‘World-first’ scheme could open carbon and biodiversity market to farmers

A photograph of a field of green grass, with sheep grazing and a blue sky above.
18 May 2021

Australia’s new agricultural climate policy is set to deliver a world-first scheme within the next year where farmers can earn and trade credits for environmental gains as well as for carbon offsets, according to an architect of the scheme.

Environmental markets expert Professor Andrew Macintosh said the federal government’s Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Package, which received additional funding in last week’s budget, would create opportunities for farmers to earn money for providing both carbon and biodiversity services.

Separate biodiversity and carbon abatement schemes have been run in some states, and other countries around the world, where governments paid farmers for their work.

But Professor Macintosh said the Stewardship Package would be “world-leading”, in that it allows farmers to receive both carbon and biodiversity payments for the same projects. The scheme will also support the creation of a “single web-based platform to bring farmers and the private markets together” so they can plan projects and trade environmental services.

They will be paid for voluntary planting of vegetation to sequester carbon as well as for creating good quality native habitat specific to their region.

Read the full article on the Sydney Morning Herald website, featuring Prof Andrew Macintosh