Greenhouse Gas Accounting: NCAS
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Greenhouse Gas Accounting: NCAS

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Dr Bill Slattery of the Department of Climate Change explains the 'whole cycle' greenhouse gas accounting for enterprises which on the evidence - offers carbon farmers hope that a proper accounting ...

Dr Bill Slattery of the Department of Climate Change explains the 'whole cycle' greenhouse gas accounting for enterprises which on the evidence - offers carbon farmers hope that a proper accounting for the volumes of soil C they can sequester, they will always be net sinks.

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Greenhouse Gas Accounting: NCAS Greenhouse Gas Accounting: NCAS Presentation Transcript

  • Greenhouse Gas Accounting: NCAS Carbon Farming Expo - Orange Nov 2008 Dr Bill Slattery Department of Climate Change
  • Outline • Overview of land sector emissions • On-Farm whole system emissions accounting • National carbon accounting system • Carbon sequestration potential for soils
  • Australia’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions (2006) 50% 300 250 200 Mt CO2-e 150 16% 100 14% 7% 50 6% 5% 3% 0 Stationary Transport Fugitive Industrial Agriculture Land Use Waste Energy Emissions Processes Change and Forestry In comparison Agriculture component of national emissions in other countries NZ 50%, EU 10%, US 5.5%)
  • Key Greenhouse Gases from Land-systems Nitrous Oxide • 4% of Australia’s total emissions • Agricultural soils, savanna burning and forest soils Methane • 12% of Australia’s total – almost same as all of transport • Enteric fermentation from livestock • Savannah burning • Uptake by soils maybe significant
  • Australia’s National Carbon Accounting System Modelling framework
  • Carbon in soils NCAS models C fluxes that: • Consider changes in all soil C pools • Soil C change through management practice Issues: - Permanence - Spatial variability - Validation
  • Carbon Photosynthesis CO2 Mineralisation Plant production Plant Burning residues Particulate Soil animals organic C and microbes Recalcitrant organic C Humus organic C
  • Nitrous oxide from soils Only 30-70% of nitrogen inputs to soil is used by plants – the rest goes missing • runoff and leaching • nitrous oxide emissions • reducing N2O emissions = improved NUE & greenhouse benefits For accounting purposes need to focus on the plant-soil- water-atmosphere interactions
  • C & N2O Photosynthesis CO2 N2O Mineralisation Fertiliser Plant production Plant Plant uptake Burning residues NH4 NO3 Particulate Soil animals organic C and microbes Recalcitrant Nitrification organic C Humus Denitrification organic C Organic N
  • Methane from sheep and cattle 10-15% of feed energy lost as methane • Major cost • Focus on Improving Feed Conversion Efficiency  Increase productivity and profit  AND reduce methane emissions at the same time
  • C, N2O & CH4 Photosynthesis CO2 N2O CH4 Breed Mineralisation Fertiliser Plant production Plant Urine Manure Plant uptake Burning residues NH4 NO3 Pasture Particulate Soil animals Quality organic C and microbes Recalcitrant Nitrification organic C Humus Denitrification organic C Organic N
  • National Carbon Accounting System Site specific data Spatial datasets - Climate Remote sensing - Soil info - veg cover - landuse 15 Landsat images - etc from 1972 - 2006 Emissions estimation
  • How does NCAS work? The NCAS tracks emissions (sources) and removals (sinks) of greenhouse gases from Australian land based systems. Integrates satellite remote sensing and ecosystem modelling to provide greenhouse accounts for Agriculture, Land Use and Forestry
  • Relationship 50% 40% National Greenhouse Inventory 30% with NGGI 20% 10% 0% Stationary Transport Fugitive Industrial Agriculture Land Use, Waste Energy Emissions Processes Change and Forestry • NGGI is adapted to currently available data ‘streams’ – Reflect administrative, not land system boundaries – Typically use simple ‘emissions factor’ approaches at global/national scales
  • Accounting methods - UNFCCC Methods: • Tier 1: ‘activity’ data (crop/livestock) multiplied by international default factors • Tier 2: ‘activity’ data multiplied by national default factors • Tier 3: Modelling approach NGGI uses Tier 2 accounting
  • What does this mean? • Tier 2: = ‘activity’ data multiplied by national default factors • This method: – Simply cannot distinguish between management practice and emissions – Will only reflect a reduction in methane or nitrous oxide emissions when production is reduced (e.g. livestock numbers) – We need to have proper accounting that reflects changes in management.
  • Enabling NCAS to provide emission estimates at: Regional scale National scale Farm scale
  • Potential to Sequester Soil Carbon Major role of carbon in soil Soil C has a major role in soil health through – improved soil structure, increased water retention, increased nutrient cycling, better soil buffering.
  • For Cropping Soils • No-till reduces fuel use by 30% • But - remember nitrous oxide emissions from soil with N-fertiliser  0.5 – 3 tCO2e/ha/yr No-till 0.003 kgCO2e/ha/y Nitrous oxide C sequestration 0.5 – 3 tCO2/ha/y 0.1 – 0.2 tCO2e /ha/y Finite period ~ 20yrs “whole systems accounting”
  • NCAS example model runs Stubble burnt Stubble standing Soil C (tC/ha) Soil C (tC/ha) Plant biomass (tC/ha) Plant biomass (tC/ha) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 3 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 3 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Years Years This represents a reduced loss not a sequestration
  • NCAS example model runs Cropping soil – low rainfall (uneven seasonal pattern) Rutherglen – Standing stubble Soil C C (t/ha) Plant Biomass 0 20 40 60 80 100 Years
  • NCAS example model runs Cropping soil – high rainfall (even seasonal pattern) Mudgee - Standing stubble
  • Pastures (assuming a 1% increase in soil C over 10 years) Pasture and livestock grazing likely to increase total GHG’s by: @ 0.1 – 1.5 cattle/ha/yr (avg 164kg CH4/animal/yr)  (164 x 21 x 0.1 OR 1.5)  0.3 – 5 t CO2e/ha/yr @ 3 – 20 sheep/ha/yr (avg 10kg/animal/yr)  (10 x 21 x 3 OR 20)  0.6 – 4 t CO2e/ha/yr Methane Methane Finite period ~ 20yrs 0.3 – 5 tCO2/ha 0.6 – 4 tCO2/ha C sequestration 0.4 tCO2e /ha/y N inputs 0.1leg – 0.3 fert tCO2/ha “whole systems accounting”
  • OUR GREAT GRE N ENH EWS ON WE OU THAT ’VE BRE SE TARG DOE D E SN’T A COW TS ANY MET RELEASE HAN E
  • NCAS example model runs Permanent pasture Soil C Plant biomass 0 20 40 60 80 100 Years
  • NCAS example model runs Permanent pasture Soil C = 76 t CO2e Soil C Methane = 250 - 500 t CO2e Nitrous oxide = 30 - 60 tCO2e Net emissions Plant biomass grazing N fertiliser or legume pasture 0 20 40 60 80 100 Years
  • Other factors play an important role in determining the amount of C that can be stored in soil: • Initialsoil Carbon level • Environment (rainfall, temp - decomposition rates) • Residue return to soil (Biomass production) • Paddock history (C pool structure) • Soil texture • Soil pH & fertility
  • Concluding Remarks • All countries are required to report national emissions accounts • There are still some gaps in knowledge for land based systems • NCAS provides a wall to wall accounting system for the land sector – All greenhouse gas sources and sinks – All practices – All landuses • NCAS aims to provide a decision support tool for a range of landscape scales for emissions management and measurement • NCAS provides a consistent approach to emissions accounting nationally
  • Thankyou