abatement options.
  • Develop methodologies for CFI projects.
  • Liaise with government on the Carbon Farming Initiative.
The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency has released a Consultation Paper and draft legislation for a Carbon Farming Initiative. This will give farmers, forest growers and landholders access to domestic voluntary and international carbon markets through the generation of carbon offset credits (CFI credits) by undertaking certain emission abatement activities. The planned commencement date is 1 July 2011. Provision is made for abatement achieved in the preceding 12 months.

Proposed eligible abatement activities include:

  • Reduced methane emissions from livestock
  • Manure management
  • Reduced fertiliser emissions
  • Reforestation and revegetation
  • Avoided deforestation
  • Reduced emissions or increased sequestration in agricultural soils (soil carbon)
CFI credits can be Kyoto CFI credits or non-Kyoto CFO credits depending on how the particular abatement activities are recognised under the Kyoto Protocol. The demand and therefore price for non-Kyoto CFI credits is likely to be lower.

To generate CFI credits a project would need prior approval by the CFI scheme administrator. It must meet an additionality test (meaning it would not be undertaken without the Carbon Farming Initiative); follow rigorous carbon accounting standards; and not be a response to regulation.

An interim Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee (DOIC) has been established to assess proposed CFI methodologies and projects. Methodologies will be developed by government departments, industry and private project developers. Project proponents would provide audited reports to the scheme administrator annually.

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