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New soil carbon method could reduce costs for farmers

soil carbon method

The federal government has released a draft soil carbon method for public consultation under the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), helping farmers to benefit from soil management. 

This new method will support greater uptake of soil carbon projects by overcoming barriers to participating in the ERF, reducing costs and introducing new activities to store carbon. 

“Through the new soil carbon method, we’re making it easier for our farmers to be rewarded for their contribution to reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions,” minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said. 

“For the first time it will allow modelled estimates of soil carbon change to be used, in combination with measurement approaches, which is expected to materially reduce costs and increase returns. 

“Reducing the cost of soil carbon measurement to less than $3 per hectare per year is a priority under the government’s Low Emissions Technology Statement, and one of five low emissions technology priorities under our Technology Investment Roadmap,” he said. 

The proposed method will enable agricultural activities that store carbon in soil to generate Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs). These activities include improving fertiliser application, re-establishing pasture and modifying grazing practices. 

Under the ERF, over 98 million ACCUs have been issued and it is on track to reach 100 million ACCUs in the coming months. The Clean Energy Regulator (CER) expects the ERF to credit a record 17 million tonnes of emissions reductions in 2021 alone. 

Projects under existing soil carbon methods will be able to transfer to the new method. 

Soil carbon is one of five priority methods being developed in 2021 under the ERF. Other new methods being developed this year include carbon capture and storage, blue carbon, biomethane or green gas and plantation forestry.  

The Clean Energy Regulator develops priority methods through a co-design process with industry, potential end-users, scientists and technical experts, and the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee. 

The public consultation is open until 11:59pm (AEST) on 27 September. 

More information is available on the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources consultation hub web page. 

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