Carbon farming in Queensland

The Queensland Government is committed to growing a new carbon farming industry.

What is carbon farming and why it is important?

Carbon farming involves activities like fire, soil, animal, and vegetation management to store carbon or avoid greenhouse gas emissions being released. It is one of the simplest measures for reducing Queensland’s (and the world’s) carbon pollution levels.

Under the Queensland Climate Transition Strategy, the Queensland Government is committed to expanding the carbon farming industry as part of efforts to transition to a zero net emission economy by 2050.

Already, the government has committed $8.4 million under the Queensland CarbonPlus Fund to support and expand the carbon farming industry with a focus on building the capacity of Indigenous communities to participate in the carbon market as well as creating jobs, new sources of income, and generating additional social and environmental benefits. The Queensland Government has engaged the Aboriginal Carbon Fund to undertake this capacity building work.

From the CarbonPlus Fund, up to $5 million will also be used to purchase high quality, carbon credits to offset Queensland Government vehicle emissions.

Opportunities for Queensland landholders

Carbon farming could present significant economic opportunities for Queensland landholders over the next two decades if the right settings were put in place.

A report by Energetics (PDF, 1.46MB) says greater policy certainty and a rising carbon price could create a much higher demand for land sector carbon offsets than previous thought.

The report indicates that from now to 2030 using a conservative approach, between $1.4 to $4.7 billion could be generated from land and agriculture sector. However, with stronger national settings and under-delivery of abatement in other sectors, land and agriculture offsets could be worth up to $8 billion by 2030 to the Queensland economy.

The analysis builds on the findings of another Energetics report (PDF, 2.13MB) delivered in July 2017 that summarises drivers of price and demand for carbon offsets, with a view to understanding the potential value to the Queensland economy from the land sector.

The Queensland Government is also investing in a national, industry-led carbon farming sector roadmap which is expected to be released by the Carbon Market Institute in late 2017. This roadmap will outline how carbon farming could be developed nationally to deliver significant income for regional communities and economies as well as social, cultural and other important environmental co-benefits.

About the Emissions Reduction Fund in Queensland

Queensland landholders are already participating and taking advantage of the Australian Government’s $2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund.

The Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) was established by the Australian Government in 2014 as a means to achieve Australia’s 2020 emission reduction target.

The ERF is a voluntary scheme that purchases lowest cost abatement in the form of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) from land holders and industrial efficiency activities via a reverse auction process. As of 20 October 2017, $300 million remains in the ERF following five auction rounds. The sixth ERF auction is scheduled for 6 and 7 December 2017.

In Queensland, the ERF is supporting a range of land sector carbon pollution reduction activities including:

  • Storing carbon in the landscape through managing regrowth, new environmental plantings, improved livestock and soil management, and avoided deforestation.
  • Avoiding emissions through savanna burning (which avoids high emitting wild fires), energy and fuel efficiency, and capturing and combusting methane from landfills, industrial processes, and resource sector fugitive emissions.

Alternatively, activities and projects can generate carbon credits to secondary or voluntary markets.

An Australian Carbon Credit Unit is a tradable certificate equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent either stored or avoided.

The ERF provides Queensland landholders with an opportunity to earn an alternative source of income by managing vegetation on their property and by allowing natural regeneration or active replanting on previously cleared lands. Industries and business can also participate in the ERF through energy efficiency, waste, transport and fugitive emission projects.

To date, there are 209 ERF projects registered in Queensland which have already generated 8,014,368 carbon credits. This means over 8 million tonnes of carbon pollution has not entered the atmosphere, which is the equivalent to taking over 2.2 million cars off the road for one year.

In economic terms, the value of credits generated so far is around $95 million in income for Queensland landholders, Indigenous communities, and the agriculture sector.

Of this, 165 registered ERF projects involve carbon farming. These have separately avoided over 5 million tonnes of carbon pollution from entering the atmosphere and generated around $60 million in income for the sector.

As at 20 October 2017, the types of projects Queenslanders are undertaking include:

Project type Number of projectsAustralian Carbon
Credit Units issued
Vegetation management 115 3,829,670
Landfill and waste 35 2,928,005
Agriculture 11 95,020
Savanna burning 38 1,161,623
Energy efficiency 4 0
Industrial fugitives 4 0
Transport 1 0

To be eligible to participate in the ERF, applicants must:

Read more about vegetation management and the ERF.

Completing projects on state land

The State owns the carbon rights in vegetation on state land. For proposed projects on state land to be eligible, the ERF requires the applicant to seek consent from the Minister administering state land.

Read more about how to gain consent for carbon rights on state land.

Regrowth benefits tool

Online tools can help landholders learn about the benefits from native forest regrowth and make informed decisions about participating in the ERF.

The regrowth benefits tool is an interactive map that provides information about:

  • carbon abatement potential for specific sites
  • threatened species
  • biodiversity benefits
  • key regulations that apply in the area of interest.

Refer to the interactive map user guide for explanation of the functions of the regrowth benefits tool.

Use the PDF reporting function to obtain copies of maps and other information by email.

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