|John Spooner: Taxing Air|
But the Abbott Government is also in the middle of a new controversy at the Lima conference over the way Australia's emissions target will be calculated under the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, the current global climate agreement, due to expire in 2020 and replaced by any new deal signed in Paris next year.
Australia is seeking to use favourable rules around land clearing - originally agreed to under Kyoto in 1997 to establish an earlier target - in calculating its promised cut for 2020 under the protocol's second stage.
With apologies to John Spooner.
If Australia is not allowed to include land use emissions to calculate its target it is estimated that it will increase the national 2020 goal by between 40 to 80 million tonnes of carbon emissions or up to 2.5 per cent.
Australia is threatening that it will not ratify Kyoto again if it does not get its way on targets, and has won support from major developed nations and also Brazil. (bold added)In 1998, under the Howard Government, the Science, Technology, Environment and Resources Group issued Current Issues Brief 10 (link) contained inter alia:
Allowance for emission reductions from land use changes was permitted in the base year in the Kyoto Protocol. Thus, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from declining rates of land clearing or forestry can be used to meet target commitments. Similarly, removals of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by absorption into biological systems can be used. These removals of carbon dioxide, for example the planting of forests, are referred to as 'sinks'.Ian Hampton writes of Australia's actions in Lima:
This is a carbon copy of the tactics adopted by the then Howard Government in the lead up to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol agreement. Australia's "success" in getting the "Australia Clause" in the Kyoto Protocol led directly to the Howard Government "engineering" the much more restrictive 2003 NSW Native Vegetation Legislation and similar legislation in Queensland.Why Tony Abbott would pander to the loony lefties who read the SMH and watch "our" ABC is a mystery. Turning his back on the people who voted for him and bowing to people who will never vote for him seems a suicide move.
SO, how did the Kyoto 1 Land Use Protocol work out for Australian Land holders. Let's look at two examples:
- Farmer tried to work with the Land Use Protocol;
- Farmer lost farm due to the Land Use Protocol.
Farmer tried to work with the Land Use Protocol
Cate speaking to ABC radio May 20, 2014, about how carbon farming is a “good business strategy” at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-20/mount-morris-cate-stuart/5465060 . But the banks, for good reason, thought otherwise.
Mark and Cate Stuart tried to work within the system and create a carbon sink. The sink was supposed to create income of $400,000 every 3 years. (link)
Cate and Mark Stuart will be evicted from their historic Charleville cattle station, Mount Morris, on Thursday afterRabobank last year called in the receivers Ferrier Hodgson to recoup an outstanding debt of $2.6 million.
The Stuarts are heartbroken. But the tough outback family, which has run the 20,000ha far-west Queensland spread for the past six years, isn’t going without a fight. A very modern fight.
They say the bank has failed to recognise their wild and sprawling home is more than just a cattle farm: it is a carbon bank.
For the past four years, the Stuarts have worked with the specialist carbon farming company Australian Carbon Traders to capture and store carbon on 5000ha of their mulga tree reserves.
They planned to earn up to $400,000 every three years in valuable carbon credit payments.Mt Morris is now for sale - See LINK. The Stuarts have lost everything.
Cate has been featured before in these pages, during the Convoy of No Confidence: LINK
Cate is now known as "Convoy Cate from Charleville." Listen to Cate on ABC's Counterpoint HERE.
Farmer lost farm due to the Land Use Protocol
Peter Spencer’s story is one I didn’t think could happen in Australia. He is the farmer in New South Wales who bought a farm and then lost 80% of it when rules changed to stop people clearing native vegetation. Unable to use most of his property, he was slowly bankrupted. Though he broke no law, he lost his life’s work and his beloved farm in late 2010. There was no way out. He couldn’t sell the property — who would buy a piece of land that could not be used? Farmers all around Australia lost billions of dollars in assets as the value of their land and produce declined.It is this legislation and the resulting theft of the stored carbon in the resulting trees by the Commonwealth (enabling Australia to meet its Kyoto commitments) that is at the root of Peter Spencer's case against the Commonwealth and NSW. (link)
Read the trial notes in "Peter Spencer: Court diary"
These are just two stories (from both sides of the boundary fence) of the myriad tragedies caused by Land Use Protocol under the original Kyoto Protocol.
Now, landholders (and all Australians) should gear up for more tragedies IF the Abbott Government gets acceptance of their new Land Use Protocol.