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Costs and benefits of different options for West Australian farmers to mitigate greenhouse gases emissions.
Australia will almost certainly, at some stage, implement a policy to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Even if not a direct participant in such policies, agriculture will be affected through the price of farm inputs like fuel etc. However there are some options for farmers to recover some of these increased costs or even increase their profitability (and more generally, help reduce levels of atmospheric GHG for the benefit of all) such as:
• Changing management to store more carbon (C) in their soils
• Revegetating land to sequester C in vegetation Producing feedstock materials for conversion into biochar
• Using the same feedstock material to generate biomass energy
Annuities representing the financial benefits and costs to farmers of these options will be determined by modelling each individually using appropriate biophysical and economic coefficients. The annuities will then be incorporated into a whole-farm economic model for comparison.
For some of the publications from my research, please click on the links at the right-hand side of the screen.
This will reveal the most financially attractive package of actions for farmers to mitigate GHG emissions, likely changes in enterprise mix and how the profit and net emissions for the whole farm may change for different prices of C, both with and without the inclusion of agriculture into policies aimed at reducing the emissions. The study will also investigate the inclusion of different sources of emissions in accounting and even payment based on direct measurement or the adoption of certain management practices. A particular feature will be the comparison of the more “once-off”sequestering C in vegetation or soil (options that require on-going management and measurement whilst also encumbering the farmer with liability and increased risk for potentially 100 plus years) with the less risky options of renewable biochar and biomass energy production. The analysis should help reveal the potential of utilising the agricultural sector to mitigate GHG emissions, and the best policies and mitigation strategies to capture this potential and minimise the negative impacts on the sector.