• Open Access

Catching the baby: accounting for biodiversity and the ecosystem sector in emissions trading

Authors

  • Penny Van Oosterzee,

    1.  Biocarbon Pty Ltd, PO Box 1200 Atherton, Qld 4883, Australia
    2.  School for Environmental Research, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia
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  • Noel Preece,

    1.  Biome5 Pty Ltd, PO Box 1200 Atherton, Qld, 4883, Australia
    2.  School for Environmental Research, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia
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  • Allan Dale

    1.  Terrain NRM Ltd, PO Box 1756, Innisfail QLD 4860, Australia
    2.  Faculty of Arts, Education and Social Science, James Cook University, Townsville QLD 4811, Australia
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Correspondence
Penny van Oosterzee, Biocarbon Pty Ltd, PO Box 1200, Atherton, Qld 4883, Australia. Tel: +61-408-847564. E-mail: penny@biome5.com.au

Abstract

The agriculture, forestry, and other land-use sector is a crucial sector, second only to the energy sector, in fighting climate change, and provides an important greenhouse gas abatement opportunity for the world. Recently, released figures for Australia, for example, suggest that agriculture, forestry, and other land-uses, which depend on healthy functioning ecosystems, could abate as much as three quarters of the country's emissions. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was concerned primarily with ecosystems and humankind, but the Kyoto Protocol of the Convention forfeited the potential of using agriculture, forestry, and other land-uses for global climate mitigation. This had the effect of decoupling biodiversity and ecosystems from carbon pollution reduction and climate change considerations. The Australian Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, one of the first emission trading schemes in the world to follow Kyoto “rules,” excludes the agriculture, forestry, and other land-use sector, apart from plantation reforestation, potentially creating perverse incentives that themselves can turn into threatening ecological processes. We use Australia and its emerging emissions trading scheme as a case study of the potential effects of this decoupling, and demonstrate the potential impacts on a landscape-scale regional greenhouse gas abatement and carbon sequestration project.

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