Bankable Biochar Offsets For Agriculture

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18th November 2009, 06:16pm - Views: 925

Bankable Biochar offsets for Agriculture

18 November 2009

As the Federal Labor emissions trading scheme has gone through the lower house and is now off to

the senate for a possible decision next week, the fledgling Australian biochar industry is examining

the possible implications of the government’s concession to the coalition to exclude agriculture,

whilst allowing the sector to sell offsets into the scheme.

The outlook for Australian agriculture if we continue business-as-usual, even for the most

conservative scenarios developed by climate scientists, is bleak. Biochar may be a way for farmers

to be more resilient to climate pressures. Dr. Lukas Van Zwieten, senior research scientist from the

NSW Department of Industry and Investment has been conducting biochar research since 2006. Dr.

Van Zwieten

says, “our scientific trials demonstrate that biochar can significantly improve

productivity, whilst achieving long-term carbon sequestration in agricultural soils”. 

Ensembles, a major European research consortium led by the UK Met Office Hadley Centre and

involving 65 other research institutes worldwide, today released finding from their 5 year climate


"It's clear that if we continue our current emissions trajectory and we want to stay at 450 parts per

million, we'll need to pull CO2 out of the atmosphere," says atmospheric scientist Ken Caldeira, who

works at the Carnegie Institution for Science's Department of Global Ecology in Stanford,

California. That could mean deploying new techniques for capturing carbon, such as biochar,

reforestation or air filtering, on a massive scale.

Australia is a world leader in biochar research and technology and could be well placed to deliver

this important solution for the benefit of our farmers and the climate.

Any offsets generated by the agriculture sector will need to meet the National Carbon Offset

Standard, which has been developed by the government to provide guidance on what constitutes a

genuine, additional voluntary offset credit in the context of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

Chief Technology Officer for Pacific Pyrolysis Adriana Downie says their Australian developed

biochar production technology should meet the verification requirements of the proposed scheme

and says “Pacific Pyrolysis, with the support of the NSW State Government, have invested heavily

in the development of an abatement study which quantifies and justifies the emissions credentials of

the technology to the verification standards proposed. We are keen to have our methodologies

accepted through the scientifically based approvals process established by the federal government.

The incentives provided by carbon offset revenue will enable us to deliver a scalable carbon

abatement solution which can directly benefit farmers”

Downie argues, “In order for Australian industry


remain competitive

all legitimate options to

offset their emissions need to be at their disposal. The government needs to ensure that new ways to

offset emissions, such as biochar sequestration, are not locked out of the CPRS and are promoted in

international schemes.”

Biochar industry advocate Adriana Downie hopes the Australian government will take note of the

latest consensus from scientists, and make the most of the opportunity to secure the benefits of

biochar for Australian farmers at Copenhagen.

For more information contact: Adriana Downie, Pacific Pyrolysis. 02 43404911

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