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US farmers get a different climate deal to Australian farmers.

- Friday, July 03, 2009

A quick comparison of Climate change legislation proposed in Australia and the USA shows the stark difference between the proposed treatment of US agriculture under the Waxman-Markey legislation, and Australia's CPRS legislation.




Coverage of agricultural emissions.

Agricultural emissions are exempt from coverage (Sec 501 (b))

Agriculture exempt until 2015 but then subject to coverage or ‘cost equivalent’ regulatory measures


Sequestration options

Agricultural, grassland, and rangeland sequestration and management practices, including--

(A) altered tillage practices;

(B) winter cover cropping, continuous cropping, and other means to increase biomass returned to soil in lieu of planting followed by fallowing;

(C) reduction of nitrogen fertilizer use or increase in nitrogen use efficiency;

(D) reduction in the frequency and duration of flooding of rice paddies;

(E) reduction in carbon emissions from organic soils;

(F) reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from manure and effluent; and

(G) reduction in greenhouse gas emissions due to changes in animal management practices, including dietary modifications;

Changes in carbon stocks attributed to land use change and forestry activities, including--

(A) afforestation or reforestation of acreage that is not forested;

(B) forest management resulting in an increase in forest carbon stores including but not limited to harvested wood products;

(C) management of peatland or wetland;

(D) conservation of grassland and forested land;

(E) improved forest management, including accounting for carbon stored in wood products;

(F) reduced deforestation or avoided forest conversion;

(G) urban tree-planting and maintenance;

(H) agroforestry; and

(I) adaptation of plant traits or new technologies that increase sequestration by forests; and

Manure management and disposal, including--

(A) waste aeration;

(B) biogas capture and combustion; and

(C) application to fields as a substitute for commercial fertilizer.


Sowing areas of farmland to trees.

Period over which sequestration activities need to be maintained to generate credits or permits.

5 years for agricultural sequestration practices;

20 years for forestry sequestration practices; and

10 years for other practice types that reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions or sequester greenhouse gases.


70 years after trees reach maturity.

Matthew Reddy commented on 07-Jul-2009 10:53 PM
This is a good explanation of options available to US farmers however there are a few points that require further explanation in the Australian column. Certainly there are provisions for the inclusion of measures similar to those in the US with a rising emissions target (above 5%) and under the provision that such measures can meet cost-effect monitorting, reporting and verfification (MRV). Sequestration options are limited to sowing areas of farmland to trees. Perhaps this could be better stated as integration of sinks into agricultural systems with a focus on non-productive land (arguably not farmland). The regulations for forest sinks under the CPRS are likely to remain at 100 years from the date of first trade.
Perhaps we could also consider alternatives and put forward farm friendly approaches to coverage.

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