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2020 Autumn - Evolving conservation agriculture

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FPJ1701C - White, R & Davidson, B (2020), Is carbon farming an efficient means of offsetting Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions?

FPJ1701C - White, R & Davidson, B (2020), Is carbon farming an efficient means of offsetting Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions?, in Farm Policy Journal, vol. 17, no. 1, Autumn 2020, pp. 16-21, Surry Hills, Australia.

Carbon (C) farming is often promoted as a win-win practice for greenhouse gas (GHG) offsets and improving soil health. This view is implicit in the Australian Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) of the current Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). However, claims made at the national level for C sequestration potential in the landscape, and at the farm level for C in soil, cannot be substantiated when compared with scientific evidence of measured rates of C accumulation in Australia and overseas. Nor has the cost-effectiveness of sequestering soil C under the CFI and ERF been analysed at the national or farm level. As it stands, the CFI is a subsidy to farmers and should be recognised as such. Until these questions are resolved, implementation of the policy is economically irresponsible and runs the risk of diverting resources from other sectors where significant reductions in GHG emissions could be achieved.

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