Emissions Reduction Fund

The Government's response on its climate change initiatives have taken shape and are in the guise of a Green Paper. Submissions are being taken up to 21 February, 2014. 

Get informed, get going and have your say.

To help readers, here's a perspective currently on The Conversation - Australia's Climate Plan; are you serious?

And here's my two bob's worth at The Conversation!

I'll focus on the "land sector" for this response. Remember a few years ago when 

Malcolm Turnbull was spruiking biochar? 


Remember Bob Hawke's One Billion Trees Program in 1989?

And a heap of other big idea announcements ...

Even Aunty ABC had a magnificent "Tree Care Award" (courtesy of the 

"Countrywide" program) in the early-mid 1980's. 

All now lost in the mist of time! Or economic ideology?

Australia has one of the most ravaged landscapes in the world as a result of land 

clearance for agriculture. Nothing is being done about desperately needed 

landscape-scale change, despite the billions $ to landcare, "Caring for Country", 

hidden subsidies, farm assistance etc etc etc over the years. 

Meanwhile in my state SA, the state government has withdrawn the last vestiges of 

support for NRM and has almost cast adrift the plight of biodiversity and landscape 


This is on par with what the ERF purports to achieve. This is abandonment of the 

very system - the land - that CAN restore a multitude of ecological, environmental, 

and economic benefits. 

The landscape as a system needs rapid change. The old farming system of the 

19th century isn't functioning well and is at the behest of Nature. Drought has seen 

to that. 

People need to change, but how is that going to happen?

And now to a gloomy tale. In SA nearly 11 million hectares of mostly mallee 

scrubland were cleared for cropping in the century from the 1860's. The grubbed 

scrub was burnt. The release of all that stored carbon is im-measurable, but one 

thing is certain it is up there somewhere, or in the oceans, and it would be millions of 

tonnes. Gone! A global problem.

Now, here's a bit of perspective on that "20 million trees program". Several years 

ago I did a little sum. At the time, volunteer growers and private land-holders were 

revegetating about 4,000 ha annually. It seems a lot but it's piddling. I surmised that 

if just 10% of that cleared land was revegetated (and there are many reasons why it 

should but I won't go into these here, except to say that to give 90% a better chance 

in the future, 10% has to be given up), it would take about 275 years at the rate of 

revegetation of 4,000 ha to accomplish. 

Anyway, the response in SA is as close to zilch as you could get. 

Perhaps we need to go back to the past, back to those tree programs, maybe to 

biochar, and focus on landscape-scale change. Action is needed on a big scale. It 

could re-boot a new agri-economy. We need a new dream, another language, 

because the endless words on carbon and climate are just not cutting through!

And if SA goes down this path, you never know - it might just throw off that 

"mendicant" tag that so often gets tossed around.

When the ERF Terms of Reference was open for submissions late last year (until 18 November 2013), it brought a very broad array of responses from several hundred individuals, organisations, and corporations.

One of the best ways to get a contemporary perspective on national climate change issues is to read some of the submissions, even from those who you may not have an affinity for.

Click here -->  Submissions on the ERF Terms of Reference

What the ERF Terms of Reference is missing

Now, these submissions were only on the terms of reference. The big one is the Emissions Reduction Fund Green Paper.

We should all have our say on this proposal (if it can be called that), and it doesn't matter how brief that is. 

The ERF has some deep flaws in my view, but it has one useful component going for it - the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI). 

For more insight, have a read of Repairing and preparing Australia's landscapes for climate change. This is one constructive way to support behaviour change.

And for a bit more perspective, here's a post titled Carbon conundrums and claptrap.

The endless chatter and bickering about climate and carbon dioxide is switching people, and governments, off a real and present danger. I just happen to think that the battle for the hearts and minds of people and governments and corporations on the "three fossils" - coal, oil, and gas - is all but lost … for now.

The extraordinary developments that have happened in recent years and are happening today on the extraction of the "three fossils" are, or seem to be, almost at any cost. The big losers are the many individuals whose farm land is at risk of being destroyed, and the environment (land, atmospheric, and oceans) which will suffer irreversible damage.

Look at what's happening in Queensland and New South Wales. COAL and GAS are being mined at a frenetic pace.

This is not just happening in Australia, it is a global phenomenon. 

What should our focus be?


These are the three critical areas where ordinary folk can still have an enduring effect.

And it is in these areas where the impacts of the "three fossils" can be reduced. Will the Government's Emissions Reduction Fund be the answer?

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