Proposed Changes for CFI under Direct Action Plan are Win Situation for Farmers

The Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) allows farmers to raise and sell carbon credits by storing carbon through activities like capturing methane from piggeries and landfills and reducing cattle burps.

The initiative was launched three years ago and since then, the CFI has launched a number of projects. Recently, changes have been proposed for the CFI under the Direct Action Policy, which are considered to be a win-win situation for farmers.

The Federal Government released the White Paper on Direct Action Plan revealing the policy design of its Emissions Reduction Scheme (ERF). Jemma Greene, research fellow with the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Unit, shared some of the important facts about emissions reductions.

Greene affirmed that emissions reduction baselines are not clear and are difficult to determine. To set the baseline at the highest point on the basis of historical emissions data over five was found to be an inappropriate method to reduce emissions by Greene.

In fact, it also been unveiled by Greene that safeguard mechanisms in the policy would just be applicable to 130 high emitting companies. Environment Minister Greg Hunt made clear that he is yet to announce the compliance regime for heavy polluters.

"Under the review the Government found that through the operation of the CFI that verification arrangements under the scheme were quite onerous", affirmed Greene. The government has now decided to move to a risk-based verification scheme that would not prove costly to business and would also not compromise the environmental integrity.

Methodologies would remain the same, but the policy would encourage increasing the uptake of land-sector projects to reduce carbon emissions. Greene said this factor is considered quite beneficial for the farming sector. Along with this, Greene also made clear that potential climate change impact on framing is very unclear.

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