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ABARE Outlook: Considering Carbon-Offset Markets

03 March 2011

AUSTRALIA - Agricultural leaders attending the Outlook 2011 conference in Canberra heard yesterday how their sector can potentially participate in carbon-offset markets and manage climate-change risks, as part of a session that will include climate-change advisor Professor Ross Garnaut.

Outlook is the agricultural sector’s key annual conference, which is organised by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) and was held at the National Convention Centre on March 1-2.

ABARES’ Chief Analyst Dr Helal Ahammad said Outlook’s Climate Change — Challenges and Opportunities session will examine Australia’s proposed Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI).

“Policy and decision makers, agricultural producers and offset proponents will take a closer look at international and domestic carbon markets, as well as the Carbon Farming Initiative,” Dr Ahammad said.

The proposed CFI is an Australian Government legislative scheme for carbon offsets crediting within Australia. The scheme will help farmers, foresters and landholders generate offset credits for sale in carbon markets, and will be implemented jointly by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

“The CFI is an important policy initiative but let us be clear that the CFI on its own will not guarantee a market for Australian agricultural carbon offsets” Dr Ahammad said.

“A domestic carbon pricing policy with offsets provisions will play a key role in boosting the domestic carbon offset market. Also, favourable international carbon-policy settings can open up opportunities for Australian agricultural offsets.”

The Climate Change — Challenges and Opportunities session began at 9.45am and was chaired by Shayleen Thompson of the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. The presenters included ABARES’ Dr Ahammad, Wimmera climate change advocate and producer Susan Findlay-Tickner and author of the Garnaut Climate Change Review, Professor Garnaut. Profesor Garnaut discussed the potential role that rural land can play in meeting the climate change challenge.

Ms Findlay-Tickner explained that managing climate change is about managing risks in an increasingly varying climate. “Dynamic Australian grain growers will remain nimble to adapt to the challenges of increased climate variability and will continue to be a significant food producers and contributors to our economy,” Ms Findlay-Tickner said.

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