Carbon Farming Initiative – approved two landfill gas projects in Canberra

Two landfill gas projects declared eligible in Canberra

The Clean Energy Regulator has approved two landfill gas projects in Canberra under the Carbon Farming Initiative.

The Belconnen Landfill Gas Project and the Mugga Lane Landfill Gas Project use the Capture and combustion of methane in landfill gas from legacy waste methodology, and are located in Belconnen and Hume respectively. There are now 11 landfill projects approved under the Carbon Farming Initiative. All projects that are declared eligible under the Act are published on Act are published on the Register of Offsets Projects.

For more information about applying for the Carbon Farming Initiative contact the Clean Energy Regulator:

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I use to procrastinate – managed to change

I use to procrastinate, but now I am not so sure.  Whenever a new urgent task comes up are you like so many others we talk to find it difficult to say no?  Keeping your focus can be difficult and it gets even harder if you are reaching levels of achievement and you want that to continue your story as your priority.  However, as all project managers will know the problem is change, it is the only constant. If you are an achiever the problem is you risk being called ‘one who procrastinates’ if you seek advice and it seem predicable patterns of behaviour are preferred from us. It is suggested the human brain is hardwired to be predicable, and where groups of people gather there will be change and that can be difficult to manage.

Being a carbon manager requires many skills to be effective and one such skill is change management and to be accredited you must complete units of competency that deal with change.  According to the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) www.aipm.com.au ‘the only constant is change’ and pages 13 to 15 of the Project Manager periodical for October/November 2012, runs the story as such.

The AIPM quotes Prosci (2009) and refers to the Best Practices in Change management where it is said you are six times more likely to achieve your original objectives successfully where you implement change efficiently and effectively, and change management is the structural underpinning of every strategy in every business.

Carbon Management is also about changing cultures and dealing with resistance. To be successful, it needs you to have the team working together. Any other way as an individual will not bring about the necessary change. You also need to be an innovator. Why? Because change must be accepted as an inevitable and as an essential for health and survival and that point needs to be better communicated.

The AIPM also quotes Kotter and Schlesinger (1979) and Trice and Beyer (1993) on ways to change cultures and deal with resistance. The former names – talk of education and communication, participation and involvement, facilitation and support, negotiation and agreement, manipulation and co-optation, explicit and implicit coercion. They even discuss forced change as a last resort and at times essential where speed of action is required. The later authors – name 8 essential considerations for implementing change to an organisational culture.  They refer to the need to find and cultivate innovative leadership.

Contained in the Carbon Management Certificate IV course material run by Carbon Training International (CTI), www.co2ti.com  is an entire unit devoted to organisational based change. They refer to organisational change as defined by Meyer and Bother (2000) as “the movement of people from a current state to a defined state”, and they talk of why change as a concept is relevant. As did the AIPM article refer to Kotter’s resistance to change so do they, only in more detail including the approaches to deal with the resistance to change.  Basic change management strategies quoted by CTI are referenced from Bennis, Benne and Chin (1969) and Nickols (2006) where there are four strategies, namely: Empirical-Rational; Normative-Reductive; Power-Coercive; and, Environmental-Adaptive.

CO2Land org also notes that the key success factors of change management can be determined through 12 critical factors from within. These include: Leadership, Management support, the need for change, participation, defining roles, planning, goal setting, monitoring and control, training, communication, motivation, embedding change. In conclusion the art of project management is as important to the carbon manager as any other strategic discipline, and it takes a strong will and a professional attitude to bring home the importance of the concept of change management.

On reflection, I did procrastinate, but it was more to do with the fear of potential negative consequences, the lack of clear deadlines, and a feeling making a difference was a task that was overwhelming. What changed? There are consequences for delay, the climate and economic situation is escalating and the frequency of change is more evident. Writing this post is an example of the need to change and in part delegating appropriately to someone else, as it is more worrying to do nothing then to act on ensuring the future.

Wellness for Cities – Greenings naturally

Adapting with climate change, rather than ‘to’ is proving to have multiple benefits. At the city levels the buildings can be our food sources, and can be improved to be more energy efficient, even the street can be better designed to help shield the needs for more energy.

Posted on 9 Sept 2012 Co2land.org was a story of innovation on using cities as part of our food production “Another way to design for food production” this story is also a must read for it also tackles the city problems and the innovation needed to prepare for the future. Featured: Stockolm’s purpose build highrise gardens and a Melbourne Hatch System enterprise.

The following is a post on Chicago and how the city is doing more to prepare for coping with climate change: The scene is set with the iconic CITY HALL building installing an impressive green roof in the city. The building has a 7010m2 (23,000 square foot) green roof and serves as a test bed for researching and measuring the impact of green roofs. This one innovation saves the city about $3600 a year in heating and cooling for the building and can reduce the external surface temperature of the building by as much as 80 degrees Fahrenheit! The roof features a spectacular rooftop garden and grows more than 100 plant species. A rainwater collection system irrigates the roof and several bee hives pollinate the many flower varieties. The plants on the rooftop soak up the sun’s heat to evaporate water, keeping both the buildings underneath and the air above it cooler. It is further claimed an expanded similar project for all roofs in Chicago could save $100 million in energy every year, and help absorb stormwater runoff.

Chicago is known for its climate extremes and residents can endure days of summer when the heat index reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit. “The city’s annual average temperature has increased by 2.5 degrees since 1945, according to this climate assessment created by a consortium of scientists and commissioned by the city”. Of even more worry is that it is no longer about peak heat, the problem extends as an increase in ambient temperature rises.

To do more the city is working to engineer that it can stay cooler using less energy even as temperatures rise by putting into place innovative ideas and concepts. The green roof is one, and another combating the ‘urban heat island effect’. Simply, concrete and pavement, which absorb and trap heat, make cities like Chicago hotter than surrounding rural areas. Buildings soak up the sun’s rays during the day and release that heat into the night. Additional research (Joseph Fernando of University of Notre Dame) shows that Chicago is about four to five degrees warmer than the neighbouring rural town because of this effect. It is also a worrying trend discovered in research that it is shown that urban sites and rural sites are warming at about the same rate (Thomas Peterson, chief climatologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). It does appear by the evidence all life styles are suffering because of climate change: You should also read: Global climate data shows the Earth has been warming increasingly over time.

Hat tip to that city’s officials for the $7 billion plan to build a “new Chicago” (source: Karen Weigert, the city’s chief sustainability officer).  That means renovating citywide infrastructure from sidewalk to rooftop. The additional innovation and steps taken by the city include:

  • Chicago already has 359 green roofs covering almost 5.5 million square feet — that’s more than any other city in North America. City planners are pushing for even more.
  • Chicago has mandated that all new buildings that require any public funds must be “LEED” Certified — designed with energy efficiency in mind — and that usually includes a green roof. Any project with a green roof in its plan gets a faster permitting process. That combined with energy savings is the kind of green that incentivizes developers.

But the city is looking beyond buildings — they’re hitting the streets too:

  • That’s why they’re designing new streetscapes that integrate technology and design elements from widened sidewalks for increased pedestrian traffic to tree and plant landscaping that provide shade. The pavements are made of a light reflecting material mix that includes recycled tire pieces and lanes coated with a microthin concrete layer that keep the street from absorbing so much heat.
  • Chicago’s 3058 klms (1,900 miles) of alleyways traditionally absorb heat and cast away potentially cooling rainwater. But new ‘green alleys’ use permeable pavement that absorb rainwater. As that underground water evaporates that also keeps the alley and air around it cool.

CO2Land org enjoys hearing these stories and in particular where cities consider they need to be looking beyond buildings and streets as just a place where we move vehicles and goods. They need to be places that integrate technology and design elements for a better place.

EOI – the label of convenience at risk

Calling for an Expression of Interest (EOI) gives the impression of progressive policy, but ‘paused development’ is often the result. A high risk for innovation and innovators to participate is the loss of Intellectual Property (IP). In more recent times it is common for government to test reactions to hard issues that are deemed to be important, and there is a belief finding acceptance of ‘real’ truth of the purpose – the use of EOI to assign work to institutions that have been otherwise denied funding at the expense of genuine innovation. Legally this is acceptable, but the morals are questionable when you consider that the ideas come from innovation and the innovators and they are at risk of loss of IP. Before participating in EOI invitations, the best defence could be to better understand Intellectual Property Law – starting with 101.

CO2Land org can give numerous examples of brilliant ideas. Many of these fail to be taken up because the main need was not correctly evaluated. In short a market was either not ready or the opportunity for the market to mature was outside the timeframe to sustain a reasonable return to run a business.  The carbon market is a very good example of brilliant ideas and correct intentions and misreading the timeframes. It follows that the space is a long way from being mature and it is complex as we have green markets, carbon markets and clean markets and a lot of individuals and entities wanting to be in the place where it is seen to be happening.

When we have a commodity we are well protected by our reputation and brand and the profile of what is offered carries warnings on ethical behaviours and legislation for protection. It is acceptable for the society to do this especially where the standards are deficient or omit adequate definition of the goods or services. Despite all this, as an innovator, it is very difficult to protect yourself and your intellectual property. Why? Because most participants establish their trademark/logo believing it is not necessary to establish reputation in the right of the mark. If someone comes along and does a better job of using the trademark or borrowed a look of your trademark to show a better use of it – they have the reputation not you. Also it is important to consider a reputation is not a single dimension it can be words with the addition of pictures, sounds, smells, colours and shapes.  Another question related to trade marks is different entities in different classes of specific goods and services need to be named in the specific classes. It would be prudent to check this matter out if you are moving from one market opportunity to another!

Starting up 101 – Intellectual Property (IP) is just a label of convenience! IP is a number of things that range from subject matter to rights. IP falls into categories in order to get rights and longevity over those rights. The significance of the difference makes the difference in the context of enforcing rights. Conversely you cannot enforce rights you do not have.

In relation to EOI – it could be argued you are permitting others to use or exploit your IP. Before participating you should take the matter up with a specialist IP Lawyer.

Background of what is IP in practice (Australia):

IP Matter Process to approve IP Type Definite Time
Innovation/Inventions yes Patents Yes
Genuine confidential and trade secrets no Trade Secrets and confidential information (not trivial) no – but you must maintain secrecy/confidentiality
Plant varieties yes Plant breeders rights yes
Visual features of a product yes Registered design yes
Signs distinguishing goods or services provided yes Registered trade mark Rollover by renewal fees paid
Original works and aligned subject matter (written down ideas) no Copyrights yes
Original layouts of semiconductor circuits no Circuit layout rights yes

food shortages, weather patterns and prices

Overheard: a farmer complaining near Canberra that the entire vegetable crop of the farm is loaded in a container and shipped to China, They are not allowed by contract to sell any produce locally, nor in this country. How common is this, and it was worth a closer look for worldwide trends.

Co2Land org did not have to look too hard to find 3 trends that impact the commercial world of farming: Food Shortages, Implications of global weather, and Non Farmer induced price behaviours.

Originally posted by farminguk.com each of these trends were reported as separate items, but in tying them together it made an interesting study.

1. Food shortages ‘a major threat to global security’ 26-04-2012

The warning in the story is the concerns over global food supply. It is argued economic hardship; political instability and human conflict could be the future reaction to a poor food supply. It is stressed this is beyond the threat of hunger and malnutrition and extends into wider security concerns.

They talk of the need for policy directions to embrace developments in agricultural science and technology to avert the dangers of shocks and disruptions to the food supply system. That currently innovations in plant science is discouraged in the policy agenda.

CO2Land org did notice that the use of wording ‘anti-science EU policy agenda’ and assumes this as a covert attempt to promote GM foods.  In particular the words: “Innovations in plant science, from agricultural biotechnology to advanced crop protection products, offer major opportunities for Europe’s farmers to deliver sustainable gains in agricultural productivity. Yet such advances are currently discouraged by an anti-science EU policy agenda.”

The argument is national and international security risks of failing to tackle the global food supply crisis. Commissioned by the Crop Protection Association the UK Parliament was told “Food supplies must increase by at least 70% to keep pace with the demands of a world population set to exceed 9 billion by 2050, and the report highlights the urgent need to increase agricultural productivity, reduce food waste and improve distribution networks….The report also recognises that increasing food production sustainably in a world of rising urbanisation and already strained natural resources will require access to the most advanced farming technologies and practices. ”

2. El Nino fading: Implications on global weather 27-09-2012

This post really startled: The implications of a wane of the weather patterns do not guarantee a change replenishing soil moisture for crops.

It would be reasonable to expect cooling surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific is the wane of El Niño atmospheric osolation.  And then comes the quote reported to be from Don Keeney, Senior Agricultural Meteorologist for MDA EarthSat Weather/CropCast. “It is true that we are seeing a fading El Niño, but this does not mean that we are automatically headed for La Niña,”

So how does this affect the global food situation? Again, to quote the source: “While the easing of El Niño makes the idea of drought-busting rains in the U.S. and ideal growing conditions in South America less certain, the current trend away from El Niño does imply that the tropical Pacific will have less influence on weather patterns in most areas”.

From this we can glean future weather patterns will continue to shift from being predictable ways of announcing rain and temperature events. This is explained as the effects of other circulation patterns called teleconnections. What are the implications of this pattern shift?  The answer is less certainty and increased variability making long-range forecasts more difficult and less reliable in estimating temperature and rainfall signals.

CO2Land org can now speculate the potential of countries with larger populations will do what they can to accumulate or guarantee food security. This includes buying the entire crops at the farm gate of one country to export to the other and even then process any excess to be imported by the originating country. The near Canberra farmer even mentioned it was believed that farms produce went to China was then sent to New Zealand processed and sent packaged back to Australia. We have no proof other than see if a comparative economic benefit exists it is possible to believe.

3. Current food supply could lead to severe price rises 26-07-2012

It would seem UK and Australia shares a common problem in the food industry. That being a small number of processors and retailers were dominating the industry and farmers were finding that they are struggling to keep afloat. The demands of dominate processors and retailers mean comparative economic advantage from one country to the next will be exploited and the consumer is partly to blame because they insist on paying less.

The post tells of how many farmers or too small to be of interest to supermarket chains and that small scale farmers are struggling to exist. It cannot legally be called restriction of trade; it is simply that the economies of scale required place very restrictive contracts conditions on farmers by way of what is required by supermarkets. Farmers then find the outlets for their produce are very limited and the price to get to market further erodes a reasonable return on the price consumers will pay.

My near Canberra farmer is large scale in the sense container loads are shifted and it does seem insane that the produce is grown locally, and sent to massive packing centres wherever before being transported back to local supermarkets. It also appears the large scale producer is under increasing pressure to continue to lower costs of production and increase the varieties that increase shelve life of the products.  It is conceivable that they like smaller farmers will find resilience not enough to stay in the market place. You could then ask if it is not the weather that will sink us for food security is it a lack of competition at the process and retail end that is the problem?

CO2Land org finds it must absolutely agree the issues and problem are many to use the weather pattern analogy it is teleconnections that are bring random and less easy predictors of how to best handle the problem of enough food. But no matter the comment it is difficult to go past the arguments that the food industry is full of short termism and the state of the market drives this behaviour. As is the debate on climate change we do need to address this, the changes in the environment and learn the market itself cannot be sustainable without political will to protect our long-term future.  But it is already too late!

 

Counting apples of the Greenhouse Tree – ACT 2

In Australia, we are idealistic, know how to love, but childish and impossible in dealing with reality – and think reducing emissions is a fairytale notion. The same authors said,  “Over the past four years something remarkable has happened in ACT climate change policy.  Yesterday the ACT Government released its long awaited final action plan outlining how the ACT can reach its 40% emissions reduction for the year 2020. The target, legislated in 2010, leads the country in local jurisdictions aiming to reduce emissions.” This is cccording to Love40percent.org.

CO2Land org takes note that the super fast action needs to be discussed as LOL: Legislated in 2010, action ‘plan’ yesterday September 2012. We agree they now have a policy plan, and it has been researched, undergone economic modeling and considered planning. But is concerned the optimism is utopian as it relies too heavily on the idealistic, and is a good example of the need to give a reality check and not get too carried away with the concept, as ultimately the implementation will come down to the commercial reality. To illustrate, not long a go the ACT Government touted a policy calling for Zero Waste, that is until it was learnt revenues would be affected – the commercial reality was loss of revenue when success lead to loss of weighbridge fees at tip sites became the ‘tipping point’ in the decision to backtrack.

So is the reason such well meaning concepts fail simply because idealistic concepts are too closely aligned with vision statements, initial outreach attempts and childish opportunism? What can be done to ensure concrete actions are in place to make a 40% target a reality? For a start we can look at these needs of the vision: It requires continued community support, constant reinforcement that realising a solution requires we alter our way of life.  This means our emissions reduction must affect our lives so we can reduce 90% of our reliance on convention energy sources – move energy sourced from conventional power sources to renewable wind and solar, ensure 30% of work travel is done by other than the single car journey, drastically improved energy efficiency in all of our buildings. etc.

Co2Land org now find another reason of concern, a populist appeal to encourage GreenPower – albeit in time for a electioneering. Recently the ACT Government commented of ‘misleading’ representation of GreenPower. Then in the Love40percent report it said, “The renewable energy that we create is recognized as additional to any national emissions targets.  No offsets to faraway plantations or gas power required.  This plan effectively reduces the impacts of the way we live for the long term, and will wean us off almighty coal”.  It would seem they either do not understand what is legislated or they are attempting to confuse the issue and deflect that they are embarked on actions that are not carbon but generation offsets and displacements? As such there is no opportunity to generate revenue under a carbon trading scheme, nor can any offsets nor Rec’s can be created. However, the project developers (guess who?) can charge a ‘generous’ price for GreenPower which customers are encourage it the right think to do?  See how easy it is to confuse what is real and what is fairyland?

The suggestion is for the ACT Government to stick to the facts: The truth of Climate Change, that ice caps melting faster than expected and global emissions still rising, and encourage the action that will make a difference. But, alas again the ACT Government will set emissions reductions targets and make climate policy that encourages skepticism. After all the ACT Government’s Greens MLA may have encouraged skeptics when said a matter of days ago: ”There are significant issues with GreenPower’s operation and management, which are placing unfair price pressures on GreenPower customers,” Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury said yesterday.

We agree they should be afraid that we’re putting more pressure on local household budgets when life is already too tight managing a Canberra mortgage.

 

 

The Risk of Anthropocene – cause and effect

Innovate differently and conservation projects succeeding, what is the connection? The AGE, 10 Sept 12, article alarmed on saying “Humans’ power to determine the future of planet Earth is increasing exponentially. The result could be disastrous unless we change the way we think”. The story referred to the “Anthropocene,” in which all earth processes come to be powerfully shaped by human activity. Also quoted is: “Of all the usable energy reaching the Earth from the sun, we humans already gather and exploit as much as 5 per cent. Nearly half of the planet’s land surface has been altered by human action and practice”. Further reading of the article refers to Sander Van Der Leeun’s assessment that humans have a problem of being obsessed with making change described as a “mismatch between brains and reality”.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/environment/innovating-how-we-think-20120910-25n23.html#ixzz267yIAS00

Then the story ‘Conservation Project Succeeding in lower Mekong’ by Maya Thatcher and Michelle Kovacevic was noticed, 10 Sept 12, and quoted is: “For thousands of years, the people living on the banks of the Mekong river have been paddling through its often treacherous waters in wooden cargo boats laden with all manner of freshly grown produce, ready for trade….But in the last few decades they have entered a struggle of a new kind. With rising foreign investment and a rapidly expanding population demanding more than small sellers can produce and transport, trucks carrying tonnes of commercially grown produce now trundle along newly built roads slicing through the riverine forested slopes. The powerful river flow has now been interrupted by dozens of hydroelectric dams; transforming it into the ‘battery of South-East Asia’….Seeking to stave off such challenges, aid and conservation projects have moved in droves to protect one of the world’s great waterways. In the Lower Mekong Basin, where the streams flow through Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, millions of dollars have been poured into integrated conservation and development projects (or ICDPs) that attempt to promote environmental sustainability of local communities while satisfying their development demands.”

‘But are these projects succeeding?’ ask the authors of Evidence-based Conservation: Lessons from the Lower Mekong, “Many ICDPs have excessively ambitious goals and they inevitably make mistakes, so it is really important to make sure that we learn from those mistakes,”says Terry Sunderland, Principal Scientist with the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and one of the book’s editors”.

CO2Land org compared the two stories as printed and wondered should all projects where we affect the environment be judged first as potential Anthropocene? In that way the consequences of what we do would be compiled and used as monitoring systems and be inspirational as a source for learning and change. It follows “we need to know about not only project successes but also about failures – if we are to learn from them, says Jeffrey Sayer, Professor of Development Practice at James Cook University and another of the book’s editors”. He goes on the say “All too often the only motivation to put monitoring systems in place is to keep donors happy, as the value of monitoring as a source for learning and change is not yet appreciated by people on the ground.”

Although CO2Land org does prefer it to be kept simple – computer says yes takes some of the sense of achievement away for overcoming the odds. Is it possible that is what Sander Van Der Leeun meant of the discourse of our reality!

Then we read of the Mekong project many alliances were formed in eagerness to get on with it, and clear and achievable objectives were not reinforced and as such it is no easy to articulate what is achievable as long term effects.

Next comes what we have been waiting for “Market-based mechanisms may help marry conservation and development

“For long-term conservation projects, funding is crucial. In recent years, possibilities have opened up for market-based incentives like payments for environmental services (PES) and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), which place a value on ecosystem services, including carbon sequestration.

While the commoditisation of nature is not without its critics, Minh-Ha Hoang, formerly the Vietnam Coordinator for the World Agroforestry Centre, and another of the book’s editors argues that such schemes can play a valuable role as complementary to other funding mechanisms rather than being standalone solutions to link conservation and development.

“In Vietnam for example, REDD+ is being earmarked as a way to help ease rural poverty, however it cannot work if significant changes are not made to the country’s land tenure system as poor households are often excluded because they do not have land titles,” she said.

Fully understand the policy context

In many cases, the root causes of biodiversity loss and threats to parks can be traced to government policies. As the book highlights, while an excellent framework may be in place for conservation and poverty alleviation, success rests heavily on the implementation of legislation.

Policy challenges to protected areas are further compounded by a general lack of political commitment to conservation, as is evident in the weaknesses of many environmental agencies and poor financing of park management activities.

Learning from a ‘major conservation failure’

While the book was being compiled, conservation worldwide suffered a major blow: the Javan rhinoceros was declared extinct in Vietnam.

Despite significant government and NGO resources, poaching has killed the last of its kind in Cat Tien National Park, meaning that less than 50 individuals now survive in Indonesia.

So what went wrong?

Many conservation projects have excessively ambitious goals and they inevitably make mistakes, so it is really important we learn from those mistakes.

“Substantial investment was made in park infrastructure for eco-tourism…rather than spent on direct monitoring and protection of the Javan rhino,” Sunderland says in Killed for Keratin: The Unnecessary Extinction of the Rhino.

He adds that political will must be strengthened to stop cartels from trading in endangered species.

Conservation efforts recently gained much needed political clout when Indonesia’s President announced the International Year of the Rhino, aimed to help safeguard the future of Javan and Sumatran rhinos. Nevertheless, some conservationists remain cautious in their outlook, saying that now policy makers must follow through on their promises.

Sunderland warns that turning words into action is no easy task. Enforcing national and international legislation to protect endangered species is not only expensive but also highly contentious.

“Conservationists have been roundly criticized for implementing what is regarded as draconian efforts at protecting species at the expense of local livelihoods, as local people are often excluded from protected areas,” he says.

But perhaps enforcing ‘best practice’ regulations is exactly what’s needed for conservation and development projects striving to succeed in aiding the people, flora and fauna that still subsist in the Lower Mekong Basin.

To get your copy of Evidence-based Conservation: Lessons from the Lower Mekong please click here.

CO2Land org has no more to add, other than say it is time for a reality check – what we do has a cause and an effect.

Understanding how soil and plants cope with climate change

Managing carbon in the soil is complex, and chemical reactions are essential to trigger responses to help plants grow and develop. Understanding how soil and plants cope with climate change logically leads to questioning the necessary terrestrial ecosystem carbon balance that will be sustainable under future climate-change scenarios.

CO2Land org has previously discussed ‘soil bugs’ under ‘Bugs to cure our climate ills’, on 21 Aug 2012 and more recently further information as been sent on findings that have been on public release (30 Aug 2012 ): “Unexpected finding shows climate change complexities in soil.  While it is hard to describe the finding as surprising it is more evidence of underground organisms ability to play complex roles with greenhouse sequesting.

Presented by mick_kulikowski@ncsu.edu of North Carolina State University  in a paper published in the Aug. 31 edition of Science, “North Carolina State University researchers show that important and common soil microscopic organisms, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), play a role in sequestering carbon below ground, trapping it from escaping into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas…. Yet at the same time, the study shows, elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide also increase a number of underground decomposing interactions that cause carbon to be released back into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. This greenhouse gas release essentially offsets any carbon sink benefits, the researchers found…AMF have a win-win relationship with plants. The fungi take carbon from plants and provide nitrogen and other useful soil nutrients that plants need in order to grow and develop. Present in the roots of about 80 percent of plants that grow on land, AMF help hold this carbon in the ground by putting the brakes on the decomposition of soil organic matter, which prevents the carbon in the decomposing material from escaping into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas”.

What was so complex in that action you might ask?  The paper says different experiments yielded different results. However all concluded AMF spur other soil micro-organisms to help fill the plant’s need for ammonia. To do so, soil micro-organisms decompose soil organic matter, which allows the carbon to escape into the atmosphere.

Quoting the paper: “We showed that the fungi previously thought to control carbon in the soil can increase carbon decomposition when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are elevated. ” The study lead Dr. Shuijin Hu, associate professor of plant pathology at NC State and the corresponding author of the paper to say: “But if we effectively manage x, we have a chance to manage carbon sequestration in the soil.”

What CO2Land org reads of this is that regardless, we humans can manage the need for change and anthropogenic change can affect the extent to which terrestrial ecosystems will interact and need the sequester carbon to mitigate climate change is a matter of debate. And to quote the study again “The stimulation of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) by elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) has been assumed to be a major mechanism facilitating soil carbon sequestration by increasing carbon inputs to soil and by protecting organic carbon from decomposition via aggregation. We present evidence from four independent microcosm and field experiments demonstrating that CO2 enhancement of AMF results in significant soil carbon losses. Our findings challenge the assumption that AMF protect against degradation of organic carbon in soil and raise questions about the current prediction of terrestrial ecosystem carbon balance under future climate-change scenarios”.

 

Carbon price -positive posts today

Carbon price featured in two positive posts today. Both would give some certainty to farmers under carbon offsets schemes. The first was reported by AAP, 28 August 2012, on what CO2Land org has tipped and that is that the European Emission Trading scheme was in a state of change and ultimately, all markets will benefit from these changes: The Australian Government announced plans to link Australia’s scheme to Europe’s emissions trading scheme from 2015. Also announced was an equally important event, The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Carbon Farming Initiative team, announced the opening of Expressions of Interest for grants funding to develop carbon farming methods.

Why are the two linked? Aspects of both effect Australian companies that will be able to sell credits in Europe and farmers wanting some certainty to the ability to generate credits through changes to their land practices, and that had an issue in that it was well posted Australia might not have generated sufficient credits to meet the domestic demand.

The link is also important for project developers that are used to assigning risk to issuance of carbon credits and they can now be more certain that the projects will conform to pricing expectation without the need to vary or discount. Without it the only other option was to assign a risk to earlier transactions and take a greater discount.

What else is good? Currently Europe permits are trading for about 8 euro (high $9) and traders can offer that to you now to meet future liabilities. Sorry Tony, this means the carbon price will most likely be cheaper for Australian businesses by the effective date and possibly before, and the beauty of it is the European Union will be the one that will put the brakes on if things get too aggressive. Yes, someone else to watch over the price.

What else would farmers like? Current restrictions of the liability that can be met by overseas carbon schemes will be more price friendly through the European Scheme and that scheme will become a floating-price emissions trading scheme and the Australian linkage to Europe will be a free market with price advantages that can be traded without affecting the level of carbon cuts needed.

We will leave the clean energy advantages for another post.

 

ever heard of Climate Change Authority, Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

What? You never heard of Climate Change Authority, what about Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

The Energy Users Association of Australia (EUAA) would like to make sure you are up to speed, and encourage you to consider attending their important briefing in Sydney this Thursday, 30 August 2012.

Why would you know more for attending? Because Roman Domanski (Executive Director, EUAA) has engaged the CEO of the new Climate Change Authority, and the Chair of the new Clean Energy Finance Corporation to present the outline and effects of their charge. These two are responsible for advising the Government on the carbon price and the renewable energy target, amongst other things, and responsible for providing funding for clean energy, low carbon and energy efficiency projects.  Of course there is more to the program but you should check that out for yourself.

Because CO2Land org likes to know a little more, a short research brings up:

1. The Climate Change Authority was created as an independent body to provide advice on the Australian Government’s policies for reducing carbon pollution (reviewing the Renewable Energy Target, Pollution caps, carbon pricing and Carbon Farming Initiative):

  • Has a Board of nine members with skills in science, economics, climate change mitigation, emissions trading, investment and business.
  • The Board is supported by a CEO and support staff.
  • Importance is to make recommendations on the steps Australia should take towards the 2020 target and on the longer-term path towards the 2050 target.
  • The Authority will conduct regular, public reviews and its reports will be made public.

2. Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is made up of a panel of experts appointed by the Government to advise on the design of the $10billion Clean energy package. The package is announced to:

  • encourage private investment and help overcome capital market barriers to commercialising clean energy technologies.
  • The expert review panel consults with key stakeholders and report with recommendations to assist with the drafting of legislation, allowing the CEFC to start operating from 2013-14.

CO2Land org notes that the EUAA and the agencies recognize that it is an act of being together that will be a success factor with putting a price on carbon pollution, and the establishment of responsible bodies that will help Australia meet the environmental and economic challenges of competing in a low-pollution world.

If you have any interest direct your queries direct to:

 

Energy Users Association of Australia

Suite 1, Level 2, 19-23 Prospect St

Box Hill  Vic  3218 Australia

T +61 3 9898 3900

F +61 3 9898 7499

W www.euaa.com.au