Agriculture sector can contribute to climate solutions: GreenCollar

The agricultural sector has a substantial role to play in addressing climate change through emissions reductions and improved biodiversity while providing financial benefit, according to GreenCollar.

The Nationals Party is pushing its federal coalition partner in federal government to exclude the agriculture sector from any 2050 target the government proposes, but farmers have a role to play in finding nature-based solutions to climate change, said James Schultz, CEO of GreenCollar, a carbon project developer.

"One of the frustrating things about this area is the potential for the ag sector and land sector generally is overlooked in conversations on where we're heading in terms of addressing climate change," Schultz said. "The potential is enormous. Most of the land mass of Australia fits under the agricultural umbrella in some way and the range of activities is almost as wide as your imagination."

Agriculture based methodologies currently represent 127 register4ed projects in the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), out of a total of 922 projects registered to the end of 2020, according to the Clean Energy Regulator. Vegetation projects make up 515 registered projects.

"There's so much innovation in regenerative agricultural space, including changes in herd management, changes in energy usage, changes in crop production, fertilizer uses, native vegetation projects," Schultz said. "All of these areas have huge abatement potential, and the pathway to commodifying or pricing this stuff isn't limited to doing this under the ERF."

Schultz noted that additional sources of financial return could also come through creating consumer branding around agricultural products that contribute to Net Zero targets as an example of additional value generation.

"It's genuine opportunity at the farm level," he said. "There's increased revenue and farm gate receipts, and this is the most important thing I think from the development of sustainability in rural communities. There's a huge amount of innovation going on. You want to learn about a potential climate change adaption, and the potential to develop opportunity, you go to the farms and see it happening."

GreenCollar is involved in projects and investment in the carbon farming and carbon credit market. Last year, GreenCollar announced it had secured funding for a series of carbon farming projects under the Queensland Government's $500M Land Restoration Fund (LRF).

The approved projects will generate an estimated value of $9.5 million worth of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs).

The Queensland Government launched the $500 million Land Restoration Fund with the aim of expanding carbon farming in the state by supporting land-sector projects that deliver additional environmental, social and economic co-benefits. Carbon farming refers to carbon abatement and sequestration activities on agricultural land.

The Queensland Government is investing up to $100 million in 2020 for carbon farming projects with co-benefits that meet one or more of the three priority areas identified by the Priority Investment Plan.

The fund gives financial support to farmers, land managers and landholders with the support to generate additional, regular and diverse income streams and protect their business, using established scientific methodologies that measure carbon abatement and sequestration activities and can be used to generate ACCUs as a result.

Image credit: by Nico Smit on Unsplash

Read more: GreenCollarLand Restoration FundAustralian Carbon Credit UnitsClean Energy RegulatorEmissions Reduction FundJames Schultz
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