Confusion everywhere: What is the program for Farmers.

Do you know the clean energy future plan encourages innovation?

Do you know different programs affect you in different ways?

Do you care anyway?

Can you have innovation and policy outcomes in harmony?

Let us confuse you. You must decide what and when and how you will get engaged. You will be given information that says you can, should and have a duty to be involved in a program.

Why would you be confused?

  1. The federal government’s carbon tax is just days away, and seminars will guide you to carbon price effects.
  2. Carbon farming initiatives and the opportunities available to farmers who want to innovate in the sector through the program are subject to being on the positive list.
  3. The Carbon Farming Initiative, the Biodiversity Fund and Energy Efficiency can be mutually exclusive.
  4. Federal programs tend to look at the big picture, and state run programs tend to look for additional capture.
  5. The clean energy future plan does not make it mandatory for any program if you are outside the policy list.
  6. You are not clearly made aware of the differences of the programs. That is possible exclusion from one or all of the programs.
  7. Bi-partisan political support is by degrees, not absolute.

Let CO2Land org give you a example: A recent seminar, hosted by NSW Farmers’ Association and Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority, focused on the federal government’s clean energy future plan and the carbon farming initiative. Farmers were encouraged to look at how they can reduce their carbon emissions, in a way that complements their existing business, to develop innovation strategies.

But, can farmers double dip into each program? The short answer, you should be aware, very very aware you must make choices of what you engage to do. Put this way “One farmer has implemented a scheme where effluent is collected and the methane emissions are captured then burned to generate electricity (Example from the seminar by Mr David Eyre of NSW Farmers Association)

Then the carrot “Grants are available to farmers who have an appetite for innovation and want to develop carbon schemes”. The question then becomes, on what program? How do I decide? Am I content to be just inside the tent, or am I driven to do something more aligned to sustainable and improving practices?

Then you should be aware business as usual can have penalties!

Bi-partisan support for Bob Hawke Landcare Award

The Bob Hawke Landcare Award is replacing the McKell Medal.

CO2Land org has picked up that the NSW Department of Primary Industries is encouraging Landcare facilitators, coordinators and networks to nominate a worthy recipient for the Bob Hawke Landcare Award.

To be eligible for the award, nominees must be actively involved in Landcare or sustainable agriculture and be willing to promote the Landcare ethos.

The Bob Hawke Landcare Award recipient will be awarded a $50,000 prize package for further development of their knowledge and skills in sustainable land management. The recipient will also receive an honorary two-year position on the Australian Landcare Council.

Nominations close at midnight (AEDT) on Monday 23, July 2012.

Being that all nominations will be assessed by a non-politicked advisory panel, with representatives from Australian, state and territory governments, Landcare and the natural resource management community. CO2Land org is happy to pass this message on to its readers.

For more information the NSW Government contact is:

John Perrott
Natural Resource Officer
Department of Primary Industries

Phone: 02 9895 7252
Fax: 02 9895 7252 
john.perrott@environment.nsw.gov.au

Real Milk – GST help and no permeate

 Yohoo for dairy farmers:

The byproduct of milk that is white but not milk will not be added back to milk.  Permeate replaces the need for processors to buy more milk – the change means producers and consumers will benefit from getting milk labeled milk– amazingly it make no noticeable difference to the price consumers pay. The winners will be the producer and consumer, and we would expect more confidence on the quality of milk will mean higher sales and processors will be happy.

More happy news:

The government is providing a total of $8 million to assist milk product manufacturers to invest in energy efficient machinery, to help reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions. The help will be given as technology grants as part of pre-carbon tax incentives.

Bega Cheese, given as an example, operates five plants, and currently has a energy bill of $13 million a year, and although carbon tax and rising fuel costs will add $3 million this year to the bill, the savings of 20% per annum in terms of energy efficiency dividends will actually reduce the costs of operating.

CO2Lan org asks you to note that smart adjustments mean real benefits – including for the future.

BAU – Rio + 2012 outcome

BBC Headline sub-title: Weather matches mood: Environmental supporters march in the rain at Rio+20, 22 June 2012.

Outcomes are funny things: sometimes they are policy, and sometimes they are political outcomes, or they are both. No matter what ticks your box, widespread criticism on what was the likely outcome for sustainable development in Rio + 20 make it hard to declare if any outcome was conclusive.

With high expectation that more than a hundred world leaders would tackle poverty and damage to the natural world with definitive measures. The consensus is few tangible measures have been agreed.

The blame game that will be the fallout, and a wager is we will hear similar ‘insipid’ games played in our own politics. If you take note of these comments you will see the illustration of what to expect:

  • Fernando Cardoso Former Brazilian President: “This is a ‘once in a generation’ moment when the world needs vision, commitment and, above all, leadership”, and “Sadly, the current document is a failure of leadership.”
  • The British Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, went so far as to call it “insipid”.
  • Former Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso, who chaired the 1992 Earth Summit, said “This old division between environment and development is not the way we are going to solve the problems that we are creating for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren”.
  • BBC environment correspondent Richard Black says: “The overall feeling here is that governments have missed an opportunity to change the course of human development,” and “But it’s clear not every country wanted a change of tack. The US, Canada and many developing nations appear content to continue with business as usual.”

CO2Land org advocates that regardless of the need for leverage for power, We have to accept that the solutions to poverty and inequality lie in sustainable growth, not growth at all costs. Taking ‘note’ of initiatives for sustainable growth and burying any chance of enthusiasm in 50 pages of text is not enough, it is not even good politics.

One step forward, two steps back – QANTAS

One step forward two steps back

When taking the helm of our great national airline, Alan Joyce is noted as saying the future of QANTAS is the JETSTAR model, was he right, poll taken 23 Jun 2012 – oh Dear such poor judgment (poll attached below)?

Then another ‘brilliant’ strategist, the Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce (no relation to Alan Joyce) says he is backing Qantas. Barnaby is quoted by the Herald as saying “it’s a case of recognizing reality.”

From the Herald comes a reader comment, 23 Jun 2012:

“This is just my view but I wouldn’t be surprised if QF’s real aim to build up Jetstar, … 

Sydneysider”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/we-could-go-under-qantas-tells-mps-20120621-20r1y.html#ixzz1yZQKENAu

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/we-could-go-under-qantas-tells-mps-20120621-20r1y.html#ixzz1yZP48rOy

 

Poll: Which airline would you rather fly?

Qantas 53%

Virgin 39%

Jetstar 3%

Tiger 5%

Total votes: 16763.

Poll closed 23 Jun, 2012

Disclaimer: These polls are not scientific and reflect the opinion only of visitors who have chosen to participate.

 Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/we-could-go-under-qantas-tells-mps-20120621-20r1y.html#ixzz1yZL16UqG

And the QANTAS chief asks for competition to be restricted or else.  The ‘or else’ is we could go under? But, fear not that might be the plan – a JETSTAR revival, long live and re-Joyce.

Why do we care? QANTAS is committed to helping our environment. They have established codes of such and we support that position. Polls suggest readers agree.

NFF Not happy – new agricultural body recommended

Senate recommends new agricultural body
The Senate Inquiry into agricultural education has recommended a new agricultural body to represent farmers and agribusinesses be established for policy.

On the NFF website the President, Jock Laurie, said. “The NFF’s very mandate is to represent farmers and the broader farm sector: we already have a powerful reputation, a strong and established relationship with Government and have achieved major outcomes for our sector. The suggestion that yet another body be formed is completely counterproductive to Australian agriculture”.

The senate obviously has a different view and wants the strategic direction for the future of the agriculture sector to have different leadership on agricultural education, the issues around foreign investment, and food security.

The NFF is not happy, they are on record as saying the Senate Inquiry overstepped its terms of reference and has not recognised issues where the NFF has runs on the board, and is achieving real outcomes for the sector.

CO2Land org can understand the frustration and can sympathise on the calls for greater resourcing of agricultural representation across the sector and greater collaboration between organisations. It is sincerely hoped all will be handled so that creditable representation will be achieved and work already advanced on foreign investment, the Rio+20 Forum etc. will result in a more than  just a series of outputs termed an outcome. The trademark of a body not concerned with real innovation.

 

To CFI or not to CFI – Oh a change is coming

To CFI or not to CFI – Technology related innovations could help decision-making.

The scenario: You know your life on the land has taught you many a key lesson; major events can strike at any time. These predictable events and many a warning about climate related events is given, you would make an assessment, and peer pressure might help you determine it is improbable that such events will affect your activities – this year.

Now comes your problem: Legislation encourages incentives to change land management practices. You follow a lot of stories, get anecdotal advice, but remain apprehensive. What do you need to help with your decision process to participate, you know there are a lot of government sponsored programs, no end of ‘professional advice’ on practices, and remain concerned it is all a bit ‘tent revival’ flavoured?

The cause of your unease can be explained by the knowledge that your information package is not complete, that penalties can be levied under curtain conditions that might not be apparent now, that improbable events can occur.

On the later point (improbable), recent disasters proved that conventional systems fail, that chaos would have persisted had it not been for innovative solutions. Those solutions were in the hands of the people, not those in authority, the ability to be there on the spot, to communicate instantly the situation helped in a multiplicity of ways.

The point of this story is because technology was advanced and accessible, decisions could be made on the real circumstances involving you. You could then confidently move forward with what you access is for you to commit to, no hype, no undue pressure from the ‘tent’.

It happens CO2Land org has talked to Carbon Innovation, Carbon Training International and their business partners and while some announcements have been made of a relationship between Balance Carbon and Carbon Training International to bring you CFI trading capability under the peerage of the Carbon Market Institute, you can be confident major announcements will be made on the progress of new generation technology innovations that are at the forefront and involve other partners. With this advancement you can minimize potential of the “Black Swan” (book printed 2007, author Nassim Nicholas Taleb – not of the treasurer). The reference is quoted as ”until white settlers landed in Western Australia and discovered black swans, it was assumed all swans were white”.  Landholders may identify with this story as history has thrown up many such examples; but it is often easier to put aside the impacts because conventional wisdom assigns the possible as improbable.

Watch this space, 0h a change is coming.

Culture of sustainability in a cloud

Carbon Management Plan

To be strategic in how you approach your carbon scorecard requires a good carbon management plan[1]. In building that plan you need to “build a culture of sustainability”. The aim is to be a business or entity that will perform better in the triple bottom line for the long-term. However well planned we should be aware that what appears plausible could be affected by black swan events (improbable happenings – left field whams – disasters). In another blog we will talk of these events in more detail.

To defend against the black swan event

It all gets down to being able to use a robust metric to reduce risk and having a communication platform that can be maintained throughout any event. It is suggested the magic metric is “The ability to scale change far beyond its own organization”, and the magic communication system is “Cloud Computing”.

Apple the model of sustainability?

The three largest IT companies building on the cloud are reported as Apple, Microsoft and Amazon.  It appears Apple is winning the public perceptions of playing a big part in forming the culture of sustainability, and the company goes beyond simple assessment of supplier relationships, working conditions for employees, and environmental issues.  The work of TruCost[2] – through Bloomburg says Apple is an example of tackling a truly sustainable approach and “offers Apple room for growth”.

Back to cloud computing: This concept requires substantial energy consumption. As a model for sustainability, Apple is acknowledging that rapid expansion has been made, in the past, without adequate regard to source of electricity, and do rely heavily on black types of energy to power their clouds. TruCost reports Apple gave “a vociferous response ….., which in May announced it was approved to build a 20-megawatt solar power facility across the street from its data center in Maiden, North Carolina. The site will be powered completely by renewable sources by the end of 2012”. It would be nice to hear of a report from Microsoft and Amazon on similar aims.

Reflect the potential

If Apple is the example of how to build a culture of sustainability, then it shows a reflection of the potential to scale sustainability innovation. Why is it so difficult to encourage policy makers to encourage innovation? To CO2Land it is important to advocate for innovation, and being able to help with factual advice on how to drive change, to maintain environmental performance.

How to keep it up for your benefit: Legitimate efforts to a culture of sustainability create and defend values. You can only do that if you follow paths to authenticity, transparency and responsiveness to grow and thrive.

Footnote 1: Copyright Carbon Training International Visit www.co2ti.com

Footnote 2: Check out the body of work on Apple by Krosinsky (Senior Vice President of TruCost). Other references Visit www.bloomberg.com/sustainability.


 

Land Use – why change?

Australian Land Use – Why change?

 

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences predicts that global demand for food will increase by 77% in the next 40 years but Australia’s share of global food exports will fall from 4% to 3%. Source AFR 040612.

 

The Australian Farm Institute has found that Australia’s agricultural production is among the most volatile in the world – and agriculture is almost the most volatile sector of our economy – to capture the benefits of increased food demand, farmers and processors need to invest in productivity improvements and the development of under-utilised land – but these investments must be made as farmers face climate variability, reduced public investment in R&D, and in commodity markets that are volatile. Source AFR 040612.

Pay the tax – feel good

For the shock jocks to think about: You should feel good to pay taxes!

Research in Italy – says “People pay taxes because it feels good”. The study included thousands of Italians, the researchers discovered that a greater willingness to pay taxes is associated with greater levels of personal happiness – this finding that dovetails with research showing that tax cheating has psychological costs such as guilt and a diminished self-image – of Italians surveyed, 79% said they strongly felt that paying taxes is one of the duties of citizenship. Sourced HBR 120512. So what is wrong Australia, why do you feel so miserable?

Are we alone on Carbon Tax (or is it price in Australia)?

Carbon taxes around the world: China is planning a carbon tax on big energy consumers by 2015 – some provinces have already introduced a carbon tax – in the US there is no nationwide tax although a few states have introduced the tax – Canada does not have a federal carbon tax, but some Canadian provinces and states do have carbon taxes – India has introduced a nationwide carbon tax of 50 rupees per tonne ($1.07) on coal both produced and imported – South Korea introduced a national carbon tax in 2008 – Japan does not have a carbon tax but is planning to implement one – the European Union enacted an emissions trading scheme in 2005 – several European countries have enacted a carbon tax, including Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. Sourced: SBS World News 160512. We are not alone, so good!