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Carbon sequestration: conflicts and benefits. Harper Piarn


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A presentation at the WCCA 2011 event in Brisbane.

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Carbon sequestration: conflicts and benefits. Harper Piarn

  1. 1. Alcoa Chair in Sustainable Water Management Richard J. Harper Carbon sequestration: conflicts and benefits
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Land based carbon mitigation can contribute to restoring the carbon balance </li></ul><ul><li>This includes sequestration of carbon in plants and soils, replacement via bioenergy </li></ul><ul><li>Co-benefits - Large scale carbon investment could have a significant impact on land degradation, water, production, biodiversity </li></ul><ul><li>Competition – Food vs fuel, trees vs water </li></ul><ul><li>Broader context - multiple values from land (food, water, fibre, biodiversity, habitation) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Land-use emissions *Source: Australian National Greenhouse Gas Inventory (2006) Activity 2006 emission (%)* Aust. Kyoto Accts Annex A Agriculture emissions (methane, nitrous oxide) 16 yes Art. 3.3 Afforestation/reforestation -4 yes Deforestation 11 yes Art. 3.4: Cropland management 0 no Grazing land management Revegetation Forest management
  4. 4. Bioenergy <ul><li>Different approach: replacement of fossil fuels </li></ul><ul><li>Fermentation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethanol from grain </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Direct combustion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Forestry wastes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Purpose grown energy crops </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Second generation – transport fuels </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ lignocellulosics” and other processes </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Article 3.3: Types of reforestation
  6. 6. Afforestation/reforestation: discussion points <ul><li>Reasonable certainty - Growth rates known for many species and situations </li></ul><ul><li>Timber and fibre production; replacement of energy intensive products (e.g. steel) </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental co-benefits (water quality, biodiversity); funding mechanism for land-conservation at scale, translocation of natural species with climate change </li></ul><ul><li>Competition between agricultural land use and carbon mitigation (“food vs fuel”) </li></ul><ul><li>Competition for water </li></ul>
  7. 7. Deforestation: discussion points <ul><li>Major source of global emissions </li></ul><ul><li>Protection of forests will provide biodiversity, water quality benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Conversion of land to agriculture – where is future food production going to come from? </li></ul><ul><li>Economic development and equity: how can forests be protected without penalizing local communities? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Article 3.4: additional activities Cropland management Grazing land management Revegetation Forest management
  9. 9. Article 3.4 additional activities <ul><li>Based on small increments of carbon over large areas </li></ul><ul><li>Often uncertainty in estimates; difficulties in measurement </li></ul><ul><li>Risk of achieving net emissions, rather than net sequestration e.g. drought, erosion, fire </li></ul><ul><li>Co-benefits (soil C, production, rangeland restoration etc) </li></ul>Source: CPRS Green Paper, p. 121 (2008)
  10. 10. Conclusions… <ul><li>There are a range of carbon mitigation options within the land-use sector </li></ul><ul><li>Carbon investment will provide a new source of capital; potential for large-scale change </li></ul><ul><li>Range of benefits and disbenefits from large-scale land-use change </li></ul><ul><li>Consider all costs and benefits through several lenses – economic, energy, carbon, food and water security, biodiversity and social </li></ul><ul><li>Challenge is to design new land-use systems that capture carbon investment and optimise these multiple factors </li></ul>