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Minister Wong offers concession on agricultural coverage.

- Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Climate Change Minister Senator Penny Wong has announced an offer to the Opposition to exclude agriculture from coverage under the CPRS, although there have not been any specific details of the offer made available, and the issue of agricultural offsets or imposing costs on agricultural emissions by other mechanisms has also not been clarified.

The National Farmers Federation proposed that agriculture be permanently excluded from direct coverage under the CPRS, and that farmers have available a wide range of offsets that they could undertake and use to generate revenue. Speaking on the ABC Insiders program, Senator Wong announced that the offer has been made to permanently exclude agriculture from an emissions cap under the CPRS, but indicated that the Government would be looking for other ways to ensure agriculture contributes to a reduction in national emissions.

This offer is part of the Government's attempt to get majority support in the Senate for it's CPRS legislation. It is unclear what happens to this offer in the event the Opposition eventually does not support the legislation.  
Ian McClintock commented on 22-Nov-2009 06:54 PM
Including agriculture as a 'covered sector' under the CPRS was always going to be very difficult and unlikely, so the CPRS Bill contains provisions for equivalent 'other measures' to be applied to the sector so that the calculated agricultural emissions will still be captured and paid for in full.

This 'concession' by Minister Wong therefore is only smoke and mirrors unless agriculture is also clearly excluded from the application of 'other measures' and this has not been done.

Don Henry (Australian Conservation Foundation) was quickly in the media calling for stiff 'other measures' to be applied to the sector.

If this is issue is not clarified before the Senate votes on this issue, as seems unlikely, it will be a sorry pyrrhic victory indeed.

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