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Opportunities for carbon credit projects in the WA rangelands

“Land managers should consider new carbon abatement projects as part of land management planning, and register proposed projects as soon as possible,” according to Senior Rangeland Scientist at Rangelands NRM, Dr Peter Russell.

Rangelands NRM is working with other partners on the Carbon Awareness Project which is funded under the WA Government Royalties for Regions program, to help increase land managers understanding and knowledge of carbon farming opportunities in Western Australia.

Recently, the project delivered research findings into the distribution of and potential for sequestered carbon in the Western Australian (WA) rangelands

In regard to carbon credit projects eligible under the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), the opportunities in WA’s rangelands currently lie with emissions reductions projects, mainly through the +600 mm / +1,000 mm rainfall savannah burning method, but other opportunities include energy-use efficiency projects (e.g. more efficient pumps) and cattle methane emissions reduction through feed supplementation and/or earlier turn-off.

A key requirement for an ERF project is that it must be new at the time of project registration.

Dr Russell said land managers wanting to undertake a project within five years, should register their proposed project with the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) as soon as possible to avoid breaching the ‘newness’ test.

“This means undertaking a new way to run or manage an aspect of your enterprise that will abate carbon, and would not have happened without ERF support,” he said.

Registration is not a binding commitment to undertake the project and the proposed abatement activities can be changed in the period up to registering for a particular auction.

For those contemplating sequestration projects, Dr Russell said it is not too early to develop a business case or strategy for integrating a carbon project into an existing enterprise or land management plan.

“While not yet fully realisable over extensive areas, there are emerging opportunities for ERF sequestration projects in the WA rangelands with various pieces of the puzzle coming together,” he said.

It is now time to do some strategic thinking and planning.  Inclusion of carbon abatement in an Ecologically Sustainable Rangeland Management (ESRM) plan is a good starting point.

Dr Russell said there are still significant barriers and unknowns for carbon sequestration projects on WA pastoral leases, particularly costs and legal/regulatory issues, but the relevant information that is required will become evident and as information becomes available can be incorporated into plans.

For more information on ERF activities, visit the Australian Government websites:

 

Image: map of WA showing above 1000m rainfall ishohyet (approx.) for which there is an approved savannah burning method.
Courtesy of Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia.